What To Do When Your Extended Car Warranty Claim is Denied

Car breakdowns are a huge downer, and can ruin an otherwise perfect road trip. However, if you’ve got an extended warranty, you may not have to worry at all. The word “may” in the previous sentence is doing some heavy lifting, though, because not all warranties are created equal and not all companies approve claims in the same way. If you’re looking for more information on what to do if your claim is denied, read on.

The Extended Warranty Claims Process

In general, car warranty claims operate almost exactly as you’d think they would. When you experience a mechanical problem or failure, you take the vehicle to an approved service center and the warranty handles the costs. However, depending on the type of warranty you have, what it covers, and the type of issue you’re having, you may not experience a smooth ride getting your repairs covered.

Warranty providers have strict parameters on what is and is not covered, and even stricter parameters around how the vehicle was treated and what caused the issue. If you skip maintenance or mistreat your vehicle, your claim may be denied. If the breakdown is caused by an uncovered component, you may see a denial. Finally, your warranty coverage may include some limitations on where your car is serviced, which means your claim may be denied if you take the car to an unapproved shop.

What To Do If Your Warranty Claim is Denied

Automakers and warranty companies are in business to make money, which means that they are not jumping with joy to pay every claim that walks through their doors. As a result, there can sometimes be a breakdown in communication between the repair facility and warranty provider over what is and is not covered. When this happens, your claim may be denied, but don’t panic.

A claim denial is not the end of the road. Once you’ve received an official claim denial, you should ask for a copy of the decision in writing. You’ll need this information to share with your repair facility. Find out if the shop agrees with the denial decision, and if they do not, it’s a good idea to get their thoughts in writing as well.

Once you’ve gathered information from the shop and have a copy of the denial letter in hand, it’s time to start the appeals process. Call your warranty provider and ask about the steps you’ll need to take to appeal their decision. You’ll need to walk through your claims experience from start to finish, and describe the shop’s opinion.

To be completely honest, you may not have a chance at overturning the denial decision, but if you’re armed with the right information and handle the process in a detailed and timely manner, there’s a good chance your denial can be successfully appealed.

Common Reasons an Extended Warranty Claim is Denied

The Broken “Thing” Is Not Covered

The most common reason warranty claims are denied is that whatever is broken is not covered. Every warranty comes with a list of what is, and is not covered, so it’s important that you understand what’s going on before filing a claim. Make sure to read your contract fully.

You Abused the Vehicle or Skipped Service Visits

If there’s a suspicion that you raced the vehicle, abused it, or neglected it, you may have a warranty claim denied. Warranty providers want to see that you followed the manufacturer’s guidelines for things like oil changes and service visits as well, and you may not be able to get your claim approved if you’ve skipped out. Also if you used your vehicle for ride-sharing work, this might also void any warranty claims. Read your contract completely before engaging in this type of work, as it results in some serious wear and tear on your car.

You’ve Modified Your Vehicle

Modifications are great, and can add power, style, and character to your vehicle. They are not, however, great for auto warranties. Your warranty may allow for some non-permanent modifications, but in most cases modifying your vehicle is a big no-no.

What Recourse Do You Have?

If your claim is denied and your best efforts at an appeal have been rebuffed, you may still have some options. Depending on where you live, your state may offer consumer protection services designed to assist in these situations. Read more on understanding warranty laws by state here. You may also be able to complain to a higher-up in the company by tracking down an email or contact for them, and complaining loudly on social media and review sites may attract some attention to your case.

At the end of the day, however, pursuing a warranty claim in court or through other legal avenues may not be worth it from a monetary standpoint. You’ll end up spending more on legal fees and court costs than the claim itself is worth if you lose.

Tips for Getting Your Auto Warranty Claim Approved

To have the best chances at getting your claim approved, you should:

  • Make sure that the broken component is covered under the warranty
  • Keep up with maintenance on your vehicle and do no abuse it
  • Avoid modifying your vehicle
  • Do not race or abuse your vehicle

Choosing a Good Extended Warranty Provider

The old saying that “you get what you pay for” applies in the case of extended warranties, but cost-cutting should not be your primary approach to shopping for a warranty. While warranty providers may offer services that sound and look quite similar to each other, there may be slight variations in how they handle claims, where you can take your vehicle, and how often they approve claims. All of that said, the most important factor when shopping for a warranty is that you’re comfortable with the company, the warranty, and the claims process.

