A car warranty is a service contract that covers vehicles against certain mechanical malfunctions or manufacturer defects that manifest within an agreed-upon timeframe or number of miles driven.
Brand new cars come with manufacturer warranties that cover repairs for at least three years or 36,000 miles. You have the option to purchase an extended car warranty that will cover your vehicle after the manufacturer's warranty has expired.
Read on to learn about the best extended warranty companies of 2021 and find out whether a vehicle service contract (VSC) is right for you.
Our Top Picks for Best Extended Car Warranty Companies of 2022
- Endurance: Best for older and high-mileage cars
- Infinite Auto Protection: Best basic warranty plan
- Carchex: Best plan options
- CarShield: Best for motorcycles & ATVs
- Concord Auto Protect: Best customer satisfaction
Best Extended Car Warranty Reviews
Why we chose it: We selected Endurance as the best extended car warranty for older and high mileage vehicles because, unusually, it offers coverage for cars that are up to 20 years of age and have been driven up to 200,000 miles. Those premium plans also cover maintenance and other expenses that few warranties cover.
- Direct provider and claims servicer
- 350,000 certified mechanics in the U.S. and Canada
- Covers repairs directly — no need to pay out of pocket
- Offers 24/7 claims processing
- Not available in California
- Commercial drivers cannot combine unlimited mileage with their policy
Endurance has two car warranty series, Elite and Advantage. The elite series offers five coverage options in ascending order of benefits and price: Select Premier, Secure, Secure Plus, Superior and Supreme. As with any extended car warranty plan, premiums will depend on your vehicle make and mileage, so you must call the warranty provider to get an accurate price quote.
The Endurance Elite series offers the following coverage tiers:
|Select Premier||Secure||Secure Plus||Superior||Supreme|
|Coverage level||Most affordable||Great for high-mileage vehicles||Mid-level coverage with a short waiting period of 30-days/ 1,000 miles||Comprehensive stated-component coverage includes engine, transmission, suspension, drive axle, etc.||Bumper-to-bumper coverage, great for vehicle’s that need maximum protection|
|Coverage details||Excludes breaks, suspension, gaskets or steering||Only covers drive axle, engine, transfer case, transmission and turbo||Excludes cooling system, suspension, fuel and gaskets||Excludes gaskets||Full powertrain and components coverage|
The Elite plans, like most extended warranties, do not cover vehicle maintenance costs. The Endurance Advantage warranties, on the other hand, do.
The Endurance Advantage plan offers one year of free Endurance Elite benefits plus yearly regular maintenance, including engine diagnostic exams, tire rotations, alignment checks, and up to three oil and filter changes.
Endurance advantage also includes one-time services such as cooling system maintenance, and battery and brake pads replacement, just to name a few. This series has three tiers: Prime, Plus and Preferred.
The Endurance Advantage series offers the following coverage tiers:
|Coverage level||Most affordable||Includes basic powertrain and select components||Most comprehensive|
|Max. vehicle age||20 years||15 years||10 years|
|Max. mileage||Unlimited||200,000 miles||150,000 miles|
Endurance’s contracts have a consequential loss clause, which means the company will only cover components that are listed in the contract and not incidental or consequential damages, such as loss of time or transportation.
Why we chose it: Infinite Auto Protection gets our nod as the best basic warranty plan because it offers highly flexible plans that can be closely customized to the driver’s budget.
- Offers barebones coverage to limit costs
- Some commercial vehicles accepted
- In-house claims processing
- Direct provider
- Plans must be paid upfront
Infinite Auto Protection sells basic warranty plans through three coverage tiers: Prime, Modern and Foundation. Its most bare-boned tier, Foundation, stands out as a comprehensive basic policy that covers parts of the powertrain, including the cooling system, drive axle and electrical components. It also covers front and rear differential assembly and 4x4/AWD components such as the oil pump output and all other internal lubricated parts.
Its Modern package includes everything mentioned above plus steering, while the Prime package is best suited for vehicles with GPS/navigation or sunroof motors.
