Affiliate Disclosure

Content on Jalopnik Advisor is commercial in nature and independent of Jalopnik Editorial and Advertising. Jalopnik Advisor content is free to consumers and always will be, however we and our partners may be compensated if you purchase a product or service through the links on this website.

When you’re purchasing an extended auto warranty, it can be confusing to navigate the overwhelming amount of information about coverage levels and plan options. In this extended warranty guide, our team will break down everything you need to know–from average costs to coverage options–to help you decide if an extended warranty is worth it for you. We’ll also recommend some of the best extended auto warranty options available.

In This Review:

    What is an extended car warranty?

    Extended car warranties, also known as vehicle service contracts, are optional service plans that cover the cost of repairs or parts replacement in the case of mechanical breakdowns. An extended warranty can provide peace of mind when it comes to unexpected trips to the repair shop.

    Every new car from a dealership comes with a factory warranty (also known as a manufacturer’s warranty), but 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.

    What Are The Different Types Of Extended Warranties?

    When you’re looking to buy an extended warranty, it’s important to know what types of plans are available and to fully understand what’s covered under each one. Extended warranty plans can fall into two categories: exclusionary and inclusionary.

    The difference between these two categories of vehicle service contracts is that exclusionary contracts list only the parts that are not covered under warranty and inclusionary contracts list all the parts that are covered. When you’re considering an extended warranty, it’s important to read all the available information so you clearly understand what is and is not covered.

    In your search for a vehicle protection plan, you’ll come across three main types of warranties:

    • Bumper-to-bumper: Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically provide the most comprehensive coverage of the three main types of extended auto warranties. They are exclusionary contracts that cover repairs for most major systems and components, except those specified as not under coverage.
    • Named component: Named component warranties are inclusionary and specifically list every part of your vehicle that is under coverage.
    • Powertrain: Powertrain warranties provide coverage for both the engine and the drivetrain of your vehicle. Simply put, the drivetrain is what powers the wheels on your vehicle.

    Extended Car Warranty Costs

    According to our research, the average cost of an extended car warranty is about $2,524, and it generally ranges from $1,500 to $3,800. The cost of an extended warranty is a significant factor in deciding whether a vehicle protection plan is worth it. What you pay for extended warranty coverage is dependent on several factors, including:

    • Your vehicle’s make, model, age, and mileage
    • Level of coverage
    • Term length
    • Deductible

    When thinking about the cost of an extended warranty to determine whether it’s worth it, it’s important to consider potential repair costs. The following table highlights a few repair estimates from RepairPal to give you a sense of how much you might pay out of pocket without warranty coverage:

    Repair

    Average Cost per RepairPal

    Transmission replacement

    $5,260 – $5,507

    Rack and pinion replacement

    $2,002 – $2,243

    Fuel pump replacement

    $845 – $1,632

    Alternator replacement

    $665 – $907

    The average cost of an extended warranty is only marginally more expensive than the average cost of replacing the rack and pinion on your vehicle and less than half the average cost of replacing the transmission. The cost of an extended auto warranty can provide significant value if an unexpected repair need arises.

    It can be difficult to be prepared to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of pocket to resolve any issues your car experiences. The peace of mind an extended warranty can bring from knowing these costly repairs are covered in the case of a mechanical breakdown is worth it for many car owners

    Benefits Of An Extended Car Warranty

    Purchasing an aftermarket warranty can provide you peace of mind when driving your vehicle and potentially save you a lot of money in the long run. Once your new vehicle’s factory warranty expires, you will be on the hook for all the expensive auto repairs your car may need if you don’t have an extended car warranty.

    Is An Extended Car Warranty Worth It?

    Our review team conducted a survey in June 2021 involving 1,000 U.S. consumers who have purchased or considered purchasing extended warranties. When asked whether they were satisfied with their extended warranty plans, 65% of respondents said yes. Among the consumers we polled, 41.4% said they were satisfied with their extended warranties because they have covered needed car repairs, and 23.6% said they had never had to use their warranties but are still satisfied with the providers. 

    When asked whether they think an extended car warranty is worth it overall, 40.5% of respondents thought an extended warranty is worth it and 44.6% answered that it depends. This means that just 14.9% of respondents felt an extended warranty is not worth it.

    Top Recommendations For Extended Car Warranty Companies

    If you’ve decided that the peace of mind that an extended car warranty can bring is worth it for you, our extended warranty guide can help you decide where to get started. Our team has thoroughly researched the top extended 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.

    Top Extended Car Warranty Companies

    Superlative

    Overall Rating

    Coverage Rating

    Cost Rating

    #1

    Endurance

    Best Coverage

    5.0

    5.0

    4.5

    #2

    CARCHEX

    Best for Used Cars

    5.0

    4.5

    4.5

    #3

    CarShield

    Best Value

    4.5

    5.0

    5.0

    #4

    Protect My Car

    Best Maintenance Benefits

    4.5

    4.5

    4.5

    #5

    autopom!

    Best Customer Service

    4.5

    4.0

    4.5

    Learn more about our top three recommendations below to see if an extended warranty from Endurance, CARCHEX, or CarShield might be a good fit for you.

    #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 includes 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
    • Towing
    • Rental car reimbursement
    • Trip interruption
    • Fuel delivery
    • Lockout services
    •  Jump-starts

    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 with a perfect 5.0-star rating in the pricing category.

    Check out our CarShield warranty review to learn more about this extended warranty provider.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    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.

    Get a Quote From Our Most Affordable Provider - CarShield

    Plans as low as $99 per month

    Get Price