Your initial manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t last forever. Once it runs out, you’re responsible for the repairs on your car, which can be costly. Sitting in a waiting room drinking stale coffee while a mechanic tries to identify the cause of that weird rattle or strange smell emanating from beneath the hood is no fun. Will you be able to swing the cost or will you need to sell a kidney? Opting to purchase an extended warranty can alleviate that anxiety and ensure you hold onto both your kidneys. Here’s what you need to know about extended car warranties and why they may be a good choice for you.
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An extended warranty is more accurately described as a “service plan.” Think of it as if you’re prepaying for maintenance. It offers coverage for repairs after the initial manufacturer’s warranty runs out, or sometimes covers things that a traditional warranty won’t. Unlike the original bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranty that comes with a new vehicle warranty, you will have to pay extra for this extended coverage. How much extra depends on the car you buy and the warranty terms you choose. While the coverage offered by an extended warranty is often similar to the initial vehicle warranty, it’s rarely exactly the same. There’s also a good bit of flexibility with the ability to customize the extended warranty to your preferences.
An extended warranty provides peace of mind. It reduces the chance you’ll have to pay for unexpected repairs and sell that kidney, but it’s not a necessity, nor is it right for everyone. You must weigh the costs of the warranty, how easily you can pay for unexpected repairs as they arise, and how long you plan to keep your car before deciding to buy an extended warranty.
The answer isn’t the same for everyone. If you are worried about paying for repairs after your initial warranty runs out, especially if coming up with the cash to pay for repairs on short notice is a challenge, then an extended warranty could be a good call. We created a decision tree to help you figure out if an extended warranty is right for you.
Those who drive long distance and quickly rack up lots of miles may also benefit from an extended warranty. If you hit the initial mileage limits quickly, then the extended warranty can help defray repair costs that could happen while your car is still relatively new.
On the flip side, if you’re comfortable with the idea of paying for repairs as they happen and aren’t particularly worried about finding the cash, then an extended warranty might not be a good idea. This is also true if you don’t drive much, which means you’re going to have years before the initial vehicle warranty runs out and even then might not have put enough miles on your car to warrant many repairs.
Keep in mind that an extended warranty doesn’t cover everything. Whether or not you choose to purchase one, there will be repairs and maintenance costs that need to be factored into your budget.
They can save on costly repairs and offer peace of mind if you’re worried about the cost of repairs blowing your budget. Just remember that there’s always the chance you won’t need the coverage and could have saved more by not paying for one in the first place.
There are lots of extended car warranty providers that offer flexible plans at a wide range of prices. You can purchase directly through the dealership or you can choose to purchase from a third party. Choose a warranty that you can afford and that offers coverage of the items that concern you most.
The cost can vary widely. It all depends on your car and the warranty you select. Plan to pay anywhere from $350-$750 a year.
An extended car warranty is often quite similar to the initial manufacturer’s warranty, but it’s likely not exactly the same so read the fine print. You can customize an extended warranty to cover the things that concern you most so don’t be afraid to ask for something different if what is offered doesn’t fit your needs. Wear and tear items are not a part of warranty coverage.
No. It’ll be offered, but you can absolutely decline. You can buy an extended car warranty at any time before the initial manufacturer’s warranty expires.
While you or your personal mechanic can work on your car without voiding your warranty, work that is covered under the warranty is different. Some only cover the costs of warranty work if it’s done at an authorized repair center, so double check before the repairs are done.
The best way to get a good price is to compare offers. These are some popular options...