For car owners who live in the Rust Belt or close to the ocean, corrosion is serious issue, and a corrosion limited warranty is helpful to prevent your car from looking like the Volkswagen Beetle shown above. Corrosion coverage is a valuable aid in covering the costs of rust-related repairs, but with limits built into most plans, it’s important to know what a warranty may and may not cover.
Let’s break down what is and isn’t available with a corrosion limited warranty to see if this is the right way for you to protect your vehicle from rust and corrosion issues.
What Is Corrosion?
Corrosion is caused by oxidation, which is the deterioration of metal after it has been exposed to air and moisture. On a vehicle, corrosion is most commonly seen as rust. If a car’s paint is chipped and the metal surface underneath is exposed to weather, it will begin to rust and corrode.
Despite starting as a cosmetic issue, corrosion can also have a major impact on the function of a vehicle. If left untreated, heavy rust on a car can corrode through to its internal components and cause them to malfunction. Battery terminals and engines are internal vehicle elements that are prone to corrosion, meaning a car could stop running completely if rust gets excessive.
What Is a Corrosion Limited Warranty?
One way drivers can choose to help protect their vehicle from rust damage is through a corrosion limited warranty. The purpose of a corrosion limited warranty is to help cover the cost of repairs should a rust-related issue occur. The specific coverage of a warranty differs with the needs of each customer and their vehicle, but most corrosion limited warranties cover both cosmetic fixes and damage to internal elements should corrosion penetrate into the core of a vehicle. Corrosion limited warranties help drivers maintain the look of their car and ensure that it runs efficiently.
The difference between a standard corrosion warranty and a corrosion limited warranty is the coverage limit in the standard warranty. Specifics vary by situation, but corrosion limited warranties generally restrict the amount of time or mileage for which a vehicle is covered for repairs stemming from rust and corrosion.
Types of Corrosion Limited Warranties
When purchasing a new car, corrosion coverage is generally built into the larger factory warranty on the car. Occasionally, these can be extended or added on when buying a used car. The underwriting of the warranty is critical in determining what is covered under the warranty in regards to corrosion protection.
In most standard factory warranties, corrosion coverage comes in the form of an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Naturally Occurring Corrosion Warranty. This type of warranty covers the cost of repairs from rust and corrosion caused by naturally occurring elements and not at the hands of the driver. Additional corrosion protection is usually offered by most dealerships to cover the costs of corrosion should it extend into a car’s interior elements, with this option occasionally available for used cars as well.
When examining the underwriting of a corrosion limited warranty to determine what type of coverage it provides, there are two main types of protection typically offered.
- Surface Corrosion: This is the broader and more comprehensive warranty option as it covers the costs of repairs for any visible rust on the surface of the car. Corrosion damage on interior components of the car, such as the engine and battery terminals, is also generally included in the coverage if there is visible rust.
- Rust Perforation: The more limited option, this type of corrosion limited warranty covers the cost of repairs only if the corrosion perforates the surface of the vehicle. If the rust hasn’t eaten through the metal and created a hole, the repairs will not be covered. Rust perforation warranties also typically exclude interior components of the car from coverage.
In short, a corrosion perforation warranty will only cover repair costs when there is a rust-caused hole in a vehicle, while a corrosion warranty with surface corrosion protection will cover the repair cost for almost any rust-related problem.
Corrosion Limited Warranty Cons
The biggest downside to corrosion limited warranties is the limits placed on the duration of coverage provided through the plan. Many corrosion limited warranties expire around 100,000 miles, which is roughly the amount of time it takes for rust and corrosion to start developing on the surface of a vehicle. However, dealerships often offer extension plans to increase the number of miles allowed before coverage lapses.
Alternatively, there may be a time restriction on the length of coverage for corrosion protection. The standard limited warranty typically covers corrosion repairs for about five years, however, rust usually does not develop on a new vehicle within this time period. Therefore, some drivers choose to pick a plan that extends the length of time their car is covered for corrosion damage.
Many corrosion limited warranties include both mileage and time restrictions, ending rust damage coverage when a driver hits the minimum in either category.
As mentioned previously, checking the underwriting is important to clarify what is and what isn’t protected in a corrosion limited warranty. Just as there are time and mileage limits, there may be limits on what specific components of a car are protected under the coverage as well.
Corrosion Limited Warranty Costs
With corrosion limited warranties usually part of a bigger factory warranty, it can be tricky to forecast the cost of corrosion coverage. Generally, extended warranties cost from $1,000 to $4,000 depending on the type of vehicle needing coverage.
It’s also difficult to project the cost of repairs caused by rust and corrosion as it is determined by what components of the car are damaged. Small surface repairs typically cost a few hundred dollars, while larger and internal issues can set a driver back a few thousand dollars.
Should I Get a Corrosion Limited Warranty?
Overall, covering a vehicle with some form of a corrosion limited warranty is a good idea. With numerous factors capable of scratching a car’s paint and exposing metal for oxidation, drivers can maintain the look and performance of their vehicle with corrosion coverage.
However, a package with extended mileage and time coverage is worth exploring as rust and corrosion usually aren’t issues within the terms in most warranties. Choosing a surface protection plan over a perforation plan is also recommended as it provides greater protection from the costs of corrosion-related.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.