All About an Extended Car Warranty

For many of us, the purchase of a new vehicle is one of the largest financial commitments we’ll make in our lifetime, and thus merits considering the protection offered by an extended car warranty. Extended car warranties are designed to give you peace of mind against any manufacturer defects for which you are not at fault. While many consumers have limited protection under lemon laws, an extended warranty can protect your vehicle against costly and unpredictable repairs.

Standard Warranty

Most new vehicles will come with a standard warranty, not from the dealership but from the car manufacturer. This warranty will usually cover maintenance and some repairs for a specified amount of time in the life of your car. Generally, coverage is limited just to problems stemming from errors on the factory floor during the car’s manufacture, but in some cases it may cover problems stemming from other events as well.

How Is an Extended Car Warranty Different?

Extended car warranties provide protection for longer than standard warranties. They may also be able to provide a greater amount of protection. In fact, extended auto warranties are more like service contracts than actual warranties because they require a separate purchase and cost more.

How Do I Purchase This Protection?

An extended auto warranty can be bought at the same time you purchase your vehicle. However, if you choose not to invest in an extended warranty right away, you can oftentimes purchase one a little later on in the car’s life, as long as it’s done before the manufacturer’s warranty expires. Owning this kind of protection can bring you great reassurance that you’ll be prepared in the event that you need major car repairs.

Choosing Your Coverage

Before purchasing an extended car warranty, check to see what existing coverage you may already have in place. Your coverage depends not only on what warranties the car already carries, but also your plans for the car. If you plan on selling the car before the manufacturer’s warranty expires, purchasing an extended plan may not really be worth it. On the other hand, if you plan on keeping the car for well beyond the few years covered by the standard warranty, an extended warranty may very well pay for itself in the long run.

Pre-Owned Vehicles

Another factor to consider is the ownership history of your vehicle. If your car has had a previous owner, you should check to see if it’s covered under a transferable warranty already. This may be coverage from the manufacturer or the dealership. The existing mileage on the car will affect this, so be sure you read the fine print. Some automobile makers offer a “certified used” program on inspected or refurbished vehicles that may come with their own dedicated factory warranty.

Other Points to Consider

Make sure that whichever company is offering the warranty is a reliable firm. Hidden charges can make a shady warranty untenable. Also, many warranties will have a deductible, so it’s smart to investigate how much you’ll really be spending out-of-pocket in the event that repairs are needed, either per repair or per visit. And finally, know exactly what is covered in your extended car warranty; you don’t want to make that investment unless it’s really going to save you money in the long run.