What is an extended car warranty?

Cristina Avatar By: Cristina | Last updated February 28, 2019

man sitting down on the side of the road car broken extended car warranties

An extended car warranty is a prolonged warranty for your vehicle, bought in addition to the standard manufacturer’s warranty.

Extended car warranties are also called vehicle service contracts and people buy them for two main reasons: either to extend their bumper-to-bumper coverage on their new vehicle or as a protection measure when they purchase a used car.

Are extended car warranties worth it?

New cars usually come with a standard warranty of 3, 5, 7 or maximum 10 years, depending on the brand, although few people are lucky to benefit from such extended coverage. That means you are left exposed after your car reaches the 60,000 miles threshold, or 100,000, in the best case scenario.

Another aspect to consider is how much your standard warranty covers, because in most cases, it just covers your essential components such as the engine or transmission. Extended car warranties can cover more than that, depending on the company and plan you opt for.

While vehicle service contracts make sense for anyone who owns a car, owners of used cars should definitely consider them. A used car is more vulnerable than a new one and the probability of it malfunctioning is higher. If your car leaves you helpless in the middle of the road, you’d better be financially prepared. Who’s going to pay for towing, all the shop work, a rental car or maybe even a hotel? All these services are usually included with extended car warranties.

So even if you might not use your extended car warranty, and frankly, we hope you never have to, it is wiser to be prepared for the worst.

When should you buy the extended warranty?

So both new car and used car owners can benefit from buying an extended car warranty. People who buy a new vehicle can sign this type of agreement when they buy the car or any time before the standard warranty expires. While that’s an option, too, if they buy it after the manufacturer’s warranty expires, they will end up paying significantly more money.

People who buy used cars can purchase the vehicle service contract any time they want, but not after their car breaks down. In fact, companies that offer extended car warranties stipulate that you have to wait a specific period of time before you can use the warranty. They have this requirement precisely so they can ensure you don’t buy the extended warranty because your car is already broken. That wait-period varies from company to company: it can be 30 days or 1000 miles or even more.

What do you get with extended car warranties?

As we’ve already mentioned it, the included benefits vary from company to company and from plan to plan. Most of the companies that sell these warranties offer several plans to choose from, depending on your budget and type of car.

Extended car warranties are not for everyone. You do have to be eligible to get one and by that we mean your car has to have a certain mileage on it. Some companies don’t accept any vehicles that have more than 24,000 miles on them (EasyCare for instance). Others are more generous and have a threshold of over 200,000 miles, which is the case with Autopom.

As for the coverage period, you are usually covered with up to 5 years.

A good thing about extended car warranty services is that most of them accept the payment in installments, so you can broke the payment in 18 monthly installments or even 24 in some cases.

Extended car warranties usually accept any car shop within the US and even Canada, with some companies.

Extended car warranties ask for a repair deductible in case your car breaks down and the amount varies  from company to company, but it is usually between $100 -$200.

Here are the most common benefits included with extended car warranties:

  • Roadside assistance
  • Towing
  • Reimbursement for a rental car (usually for up to 5 days)
  • Reimbursement for a hotel
  • 24/7 customer support

When it comes to the vehicle’s components, most of the extended car warranty services will cover:

  • The engine
  • The transfer unit
  • The turbocharger/supercharger
  • The drive axle assembly
  • The AC and the cooling system
  • Seals and gaskets and more

Find out what to look for in an extended car warranty service.

Here are some of the best extended car warranty services you can find right now:

  • Endurance – this company offers up to 5 years of coverage and it is not as strict as some competitors when it comes to mileage. It accepts cars that have up to 160,000 miles on them. Endurance collaborates with Wesco Insurance, has 4 plans to choose from and all of them are accepted at your auto dealership and by 350,000 certified mechanics in US and Canada. Endurance offers rental car benefits and 24/7 road assistance with all their plans

Read our Endurance review.

  • Autopom – if you are looking for a service that is even more indulgent when it comes to mileage and types of vehicles accepted, you should definitely consider Autopom. They accept cars with up to 225,000 miles on them and offer coverage for up to 5 years. Autopom also covers Canada, comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and offers rental car reimbursement

Read our Autopom review.

  • Delta Auto – this is another great option to consider because it also covers Canada and accepts cars with 140,000 miles on them. Not only that, but Delta Auto has some of the lowest deductible fees in the industry. This company offers 3 plans and they all come with free towing, fuel assistance, locksmith on-call.

Read our Delta Auto review.