Extended Car Warranties
All warranties provided by automakers give you coverage for your vehicle if it breaks down and needs part repairs or replacements. However, every manufacturer warranty comes with time and vehicle mileage limits and if you purchase a used car, it may not come with coverage. If you are coming toward the end of your current protection plan, it may be time to consider getting an extended car warranty.
What is an Extended Car Warranty?
An “extended car warranty” or vehicle service contract is a coverage plan that pays for the cost of repairs or part replacement in the case of mechanical breakdowns. Typically, these protection plans are purchased to extend the coverage provided by the vehicle manufacturer when it expires, but they can also replace plans during their term or overlap with existing coverage.
Factory Warranty Vs. Extended Car Warranty
Every new car from a dealership comes with a factory warranty (also known as a manufacturer’s warranty). Still, it’s important to note that this is not the same as an extended warranty. Typically, an extended auto warranty provides coverage following the expiration of a vehicle’s factory warranty, though the two can sometimes overlap.
Extended Warranty Vs. Car Insurance
Auto insurance can provide you with coverage for things that warranties don’t cover such as collisions and injuries in an accident. However, extended auto warranties cover what insurance doesn’t, and they pay for repairs in the case of a mechanical breakdown.
How Does an Extended Car Warranty Work?
If you have a mechanical breakdown and you have an extended car warranty, you can take your vehicle to any licensed repair facility. Once you have a diagnosis, as long as the part is covered your plan provider will pay the repair company the majority of the cost of the service. All you will have to pay is the deductible stipulated by your warranty contract.
How To Check an Extended Warranty on a Car
To find out if you have an extended warranty on your car, you have to check the terms of your vehicle service agreement. The document will show the expiration date and mileage limits associated with your coverage. Make sure to check the mileage on your vehicle to ensure you haven’t exceeded the warranty.
How To Cancel an Extended Car Warranty
You can cancel an extended car warranty by filing out a cancellation from a dealership with your mileage and cancellation date. To finalize the warranty cancellation, you’ll need a copy the document signed by your dealer. Once it is confirmed, the remaining balance will be refunded to you.
Can I Transfer an Extended Warranty to Another Car?
Yes, it is possible to transfer an extended auto warranty to another vehicle, but it depends on the terms and conditions of your contract. Some agreements are tailored to a specific car or automaker so you may not be able to if this is the case. Third-party providers may also charge you a fee even if you can transfer a plan. If you are selling a vehicle, auto warranty plans can be transferred to another owner, but you must notify the provider before doing so.
What Does an Extended Car Warranty Cover?
Most extended car warranties provide you with coverage that includes major vehicle part systems like the drivetrain and transmission. However, the extended warranty coverage you get depends on the plan type and the provider you select. Most plans often do not cover routine vehicle maintenance such as tire rotations, oil changes, and windshield wipers.
Extended Car Warranty Plans
Extended car warranty plans can fall into two categories: exclusionary and inclusionary. Exclusionary vehicle service contracts list only the parts that are not covered under the warranty while inclusionary ones list all covered parts.
When considering an extended auto warranty, there are many levels of coverage available to drivers. Listed below are the most common types of extended warranties for vehicles:
- Bumper-to-bumper extended car warranty: Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically provide the most comprehensive coverage. They are exclusionary contracts that cover repairs for most major systems and components like the transmission and brakes.
- Powertrain extended car warranty: These types of warranty plans cover both your engine and drivetrain, which make up the powertrain. Powertrain warranty coverage is less comprehensive than bumper-to-bumper plans, but they allow your vehicle’s most vital systems to have coverage.
- Named component extended car warranty: Named component warranties are inclusionary and list every part of your vehicle under coverage.
- Corrosion extended car warranty: This type of warranty helps pay for corrosion-related damages to a vehicle like rust.
Extended Car Warranty Cost
The cost of extended warranties for a car varies by provider plans and the details of your vehicle. What you pay for coverage is dependent on several factors, including:
- Your vehicle’s make, model, age, and mileage
- Level of coverage
- Term length
How Much Does an Extended Car Warranty Cost?
