Car warranties are agreements that cover vehicle malfunctions and defects for a certain period of time. For new cars, warranties protect the owner from paying repair costs for an average of three years, or 60,000 miles driven, after the date of purchase.

Car warranties are best for people unable to cover the large potential costs associated with a sudden repair. In the event that a catastrophic malfunction occurs, and no car warranty had been purchased, the repair costs can amount to thousands of dollars. Depending on the severity of the breakdown, it may be more cost-efficient to replace the car entirely.

When selecting a car warranty, consider the specific coverage needs of the vehicle. There are three main types of coverage: powertrain, inclusionary, and exclusionary. Powertrain warranties cover only the main generative components, and are the least comprehensive. Inclusionary warranties provide a list of covered components. Exclusionary warranties are the most comprehensive, and therefore will usually only list what is not covered rather than what is.

Prior to finalizing a car warranty agreement, look at the fine print. How long is the initial enrollment waiting period? Which documents are needed to file a claim? Are repairs covered by the warranty company, or are they reimbursed later? Will deductibles be charged?


Top 10 Companies

#1
Our Partner
10 / 10
  • 24/7 roadside assistance
  • 350,000 certified mechanics in US and Canada
  • Vehicles up to 160,000 miles
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Rental car benefits
  • Waiting period
  • No upfront payments
  • Consistently #1 in customer satisfaction
#2
Our Partner
9.9 / 10
  • Wide selection of extended warranty plans
  • 150,000 miles
  • 10 year vehicles
  • Corporate credit card payments
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • Deductibles 
#3
Our Partner
9.1 / 10
  • 24-hour roadside assistance
  • Available nationwide through any ASE Certified Facility
  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • No claim limits
  • No reimbursement
  • Wide selection of car warranty plans
  • Zero interest payment
  • Free online quote
#4
Our Partner
9.0 / 10
  • 24/7 roadside assistance
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Automotive Service Excellence accredited
  • Get quote online for free
  • Flexible payment terms offered
#5
Our Partner
8.9 / 10
  • Licensed California Agents
  • Specializing in CA mechanical breakdown insurance
  • Offers vehicle service contracts in most states nationwide
  • Unlimited starting mileage (most brands up to 14 years old)
  • 30 or 60 day money back guarantee
  • Rental car assistance
  • 24/7 roadside assistance
  • Choose your own repair facility
  • Consultative, low-pressure selling style
  • A+ BBB Accredited
#6
Our Partner
8.5 / 10
  • 25,000 dealerships and repair facilities
  • Up to 100,000 miles
  • 30 to 60 days Money back guarantee
  • No claim limits
  • Multiple payment options
  • No upfront payments
  • Deductibles may apply
  • Choose you own repair service
#7
Our Partner
8.2 / 10
  • A+ BBB Accredited Business
  • Get instant quote online
  • Accepted at all dealers and mechanics
  • Unlimited repair claims
  • Full protection for up to 60% off of dealer prices
#8
Our Partner
8.2 / 10
  • Accepted at all dealers and mechanics nationwide
  • Free instant quote
  • Cars with150,000 miles and higher
  • Unlimited repair claims
  • A+ BBB Accredited
  • Get full protection for half off of dealer prices
  • Wide network of local providers
#9
6.8 / 10
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Simple month-to-month coverage
  • No long-term contracts
  • A+ BBB Accredited
  • Increase your vehicle’s resale value
  • Get to choose the dealer or repair shop you like
  • ASE Recognized Business
#10
Our Partner
6.6 / 10
  • For vehicles up to 20 years, 175,000 miles
  • Deductible
  • Waiting period
  • Breakdowns and repairs in US and Canada
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Commercial use coverage
  • 60 day guarantee
  • No long term contracts
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How We Compare Car Warranties

Coverage

25%

The coverage plans that are offered will vary from company to company, but by and large there are three main types of plans that companies offer. The first, and most basic plan, is commonly referred to as a powertrain warranty. The term powertrain refers to the main components that generate power in a car, which includes the engine, transmission, drive shafts, etc. With a powertrain plan, should any of these critical parts fail, the cost for repair will be covered under the warranty terms. However, this includes less than 30 parts, and these are the parts that are least likely to fail.  The average vehicle contains thousands of parts, so the powertrain warranty is by far the least comprehensive plan offered.

Then there’s the inclusionary warranty, or named parts warranty. Under this plan, all of the covered parts are listed in the terms of the contract. If a part that is not listed in the contract fails, then the consumer is responsible for the cost of those repairs. With these types of warranties, it’s incredibly important to read the contract closely before signing to make sure that all of the parts you need and want covered specifically are listed.

The most comprehensive plan that companies offer is an exclusionary warranty, commonly, but inaccurately, referred to as a “bumper-to-bumper” warranty. Under this plan, there are so many parts and systems covered that it’s much easier for the contract to state which parts are NOT covered, hence the term “exclusionary” being used. If you’re looking for the best and most complete warranty plan, this is the plan to choose.