Infinite auto protection coverage tiers are as follows:
|Coverage level||Most affordable, basic powertrain||Medium coverage, similar to powertrain plus||Most comprehensive plan with coverage for GPS navigation, convertible/sunroof motor repair, temperature control programmer, etc.|
|Coverage details||Includes gas/diesel engine, transmission, 4X4/AWD, drive axle, electrical, cooling, brakes, differential assembly||Includes gas/diesel engine, transmission, 4X4/AWD, drive axle, electrical, cooling, brakes, differential assembly, steering||Includes gas/diesel engine, transmission, 4X4/AWD, Hi-Tech, drive axle, electrical, cooling, brakes, differential assembly, steering, super/turbocharger, fuel, heater and AC front/rear suspension, ABS-brakes|
All plans include your choice of repair facility, 24/7 roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement and courtesy towing.
Infinite Auto Protection’s contracts do have both betterment and consequential loss clauses, giving them a bit more room than some other companies to deny claims.
Consequential loss clauses stipulate the company will only cover components that are listed in the contract and not incidental or consequential damages, such as loss of time or transportation. Betterment clauses, meanwhile, state that vehicle parts must be replaced with those of similar kind or quality. If the part is replaced with one of better quality, the service contract provider will not cover its cost.
Why we chose it: We selected CARCHEX as the extended car warranty company with the best range of plans because of its unusual number of plans — 25 in total — tailored to almost all needs and budgets.
- 25 coverage levels
- Multiple add-on options with each plan
- CARCHEX is not a direct provider
In total, CARCHEX offers 5 coverage tiers — Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium — for a total of 25 coverage packages. Additionally, all extended car warranties from CARCHEX include the Care plan, which provides additional benefits including 24/7 roadside assistance, courtesy towing, rental car coverage, gas delivery and trip interruption.
CARCHEX’s Gold coverage includes protection for all major systems and is well-suited for vehicles with over 60,000 miles. The Platinum and Titanium tiers, on the other hand, offer the highest level of stated-component coverage and factory coverage for some items.
Each CARCHEX plan tier offers different coverage levels. For example, the Bronze plan comes in two coverage options: Bronze and Powertrain.
Coverage terms vary by tier and include month-by-month and 5-6-7- and 10-year coverage options.
|Coverage level||Covers all major systems, including engine and transmission||Essential coverage for all major systems, more than basic powertrain||Comprehensive coverage for all major systems on vehicles with over 60,000 miles||Highest level of stated-component coverage||Highest level of coverage available, similar to factory|
|Terms||Monthly, 5- or 6-years||Monthly, 5-, 6- or 7-years||Monthly, 5-, 7- or 10-years||Monthly, 5-, 7- or 10-years||Monthly, 7- or 10-years|
Since CARCHEX is a car warranty broker, it doesn’t itself write and administer all of its plans. Some of its programs are guaranteed by American Auto Shield and Royal Administration Services, and others are managed by CarChex.
In terms of limitations and exclusions, all AAS contracts have both consequential and betterment clauses, while Royal’s contracts have only a consequential loss clause. Read each contract carefully to determine which is right for you.
Why we chose it: CarShield is our pick as the best extended warranty plan for motorcycles and ATVs because it’s one of the few companies that offer a specialty comprehensive coverage plan designed for these vehicles.
- 24-hour roadside assistance included
- Multiple coverage options
- CarShield is not a direct provider
CarShield is one of the few companies that offer specialty coverage for motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). It also offers six warranty options that range from basic powertrain to comprehensive exclusionary coverage.
In ascending order of price and coverage level, CarShield’s packages include PowerTrain Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond.
|Coverage level||Basic Powertrain (most affordable)||Powertrain Plus||Comprehensive||Highest coverage level|
|Coverage details||Covers all lubricated engine parts, transmission and water pump.||Covers major and minor vehicle parts, including transmission, engine, water pump, alternator, starter, AC and power windows.||Best for vehicles with higher mileage. Covers engine, transmission, AC, electrical system, water pump, starter, fuel pump and more.||Covers engine and transmission failure, starter and fuel pump.|
CarShield also offers two specialty coverage options: an Aluminum tier and coverage for motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. The Aluminum package covers most electrical and computer systems.
