Extended car warranties or vehicle service contracts (which is actually their proper name), are an extra precautionary measure you take for your car, to extend your factory warranty.
Factory warranty vs extended car warranty
When you buy a new car, your dealer/manufacturer will give you a factory warranty that will cover your car usually for 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. The bumper to bumper warranty, which is the most comprehensive one and covers basically all the components of your vehicle (from bumper to bumper) is the first one to expire.
After that, you are usually left with powetrain warranty, which only covers the parts of your car that actually make the car move forward and backward. While this type of warranty varies from car maker to car maker, it usually includes the engine (with seals and gaskets, fuel injectors, water and oil pumps), the transmission, the transfer case, differentials, drive systems, axle shafts, wheel bearings and hubs.
In some luckier cases, some car makers offer a lneghtier bumper to bumper warranty of up to 6 years or 72,000 miles (Volkswagen) or 6 years/60,000 miles (Mitsubishi, Kia, Hyundai). Powertrain warranties usually last for approximately 5 years. These numbers may seem high at first, but we are not talking about a pair of socks here. If you invest in a new car that you enjoy driving, you want to be able to keep enjoying it for as long as possible, most likely more after the factory warranty expires.
Extended car warranties can be purchased when you buy you car or anytime before the factory warranty expires. You can get them straight from the dealer or from a third party. They can cover specific parts or your entire car, depending on several factors such as your car make and model, its year, mileage and more. Some extended car warranties can get really close to the bumper to bumper warranty in terms of coverage. Others are less complex and only cover the essentials.
This type of warranty is basically an insurance that their provider will pay for any repairs your car might need, as long as the broken component is covered by your policy. These services usually include benefits such as:
- 24/7 roadside assistance
- Rental car reimbusement for a specific number of days
- The freedom to take your car to any authorized repair shop in the country
- The abillity to transfer your warranty in case you sell your car while you are still under contract with them
Studies show that 90% of all cars on the road need repairs of some kind sooner or later. That’s what makes these extended car warranties so useful.
Extended car warranties are even more useful to people who own used cars, because they are even more prone to breakdowns.
USAA Extended Car Warranty – Is it a good service to consider?
USAA is one of the oldest insurance companies in the United States and has been around for almost 100 years now. It offers various financial services from car/property/health/life insurance to investing (stocks and options, etc.), banking (credit cards, loans) and more.
USAA stands for United Services Automobile Association and it exclusively serves military members and their families. Veterans, cadets, midshipmen, active duty, guard and reserve members are all eligible for this service.
What are the plans offered by USAA?
USAA offers 2 plans: a manufacturer wrap protection plan and comprehensive protection.
Both these plans are backed by USAA’s 60-day money back guarantee.
The manufacturer wrap protection plan is for vehicles with more than 30 days (or 1,000 miles) left on their original warranty. The extended car warranty from USAA would start at the moment the original warranty expires.
The type of coverage included with this plan is close to the coverage included with powertrain warranties, only this one covers a few more parts.
The comprehensive protection on the other hand is indeed comprehensive and it very much resembles your original manufacturer’s warranty. This type of plan is suited for cars that are up to 10 years old and have up to 115,000 miles.
Benefits of the USAA extended car warranty:
- There is no deductible
- There is no down payment charged
- You can pay in up to 18-months installments
- There’s a Deployment Deferment option that allows you to put your extended warranty on hold until you get back home
- Free roadside assistance
- Unlimited rental car reimbursement (you can rent a car for the entire period your car is in the repair shop and USAA will fully reimburse you)