To read more on this topic, you can check out our Extended Warranties Insider’s Guide and our top recommendations for the 8 Best Extended Warranties in the industry today.

Car Talk's Top Rated Warranty Companies

4.9 of 5

CARCHEX is one of the largest, most highly-rated providers of vehicle extended warranties in the market. They have been a trusted name in the business for 20 years.

4.9 of 5

autopom! is well known in the industry for customer service and responsiveness. The company works directly with 2600 certified repair facilities and has a dedicated customer advocacy program.

4.9 of 5

Liberty Bell has one of the best reputations and covers more vehicle makes than other warranty companies. This provider has a solid reputation with excellent customer service ratings and has been around for over a decade.

4.3 of 5

Toco Warranty Corporation is a relative newcomer in the industry, but they are making a splash. They maintain a solid reputation with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Toco is known for offering affordable plans with no down payment and the ability to pay in monthly installments.

4.3 of 5

Mercury Insurance Company has been in business since 1961. They offer a variety of products to insure everything from your car, to your business. Their extended warranty offerings are known as ‘mechanical protection’ plans.

4.1 of 5

Concord Auto Protect has great reviews and is one of the only companies to have ASE certified technicians available when filing claims. Roadside assistance, towing and rental car options are available with every plan they offer.

3.8 of 5

Endurance Extended Car Warranty company is one of the most popular and trusted providers in the business. Endurance coverage is accepted at any dealership and at any ASE-certified mechanic, and features a 30-day money back guarantee.

3.7 of 5

Protect My Car offers extended warranties for a variety of vehicles and conditions. This provider maintains solid positive reviews due to their customer service and flexibility. Their warranty offerings are also transferable and refundable.

2.7 of 5

CarShield is a company that offers an aftermarket warranty on your car, truck, crossover, or motorcycle. The reviews for this company vary widely, with some questionable practices coming to light, so we suggest researching them fully, and strongly consider the alternatives available.

N/A

Ally Extended Car Warranty is one of the most reputable warranty companies in the business. Ally is a recognized, legitimate company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange, and it’s part of one of the country’s largest financial institutions.

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EasyCare has been in the industry for over 30 years and maintains a positive reputation for its car warranty products, an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and rideshare and commercial coverage.

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Zurich Insurance Group is one of the longest-running and largest insurance companies in the world. The company was founded in 1872 in Switzerland. Zurich policies are highly regarded and maintain an A+ BBB rating. However, they are only available through dealerships when purchasing your vehicle.

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Route 66 has been in the warranty business for over 33 years. Their contracts are fully insured and backed by Assurant Solutions and they provide coverage throughout the United States. Their policies are offered only through financial institutions.

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If you’ve got an FCA vehicle, which means Chrysler, Dodge, RAM, Jeep, Alfa Romeo or Fiat, you should seriously consider a Chrysler Warranty Direct policy. They are a direct provider, they utilize only OEM parts and all work is performed at FCA dealerships by trained technicians.

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This protection plan is a great idea for GM vehicles such as Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. The GM plan can extend the coverage of your vehicle by up to 10 years. What sets them apart from the competition is this plan is a true extension of the original warranty provided by General Motors.

See all warranty providers »

FAQ

How do I dispute an auto warranty claim?

It’s best to dispute warranty claims in writing and to gather as much documentation from both your repair facility and the warranty company as possible.

How do I appeal a warranty claim?

Different companies may have different rules on the appeal/dispute process, but again, it’s best to handle the process in writing and to gather as much information as you can from the shop and the warranty provider.

Can you sue your warranty company?

You can sue a warranty company, but be advised that the process may be more expensive and complicated than it’s worth. However, in some cases, a certified letter from an attorney may be enough to get the wheels turning in your favor.

What is the best extended warranty?

The best extended warranty and warranty company will depend on your needs and how you feel about the company and its services. Research the items that are covered and talk to someone at the company to understand how their claims process works. Yes, you may receive some spam calls as a result, but the pain is worth the payoff.

How long does a company have to honor a warranty?

Timing will largely depend on where you live and on the consumer laws that have been implemented by your state. Your warranty company may also have policies on how long it takes to pay a claim, and on when certain actions are set to take place. Read more on extended warranty laws in our state-by-state guide.

What can void my auto warranty?

You can void your auto warranty by ignroing maintenance requirements, racing or abusing your car, adding modifications and obviously, wrecking your car. You might also lose warranty coverage if the car has been stolen of damaged.

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.
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