The motorcycle and ATV coverage extends to engines, transmissions, drive axles, fuel injectors, fuel pumps, steering, and suspension, brake and electrical systems. This package also includes water pumps, radiators, alternator, starter and factory audio repair. GPS or navigation coverage are not included.
CarShield contracts include emergency roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement and trip interruption coverage. Most contracts are transferable if you sell your vehicle, but make sure to call a representative to discuss your contract options.
CarShield's specialty coverage options include:
|Aluminum||Motorcycle & ATV|
|Coverage level||Covers select components||Similar to Powertrain Plus|
|Coverage details||Covers most electrical and computer-related problems including starter, engine control module, navigation/ GPS system, electrical system and more.||Contracts have different types of coverage. For example, there are contracts that cover motorcycles and other special circumstances.|
CarShield is a vehicle service contract broker, meaning that its plans are administered by another company. For example, some plans are guaranteed by American Auto Shield.
Like most other companies on this list, CarShield's vehicle protection plans include both betterment and consequential loss clauses.
Why we chose it: We selected Concord Auto Protect as the best car warranty company for customer engagement because it is more responsive than most to customer feedback on platforms such as Facebook and the Better Business Bureau.
- Free roadside assistance included
- Direct provider
- Coverage plans aren't customizable
- Consequential loss clause, limiting claim options
Concord Auto Protect is a direct provider of extended car warranty packages with over 20 years of experience. It offers 24/7 support by phone as well as multiple ways to contact customer service via client login, email, Facebook chat and online form.
While the same can be said for other competitors in terms of customer service, not all provide Concord’s other tools for engagement. The company actively posts on social media on a weekly basis , and is unusually thorough and timely in responding to customer feedback on the Better Business Bureau website.
Concord Auto Protect offers three coverage tiers, including Powertrain, Advanced and Premium. The Powertrain plan is its most basic, followed by the Advanced tier which adds AWD/4x4 and steering coverage. Its Premium package includes everything in Powertrain and Advanced, plus general bumper-to-bumper protection and Hi-Tech electronic coverage.
Each Concord plan has a 30-day money-back guarantee and is fully transferable.
|Coverage level||Most affordable||Mid-level coverage||Most comprehensive|
|Coverage details||Provides coverage for engine, transmission, drive axles, cooling system, electrical components and master cylinder.||Everything in Powertrain plus, all-wheel drive and steering coverage.||Everything in Advanced plus, heating, AC, suspension, fuel system, high-tech electronics and turbo/ supercharger.|
Concord's vehicle service contracts contain a consequential loss clause, which means the company will only cover claims for components that are included in the coverage.
Other companies we considered
Why it didn’t make our list: Toco only offers month-to-month payment plans, which may not suit all drivers.
- No deductibles
- Flexible payment options
- California residents have to purchase a separate contract
Toco is best for those looking for affordable vehicle service contracts that cover the basics. The company offers plans with zero down payments that you can “pay as you go.” Additionally, you can cancel your policy at any time, for a fee.
All Toco plans include 24-hour roadside assistance, trip interruption coverage, rental car benefit and hotel/motel discounts. However, Mechanical Breakdown Insurance coverage for California residents may be different.
Lastly, Toco has nationwide repair facilities and will pay for covered repairs directly with the shop, although some limits and deductibles may apply.
Why it didn’t make our list: Unlike other competitors, ForeverCar does not sell vehicle service contracts for cars older than 2012 or that have over 150,000 miles.
- Customizable plans
- Choose your deductible
- Plans are not transparent
- Need to provide personal information to get a quote
Forever Car has four coverage levels, in ascending order of price and coverage: Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum Plus.
Each plan has complimentary benefits including rental reimbursement (up to $35 per day on a 5-day maximum, 10 day maximum for parts delay), 24-hour emergency roadside assistance (up to $100 per occurrence) and travel reimbursement.
