Types of Coverage Available
- Engine and transmission
- Major systems
- Electrical components
- A/C and heating
- Full-coverage exclusionary package
- 24/7 roadside assistance
- Night vision
- Luxury components
Guide to Extended Car Warranties
What is an Extended Car Warranty?
An extended car warranty is a service plan that covers certain repairs to your vehicle. They’re typically purchased once the car’s manufacturer’s warranty expires following a certain number of years or miles. Many warranties also include roadside assistance and trip cancellation benefits.
What is Covered by Extended Car Warranties?
The coverage you get from an extended car warranty depends on the plan you choose. Some service packages only cover a short list of essential components, such as the car’s engine and transmission. These options are usually the cheapest. On the pricier end are exclusionary packages, which cover all issues that may arise except for a handful of listed exclusions.
- Service, repairs and replacement for listed items
- Roadside assistance and towing
- Trip cancellation, including reimbursement for hotels and meals
- Rental car costs if your vehicle is undrivable
- Pre-existing issues
- Interior details such as upholstery
- Custom parts that aren’t factory-installed
- Issues that arise from a lack of timely maintenance
Decide Whether You Need an Extended Warranty
Unlike auto insurance, extended warranties aren’t required by law or the vast majority of lenders. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether a service plan is in your best interest. Make sure you check for any manufacturer’s warranties or used car warranties from the dealership to avoid purchasing duplicate coverage.
Watch Out for Red Flags
If you encounter any of these warning signs, it’s probably best to steer clear of a company:
- You get an urgent notice about your warranty expiring: If you get a phone call or a letter claiming that your vehicle’s warranty is about to expire, proceed with caution. Many companies use this tactic to sell you an auto warranty you don’t need.
- The dealer says it’s required: Some used car dealers may claim your lender requires an extended warranty, but this is often untrue. Check with the lender directly if you’re unsure.
- It’s included in your loan: Dealerships should never sell you an extended warranty without your consent. If your sales contract includes a service plan that you didn’t agree to, ask the dealer to remove it.
Decide on the Type of Extended Warranty You Need
Extended warranties aren’t one size fits all. To help you choose the right type of plan, you’ll need to think about the type of vehicle you own and how long you plan to drive it.
Older vehicles may be best suited by a basic plan that protects essential mechanical and electrical components. Comprehensive packages might be worth it if you drive a newer car with high-tech systems.
You should also think about the warranty term and how long you plan to own your vehicle. Contracts are usually renewable for five to 10 years and may or not be transferable if you decide to sell the vehicle.
Choose the Best Coverage for Your Needs
Most extended warranty providers let you choose from specific types of coverage to create a plan tailored to your vehicle.
Before purchasing a plan, read carefully through the list of items covered and compare them to your car’s specs. Make sure all the components you want covered are named; avoid paying for coverage that includes features your vehicle doesn’t have.
If you frequently drive long distances, you should also consider a package that includes roadside assistance and trip cancellation protection, unless you have this coverage elsewhere. This coverage will make sure you aren’t stranded if your car breaks down away from home. Just check your auto insurance policy first to see if you already have these coverages.
How We Chose the Best Car Warranties
Reviews.com scores products, services and companies using five quantifiable criteria to help readers choose the best one for them. 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.
Extended Car Warranties FAQ
Extended car warranties can be worth it as they save you from having to pay for expensive repairs out of pocket. However, you should make sure you aren’t purchasing duplicate coverage that you already have from a manufacturer’s or dealership’s warranty.
How much an extended car warranty costs depends on the year, make and model of the vehicle, the type of coverage, and the length of the contract. To get the best price, ask for quotes from multiple companies that sell service plans.
According to our research, the best extended car warranty companies are Infinite Auto Protection, Ally, Endurance, Carchex, and autopom!. To find the best plan for your vehicle, compare coverage and ask for quotes from multiple providers.