Between the monthly payments, auto insurance, and car repairs, it’s not cheap to own a vehicle. With a new car, you have some protection against mechanical failure with the factory warranty, but what about when that coverage ends? The best option to cover repairs would be an aftermarket car warranty, also called a vehicle protection plan or vehicle service contract.

With so many options to choose from, you have to do some research to find the provider that fits your needs. We’ve done the work for you by explaining all you need to know on aftermarket auto warranties below and assessing warranty providers on customer service and industry reputation. We’ve compiled our results to explain the best extended car warranty companies. Compare quotes between some of these top-ranked providers.

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What Is An Aftermarket Car Warranty?

An aftermarket warranty provides protection once the factory coverage expires. You can add it anytime, not just when you purchase the vehicle. Aftermarket car warranties can also be called extended auto warranties, though technically, these are both vehicle service contracts commonly provided by third-party providers.

These auto protection plans cover the cost of repair parts and labor, just like the manufacturer’s warranty, and are a common source of vehicle protection, especially for used cars.

Where Can I Get An Aftermarket Car Warranty?

You can get an aftermarket car warranty from a dealership or third-party company. With the dealership, you have access to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts and factory-trained technicians. Usually, you must take your car to that manufacturer’s service centers. This can either be a perk or very limiting.

A third-party aftermarket auto warranty offers more flexibility. You can go to any licensed repair shop and visit a mechanic of your choice.

Types Of Aftermarket Auto Warranty Plans

Aftermarket auto warranties come in many different varieties. Like factory warranties, the limits are designated by year and mileage, with the plan expiring when one of the limits is reached. For example, a 5-year/60,000-mile plan would expire for both of these scenarios: the car is 5 years old and has 40,000 miles, or the car is 4 years old but has 60,000 miles.

The best providers allow drivers to choose from a number of different coverage lengths. They also let drivers choose what items the plans cover. Many companies have around five basic coverage options that follow a formula like this:

  • Exclusionary coverage: The highest level is similar to a factory bumper-to-bumper warranty and lists the things that it doesn’t cover to define the plan. It covers almost all mechanical parts of the car. Like a factory warranty, it won’t cover wear and tear, misuse, or neglect.
  • High-stated coverage: The next level is the highest level of stated coverage – every covered part is listed out on the contract. This plan level can cover hundreds of separate components.
  • Medium-stated coverage: This level usually covers most of the main systems of the car and includes things like A/C, steering, and electrical components.
  • Low-stated coverage: Also known as a “powertrain plus” type plan, this covers the powertrain along with a few important systems.
  • Basic powertrain: This is the least that an extended warranty covers and is comparable to a powertrain warranty. It covers repair costs of the engine, drivetrain, and transmission. These can be costly repairs, so it’s a good idea to protect them on high-mileage cars.

Aftermarket Automotive Warranty Flexibility

Aftermarket auto warranties also provide more flexibility compared to factory or dealership warranties. For example, factory extended warranties usually have to be purchased before the standard warranty expires. In some cases, you have to get an extended warranty at the time you purchase your new car – how would you know if you need one that early?

In contrast, aftermarket auto warranties can be added on at any point in time. They can also last a lot longer compared to factory extended warranties. For example, Toyota’s longest extended warranty coverage lasts until 125,000 miles, but plans from our top aftermarket picks can last up to 200,000 or 250,000 miles.

What Perks Come With Aftermarket Car Warranties?

Now, many drivers like to stick with dealer-backed coverage for the other perks that come along with it. However, you can get many of the same perks with aftermarket options, too. Here are a few perks that you can find from some of the best providers:

  • 24-hour roadside assistance and towing
  • Trip interruption benefits
  • Rental car reimbursement
  • Repair financing (non-covered repairs)
  • ID theft protection

How Much Does An Aftermarket Car Warranty Cost?

Based on quotes we received from more than 30 warranty  companies, the average cost of an extended warranty is about $2,862 per year. The pricing of an aftermarket auto warranty depends on several factors, including: 

  • Vehicle age
  • Vehicle mileage
  • Vehicle make and model
  • Level of protection you want
  • Chosen deductible
  • Provider you choose

The only way to know how much you would pay for an aftermarket car warranty is to get a quote. We recommend reaching out to at least three providers as you shop around for coverage.

Who Provides Aftermarket Auto Warranties?

While there are only a few dozen car companies, there are many more vehicle service contract companies. Here are just a few:

Obviously, not all of these companies will provide the same level of service or offer a good variety of plan options. That’s why it’s important to shop around and compare different providers. You need to decide what the most important thing is for you. Maybe you really want to have roadside assistance or a $0 deductible, or maybe you just want the simplest powertrain coverage for a few expensive parts.

Do I Need An Aftermarket Car Warranty?

You may never have been in an accident, but you still need car insurance. The reasoning for an extended car warranty follows the same principle. You may not need it right now, but if you ever do, you will be glad the protection was in place.