Its travel expense refund covers up to $200 per day (5-day maximum) for lodging, food and transportation expenses should your vehicle break down more than 100 miles away from home. This benefit is not available for New York residents.
Why it didn’t make our list: Protect My Car does not offer coverage options in six states. While some companies featured on our top list don’t offer every plan in every state, they provide alternative coverage options in the states in which they’re not active, which Protect My Car does not.
- Multiple benefits
- Between 50% and 75% savings on mechanical repairs
- Does not sell contracts in AK, CA, HI, MO, OK or WA
Protect My Car offers three warranty tiers ranging from powertrain to comprehensive coverage: Driveline, Select and Supreme. The company also has an Ambassador Line designed to cover maintenance costs regardless of your vehicle's age or mileage.
Ambassador plans are maintenance programs that include free oil changes and tire rotations. You also get up to 75% off all covered mechanical repairs, rental car services for all repairs scheduled for four hours of labor or more, and 24/7 roadside assistance. Roadside assistance includes lockout service, fuel delivery, flat tire service, battery jump-start and 24-hour towing.
Best Extended Car Warranty Guide
If you’re looking for long-term coverage on a vehicle, an extended warranty may provide protection against some breakdowns due to electrical or mechanical malfunctions.
To help you determine if an extended car warranty is right for you, this guide covers how this optional coverage works, what it covers and what to watch out for when buying.
What is an extended car warranty?
An extended car warranty, also known as a vehicle service contract, is an optional insurance policy you can purchase to cover certain vehicle components and repair costs. The policy supplements or replaces the warranty coverage provided by the manufacturer.
Manufacturers or factory warranties are typically included when you purchase a new vehicle. They offer coverage for a limited number of years or miles, although some expenses are not covered – including those deemed to be regular wear and tear, such as batteries, brake pads and the like.
Extended car warranties also do not cover all repairs or parts but may cover mechanical and electrical components that the factory warranty does not while omitting others that the manufacturer covers.
And, where the factory warranty is typically included with the cost of the car and serviced by the manufacturer, extended warranties are sold by third parties for an additional cost.
Extended car warranties aren’t for everyone. More often than not, your policy premium plus the deductible you may pay for each repair will be more costly than the repair itself.
How does an extended car warranty work?
Extended car warranties cover some vehicle repairs and the replacement of certain components for a predetermined number of years or miles. As with factory warranties, they generally exclude "wear items'' such as tires.
Extended car warranties may go into effect once your manufacturer’s warranty expires or overlap with that coverage. You should verify which is the case for any extended car warranty you are considering.
It’s important, too, that you confirm the length and breadth – as in what is and isn’t covered – of your manufacturer’s coverage before you buy an extended warranty. Otherwise, you could end up paying for protection you already enjoy for free.
Factory warranties typically have at least two parts. A comprehensive bumper-to-bumper warranty covers (often for 36 months) most components, excepting “wear items” such as brake pads. A supplementary, and longer, powertrain warranty – covers the engine, transmission, and sometimes such components as axles and airbags – typically for 60 months. Some manufacturers provide additional coverage, too, such as rust-through coverage to cover perforations in the vehicle’s sheet metal due to corrosion.
Some car warranty providers also allow you to itemize coverage so you can choose to cover your air conditioning or electrical systems separately.
Just like insurance, extended auto warranties have a premium. Premium prices depend on the make of the car, its age, mileage and the level of coverage you are seeking, which often ranges from basic powertrain to bumper-to-bumper protection.
As a rule, an extended warranty will cost more for a vehicle make and model that is relatively repair-prone, as noted by sources such as Consumer Reports, and if the specific car is older and/or has higher mileage – since mechanical failures tend to be more frequent (and often more serious, and so costly to repair) for vehicles that have reached their twilight years.
Deductibles and coverage limits
You will have to pay a deductible for repairs and replacements covered under an extended car warranty. Deductibles typically range between $50 and $250 and, as with most forms of insurance, you can choose the amount you prefer. (However, also as with insurance, the lower the deductible, the higher the premium tends to be.)
