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Finding the Best Car Warranty for You

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When it comes to car shopping, there is much to account for upfront: budget, insurance, mileage, make, and model.  A warranty might not be the first priority on a car shopper’s mind, but when the initial repairs are needed, having the best warranty for your vehicle is essential. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with information and options, but below is a breakdown of car warranties to help your car shopping experience run as well as your automobile.

New Car vs. Extended Warranty

The first step in understanding the best warranty for your car is defining the difference between a new car warranty and an extended warranty. You will want to know the differences and how they will impact your vehicle purchase so that you can pick the best warranty to fit your needs.

New Car Warranty

A new car warranty is offered by the manufacturer of the automobile and is included with the purchase of the car. These protect against installation errors or defects. There are two types of warranties offered as per the industry standard:

  • Bumper-to-bumper warranty: This covers the majority of the components of the car.
  • Powertrain warranty: This covers the majority of the moving parts that make the vehicle move, like the engine, transmission, differentials, etc.

It is important to research the maker of your car to see what warranties the manufacturer offers and how long they last. If you are purchasing a new vehicle, choosing an automaker you trust can help you select the best warranty for you.

Extended Car Warranty

Once a new car warranty expires, an extended car warranty can continue to cover the cost of car repairs. These are optional and must be purchased to go into effect. Extended warranties can be acquired through the manufacturer or through third parties. If you want to purchase an extended warranty to continue covering your automobile through the manufacturer, you will need to purchase it before the new car warranty expires. For anyone on a budget, an extended car warranty offered by third parties might be the best warranty for you.

The Benefits of a Warranty

Life is unpredictable and no matter how much we love our cars, they’re not perfect. Our vehicles can rack up costs in the long run, so preparing ahead of time with a warranty can ease the burden later on. Here are the benefits of having a warranty:

  1. Things happen beyond our control. A warranty accounts for this when a car breaks that could not be repaired by routine maintenance.
  2. You save money from out-of-pocket expenses as service repairs add up, especially as a car gets older.
  3. It will lessen surprise costs and can help you budget better.
  4. Perks such as towing costs and roadside assistance can be included in the warranty.
  5. A warranty that is transferable can attract more interest from buyers who want to purchase your car.

Ultimately, when you find yourself in a time of need and your vehicle needs repairs, car warranties are there to help. The warranty can prevent you from becoming stranded or overwhelmed when you need reliability. Bear in mind that a car warranty does not replace car insurance. Legally, you must still have car insurance to be on the road, and your warranty will not cover car accidents.

Tips To Consider

If the task of discerning the best car warranty for you still feels daunting, then check out these tips below to help make your decision.

  1. Compare manufacturers to see how long the warranties last. Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis all have 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranties, higher than the industry standard. This may not be the deciding factor when purchasing a new vehicle, but it is worth researching the automaker’s warranties and comparing them prior to purchase.
  2. Shop around and compare prices for several third-party extended warranties. Weigh your budget options against their coverage.
  3. Consider the mileage on your used car. Cars over 100,000 miles may not qualify for some third-party warranties.
  4. Double-check when your new car warranty ends.
  5. Keep an eye out for these additional warranties: corrosion/perforation, emissions, electric vehicle battery, and service benefits.
  6. Check customer reviews and the Better Business Bureau when comparing warranty companies.
  7. Consider roadside assistance being offered by the warranty.
  8. Take advantage of companies with apps. Having an app on your phone to contact your warranty company makes communication convenient, especially if you need to contact them while you’re away from home.

Take into Consideration

Especially take a look at deductibles and exclusions. Any time you need repairs, be aware of how much you need to pay out-of-pocket for the deductible. Also, research what is excluded from your warranty. Routine maintenance, such as oil changes, is typically not included in the warranty.

Research the plan’s cancellation policy, know how much the monthly payment is, and find out if there is a money-back guarantee. Make sure you know where your car can be serviced. Check your beginning and end dates so that your coverage doesn’t lapse. This is the fine print that needs to be examined.

Good customer service can make or break a company. Research reviews on Yelp! and Google to make sure your warranty company will provide the help you need when you need it. Long wait times and a lack of communication when you are in a time of need can make a troubling car situation even worse.

Deductibles, exclusions, and the various plan policies can slip your mind when comparing warranties, but for someone on a budget, these details must be factored in to find the best car warranty.

Buying a car, whether new or used, is both exciting and stressful. It’s a hefty financial investment, but being educated and aware of all the options available when you buy your vehicle can put your mind at ease. It’s possible to find the best car warranty for you to fit the needs of your automobile and your budget! Taking time to research the type of warranty you need and what is offered through the manufacturer and third parties will prepare you to make an informed decision. Remember to keep these tips handy to empower your car shopping experience.

FIXD Research Team

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.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.

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About the Author

FIXD Research Team

FIXD Research Team

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.

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