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What to look for in an extended car warranty

Mitch Avatar By: Mitch | Last updated September 24, 2021

Broken window on the back of a car


Extended car warranties may seem like an unnecessary part of car maintenance, but it can actually greatly help you. It compensates you for any mechanical breakdown that happens after the original warranty expires. Through this, you wouldn’t need to worry about paying a lot for car repairs from things past your control.

There are a lot of companies which offer an extended car warranty plan. Before buying one, consider the following factors to get the best value for your money.

Types of contracts that companies offer

Extended car warranties are given through a contract. Here, the specific parts of the car that will be compensated for, the price that you will be paying, and more can be seen. Companies offer at least three variations of this to make sure that all customers will find one compatible with them.

A good company for extended car warranty is one that has multiple contracts available which also has a lot of variety. Through this, both the ones looking for complete car coverage and those who only want protection for the most important parts will be catered to. A thorough analysis of their various contracts should help prepare you for this.

How the contract is administered to you

The company that sold you the contract is not necessarily the one you will talk to throughout the whole process. Some companies have a third-party contractor who handles the compensation process. Because of this, you must look for a company who has good collaborating companies with them. Through this, you will be given excellent and reliable service. The exact name of the company is usually attached to the name of the plan which you will purchase.

Some companies also offer plans that they directly administer. If you are more comfortable with this, specifically look for those who state that they do not have third-party companies for their contracts.

Exact coverage

Extended car warranties do not always give complete coverage like original car warranties. After all, they expect your vehicle to have been used for at least two to three years before purchasing from them as this is the usual time when the original warranty ends. Because of this, you may be given affordable pricing if you only purchase coverage for the most important parts of your car. Ensuring that you only purchased a warranty for the ones that will be the most expensive to fix may do wonders for your budget. However, if you can afford to have everything covered, this wouldn’t be much of a problem for you.

For those looking for only the most basic coverage for parts such as engine and transmission, look for Powertrain plans. Those who are looking for complete coverage will prefer the bumper-to-bumper plans which are usually more expensive. Usually, this includes the additional pieces in your car to make it worth its price. Before purchasing a plan, look for the perfect balance between your budget and the coverage you need.

Additional things to look for in an extended auto warranty provider

The company which provides these plans acknowledges the fact that you may end up not using their plans at all if your car does not suffer from a breakdown. Because of this, they provide additional features that make their plans more worthwhile.

First, there are those that reimburse you for any maintenance needs such as tire and oil changes. Next, there are those that offer reimbursement for your rental car in case you need one while your car is being repaired. There are those that also give allowance for hotel and restaurant fees in case your car breaks down somewhere far from your home.

Lastly, most companies offer emergency services available 24/7. Through this, you can get assistance for emergencies while on the road such as when your tire gets flat, if you run out of gas, or if you are locked out of your car. We have found that USAA auto warranty did provide pretty good coverage overall, but compared to others it did lack a bit of benefits.

Company reputation

In the end, what makes a company stand out is still how their representatives operate. To know how reputable the company is, look for reviews about them. Through this, you can see how fast they reimburse their customers, how responsive they are to inquiries and requests, and more. Warranties need a lot of paperwork and talks with representatives to fully be in effect. With a good company, the whole process will be fast and convenient for you. There should also be no hidden fees throughout the whole process.


When looking for an extended car warranty, look for one that has a variety of contracts offered, has reliable contract administrators, and has good coverages, features, and reputation. We have ranked the best auto warranty providers for this year, so take a look at who we thought was the best right now.