Your vehicle service contract may also state the maximum dollar amounts the car warranty company will pay for repairs. That means you could be liable to pay a portion of covered repairs even after you've met the deductible for that repair.
In some cases, the cost of replacing parts or components may be covered, but you must cover the cost of labor out of pocket.
Claims and reimbursement
While some extended car warranty providers cover the costs of repairs directly with the auto repair shop, most plans work on a reimbursement basis. This means you must pay the repair bills out of pocket and keep the receipts to submit a claim for reimbursement.
Read your warranty agreement carefully to understand what is and isn't covered under the warranty before signing up for coverage.
Perhaps most importantly, claims can be denied if the warranty company can show the repair resulted from a failure to maintain the vehicle properly. A simple example would be a refusal to replace an engine that seized from a lack of oil replacement, or of a transmission that failed because its fluid was dangerously low.
Most extended auto warranties will not cover consequential damages caused by the breakdown or malfunction of the systems or components covered under the agreement. If you suffer indirect losses as a result of that breakdown, they will not be covered. This exclusion means, for example, that if your brakes were to fail and cause a crash, the crash damage would not be covered, even if the brake repairs were.
Another common exclusion found in most extended warranty agreements relates to "betterment." The warranty provider will not cover expenses related to the improvement, betterment or upgrade of a vehicle.
This means that if the value of the part or component being repaired/replaced exceeds the value or quality of the original parts or if the repair results in your car being returned to you in better condition than before the breakdown, the warranty provider is not liable to cover those costs.
Types of extended car warranties
Extended car warranties, those sold by third-party vendors as opposed to original equipment manufacturers, often feature the following coverage tiers or levels:
- Powertrain: Powertrain warranties cover parts that generate and transmit power, including the engine, transmission and axles. This is often the least expensive coverage tier since, while the covered components can be expensive to repair, they are limited in number and fail relatively rarely.
- Powertrain Plus: This includes basic powertrain coverage, plus some added coverage or components.
- Bumper-to-bumper: Bumper-to-bumper warranties offer the most comprehensive coverage and therefore the most expensive. Most such plans include the vehicle’s major mechanical systems, except for certain excluded items. The excluded components of a bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage generally include “wear and tear” items such as brake pads or tires, for example.
- Named component including emissions: A named-component contract covers a specific list of components. For example, it may cover your vehicle’s GPS and electrical system but nothing else. There are also typically separate warranty terms for emission components such as catalytic converters, which may run for more months and miles than even the powertrain warranty — especially for cars bought in California.
What is covered under an extended car warranty?
Extended warranties offer various coverage plans that protect you against unexpected repairs due to mechanical or electrical breakdown or malfunctions. These range from named component and powertrain coverage to comprehensive coverage.
Yet it’s vital to check just how comprehensive that protection really is, and not to assume that even every major failure or repair will be covered.
Extended warranties do not cover damage from accidents, lack of maintenance or the costs from normal use. They also don’t cover yearly maintenance costs, so that responsibility will be yours alone. As an example, the extended warranty may cover the vehicle’s air conditioning system (as many do), but not the cost of new coolant for it, which is likely to be deemed a maintenance expense.
Is an extended car warranty worth it?
Your need for the protection of an extended warranty depends in part on the vehicle you’re considering insuring. But it also depends on your own financial situation and inclinations - including the level of risk you’re comfortable with carrying.
An extended car warranty can protect against some potentially-costly breakdowns, as advertising for these plans heavily emphasizes. But before you buy a plan it’s wise to put aside the fear of an expensive (but relatively unlikely) repair bill and compare the costs and potential benefits of such extra-cost coverage.
Here’s what to consider to help you decide on whether to buy a plan.
Don’t buy if the manufacturer’s warranty is still in effect
One simple rule of thumb: If your vehicle's manufacturer warranty still applies, even in part, chances are you don't need an extended car warranty.
