Extended car warranties are optional plans you can buy to cover repair costs and replacement expenses after your original manufacturer’s warranty expires. Think of it as a health insurance plan for your car. It covers most major breakdowns and repairs, and since the cost of labor and parts fluctuates over time, it gives you peace of mind knowing that your expenses are stabilized. In the long run, getting an extended car warranty can save you money.
Extended car warranties differ from car insurance in one significant way: While car warranties pay for mechanical breakdowns due to many causes, car insurance is tied to specific causes such as theft, fire, or collision damage.
The 4 Best Car Warranty Companies
- Endurance Warranty Services – Best for High-Mileage Vehicles
- CARCHEX – Best for Choice of Plans
- CarShield – Best for Customer Satisfaction
- Autopom! – Best for Price-Conscious Consumers
|Endurance Warranty Services||CARCHEX||CarShield||autopom!|
|Best car warranty company for||High-mileage vehicles||Choice of plans||Customer satisfaction||Price-conscious consumers|
|States Available||49, California not covered||50||50||50|
|Warranty start date||1 day after purchase||30 days||1 day||30 days|
|No. of Plan Options||5||6||6||Up to 19|
|Find out more||View all Endurance Plans||View all Carchex Plans here||View all CarShield Plans||View all autopom! Plans|
Best for High-Mileage Vehicles: Endurance Warranty Services
Coverage designed for commuters
- Easy claims process: Process is very streamlined and stress-free
- 30-day money-back guarantee: Gives you at least a month to decide if the service is right for you
- Numerous coverage options: 5 plans to choose from, including one just for high-mileage vehicles
- California is not covered: Doesn’t offer coverage to residents of California
- Limited plan options: Fewer choices than other similar providers
Best for Choice of Plans: CARCHEX
Customized coverage for a perfect fit
- Included extras: Plans include many extras at no additional cost, such as roadside assistance and fuel delivery
- Long financing period option: Vehicle owners can opt for long-term financing of up to 21 months
- Stable company: Well-established company with a good reputation
- Waiting period: Coverage starts at least one month after purchase
- Cancellation fee: There is a $50 cancellation fee
- Extended car warranty broker: Limitations and exclusions vary by contract, so be sure to read the fine print
Best for Customer Satisfaction: CarShield
Thousands of 5-star customer ratings
- Specialty plans: Offers plans for owners of ATVs, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, and other specialty vehicles
- Excellent reviews: Has overwhelmingly positive reviews online with Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Rental car reimbursement: Rental car reimbursement available with some plans
- Several exclusions: Policies come with several exclusions—read the details carefully before signing any contract
- Limited benefits: Common benefits, such as rental cars, not included in all plans
- Lack of plan transparency: Provides basic plan information online, but more details only available by talking to a representative
Best for Price-Conscious Consumers: Autopom!
Competitive prices that won’t break the bank
- Budget-friendly prices: Plans start at $1,488 in California and $2,500 in other states
- A multitude of plan options: Total of 19 possible plans offered
- No-hassle quote process: Get full, detailed quotes in minutes online
- Caters to California residents: Offers California-backed policies and Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI) meeting state regulations
- Large down payment required: Prepare to give 10% down instead of the 5% industry standard
- Plan limitations by states: Not all plans available in all states
- No high-end vehicle coverage: Plans cover many car makes and models, but not luxury vehicles like Rolls-Royce
Guide to Extended Car Warranties
Decide Whether You Need an Extended Warranty
You might need an extended car warranty if you intend to own your car for a long time or sell it after a few years. In the first scenario, it cushions you against potential future expenses, while the second makes your car more appealing to potential buyers.
Using an extended car warranty on top of your car insurance covers any mechanical breakdowns that insurance won’t cover, giving you financial security.
Watch Out for Red Flags
If you encounter any of these warning signs, it’s probably best to steer clear of a company:
- Bad reputation: Check out user reviews for an idea of how the company operates
- Too many exclusions: Be clear about what your warranty covers and ask the company to clarify anything you’re unsure about
- Cold calls or letters: Ignore communication you receive offering extended warranties
Decide on the Type of Extended Warranty You Need
When searching for an extended car warranty, you have two options: dealers and third-party providers. With a dealer, you get fewer service location options, but a guarantee that you’ll always get exact replacement parts. Third-party providers, on the other hand, have more extensive service networks, but don’t guarantee exact replacement parts.
Choose the Best Coverage for Your Needs
You’ll have a choice between limited or comprehensive coverage plans. Limited plans are more affordable but still cover basics like mechanical or power train repairs. Comprehensive coverage is often chosen for high-ticket cars and covers items like electrical and audio system repairs.
How We Chose the Best Car Warranties
To find the best car warranty companies, we took the most popular companies in the U.S. and distilled them by looking at prices, plan options, coverage exclusions, and average customer ratings from the BBB and Trustpilot.
Extended Car Warranties FAQ
Are extended car warranties worth it?
Extended car warranties can save you money in the long run, especially for anyone who’s planning to use their car for a long time. Some providers offer even better coverage than your original manufacturer’s warranty.
Since insurance doesn’t cover repairs due to mechanical breakdowns, an extended warranty enables you to enjoy your car with less financial worries.
How much do extended car warranties cost?
The price of an extended warranty can differ greatly depending on individual circumstances, such as the age of the vehicle and the level of coverage, and whether the warranty contains any extra perks or benefits. The best way to know what will it cost to cover your car is to get a quote from several companies and compare prices.