7 Best Extended Car Warranty Companies in 2021

Third party extended warranty companies run the gamut from fair, honest providers, to boiler-room flim-flammers whose only purpose is to separate you from your money. There are good reasons to purchase an extended warranty, but separating the good companies from the bad is a challenge. Based on our research, we recommend Endurance or CARCHEX.

Top 7 Car Warranty Companies

CompanyNotes
Gold AwardCARCHEXMost variety in plan options
Gold AwardEnduranceBest direct service contract provider
Silver AwardAlly FinancialGood coverage across most car brands
Silver AwardAutoPOM!Good plan broker
Silver AwardChrysler Warranty DirectGood choice for Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge or Ram vehicles
Silver AwardGM Extended Protection PlanGood choice GM vehicles. Often more expensive.
Silver AwardCarShieldVery low BBB scores

Carchex

Best Selection of Plans
Car Talk Golden Wrench
4.2 of 5 Stars
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Call Now: 866-977-2040

If your car doesn’t fall into one of the brand-specific service contract companies, check out CARCHEX. They offer service plans for all brands, both new and used. They also have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, meaning that they respond to whatever complaints they get, and they’re probably not hounding you on the phone late at night.

CARCHEX is a service contract broker, so within every tier of their coverage, they have several offerings from third party vendors that can meet your needs. For example, at the highest level, (Titanium Coverage) CARCHEX offers plans from six agencies that run from seven to 10 years worth of coverage.

The not-so-hot part of the coverage is that it’s really a reimbursement. Remember the health plan you had years ago that paid for nothing until you paid for it first, then you had to go through a labyrinthine procedure of filing claims with receipts and that whole deal? That’s kind of what’s happening here. It’s not the most convenient thing in the world, and you’re still going to have pay for the repairs upfront, but the good news is that you can get the work done anywhere that’s a licensed repair facility.

You’ve also got a paradox of choice going on with CARCHEX. They have 21 different plans ranging from Titanium, Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, and then down at the bottom somewhere Brass, Tin, Aluminum Foil and Doublemint Gum Wrapper (we’re kidding about the last ones.

In addition to the service contract coverage, the plans also provide some added benefits, such as:

  • 24/7 Roadside Assistance
  • Towing
  • Rental Car coverage
  • Gas Delivery
  • Trip Interruption protection

Read our full CARCHEX Review »

Endurance

Best Direct Service Provider
Car Talk Golden Wrench
4.1 of 5 Stars
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Call Now: 855-534-1173

Endurance is the provider you’re likely to hear the most about because they spend a gazillion dollars marketing everywhere. If you’ve ever searched “extended warranty” in Google, these people have been following you around like they used to threaten you about your “permanent record” in junior high.

That said, Endurance has some benefits. They’re not rated or accredited by the BBB, but they have a four-star rating with TrustPilot.

Unlike Carchex, Endurance is a direct provider, meaning that they not only sell the plan, but they also administer it, too.

They offer four levels of coverage: Select Premiere, Secure, Superior, and Supreme. The difference in those plans is how much the plan is going to cover. Secure, for example, appears to only cover what a Powertrain warranty would. As you step up the ladder, you get coverage on other ancillary services. Supreme appears to be a fairly comprehensive, bumper-to-bumper-style service contract.

If you're not exactly sure which level of coverage is right for you and how it may impact pricing, Endurance does a great job of making themselves available to answer questions. They can be reached at (855) 534-1173.

Again, with a program like this, you’re going to pay for the repair upfront and get reimbursed for the repair when you’ve submitted receipts. Not exactly the most convenient thing in the world, and frankly, if you’re going to have to spend money first to maybe getting money back later provided you submitted your receipts properly, you’d probably be better off just putting money in savings account for the day your air conditioning system fails.

Other benefits to the program include:

  • Roadside Assistance
  • ID Theft protection
  • A member rewards program
  • Financing for repairs
  • Concierge service for reservations, tickets, directions, and emergencies
  • Key fob replacement
  • Tire Repair/replacement

Read our full Endurance Review »

Autopom!