That recommendation applies even if the manufacturer’s bumper-to-bumper coverage period has elapsed, and only the extended powertrain warranty remains in effect. That’s because the most expensive and consequential car repairs covered under extended warranties tend to involve powertrain components, notably the engine and transmission.
Many common repairs cost less than annual plan premiums
Even if the car’s factory coverage has expired, extended coverage may not make financial sense. A key reason is that many common car repairs aren’t prohibitive in cost.
For example, replacing a damaged alternator costs around $250 to $500, including labor, and a starter motor a little more — perhaps $400 to $700 in all.
While such costs aren’t insignificant, paying for such repairs as needed may be more cost-effective than getting a plan. Components may or may not fail, and if they do, the plan payments for a single year could equal or even exceed the cost of repairs. Also, under a plan, you’d be on the hook for at the first $50 or $100 of each repair, and possibly more, due to the deductible.
Expensive repairs may or may not be covered, or be worth fixing
An extended warranty could indeed deliver major savings should you suffer the failure of such major components as transmission, which can easily cost $3,500 to $5,000 to replace, or engine, the bill for which typically ranges between $3,000 to $10,000.
But there are caveats to note here, beginning with the fact that not every major repair is necessarily covered by an extended warranty – and that’s especially the case for older vehicles, which may have more exclusions to coverage than newer ones. Apart from the exclusions noted earlier, such as those for routine maintenance, few extended warranties will cover replacement of a catalytic converter, a component that typically costs thousands of dollars to replace.
In addition, most major components covered by extended warranties tend to fail, if at all, when the vehicle is very old. For example, transmissions and engines both typically run for at least 150,000 miles, especially if well-maintained (which is a necessary condition anyway for the extended warranty to be in effect).
Further, since plans increase in cost with the age of the car, by the time the car reaches that vintage, a plan is likely to be expensive. Also, you may by then want to replace an older car anyway, for reasons other than the need for repair. For instance, the car may lack new safety features you want or deliver diminished engine performance due to age.
Beware of myths about the need for coverage
Be ready to resist a hard sell on an extended car warranty when you buy a vehicle from a dealer. In part, that’s because high profit margins on these plans mean the salesperson may make more on this add-on than they do on the car itself.
However, it’s illegal for a salesperson to pressure you into purchasing a car warranty, including making false threats over the consequences if you fail to buy a plan. For example, you are generally not required to buy an extended warranty in order to qualify for an auto loan, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The agency suggests that those who hear such an assertion should contact the lender to confirm that there is no such requirement.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, you should also be on the lookout for extended warranty scams.
Needless to say, you should also be wary of those fraudulent texts, calls or emails warning you that your car’s warranty is about to expire. Most of the time, these are scams that have nothing to do with your car dealer or manufacturer.
What’s your comfort level with risk, and ability to cover a big repair bill?
An extended car warranty may suit some people, even if it won’t necessarily deliver a payback that justifies its costs.
If you’re particularly worried about the possibility of a costly car failure, the peace of mind a plan provides may override its drawbacks. That may especially be the case if you’d be all but unable to cover a hefty repair bill if it arose, and are the type of person who finds it hard to save money. If that describes you, you might be more successful in paying a regularly scheduled amount for a plan rather than, say, putting that money aside every month as a fund to cover future car repairs.
Keep in mind, though, that extended warranties don't cover everything; you’ll still have to budget for such expenses as routine maintenance and insurance and be able to pay the deductible as needed if and when you file a claim under a plan.
How to choose an extended car warranty
Extended car warranties are sold both by dealerships or manufacturers and third-party vendors — the latter being the kind of plans we’ve reviewed here.
If you receive a plan quote from the dealership, you don't need to accept it immediately. Instead, postpone the decision while you shop around for warranties from third-party vendors as well.
Here are some things you can do as you shop around:
1. Compare plans
Compare plans by not only their monthly costs but also the terms and exclusions of the warranty agreement. That includes noting the range of deductible you can elect to pay.
