Car owners are sometimes skeptical about paying for a vehicle service contract or extended car warranty. Their thinking process is: ‘if I'm not going to have any car problems, I'll pay for the warranty in vain and just waste the money’. While it is true that extended car warranties are not always put to use, it is better to think about it the other way around: what if you do get into car trouble and you are not prepared in any way? You’ll end up paying the entire amount of money for the repairs out of your own pocket. Research shows that almost 90% of all cars on the road need some sort of repairs sooner or later.
The most common types of car warranties
The most common types of warranties are the bumper to bumper warranty and the powertrain warranty. The bumper to bumper warranty covers almost your entire vehicle, from bumper to bumper. It usually lasts for the first 3 years or 36,000 miles. Some manufacturers offer a longer bumper to bumper warranty that lasts up to 4, 5 or 6 years (in the case of Volkswagen).
After the bumper to bumper warranty expires, what usually remains is the powertrain warranty, which only covers the components/systems of your car that make the vehicle move forward and backward: 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. This type of warranty usually lasts for approximately 5 years (or 60,000 miles).
Extended car warranties/vehicle service contracts (VSC)
Most people have a hard time to save money for dark days, so that they’ll be prepared in case of a car breakdown. That is why most car issues catch them off guard. Extended car warranties, although their correct name is vehicle service contracts (VSC) are a backup warranty you can get for your vehicle, which comes to effect after your manufacturer’s warranty expires. The coverage depends from contract to contract but all of them work the same way: all the repairs/replacements to the components that are covered in the extended warranty are paid by the VSC provider. In most cases, you get to choose your own repair shop and you get other benefits as well: roadside assistance, reimbursement for a rental car and more.
The price you have to pay for an extended car warranty varies from company to company and depends on factors such as your experience as a driver, your ZIP code, your car brand and model, your car age, your car mileage.
USAA Extended Car Warranty – Is it worth it?
The extended car warranty offered by USAA is just one of the services provided by this company. USAA (which is short for United Services Automobile Association) also offers banking (loans, mortgages, credit cards, etc.), investing (in stocks, mutual funds, etc.), insurance services (auto, real estate, life, health, etc.). This company is very experienced and popular, as it has been around since 1922.
The one particularity (and drawback for some people) of USAA is the fact that it only serves military members and their families. Regular citizens are not eligible. USAA accepts active members (Navy, Army, Air Force, etc.), veterans, cadets and their families.
What is Manufacturer Wrap Protection?
Manufacturer Wrap Protection is one of the two plans offered by USAA with their extended car warranty service. This plan is tailored for vehicle owners who still have 30 days (or 1,000 miles) left from their manufacturer’s warranty. That means that if you own a used, older car, this plan is not for you. The manufacturer wrap protection plan starts at the moment your original car warranty expires. This manufacturer wrap protection is a basic type of extended car warranty, which covers only the basic parts/systems of your car (a bit more than what the powertrain warranty offers).
There is another plan offered by USAA, which is tailored for people who own used/old cars. This plan is called Comprehensive Protection Plan and it covers cars that are up to 10 years old (and have up to 115,000 miles on them). This plan, as the name suggests it, is more comprehensive and covers almost your entire vehicle, just like the bumper to bumper warranty offered by manufacturers.
USAA has some useful features included with its plan, such as:
- A 60-day money-back guarantee
- No deductible
- No down payment
- Roadside assistance
- Unlimited rental reimbursement for up to $50/day; that means you can rent a car for as long as your car is in the repair shop and USAA will reimburse you
- A deployment deferment option for those who want to put their warranty on hold until they return back home
- The option to pay off your warranty in up to 18-monthly installments