According to AAA, 64 million Americans don’t have the funds to cover an unexpected car repair costs. Instead, they would be required to go into debt to cover the bill. Are you in this group of people? An average repair bill totals between $500 and $600, but when a major component breaks, you are looking at far more.

Aftermarket Car Repair Warranty Cost

Repair prices also have to do with the average reliability of your car. Coverage for more reliable vehicles will be cheaper since the warranty companies expects to pay out less. A 2017 Toyota with 30,000 miles will fetch a much different price than a 2012 BMW with 80,000 miles.

Here are a few of the average prices for expensive car components, according to data from DRiV.

ComponentAverage Price
Engine control unit$500 to $1,500
Turbocharger$500 to $2,500
Hybrid or electric car battery$1,000 to $4,000
Airbags$1,700 to $2,500

These estimates aren’t even dealing with the cost of replacing an engine or transmission. If you had to face one of these repairs today, could you handle it with ease, or would the costly repair cause a good amount of stress?

With extended car warranties, you can opt for coverage that provides you with peace of mind. That way, if something should break, you don’t need to worry about how you are going to pay for it.

There are a variety of aftermarket vehicle warranty plans available, so you can customize the coverage you want. If you only need protection for the main parts of the vehicle, choose a powertrain warranty. If you feel more comfortable knowing that everything is covered, you might do better with a bumper-to-bumper plan instead.

Are Aftermarket Car Warranties Worth It?

An aftermarket auto warranty is a good idea to provide peace of mind after your factory coverage has expired, especially if you missed the window for adding a dealer-backed extended plan. We think there are a few reasons to pick an aftermarket plan over a dealer one, anyway. Aftermarket plans can also be useful if you buy a used car – you might not know its service history, so the added protection could be a lifesaver later on.

Many aftermarket warranties have flexible payment plans to make budgeting easier. But as you shop around, be careful to read the fine print. A number of complaints about extended warranties begin with a misunderstanding of what was covered under the contract. Reputable extended car warranty companies will provide sample contracts and will go over each point of your contract with you in detail.

The main thing to figure out is if a small monthly payment is worth the peace of mind that a warranty can bring. If you go without a warranty, you should definitely keep an extra grand or two of cash in the bank to cover auto repairs once your car has a few miles under its belt.

If you’re new to shopping for warranties, definitely take a minute to get to know the red flags. Learn more in our guide to the worst extended auto warranty companies.

Aftermarket Auto Warranty: Conclusion

An aftermarket auto warranty can provide you with peace of mind after your factory warranty expires. Most third-party providers offer a range of plan options from powertrain plans to bumper-to-bumper, so you can choose what fits your budget and needs. We recommend reaching out to at least three aftermarket auto warranty providers to compare and contrast coverage options and costs.

Best Aftermarket Car Warranty Companies

If you’re looking for extra coverage for car repairs, these are the companies that should be on your shopping list: Endurance, CARCHEX, and Protect My Car. All of these providers let car owners visit their favorite auto repair facilities, choose deductibles starting at $0, and enjoy a variety of perks.

Endurance: 4.6 Stars

Out of all the companies we reviewed, we found Endurance to be the best coverage provider. It’s a direct provider, meaning Endurance manages all the plans that it sells, and you’ll work with the same company throughout the life of your plan.

Endurance extended warranties come with a free one-year membership of Endurance Elite – that includes roadside assistance, key fob replacement, ID theft services, tire replacement, and more. Endurance auto warranty reviews are mainly positive with reports of great customer service. Find out why and get a free quote from Endurance below.

CARCHEX: 4.4 Stars

CARCHEX has a great customer service record and is endorsed by industry leaders like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com. The warranty company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau with accreditation – not many other aftermarket auto warranty providers are accredited.

A CARCHEX extended warranty can come in five different levels ranging from basic plans to plans similar to bumper-to-bumper coverage. Get to know the plan options and request a free quote below.

Protect My Car: 4.3 Stars

Protect My Car is our choice for best maintenance benefits. The provider also has great customer reviews, as it has a 4.6-star rating on Trustpilot with nearly 2,000 reviews. Something unique about Protect My Car is that it has an Ambassador warranty plan that covers maintenance services such oil changes and tire rotations. This plan can come in handy for routine servicing and can save time and money in the long run.

See what Protect My Car plans are available to you and get a free quote below.

Car Warranty Aftermarket: FAQ

Below are frequently asked questions about aftermarket car warranties.

Methodology

In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of extended auto warranty companies to formulate rankings of the best providers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.

  • Industry Standing: Warranty providers with a history of strong business practices and endorsements from experts receive the highest scores in this category.
  • Coverage: This rating is based on types of extended warranty plans available, coverage terms, and added benefits like roadside assistance.
  • Cost: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of plans and vehicles. Companies with lower prices per year of coverage receive the best scores.
  • Transparency: This score takes into account contract transparency and the availability of a money-back guarantee.
  • Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and perform our own shopper analysis to get a sense of the responsiveness and helpfulness of each warranty company.