Autopom! (the exclamation point is part of the name) stands for “automotive peace of mind,” and claims to be protection from expensive auto repairs.

What’s important to note right up front is that Autopom! is an extended warranty broker, meaning that they don’t actually provide the services that you’re paying them for. Every one of its plans is administered by another company. The question you have to ask yourself is “Why would I pay money to this company, when the services are being rendered by yet another company?”

It’s a good question. You can look at any one of Autopom!’s plans, figure out who administers it, and buy it directly through them, which cuts out the middleman. For example, if you look at the plans detailed, several are administered by Mercury. Why not just go directly to Mercury Insurance yourself and buy that plan there?

The answer is convenience. It’s why most of us will buy stuff from Amazon rather than suffer through the drudgery of having to type the name of the actual provider of a product into the Google search bar instead. You can just as easily buy a pair of Timberland boots from Timberland’s website, but we seem obsessed with paying Amazon instead.

Autopom! appears to have a fairly decent reputation on Yelp, as well as a strong profile on BBB with a 4.43 out of 5 rating with 21 reviews there.

It’s important to note that none of the plans Autopom! offers are available in every state, and several of the plans are only available in California.

Depending on which contract you purchase, there are some side benefits to the warranty as well:

  • Rental vehicle reimbursement
  • Emergency trip interruption reimbursement
  • Towing and Roadside assistance

Ally Flex Coverage

Before the Federal Government’s bailout of General Motors, Ally used to be called GMAC and was GM’s captive finance company. After the bailout, GMAC was spun off into a new company called Ally, and when it was, it launched its own service contract offering (GMAC used to administer a similar plan to the GM Extended Protection Plan).

It’s a bit of a hybrid because Ally Flex Coverage isn’t manufacturer-dependent. You can cover just about any car with Ally Flex Coverage. It’s also important to note that it’s a reimbursement plan. If something fails that’s covered by the plan, you submit the receipts and Ally reimburses you for the expense.

If other plans are like collision insurance, think of Ally Flex Coverage like an HMO. If your car breaks down, you have to contact Ally to receive authorization before the work can begin. You then submit your invoice to Ally and they reimburse you for the expense.

While not as convenient as some of the other plans, there are a handful of benefits to consider. The price of a plan like this should be lower than that of a factory-backed plan. Also, you aren’t restricted to using a dealership’s service department. As long as the repair has been authorized, you can use any mechanic you like. If you have someone you trust in town and the dealership is three towns away, that can be a great benefit. It also provides the use of new, used and remanufactured parts.

Ally Flex Coverage comes in three flavors: Tech Coverage provides covers only for a number of advanced technology features such as collision avoidance systems, factory-installed GPS, backup sensors and adaptive cruise control. Core Coverage is more like your original “powertrain” warranty, covering things like the engine, transmission, drive axles, transfer case and brakes (with the exception of pads, rotors, drums, shoes, and other wear items). Ultra Coverage is an extension of your manufacturer’s bumper-to-bumper coverage.

Like the other plans, there are also some significant side benefits to Ally Flex Coverage:

  • 24/7 Roadside Assistance
  • Rental Vehicle Coverage
  • Trip Interruption Prevention (not available in Kansas)

Read our full Ally Review »

Chrysler Warranty Direct

If you’ve got a vehicle produced by FCA (Chrysler, Dodge, RAM, Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Fiat), you should be taking a serious look at Chrysler Warranty Direct before you even consider any other service contract provider.

CWD is an example of a provider that includes all three of our key attributes. They’re a direct provider, meaning that while they’re selling you a contract, they’re also administering the contract when things have gone wrong with your vehicle. Chrysler Warranty Direct also utilizes nothing but OEM parts to service your vehicle, meaning that when it leaves the garage, it will have the same quality parts it left the factory with. Finally, all of the work performed is at authorized, franchised FCA dealerships, by technicians trained by the factory.

