When you purchase a vehicle (new or used), you have the option to add an extended warranty. An extended warranty can provide you additional peace of mind when maintaining your vehicle, so it’s something to consider. You don’t have to purchase the extended warranty the same day you purchase your vehicle, which gives you some time to weigh the pros and cons and determine if an extended warranty is right for you. Once you decide to purchase one, you’ll want to know where to get the best car extended warranties.
What Is an Extended Warranty?
An extended warranty is often called a service contract, meaning that it’s a contract for services between the manufacturer and the consumer. It will cover the repairs or replacement of specific parts in a vehicle. Extended warranties protect consumers from defects and issues that arise during everyday use. Coverage is based on a specific amount of time, or an allotted number of miles, whichever comes first.
When purchasing a new or used vehicle, many come with a manufacturer’s warranty that covers the engine and powertrain for three to five years, which may be enough for you. An extended warranty could add time to this coverage, protecting your vehicle longer. For example, if you purchase a vehicle with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, you may want to consider an extended warranty that matches the length of your financing term, such as a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty. Extended warranties are available for one to eight years or 12,000 to 125,000 miles, depending on the vehicle.
Why Should You Consider an Extended Warranty?
An extended warranty offers a vehicle owner several advantages, including:
- Extended protection. Your extended warranty covers you beyond the standard manufacturer warranty, offering you additional protection for longer.
- Repair cost savings. Many out-of-pocket repair expenses are covered under your vehicle’s extended warranty.
- Flexibility in purchasing. An extended warranty is available for purchase at almost any time during the time you own your vehicle.
Why Would Anyone Not Get an Extended Warranty?
As with anything, extended warranties also have a few disadvantages, such as:
- Additional cost. The added expense of an extended warranty, along with any applicable deductibles can add up and may not fit into your budget.
- Covered costs only. Your extended warranty will only cover specific parts and services, so if the issue you’re experiencing isn’t covered, you’re still out the money to fix it.
- Use it or lose it. If you never need to use the coverage offered by your extended warranty, you lose the money applied to it, much like an insurance policy you never used.
- Coverage limits. Extended warranties have caps on coverage; once you top out at the limit, your coverage is void.
Do You Need an Extended Warranty?
This answer is specific to your situation, so no single answer applies to everyone. If you’re financially able to pay for any out-of-pocket expenses associated with repairs to your vehicle, you may pass on the extended warranty. Putting some money aside in savings each month in anticipation of vehicle expenses could be more to your benefit.
However, those concerned about how they would come up with the funds to cover a vehicle repair that the extended warranty would cover may want to consider purchasing one. You may also want to purchase an extended warranty based on the age or mileage of your vehicle, as well as its reliability rating.
What Are the Best Car Extended Warranties Available?
Once you’ve decided to purchase an extended warranty, you’ll want to take the time to research your options. Extended warranties are available through your dealership or automotive club, such as AAA. You can request quotes and compare rates and coverage to ensure you get the best value for your money. You may even be able to ask for a lower premium while discussing your options. According to Money (previously Money Magazine), the top picks for best car extended warranties for 2022 are:
Money ranks Endurance as the best car extended warranty company for older and high-mileage vehicles. You have your choice of Endurance Elite or Advantage coverage lines. Perks include one year of Endurance Elite membership with 24-hour roadside assistance, trip interruption, tire repair/replacement, and merchant discounts. Repairs from over 350,000 certified mechanics in the U.S. and Canada will be covered directly, so there’s no need to pay out-of-pocket and wait for a reimbursement. Endurance offers a 30-day refund policy if you change your mind about coverage. Endurance is unavailable in California.
Infinite Auto Protection
For the best basic warranty plan, Money recommends Infinite Auto Protection. Three coverage options are available: Prime, Modern, and Foundation. Advantages include your choice of 24-hour roadside assistance, courtesy towing, flexible payment terms, and rental car reimbursement. The 30-day refund policy gives you your money back if you change your mind; after 30 days, you will get a prorated refund if you cancel. Infinite Auto Protection offers in-house claims processing, and some commercial vehicles are accepted.
The extended warranty company with the best plan options is Carchex, with five tiers: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Titanium. Each plan has multiple add-on options, providing you with 25 coverage levels. You get roadside assistance, trip interruption, rental car reimbursement, and access to over 30,000 repair facilities. Carchex is not available in all states and does offer a 30-day refund policy.
Concord Auto Protect
Money reports that Concord Auto Protect offers the best customer satisfaction rating regarding the best car extended warranties. You can choose three types of coverage: Powertrain, Advanced, and Premium. Concord Auto Protect offers roadside assistance and a 30-day refund policy. Exclusions to Concord Auto Protect options depend on the plan you select.
Whether you’re currently shopping for a new or used vehicle and considering adding an extended warranty while at the dealership or looking for coverage on a vehicle you already own, it’s prudent to do your research. To find the best car extended warranties for your particular vehicle, talk to an expert who can help you narrow down the options and ultimately select a coverage provider.
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.