Extended car warranties may be looked at with skepticism by some people. They see them as a waste of money, because they fear they might pay in advance for something they’re never going to use. However, that is almost never true, because almost all cars on the road (way over 90% of them anyway) need repairs at some point.
When you buy a new vehicle, you tend to refuse the extended warranty, because you rely on the manufacturer’s warranty and rarely think about the distant future. A bumper to bumper warranty lasts only for 3 years (36,000 miles) though, in most cases. And if you’re like most ordinary folks out there, you’re going to want to hold on to that vehicle way past its original warranty. We use our cars for as long as they work. That means that after that initial warranty expires, you are left vulnerable to any breakdowns and malfunctions your vehicle might experience.
What to know about extended car warranties
Extended car warranties or vehicle service contracts (VSC) are written agreements (policies) that specify the warranty provider will pay for any repairs your car might need, as long as the part that needs to be repaired/replaced is covered by your policy.
There is a plethora of extended warranty providers out there and each of them has several types of warranties you can opt for. They usually vary in the number of components/systems they cover and in the duration of the warranty. Extended car warranties usually last longer than the factory warranty, about 5 years on average (60,000 miles). Their length depends on the provider, your car brand, your car age and mileage.
Extended car warranties can be purchased either from your car dealer or from a third-party provider. Dealers tend to be pricier.
The best time to purchase such a warranty is before your manufacturer’s warranty expires. There is usually a waiting period anyway before you can use your extended car warranty and it is usually 30 days. The reason why this waiting period exists is to discourage people from buying an extended car warranty after their car already broke.
Extended car warranties come in many types and they can cover from only the basic parts of your vehicle to almost your entire vehicle, just like the bumper to bumper warranty. Of course, the more it covers, the pricier it’s going to be.
Which are the best extended car warranty providers to consider?
Best Review Guide reviewed all the common extended car warranty providers available on the market and made a top 10 with the best ones available. The number 1 position is occupied by Autopom!, followed by AA Auto Protection and then Warranty Direct. Here’s what each of them has to offer:
Autopom! is by far one of the most versatile extended car warranty providers available. The company that offers these warranties is a reputable one and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Autopom! operates both in the US and Canada and offers top-notch customer support. There are several reasons why we placed this extended car warranty service on the first position. One of the best-selling points for Autopom! is the fact that it has the largest mileage restriction in our lineup. This company covers vehicles that have up to 200,000 miles and are up to 15 years old. These numbers don’t apply to California as well though. In California, where they offer what is called Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI), they accept cars that are only up to 10 years old and have up to 120,000 miles.
Autopom! offers no less than 20 plans to choose from, which is a very impressive number. They classify their plans in four main categories: powertrain plus, mid-level, high-level and exclusionary, with the latter being the most comprehensive but also the most expensive one. All these main categories have plans of their own.
The plans in the Powertrain Plus level is the most affordable one and covers only the essential systems of your car: engine, transmission, transfer case, drive axle, differential assembly. However, some of the plans in this level add some extra components in the electrical, air conditioning and fuel systems. The Exclusionary level on the other hand is the closest one to your manufacturer’s warranty.
Some of the features included with Autopom! are:
- 24/7 assistance with all their plans
- Rental car assistance
- A 30-day money back guarantee
- The freedom to take your car to any repair shop you want as long as it is located within the US or Canada and is authorized
The deductible charged by Autopom! is $200.
AA Auto Protection
AA Auto Protection is the number 2 service in our lineup. It is another comprehensive service that offers more than 20 coverage plans. The most basic ones are similar to the manufacturers’ powertrain warranty, while the most expensive plans are similar to the bumper to bumper warranty.
- AA extends your factory warranty with up to 6 years (100,000 miles)
- You get a 30-day money back guarantee with all its plans
- Rental car reimbursement for up to 5 days
- 24-hour roadside assistance
AA Auto Protection charges a $100 deductible.
Warranty Direct is the third extended car warranty provider in our top 10. The company that offers this service is very experienced in this field, as it has been around for over 20 years. The company is based in the UK and covers vehicles in the European Economic Area and in Switzerland. Warranty Direct is available to both new car and used car owners.
There are more options to choose from with Warranty Direct, depending what kind of coverage you want and are willing to pay for. The most basic type is Core, which covers the engine, turbocharger, supercharger, transmission, gearboxes, ECUs and computers, flywheels and drive plates.
Then there’s the Core Plus coverage, which adds air conditioning, the cooling and heating systems, ignition and the fuel system to the list of covered systems.
The other two coverage options are Emissions System Protection (it covers the catalytic converter, diesel particulate filter) and Multimedia System Protection (it covers amplifiers, the main dashboard unit, satellite navigation).
- Flexible payment options
- Travel expenses reimbursement
- Rental car reimbursement for up to 7 days
- Accommodation reimbursement in case you need to stay at a hotel while your car is in the repair shop
- Transferable extended car warranty policy
- More than 3,500 repair shop where you can take your car