Many companies also offer additional benefits, which are included in most extended warranty plans, for example: Roadside assistance, rental car coverage, towing, lockout benefits, and fuel delivery. When shopping around for a car warranty provider, ask about what kind of additional benefits are offered under specific plans to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.


Service Contract

20%

When it comes to extended car warranties, there’s a lot of information to take into consideration. For example, most extended car warranty providers are going to have strict mileage and year restrictions in place. Your premium and deductible will be reliant upon the make and model of your vehicle, as well as the mileage on the car when service goes into effect. Be sure to provide completely accurate information about your vehicle, because erroneous information could void your warranty. You can generally receive coverage on vehicles out of their original manufacturer warranty with less than 100,000 miles driven. Beyond that, it’s up to the discretion of the warranty provider, and coverage can be costly.

The length of the contract is dependent upon two factors: maximum number of years, and maximum number of miles. The warranty is void when you hit one of those, so make sure you’re aware of the contract length. Contract renewal is not automatic, nor guaranteed. If you want to renew your contract after it expires, most companies require the same eligibility requirements for renewals as they do for new policies. So if your vehicle no longer meets one of the requirements, you may be out of luck.

Many companies offer a full refund within the first 30-days, this is often referred to as the policy review period. Most companies have sample policies available on their sites, which is helpful when shopping, but no matter what anyone tells you, and despite anything you have read before, the policy you receive after signing up is where your guarantees can be found. The most common complaint from car warranty customers are about claims being denied, and sadly, most of these complaints could have been avoided if the customer understood their policy from the beginning. This is why it is so important to use the policy review period to make sure you are getting what you think you bought, make any changes necessary, and ask any questions you may have.  


Claim Process

15%

Before submitting a claim, make sure you’re aware of the enrollment waiting period. With most warranty providers, there’s a waiting period between when you sign the contract, and when coverage actually begins. This period is usually 30 days, though it varies based on the company. There is also usually a miles driven clause, meaning that in addition to waiting 30 days, you also have to drive a certain number of miles before coverage begins. This number is usually 1,000 miles, but some companies do have a lower threshold.

When it comes to filing claims for repairs, your warranty provider may have requirements on who completes the work. Almost all companies allow you to choose your own service provider, as long as it’s a licensed repair facility. However, before you take your car into the shop, it’s always a good idea to check with your car warranty provider first. Then, take your vehicle or have it towed to an approved licensed facility, and present your warranty service agreement. Once the problem has been diagnosed, the repair facility will call the claims administrator and receive repair authorization from your warranty provider.

Most companies will pay the repair facility directly for approved claims, so you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket and wait to be reimbursed. If this is the case, never pay for your repairs and assume your warranty provider to reimburse you later, unless you have a guarantee in writing. Many consumers have made this mistake and found out after the fact that the repairs or parts were not covered, or that the company will only reimburse for a portion of the total cost.  

Car warranties oftentimes have deductibles, or an amount you pay out of pocket before coverage begin, which you pay directly to the mechanic or repair shop. If there are any necessary repairs not covered by your warranty, you will be responsible for paying those expenses out-of-pocket. It’s important to know whether your deductible is per-visit or per-repair. With a per-visit deductible, each visit to the shop will cost a fixed amount; with a per-repair deductible, you’ll be charged a separate fee that applies to each serviced part. This can have a major difference on the amount you pay, and other restrictions may apply so be sure to read the terms of the contract closely.


Customer Service

20%

A huge indicator of overall quality is how a warranty company treats its customers. As mentioned earlier, all major warranty providers offer a money-back guaranteed policy review period, typically for the first 30 days after signing up. If at any point during this trial period, you are unhappy, you can cancel your plan and receive a full reimbursement (as long as no claims have been submitted).

After the policy review period has ended, cancellation is a bit more complicated. Most companies will issue a pro-rated refund that is based on time covered, mileage driven, and any claims you have submitted. Additionally, most companies will charge a flat administration fee, usually around $50. Cancellation information should always be outlined in your policy.

If you should decide to sell your vehicle while it’s covered by a car warranty, most companies are happy to transfer the policy over to the new owner. Transfer charges do apply however, and are usually around $50.

One complaint we’ve seen is that car warranty companies take a long time to send the policy to customers. This should take about 5-7 business days to get to you, but every company is different. If you have not received your policy a week after you sign up, we suggest calling to follow up. While many may find this unnecessary or trivial, we see this as the perfect opportunity to test how a company will treat you as a customer. If you experience long holds, unfriendly representatives, or other negative interactions (Common Complaint #2), perhaps it may be worth considering another company. After all, if this is what you encounter before the company has secured your business, then what preventing this from happening once you’ve paid and need help?


Cost

10%

The cost of a warranty plan varies greatly based on your plan, the warranty provider, and the vehicle being protected.

Premiums, or the amount of money you pay for coverage, are the largest expense, and are usually paid upfront and in full.  However, some companies do offer payment plans for the premiums, so if you’re unable to pay the premium right away, you can make installment payments instead. The actual amount of the premium varies based on the type of vehicle, the year it was produced, current mileage, and the plan you select. However, the average cost for extended car warranties is between $350-$700.

