Auto Warranty Buyers Guide
Reviewer: Matthew Ellis | February 13, 2019
Is your auto warranty expired, or about to expire? Or maybe you don’t have an extended vehicle warranty.
Most Americans can’t afford an unexpected breakdown, but they can afford an extended auto warranty. It takes only seconds to acquire vehicle protection, which can save you thousands in the long run.
An auto warranty, or “aftermarket car warranty” protects car owners from costly repairs once their manufacturers warranty has expired. The technology in modern cars has dramatically increased average repair costs, so many consumers purchase extended coverage to protect their investments.
What most people don’t realize, is that you can purchase purchase an extended auto warranty at any time, even after your original manufacturer’s warranty has expired. You can pick one up from your dealership, or shop a third party option.
There are many different types of auto warranties. An extended powertrain warranty covers the expensive basic components that keep the car moving, the engine and transmission. A vehicle ‘wrap’ warranty or ‘bumper-to-bumper’ warranty covers everything else, but there are of course some limitations you need to be aware of.
The best extended auto warranties go a step beyond, offering multiple protection plans with low deductibles, 24/7 roadside assistance, complimentary towing, plus rental car, meal and lodging reimbursement if your car leaves you stranded far from home.
Most people would benefit from an auto warranty, so let’s start with describing the type of person who probably doesn’t need one. If you have enough money in the bank to cover an engine, transmission, or expensive electrical malfunction, and are ok with accepting the risk that one of these failures could happen, you probably don’t need it. Or, if you have an extensive auto warranty on your new car already, and you put low mileage on your cars each year, you’re also probably safe.
But if you’re like most people, and would have a hard time paying cash for a $2,000 repair bill, an auto warranty could help you sleep better at night. If you find yourself in one or more of the following situations, you may have much peace of mind to gain from an auto warranty:
- You just purchased a used car and don’t know how the car has been treated.
- You have a newer car with expensive-to-fix technology features.
- An expensive repair would make it difficult for you to pay your bills.
- You have a hard time saving emergency funds for vehicle repairs.
- Your car’s dealer warranty is near expiration.
- You put high mileage on your vehicle.
The peace of mind that comes with additional coverage of an extended car warranty could be enough to make it worth it for you. You just need to be honest with yourself about the level of risk you’re comfortable with.
✓ Special coverage like car rental benefits
✓ Covers a wide range of vehicle parts and systems
✓ No need to pay for repairs out of pocket
✕ Large deductibles
✕ Does not cover pre-existing conditions
No matter what advice comes their way, some people just aren’t willing to take chances, or they prefer the convenience of an extended warranty. They’re more comfortable knowing that any major repairs will be taken care of. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Just make sure that you do your homework before walking into a conversation with a finance manager or insurance salesman.
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