6 Questions to Ask Before Buying An Extended Vehicle Warranty

Your answers can help you decide whether you need to purchase extra protection.

Car Driving Down Country Road

by NEA Member Benefits


Key takeaways

  • An auto extended warranty can help you avoid unexpected auto repair costs.
  • Extended warranty providers should be willing to give you specific information about the extent of coverage.
  • Read the fine print and don’t let anyone pressure you into buying.

Unexpected vehicle breakdowns are a reality for most car owners. If your factory warranty is going to expire soon, you may be thinking about getting an extended warranty.

Before you purchase one, ask yourself these six questions:

  1. Do you really need an extended warranty? If you’re the kind of person who has extra money and doesn’t mind a bit of risk, then an extended warranty may not be a priority for you. However, if you want the peace of mind that most unexpected car breakdowns will be covered, then you should consider getting an auto warranty.
    Cars that see heavy use (commuting, job, travel, etc.) tend to have more mechanical problems. Also, if you live in areas with harsh weather conditions (snow, heat, rain, etc.), then breakdowns are more likely. In these cases, an extended protection plan might be a wise travel companion.
  2. What’s covered? Make sure you get all the details about coverage upfront. Extended warranty providers should be willing to give you specific information about the extent of coverage for each plan they offer. Even basic coverage can include a long list of components that are covered. Compare the specifics of the plans you’re considering to find one that matches your needs.
  3. How long is coverage available? Extended warranty plans typically cover your vehicle anywhere from 2 to 7 years. If you expect to keep your car for several years, a longer plan may make sense for you. Even if you do sell your car before the warranty runs out, your extended protection plan may be transferable.
  4. Is the auto warranty transferable? Some are transferable, so if you sell your car, the warranty still will apply for the new owner. Typically, there’s a transfer fee that’ll cost you about $40 to $50. Transferable auto warranties increase the value of any used car that’s for sale.
  5. What’s the warranty provider’s business reputation? To avoid scam warranty providers, you’ll want to check the company’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau. If the provider has been in business for a long time, it can make a big difference in its customer service and how it handles claims. A long track record means that customers have been satisfied and are coming back for more business. 
  6. Are there any other benefits? Perks like a free rental car can be a life saver when you’re waiting for repairs to be completed. Trip interruption reimbursement can save you money. And 24-hour roadside assistance gives you access to help when you need it most. These kinds of benefits are signs of a good extended vehicle protection plan.

The bottom line: The final decision is always up to the consumer. Read the fine print, and don’t let anyone pressure you into buying. If you prefer to avoid surprises related to unexpected auto repair costs, then an extended warranty is probably a good choice.

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