As mentioned earlier, deductibles are also important to consider. Deductibles are either per-part or per-visit, as outlined in the contract. Deductible amounts also vary, but they tend to fall somewhere between $0 and $100. These are paid directly to the repair facility.

Another thing to consider is that some policies have maximum yearly or lifetime payout caps. If there are any, yearly maximum payouts usually fall between $12,000 and $15,000 per year, and lifetime payouts are often limited to the total purchase price of the vehicle. Every plan is different, and not all plans have benefit limits, which is just another reason why it’s worthwhile to review your policy early on.

To get a better idea of how much a car warranty will cost you, we suggest reaching out to a few companies to get quotes.  

Buying an extended car warranty will allow you to avoid paying larger expenses down the line, but it’s important to weight the cost and benefits against your own financial situation. For some consumers, car warranties are an added unnecessary expense, but to others they provide that peace of mind protection that’s worth the overall cost.


Reviews

10%

There is a lot to learn from reading Car Warranty reviews, if you know what to look for. Here are a few suggestions on how to get the most out of reading reviews.

  1. Statistical Significance: The number of customer reviews will impact the overall rating of a car warranty company, and can help you determine how accurately the score reflects the customer satisfaction. Reviews with more customer feedback and ratings will be a better indicator of the overall customer experience than reviews with only a few contributors. If the company has a few reviews, the overall score may not be the best indicator of the company's quality, so we suggest taking the time to read through the reviews to benefit from the feedback provided by those who were willing to share. 
  2. Word Sentiment: While looking at overall scores can be a fast way to get an impression of a company's quality, it can also be deceiving. Everyone has a different method of scoring, for some a 3/5 score is considered good, while others would rate a good company with a 5/5. This is way taking a few moments to scan over the words used in the reviews to get a better understanding of the review scores being presented. If you notice a lot of positive language like "great customer service" or "pleased with purchase", it may be easier to overlook a low overall score (especially if there are limited number of reviews available). However, if you see wording like "horrible service", "long waits" or "rude representatives", this may be a great opportunity to check out 
  3. Customer Care: When a company has the chance to respond to customer reviews, do they? Whether the review is positive or negative, companies who take the time to respond to individual reviews are often the ones that place an emphasis on customer service. Also ask whether the company responses are polite and make an honest attempt to resolve problems within reason. If there isn't a place for companies to respond, do any of the reviews talk about how the company addresses customer concerns?
  4. Learn from other people’s mistakes: When you find negative comments about a company, think about how their problem could have been avoided. For instance, if the problem was because someone didn’t understand what was covered under their contract, take the time to read yours carefully. If the problem was clearly the fault of the warranty provider, and they did little to resolve the issue repeatedly, then be aware that you could find yourself in the same position if you become a customer. 


Customer Questions & Answers

When should I purchase an extended car warranty?

The cost of your car warranty is based on the condition of your vehicle at the time of purchase. As your car gets older, the chances of parts breaking or malfunctioning increases. Therefore, if you purchase the warranty early on in your car’s life, you will likely pay less than if you wait until your car has 60K miles on it.

What is covered by an extended car warranty?

The types of repairs and replacements covered by your extended car warranty will depend on the plan and company you select. Some warranties will only cover “breakdown” costs, or parts that are broken and prevent the car from operating. More comprehensive warranties are for “wear-and-tear,” which will repair or replace parts that have worn down over time and if replaced will improve the performance of your vehicle.

However, even with the most comprehensive warranties, there are limitations. Most policies do not cover tires, air bags, batteries, light bulbs, glass, brakes and cosmetics (paint, moldings, etc…). Additionally, add on features, like DVD players or advanced stereo systems, are also excluded from extended warranty coverage.

What is a car warranty?

A car warranty is a service guarantee, which covers the costs of repair, parts, and labor for necessary qualifying repairs or replacements. It is typically valid for a certain amount of time and a certain amount of miles.

In truth, the term “warranty” only refers to the guarantee provided by car manufacturers on new cars. However, this term is commonly used to describe service guarantees, which are provided by independent companies (for example, extended car warranties). It is important to note Manufacturers do not offer extensions for their warranties. Oftentimes dealerships will offer extended warranties for new cars at the time of purchase, which are provided by independent companies unrelated to the car manufacturer.

Once the manufacture warranty expires, or if you purchase a used car, many people choose to purchase additional coverage with extended car warranties, which often cover the same types of repairs and replacements as manufacturer warranties.

All of the Top 10 Car Warranty providers are independent companies, which offer extended car warranties!

What are deductibles and how do they work when it comes to car warranties?

Most extended car warranties come with deductibles, or an amount of money you pay out of pocket before your warranty coverage starts. Deductibles are either per-visit or per-repair.

With a per-visit deductible you pay one deductible each time you bring your car into the shop, no matter how many parts are repaired or replaced. A per-repair deductible requires you to pay for each part that is fixed, even if you have multiple parts fixed during a single visit.