According to our research, an extended car warranty costs about between $1,500 to $3,800 or around $2,524 on average. However, while this estimate can be helpful, warranty costs vary by provider.
Below is a chart that outlines what respondents reported paying in our research:
How Much is an Extended Warranty on a Used Car?
Extended warranties for used cars are typically around $1,615 and $3,208 total, but plan prices may vary. Costs for a used car warranty tend to be higher on average than for new cars. This is due to the overall higher mileage and age of the vehicle which increases the chances of mechanical failure.
How Much is an Extended Warranty on a New Car?
Typically costs for a new car extended warranty are going to be cheaper on average. However, this mostly will depend on your vehicle model and who you get a service contract from. For almost all warranty providers, new cars carry less breakdown risk, so prices for new vehicle warranties are usually the lowest.
Extended Car Warranty Prices
To give you a better understanding of what an extended auto warranty will cost, we have provided prices from our top providers. The list below highlights plan quotes for a 2018 Honda Civic with a $100 deductible.
Extended Car Warranty Quotes
Buying an Extended Car Warranty
If you are considering buying an extended car warranty, you can find them through vehicle dealers and third party providers. However, before signing a vehicle service contract, it is best to understand if you need one.
Do I Need an Extended Car Warranty?
Whether you need an extended car warranty depends on a variety of factors. However, there are a few things to keep in mind to determine whether you need coverage for your vehicle:
1. Know When your Manufacturer’s Warranty Expires
If you have a factory warranty on your vehicle and it hasn’t expired, you do not need to buy an extended warranty. Most automaker protection plans include comprehensive protection and it is standard to include a bumper-to-bumper warranty and powertrain coverage. All information about what your warranty covers is found in the dealer buyer guide, which they are required to show.
2. Read the Fine Print of Your Vehicle Service Plan
Regardless of whether you chose to stay with your current plan or switch to another, understanding your contract is important. All warranty coverage information such as covered parts, authorized repair facilities, and legal responsibilities for breakdowns is included in your agreement.
3. Compare Extended Car Warranty Plans and Costs
Before making any decision about getting an extended warranty or switching coverage, you need to compare provider options and quotes. Getting more information about what provider plans cover and comparing costs will help you find the best deal for your situation.
Are Extended Car Warranties Worth It?
An extended car warranty can be worthwhile if your vehicle is unreliable and you can’t afford repair costs upfront. If this is the case, getting protection can save you a lot of money and anxiety in the long run. Total costs of vehicle service plans are also typically lower than bringing a vehicle in for a major repair, so purchasing one can be a valuable investment.
Should I Get an Extended Warranty on a Used Car?
You should get an extended car warranty on your used car if:
- Your particular vehicle is unreliable: It is important to check reliability ratings for your car and common repair costs when looking for any extended warranty. If your used vehicle isn’t reliable, you should consider getting coverage
- Your car has high mileage: The higher the mileage on your car, the higher your chances are of having a breakdown. If your vehicle is old and has plenty of history then you may want to consider a high mileage extended warranty.
- You plan to keep your used car for a long time: If you like your car and want to keep it in good condition, getting protection will ensure that you can enjoy driving it for as long as possible. If you decide to sell, having a warranty on your vehicle will also increase its resale value.
- You want additional benefits: If you are looking for more in your warranty for perks like rental car insurance, roadside assistance, and towing, an extended warranty for your car can provide that for you.
Should I Get an Extended Warranty on a New Car?
An extended warranty on a new car is worth it if your current automaker plan coverage and terms are lackluster compared to alternatives. Since newer cars have fewer miles, it can also be cheaper to pursue a vehicle service plan since there is less risk of breakdown. However, typically most factory warranties offer comprehensive coverage that protects your vehicle’s most important systems.
Should I Get an Extended Warranty on a Leased Car?