CWD has two tiers of contracts. Added Care Plus covers over 850 different vehicle components, and you can adjust the term from two to two to eight years, and mileage from 60,000 to unlimited. Maximum Care offers the same flexibility in time and mileage, but covers significantly more, with 5,000 components covered, replicating the factory’s original bumper-to-bumper coverage.

In addition to vehicle protection, the plan also provides several other benefits:

  • Towing and Roadside Assistance – 24 hour “Sign & Go” towing and roadside assistance also includes flat tire change, vehicle lockout service, and out-of-gas fuel delivery.
  • First Day Rental - $35 first day rental allowance in case you need a rental car.
  • Rental Car Allowance – Beyond the first day, the plan covers $35 per day for a maximum of five days.
  • $1000 Trip Interruption Coverage – If you’re on the road and your car breaks down, the plan reimburses you for meals, lodging, and transportation expenses up to $1000.
  • One Time Plan Transfer – If you’ve purchased either plan, you can transfer it to the next owner for a nominal transfer fee.

You can also adjust the length of time and the deductible to reduce the monthly cost. The second tier of the service contract is as robust as the original warranty and provides bumper-to-bumper coverage for years after the original warranty runs out.

GM Extended Protection Plan

Similar to the Chrysler warranty, GM Extended Protection Plans cover GM vehicles (Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac) and extend the coverage of the bumper-to-bumper warranty up to 10 years. GM administers this plan, but the plans are sold through authorized resellers and franchised GM dealerships.

With a GM Extended Protection Plan in place, you don’t need to carry paperwork or special membership cards. Using your vehicle identification number, any authorized GM dealership in the country can access your plan level and provide services using their factory-trained technicians, and service your vehicle with GM-specific parts.

The plan comes in two levels, Silver and Platinum. Silver is an affordable plan that covers major components like the engine, transmission, transfer case, drive axles, factory-installed turbo- or superchargers, steering components, brake components, electrical system components, factory air conditioning components, and seals and gaskets.

Platinum offers everything in the Silver plan, but adds essentially an extension of the factory’s bumper-to-bumper coverage, protecting you from expenses related to failures in items like the entertainment system, rear vision camera, blind spot monitoring system, adaptive cruise control, and anything else that isn’t a normal wear item.

In addition to vehicle protection, the plan includes several built-in benefits:

  • Rental Car Coverage – Up to $40 per day, with a maximum benefit of $280 per repair visit.
  • Towing and Roadside Assistance – Up to $150 per occurrence.
  • Trip Interruption – In breakdowns that occur more than 100 miles from home, the plan reimburses you up to $200 per day for meals and lodging, with a maximum of $800 per occurrence.
  • Lost Key and Lockout – If your keys are lost, stolen, broken or locked inside the vehicle, the plan reimburses up to $35 for locksmith services.

Car Shield

We provided a full review of Car Shield, and it doesn’t fare very well compared to some of its competitors, mostly because its reviews on several review sites were dismal.

Car Shield offers six different levels of coverage (Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Aluminum, and coverage specific to Motorcycles and ATVs). The difference in coverage is mostly the exclusions. The Diamond level of coverage has the fewest exclusions, while the Aluminum level has the most, meaning that a Diamond plan would theoretically cover more potential service failures than the Aluminum would.

Again, Car Shield is a broker of these plans, not the company that’s actually going to administer them. To us, that’s a negative. There’s not much reason to buy a warranty from a broker, when the companies that provide those warranties are clearly spelled out in the company’s product offerings. Car Shield is located in St. Peters, Missouri, but all of the warranties it offers under “Diamond” level protection are administered by American Auto Shield, located in Lakewood, Colorado. Why not just buy the warranty directly from them and cut out the middleman?

Depending on which level of service you select, Car Shield does provide some additional benefits:

  • Roadside assistance
  • Car rental reimbursement
  • Trip interruption reimbursement

For more information, read our full Car Shield review.

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What’s the Difference between Direct Warranty Providers and Third Party Providers?

The warranties we’ve mentioned here all fall into a couple of different categories:

Third Party Car Warranty Providers

Companies like Carchex and Endurance are third-party warranty providers. They exist only to administer extended warranty services. They’re neither affiliated with your car dealer, nor the manufacturer of your car.

