When you hear the phrase “warranty extension,” there are basically two meanings. Sometimes an automaker can issue a factory warranty extension for a widespread problem or class-action lawsuit (such as the Hyundai/Kia engine recall), but more commonly, warranty extension is just another way to say extended warranty. While a factory warranty extension is rare, extended warranties are quite common and can help you reduce your auto maintenance costs over time.
Researching warranty extensions can help you do so effectively. Keep reading to learn about warranty extensions, their pros and cons, and how you can get one for your vehicle.
What Is a Warranty Extension?
A warranty extension, which is also called an extended warranty, a service agreement, a service contract, or a maintenance agreement, is an agreement a consumer can enter into that covers some of the associated costs of a purchased item. Typically, a buyer receives a free warranty at the time of purchase that protects them from losses associated with faulty parts or repairs. You can purchase a warranty extension at an additional cost to gain coverage after the free warranty expires or to pay for expensive repairs the warranty does not already cover.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Warranty Extension
Before extending your car’s warranty, weigh its advantages and disadvantages.
Here are the benefits of getting a warranty extension:
- It can cover repairs your existing warranty does not cover.
- It can reduce your repair costs in the long term.
- It can keep your car working in the condition it was when new.
- It can help you enjoy your vehicle for a longer period.
- It can help you have peace of mind about your vehicle.
Here are the potential downsides of getting a warranty extension:
- It might not offer sufficient coverage.
- It might require you to pay a deductible for each repair.
- It might have hidden costs, such as a fee to transport your vehicle for repairs.
- It might contain exclusions that prevent you from accessing the coverage.
- It might result in inadequate car maintenance because of issues such as subcontracting and reverse competition.
How To Get a Warranty Extension
Follow these steps to get a warranty extension:
1. Compare the Warranty Extension With the Free Warranty
Check the terms and conditions of your warranty extension option and the warranty you got when you purchased your vehicle to identify each one’s benefits. For the former to be a viable investment, it should offer the same or higher level of protection when compared to the latter. For example, if the extension covers fewer types of vehicle damage than the original warranty, it’s not a sensible investment. Make a list of the coverages offered by each, and identify whether the warranty extension is a better offer.
2. Research the Warranty Extension Provider
Determine whether the warranty extension is being offered by a retailer, vehicle manufacturer, or warranty administrator. Next, find out whether the provider has a reputation for meeting its obligations. You can use the following checklist to choose the best warranty extension provider:
- Is the vendor dependable based on customer reviews online or offline?
- Does the vendor have the necessary industry experience to provide adequate maintenance?
- Are the vendor’s resources, such as access to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, sufficient for maintenance?
- Which provider offers the best quote?
- Does the vendor receive a commission for subcontracting to a third party?
- If the vendor subcontracts auto maintenance, is the third party dependable?
Use your research findings on warranty extension providers to make a shortlist of your preferred choices. Avoid selecting a vendor that earns commissions by subcontracting a vehicle’s maintenance to a third party, which can reduce the quality of repairs and involve unexpected costs beyond the service contract terms.
3. Shop Around for the Best Warranty Extension
Use your shortlist to compare offerings and choose the best product. Find the best deal on a warranty extension by assessing different options with the following checklist:
- Do the purchase price and additional costs fit your budget?
- Does the extension offer more or less coverage than the warranty?
- Does it cover the whole vehicle, specific parts, or certain repairs?
- Do you have to pay for vehicle transport for repairs?
- What is the reimbursement limit?
- Do the warranty extension specifications include what you need?
- What is the duration of the warranty period?
- What are the warranty’s exclusions?
- Are the terms and conditions reasonable and viable?
Use the shortlisted vendors and your research findings to compare providers and determine which one offers the best warranty extension. Ideally, choose one that offers the benefits, transparency, and terms that best suit your budget and preferences.
4. Maintain Your End of the Bargain
Learn what you need to do to meet the extended warranty terms and conditions, and adhere to these criteria after you purchase the extension. This can help you avoid further costs or repair delays. For example, companies usually expect car owners to do regular maintenance on their vehicles. On the other hand, if you believe your provider violated the terms of the contract, you can make a complaint.
Top Warranty Extension Providers
Several warranty extension providers can help you maintain your vehicle, including:
- Endurance: This is one of the best service contract providers in the industry. You can take advantage of its Endurance Elite Benefits program, which is a year of free benefits, such as total loss coverage and key fob replacement.
- CARCHEX: This provider has a great reputation and is a good choice if you’re extending the warranty of a used car. With more than two decades in the industry, CARCHEX provides some of the longest maintenance contracts.
- CarShield: This provider is a suitable choice if you’re trying to cut your costs, because it’s one of the most affordable warranty providers on the market.
- Protect My Car: This provider offers a plethora of maintenance solutions, so you’re likely to find one that fits your unique needs.
As discussed, a warranty extension can be a valuable investment. You can minimize the risks associated with buying this type of auto coverage by doing your research and choosing the best provider and product. Get ready to find a maintenance agreement that works for you.
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.