Also ask how increasing your deductible may affect the premiums you pay, since a higher deductible tends to lower those costs — and will still deliver a substantial amount in the event of more serious repairs.
2. Check when the plan kicks in
Check when the plan kicks in, and how that compares with any remaining coverage from the carmaker’s factory warranty – which may last for many years, particularly on certain major components.
As noted above, resist buying a plan if the manufacturer’s coverage still applies, since you would be duplicating coverage you already have until the factory warranty elapses.
3. Do a side-by-side coverage comparison
Review prospective plans side-by-side for the car components they cover — and don’t cover — and the extent of coverage. Note, too, how the warranty company stipulates you must maintain the car, and the paperwork required to prove that you've done so, since some plans may be stricter than others in that regard.
Finally, don’t rule out negotiating over the price of a plan. You have little to lose by doing so, and potentially much to gain. Extended car warranties are lucrative financial products that leave vendors with much leeway to adjust costs and still make a profit on the sale.
The best extended warranty for your vehicle will depend on several factors: the terms and exclusions of the warranty agreement, the coverage amount, and the premium.
For instance, most extended warranty companies offer negotiable plans that allow you to purchase add-ons and customize coverage to fit your needs.
Before signing a contract, make sure to research the company, including:
- • Verifying the warranty's transferability
- • Checking approved repair facilities and its refund policies
- • Verifying if the company pays for repairs directly or if you have to make upfront payments
- • Confirming whether you have to pay a deductible while you wait for a reimbursement
Taking the time to evaluate these factors and compare companies or seek out customer reviews can help you narrow down the best car warranty for you.
You can check if your car has a manufacturer's warranty by looking up your vehicle's identification number (VIN) and calling your dealership to verify its status.
Your car's VIN can usually be found on the wiper blade on the driver's side, under the hood or on the driver's side door. Once you have your VIN, check your odometer to see if you've exceeded your mileage limit.
According to J.D. Power, if you're not sure if your vehicle has an active manufacturer's warranty or an extended warranty, you can find your vehicle's history on a Carfax report.
The premium for an extended car warranty on a used car will depend on factors such as:
- • Vehicle type
- • Vehicle age
- • Make and model
- • Mileage
- • Coverage amount
- • Deductible per repair
- • Your driving habits
Extended warranties from manufacturers and third-party companies start at about $1,000 for a two-year protection plan and go up to $3,000 for a five-year plan. (The higher cost of the longer warranty is due in part to the greater likelihood of repairs in the fourth and fifth year of a plan, because the vehicle is older.)
You generally pay the premium on a monthly basis. A payment of $40 to $65 a month is typical.
Actual premiums, of course, will vary depending on the level of coverage you select and your vehicle details.
You can purchase an extended car warranty from your dealership or manufacturer once the factory warranty expires. You can also purchase extended car warranties online from third-party vendors, such as the ones reviewed here.
To obtain a quote from any of these providers, you need only complete an online form or call in to speak with a representative.
How We Found the Best Extended Car Warranties
To find the best extended warranty companies, Money looked into three main areas: types of service contracts offered, smoothness of claims process and financial backing.
Plans and service contracts
When researching extended car warranty providers, we looked for companies that offered plan details and sample contracts. This transparency allowed us to narrow down our search and include companies that offered competitive pricing and warranty transferability.
Our top picks are also available to residents of most states. Additionally, most companies featured on our list offer added perks such as 24/7 roadside assistance, towing, tire replacement or repair, locked-out service and trip interruption coverage.
Claims and repairs
Every contract is different, that’s why understanding what’s covered and what's excluded under your extended warranty is important.
We included companies that offer comprehensive coverage options and provide customers flexibility when selecting a certified repair facility.
As for claims processing, we feature companies that handle claims in-house as well as through third-party agencies.
Customer satisfaction and financial backing
Our list of the best extended car warranties includes companies that are certified by the Vehicle Protection Association (VPA) and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).
We also looked at publicly-available customer reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
As for financial backing, we selected third-party companies that had financial support from large insurers. Having strong financial stability can help guarantee your claims will be processed.