Pros and Cons

  • Service at ANY participating dealer or shop
  • More flexibility in plan offerings
  • Can be less expensive
  • Service by non-manufacturer authorized shops
  • Many fly-by-night operators, so do your research
  • Some high pressure sales tactics

Direct Warranty Providers

Vendors like Chrysler Warranty Direct and the GM Extended Protection Plan are offered and administered by the vehicle manufacturer.

Pros and Cons

  • Service is provided by franchised new car dealers
  • Parts are factory authorized
  • Factory training for technicians
  • Less flexibility in plan offerings
  • Can be more expensive
  • More limited network of shops

When to Consider an Extended Warranty

The biggest thing to consider when you think about buying an extended warranty is how much you could possibly cover if your car suffered a significant failure. 56% of us have less than $5,000 in liquid cash. A third of us have less than $1,000. As you can see in the “Cost of Service of a Modern Vehicle” section below. You can see that a thousand bucks doesn’t provide a lot of service if you really need it. But that’s not the only consideration when thinking about a service contract like this. You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • How long will I keep this car? This is key. If you’re honest with yourself and you realize that you’ve never kept a car for more than four years, an extended warranty probably isn’t a good use of funds.
  • Do I have the money to fix something that’s broken? According to AAA, the average repair bill amounts to about $500, a figure that ⅓ of Americans don’t have the money to pay for. If you’re that person, you might be better off buying an extended warranty and spreading the cost of repair bills out over time.
  • Am I going to read the service contract? The biggest complaint about extended warranties is related to the fact that most people have no idea what’s covered. They need $2,000 worth of brakes and tires, and they’re shocked to learn that the extended warranty doesn’t cover it. It’s important to read and understand the exclusions in the extended warranty before you buy it.
  • What kind of car am I buying? You can roughly predict how reliable your car is going to be by researching its history with services like Consumer Reports or CarComplaints.com. In general, if you’re buying a brand new Honda Accord, you’re less likely to require major services than you are if you bought an Alfa Romeo.
  • Is my car covered under a new car or CPO warranty? Buying additional warranties on top of your original new car warranty isn’t necessarily the best use of your money. You typically have time to purchase an extended warranty if you’re buying a new car, so there’s no point in choosing one at the time of purchase, unless you’re insistent on rolling the monthly cost into your car payment (which is not a good idea if you’re also paying high interest.) You need to understand what protections you have already as part of a new car warranty or a certified pre-owned warranty before you purchase additional protections.
  • Is the warranty transferable? There is some value in an extended warranty even if you do decide to sell the car before the warranty period is over, IF the warranty is transferable to the next owner. Sometimes the transfer comes with a nominal fee, but sometimes the warranty expires when ownership is transferred. Take a close look at the terms in the contract to understand the limitations.

There are more questions to answer in our “Should I Get an Extended Warranty” infographic.

What to Look For in an Extended Warranty (aka Service Contract) for Your Car

Obviously, you want to spend a lot of time looking at the fine print in any of these service contracts, and yes, cost should be a significant consideration. But there are three things that make several stands out above the others:

  • OEM Parts – Again, think of this like you do collision insurance. If you know your insurance company would only pay for the cheapest aftermarket replacement parts, why would you buy it? A service contract that pays for parts that were made by the manufacturer of your vehicle can be better than the alternative.
  • Service at Franchised Dealerships – some service contracts suggest that you can have your car serviced at thousands of shops around the country, but when you’re on vacation in the middle of nowhere you find out that one of those locations is a gas station. Service contracts that work with franchised dealerships with a service staff that is trained and experienced working on your brand of the vehicle can be an advantage.
  • Direct Providers – A direct provider not only sells the contract but administers it, too.

