We’ll walk you through what Endurance extended car warranties cover, how the warranty packages compare, and how to get a fair deal.
First, the basics… Endurance is an aftermarket automotive warranty company that provides new coverage or extensions to vehicles’ factory warranties. Almost like a healthcare insurance company, Endurance says that it pays the repair shop directly for work performed under its warranties. The company is a direct provider, which means that they only sell the warranties that they administer.
Anyone that has ever looked at a mobile phone has been on the receiving end of calls “regarding your vehicle’s warranty”. The problem is so widespread that several memes and news stories have sprouted up around the issue, but in between all of the spam there are actual companies with actual warranties worth looking at, and Endurance is likely one of them.
Endurance offers warranties that cover everything from the air conditioning system to turbochargers and superchargers. Depending on the age, value, and condition of your vehicle, the company has four different warranties that come with varying levels of coverage. When a repair claim is submitted, the company will pay directly for parts and labor to the shop. The company says that its warranty coverage is accepted at any dealership and at any ASE-licensed mechanic. If you are unsure about your warranty purchase, the company has a 30-day money back guarantee.
Understanding the warranty options that are available to you is a great way to make sure you’re getting the best deal, but first you’ll need to determine if you actually need to buy extended coverage. Several used car experts caution against buying the extended warranty, because many times the cost of the coverage outweighs any repairs that might be needed. There are cases in which buying an extended warranty can be a great idea, especially if the vehicle being covered is notoriously unreliable. If you’re dead set on buying an extended warranty, Autotrader recommends that you choose an exclusion warranty, like Endurance’s Supreme, that covers everything on the vehicle except the things it specifically excludes. These exclusions are listed prominently on the service contract and take away any doubt about what will and won’t be covered.
Extended warranties are a bad idea for people that like to switch vehicles every couple of years or if the vehicle is still covered under the factory warranty. In these cases, you may not even own the vehicle when the factory warranty expires, so you’ll have paid extra for nothing. You may also want to pass on the extra warranty if the vehicle you’re driving has very good reliability ratings. Certain vehicles, like the Toyota Corolla, have a smaller chance of significant mechanical breakdowns compared to others, and paying extra for coverage may be a waste.
The first thing you should know when shopping for an extended warranty is that buying one from the dealership where you bought your vehicle is probably a bad idea. Dealers mark up everything that isn’t tied down, and warranties are no exception. If you really want to buy and finance a warranty along with the price of your used vehicle, try to find out the dealer’s cost for the coverage and then offer $100-$200 on top of that.
Dealing with a separate warranty company may not allow as much flexibility, since the markups are (hopefully) smaller, but there are still steps to take to make sure you’re getting a good deal:
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Endurance offers four different warranty types that cover different parts of the vehicle. The company has low-cost packages for high mileage vehicles all the way up to comprehensive coverage for late-model vehicles. We’ll break down the options here, starting with the lower-cost options:
Endurance’s Premiere warranty is designed for high-mileage vehicles that are presumably less valuable and have a higher risk of mechanical failure. The warranty covers:
The company says that its Secure warranty is its most affordable, and that it is designed to cover the components that are most vital to vehicle operation and the costliest to repair. The Secure warranty covers:
The Endurance Superior warranty covers most vehicle components, which means that it could almost be considered comprehensive. Nearly every part of the vehicle is covered, including:
As the name suggests, the Supreme warranty offers bumper-to-bumper coverage and is Endurance’s most comprehensive vehicle protection plan. It covers everything that the Superior warranty does, plus gaskets.
Endurance offers an “add-on” warranty plan called Secure Plus, which includes the coverage level of its Premiere warranty with an expedited service waiting period.
Beyond warranty coverage, members of Endurance’s services receive benefits that can help keep things rolling when a breakdown occurs. The program is called Endurance Elite and is provided to all members for the first year of their warranty coverage at no charge. Services include:
Endurance is different from many other warranty providers, in that you can’t just stroll onto the company website and look up a rate or specifics on coverage. Secret shoppers from Motor1 found that the longest coverage they could get from Endurance was eight years or 125,000 miles. This could differ based on the age and mileage of your vehicle, as will the costs, but it’s a good indication of the maximum coverage that Endurance offers.
Another difference, this time positive, is the fact that Endurance is a direct provider. Many warranty companies are just middle-people, or pass-throughs for the actual provider, which can slow down claim services and make getting ahold of someone to ask questions or raise a concern very difficult. The company has been in business for over ten years and is backed by an AM Best A-rated insurance company.
While Endurance’s Elite Membership package sounds like a great deal, the benefits included with the program only last for the first year of warranty coverage. The company requires that members renew after the first year, which brings costs along with it. Some of Endurance’s competitors offer similar programs that run for the duration of the warranty coverage.
Without solid pricing and policy information, it may seem hard to compare Endurance to its competitors, but we have some great clues to get us started:
Endurance doesn’t explicitly advertise no deductibles, which is prominently featured for every other company that offers it Other companies offer rental vehicle coverage or reimbursement in their plans, which is not listed as part of Endurance’s services The short duration of Endurance’s benefits package is disappointing when compared against its competitors, many of which offer the coverage for the full length of the warranty
Endurance could be the best company for you if your priority is on straightforward customer service and a relatively transparent claims process. This alone adds significant value to the company’s coverage plans, because nothing is worse than wading through formalities when you’re trying to get your vehicle fixed in a hurry. That said, Endurance’s service offerings fall just short of those offered by its competitors and other warranty services like CARCHEX have earned high marks for customer service as well. Shopping around, we can see that many competitors offer up to ten years of coverage and some come with unlimited mileage limits for certain vehicles. Endurance stacks up well for its service, but you may find better value with another provider.
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Endurance Elite is a roadside assistance plan that essentially works like a AAA membership. It offers the basic towing, out of gas and lockout services that a AAA membership provides, plus lots of services like lost key fob replacement.
Endurance offers FIVE different levels of warranty coverage (Select Premier, Secure, Secure Plus, Superior and Supreme) that all cover the basic internal engine components, transmission, drive axles, major electrical components, A/C, heating, cooling and fuel systems. From that Select Premier level, the plans add more components at additional cost, until you hit Supreme, which covers everything with the exception of a short list of exclusions.
Yes, you can change your mind if you purchase an Endurance warranty and then decide that you don’t want it. The company considers the first 30 days a “review period.” According to Endurance, “If you decide for any reason that this isn't the extended auto warranty for you, simply call our customer service line. As long as you haven't used your policy during those 30 days, we'll be happy to refund your money and cancel your extended warranty.”
There used to be. It was called the Vehicle Protection Association (VPA) and it was a non-profit that claimed to represent extended warranties and establish a code of conduct by which these companies operated. It doesn’t appear to be in service anymore, though. A visit to the website returns a not found message.
It’s not a great indicator of the performance of these companies. For example, one company we looked at had an A+ rating from the BBB, despite having almost 100 consumer complaints, mostly related to their predatory marketing practices, including the "DEMAND" and "Invoice" letters we mentioned above.
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