Unless you have a lease longer than three years or you are buying it out, an extended warranty on a leased vehicle is unnecessary. If you are leasing a car, typically you are covered under the automaker factory warranty.
Extended Car Warranty Companies
Our team has thoroughly researched the top extended auto warranty companies in the industry based on their pricing, coverage, reputation, and customer experience. We recommend getting free quotes from providers to find the best choice for your needs.
Best Extended Auto Warranty Companies
Based on our research, the best extended car warranty companies are Endurance, Carchex, Carshield, Protect My Car, and autopom!. Below we have broken down our ratings for cost and coverage as well as our overall scores for each warranty provider:
Best Extended Auto Warranty
Learn more about our top three recommendations for the best extended auto warranty companies below to see if protection from Endurance, CARCHEX, or CarShield might be a good fit for you.
Best Extended Car Warranty Reviews
Below are the details of our top choices for extended car warranties:
#1 Endurance: 5.0 Stars
Founded in 2006, Endurance is one of the top extended auto warranty providers in the U.S. While many providers in the industry are brokers, Endurance is a direct auto warranty provider, meaning it administers its own contracts. Endurance contracts are available in all states except California.
Endurance offers six coverage levels, ranging from factory-warranty-style exclusionary coverage to a basic powertrain warranty option. The company offers additional perks with each of its plans as well. For instance, every plan comes with one year of Endurance Elite Benefits, which include 24-hour roadside assistance, key fob replacement, tire repair or replacement (two per year), and more.
Read our Endurance warranty review for a more in-depth look at the company.
#2 CARCHEX: 5.0 Stars
CARCHEX is highly regarded when it comes to extended warranties for used vehicles, and for good reason. Founded in 1999 and available in all 50 states, CARCHEX has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
CARCHEX offers five options that cover vehicles up to 10 years/250,000 miles–much higher than any of the other top extended car warranty companies. This makes the provider a smart choice for covering used cars. Depending on the plan you choose, CARCHEX plans also come with additional perks like these:
- Roadside assistance
- Rental car reimbursement
- Trip interruption
- Fuel delivery
- Lockout services
Read our CARCHEX warranty review for more information about the company.
#3 CarShield: 4.5 Stars
Founded in 2005, CarShield is an industry leader in extended car warranties. The third-party warranty provider offers vehicle protection plans to car owners in every state except California. CarShield offers additional perks such as roadside assistance, towing, and rental car reimbursement with all of its plans.
CarShield offers six levels of coverage that can cover your vehicle up to 300,000 miles. Our review team found CarShield to be the Best Value of all providers and awarded the company a 5.0-star rating in the pricing category.
Check out our CarShield warranty review to learn more about this extended warranty provider.
Extended Auto Warranty: Conclusion
An extended car warranty can be a good investment for your vehicle and could save you money on costly repairs. However, before buying it is a good idea to gauge your current situation and what protection plans are available to you. We have provided you with some of our top picks for extended vehicle warranties, but we recommend searching around and comparing quotes from multiple companies to find the best value for your money.
Extended Car Warranty: FAQ
Below are some frequently asked questions about extended car warranties:
How We Rate Warranty Providers
Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of extended auto warranty providers. While there are multiple qualities that make a warranty company successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:
- Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between providers because so many factors impact vehicle service contract pricing. To determine our cost score, we perform a secret shopper analysis for a variety of vehicles and plans and consider available deductibles.
- Coverage: Our team of experts looks at the number of extended warranty plans available, as well as term limits, exclusions, and added benefits like roadside assistance. Ratings also take into account the availability of maintenance coverage.
- Reputation: It’s important that an extended car warranty company is able to meet its claims obligations. Companies with a strong rating from the BBB score well in this category. Established providers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
- Customer Experience: We listen to real customer sales calls and comb through reviews on sites like the BBB to learn about customer experiences. Warranty companies with a low volume of complaints score well in this area. We also consider the availability of mobile apps and chat features.