There are service contracts that we like that don’t fall into these categories, though, and we’re not saying they’re bad. In fact, there are very good reasons to purchase one:

  • Aftermarket Parts - Once your vehicle runs out of its original warranty, it’s almost a certainty that you’re going to be using aftermarket parts to fix it if you have to pay for it yourself.
  • Non-Franchised Service Departments - Think of this like HMO coverage. You like the guy in your town that works in your car now, right? It would be great to have a service contract that would pay him, rather than making you go to some “in-network” guy that you’ve never heard of before.
  • Contract Brokers - A few of our recommendations are service contract brokers, meaning that they work with a number of service contract providers to get you the best deal possible.

How Much Do Extended Warranties (Service Contracts) Cost?

Ah, that’s the eternal question and we’re providing a slippery answer: It depends.

There are simply too many factors to nail down exactly what a service contract or extended warranty is going to cost.

The greatest cost advantage you’ll realize is if you’re buying a service contract at the time you purchased a new car. In general, the company providing the service contract is going to be more likely to cut you a deal on a service contract if your original warranty is still in effect. They’re also more likely to be less expensive if you’re attempting to buy a service contract for a one-owner, low mileage vehicle than something that’s had more owners than your local newspaper.

If we looked at an average cost for a warranty, you’re looking at around $1,200. The thing to consider, though, is based on surveys from consumer groups, the average savings for repairs paid for with a service contract only amounts to about $900. In other words, if you end up getting more repairs paid for than you paid in service contract fees, you’re kind of a rarity.

What’s Covered by Your Original Warranty?

Before you even begin to do your research on extended warranties, you should know if you are already covered.

The only warranty that’s an actual “warranty” is the written guarantee from the manufacturer that agrees to repair your car if one of its parts fails during a specific period of time and/or mileage. If you’re the original owner of a brand new car, you got one of those when you purchased it. You may have also had that original warranty transferred to you if you were the second owner of a car and bought it when the time and/or mileage of the original warranty hadn’t run out.

Those original warranties break down into a few different categories:

  • Powertrain Warranty - The original powertrain warranty covers anything related to how your vehicle powers itself down the road. Engine, transmission, transfer case, differential, all of these items are typically covered in a powertrain warranty. Time and mileage on these can range from just four years or 50,000 miles (hello, Mercedes-Benz) to 10 years or 100,000 miles (Hyundai, Genesis, Kia, Mitsubishi).
  • Basic Coverage Warranty - Often referred to as the “bumper-to-bumper” warranty, it basically covers everything that isn’t either powertrain or basic maintenance related. It won’t cover tires and brake pads, but it will cover just about anything else. Most of the industry provides a four year, 50,000-mile basic warranty, but a lot of manufacturers are at three years or 36,000 miles now. The longest is Volkswagen at six years or 72,000 miles.
  • Corrosion Warranty - Back in the 1970s and 1980s, you could hear cars rust on the showroom floor. Now, manufacturers protect the sheet metal on their vehicles for a good long time. Mercedes-Benz is the shortest at four years or 50,000 miles. BMW, Mini, Audi, Porsche, and Volvo offer an amazing 12 year, unlimited mileage corrosion warranty. Something to think about when buying a car where salt is used on the roads.
  • Emissions Warranty - If your vehicle has a failing emissions component and you’re the first owner, there’s a good chance that the manufacturer will fix it for free. That’s not because they’re nice, it’s because the government mandates it. The EPA’s emissions warranty is good for eight years or 80,000 miles. “Extended warranties” or “service contracts” really only kick in AFTER those original warranties have run out. If you buy one of those when the car is brand new and roll it into your monthly payment, you’re paying for that warranty for YEARS before you can ever collect on it. That’s why extended warranty companies allow you to purchase warranties for years after you’ve owned your car.

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What About My Certified Pre-Owned Warranty?

The only real “extended warranty” that comes from the manufacturer is the extension of coverage that comes if you purchase one of the cars it offers through a Certified Pre-Owned program.

Manufacturers like Lexus will extend the original Basic Coverage out to six years with unlimited mileage, which is pretty sweet if you drive a lot. It also throws in things like up to four factory recommended services in the span of two years or 20,000 miles.

If you’re looking at used cars and you have the choice between a car with or without the Certified Pre-Owned stamp of approval with the extension of the original warranty coverage, the one with it is almost always the better deal.

The Cost of Service in a Modern Vehicle may Justify an Extended Warranty

There was a time when most consumer watchdogs would never advocate purchasing a service contract. Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, for example, cars were infinitely more reliable than they had been in the 1970s. Yet, they were still relatively simple machines; the only really expensive things that went wrong were the engine and the transmission, and they’d become reliable enough to make service contracts redundant.

It’s a different story in the modern era, though. Whether you purchase a car that was built in Japan, South Korea, England, Italy, Germany, or the United States, they are uniformly expensive to repair, and while the engine and transmission are still both expensive, some of the systems that monitor and regulate their performance are staggeringly costly to repair. If you own a car from the 2010s, it is the single most powerful computer you own. They can be unreliable, and they’re expensive to fix.

The computer network that makes your car operate is more complex than you can imagine. Your average Chrysler, for example, has 44 different computer modules that manage everything from the fuel/air ratio to the speed of the windshield wipers. The cost to replace some of these modules can be as expensive as replacing a rear differential. Take a look at the cost of replacing the Engine Control Module for a vehicle as pedestrian as the Chrysler 300 with a 3.6-liter V-6. The part alone costs almost $700. Considering diagnostic time and labor to actually perform the replacement and you could easily be past $1,200. Another good example is an auto stop/start technology. This feature was introduced as a means of scavenging a bit of extra fuel economy when the car was stuck in traffic and not actually moving. The idea is sound: Why spend money idling your fuel away when the car can automatically turn off and on in traffic?

You start running into problems, though, with how that system works. It seems simple enough. You turn your car off and on every day, right? The difference is that you turn your car off and on when the gear shift is in “PARK.” Auto stop-start does it when the vehicle is in “DRIVE,” something that was expressly forbidden in the owner’s manual in cars since the advent of the automatic transmission. To make auto stop/start work, pressure has to be maintained in the transmission’s hydraulic system. That requires an additional electric pump. In the case of a lot of vehicles, that pump is housed within the transmission. If it fails, it means the transmission needs to be removed and serviced, something that nobody ever wants to have to pay for.

The list of Very Expensive Technology You Do Not Want to Pay For if it Fails is getting longer by the day. Radar-guided cruise control, lane-keeping assist, automatic emergency braking, cross-traffic alert: all of these technologies are great and are hard at work saving lives, but the expense of keeping them working long after the original basic warranty has expired is something you don’t want to have to take on.

Is an Extended Warranty Worth It?

As with everything, it depends. If you’re driving something with an exceptional reputation for reliability, you probably shouldn’t spend the money. However, if you’re driving something British, you should’ve bought that service contract already. What are you waiting for? Your transmission already fell out.

The best thing to do is spend some time researching your car’s (or your intended car’s) repair history. Our friends at CarComplaints can give you a good idea of the potential trouble issues. You also want to research the cost of specific repairs. Your car might be generally reliable but prone to failures of the Engine Control Unit, which might be particularly expensive for your model. You’d want to know that before you make a decision on whether to purchase a warranty or not.

We found a Dear Car Talk letter with Tom and Ray that we think does a great job summarizing how you should decide whether an extended warranty is worth the extra cash. Here it is:

Dear Tom and Ray:

We just picked up a new Fiat 500C, and we were pondering the lifetime warranty. Before the car hits 10,000 miles, we have to decide whether to buy it. The cost is around $3,000. Is something like this worth it? We would like to keep the car for 10-15 years. Cheers!

Karl

RAY: Generally speaking, extended warranties are not worth it. Why? Because if insurance companies didn't take in more money from premiums -- overall -- than they spent on repairs, they would stop selling the things.

TOM: But that doesn't mean it's not worth it to you. Maybe you're buying a car with unknown long-term reliability? Hint: You are.

RAY: Or maybe you're someone who sleeps better knowing for certain that you'll never get a call from the service manager telling you that the estimate for your new engine is $6,400.

TOM: But there are two variables to consider. The most important is the fine print.

RAY: What does this "lifetime warranty" actually cover? Is it a complete extension of the factory warranty? Is it just the powertrain? Does it cover body hardware and electrical issues? What, specifically, is excluded? "Wear items," like brakes and shocks? TOM: What's the deductible? Are there conditions you have to meet to keep the warranty in force? For instance, do you have to get your car serviced regularly at the dealership? Do you have to keep written records of all of your services and oil changes?

RAY: If you don't feel capable of doing a "close read" of the warranty's fine print by yourself, then it's worth paying an independent mechanic you trust to read it and go over it with you. You want to know what is and isn't covered. Your mechanic also can talk to you about how often he sees the kinds of repairs that are covered, and how often he sees those that aren't.

TOM: Once you know what kind of warranty you're actually buying, then you can try to guess the likelihood that you'll spend $3,000 on those kinds of repairs in the years that you own your car.

RAY: Also keep in mind that the price of the warranty is negotiable. Like most "parts," an extended warranty is bought by the dealer at one price, and sold to you at a higher price -- sometimes double. So you often can negotiate a lower price.

TOM: But don't do anything until you understand what the warranty actually covers. It may be a great warranty, with a low deductible and very few exclusions or requirements. And it may help you sleep well for the next 15 years.

RAY: Or it may have more holes in it than my brother's favorite underwear. And you may decide you're better off buying a second Fiat 500C and just driving whichever one is working on a given day. Good luck, Karl.

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FAQ

Who offers the best car warranty?

We’re fans of extended warranties that are offered by the same company that manufactures the car. Mopar Vehicle Protection, for example, is a product of the same company that produces your Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, RAM, Fiat, or Alfa Romeo vehicle. It’s more tailored to those specific vehicles. Those are a better choice than the less familiar brands that purport to have warranties for all brands.

Is it worth it to buy an extended car warranty?

On average, probably not. Most people end up saving less than a plan would cost. But that’s the average. There are a lot of people running around with ultra-reliable cars like Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys that buy extended warranty coverage and never use it. Then there are people who buy extended warranties on their Range Rover and end up saving more than the vehicle was worth in the first place.

What is the average price for an extended car warranty?

On average, an extended warranty will run between $1,200 and $1,500. That price will go up the longer you want coverage, or the smaller deductible you choose.

Does AAA offer extended warranties?

No. If you are looking for an extended warranty check with our manufacturer or a reputable provider like Endurance or CARCHEX.

Can I get an extended warranty for a new car?

Yes you can, and it’s sometimes an advantage to do so. You can roll the cost into your monthly payment if you’d rather not pay for it separately.

Can I get an extended warranty for a used car?

Yes, depending on the mileage and how old the car is. Usually, those mileage caps tend to kick in around 100,000 miles, and the vehicle typically needs to be less than eight years old.

Is CarShield a reliable car warranty company?

Although not a direct provider, CarShield does a great job of building awareness about its brokerage services. The Better Business Bureau, however, advises caution when considering doing business with CarShield and even gives them an F rating, so we'd recommend reviewing our checklist of how to find a reputable car warranty company.

Where can I get my car repaired with an extended warranty?

It totally depends on the contract. Some service contracts require that you have your car repaired at franchised dealerships. Others say you can get the car repaired anywhere, but require a lot of phone calls ahead of time on the part of the garage so that the cost of repair can be pre-approved. Every extended warranty is different, so read the fine print.

What if I already have a car warranty from the manufacturer?

That’s fantastic. It will cover your vehicle at no cost because that warranty was provided by the original manufacturer. But that warranty typically runs out in three or four years. Extended warranties and service contracts provide coverage after the original warranty has expired.

How much does an extended car warranty cost?

In general terms, an extended car warranty is going to cost between $800 and $1,000 that covers most major components with a $100 deductible on a new or a low-mileage used car.

Editor's note and disclaimer: Car Talk is supported by our fans, readers and listeners. When you click on some of the links on our website, we may receive referral compensation. However, you should know that the recommendations we make are based on our independent editorial review and analyses.