Each year, our research team collects hundreds of data points on extended car warranty plans to rank the best coverage on the market. We compare pricing from quotes obtained via secret shopping, analyze coverage quality and plan options, and evaluate contract transparency and customer satisfaction.
The extensive data we collect is used to create a score in each review category based on a systematic rating methodology. To keep our data current, we refresh our data points throughout the year. Below, you can learn more about how ratings are determined in each category:
Focused on overall coverage quality, this rating is based on types of extended warranty plans, coverage term length, and added benefits like roadside assistance. A provider scores well if it offers more than three plans and mileage limits over 150,000 miles. Because it’s uncommon in the industry, coverage options for maintenance items like brake pads are also noted.
The overall cost of coverage is one of the most significant factors that impact customers’ decisions about buying an extended warranty. The review score for cost is determined by comparing the price per year of coverage from various providers, with higher scores being awarded for lower average rates.
To accurately estimate warranty pricing information, our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of plans and vehicles. This data is compiled from over 140 individual quotes we receive each year from different companies for a range of plans and payment options. We present example quotes in this article, but be aware that you may find different prices based on personal factors like vehicle type, provider, length, and level of coverage.
Transparency is an important quality to look for in extended warranty providers. Some companies make it easy to find sample contracts and read the fine print, while others make it difficult. Our transparency score takes into account sample contract accessibility as well as the presence of a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Great coverage options and prices mean nothing if the company lacks good 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. When speaking to representatives, our researchers assess issues like whether agents are more likely to explain coverage or are focused only on making a sale.
Warranty providers with a history of strong business practices and endorsements from experts receive the highest scores in this category. We look at the longevity of a company, its availability by state, partnerships with industry leaders like RepairPal and CARFAX, and Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings.
Extended Warranty Customer Survey
How we weigh each of our review categories to determine the overall score for a provider is influenced by a survey conducted by our research team. To complete the survey, we polled 1,000 consumers who have bought or thought about purchasing an extended warranty. We repeat this survey every two years.
Below are the top five factors most important to extended warranty customers, according to our most recent survey data:
- Coverage (52 percent)
- Cost (19 percent)
- Customer service (13 percent)
- Transparency (10 percent)
- Industry standing (5 percent)
Our survey process allows us to gain valuable insight into consumers’ purchasing decisions and satisfaction. Respondents in our most recent survey were overall satisfied with coverage. Of those who had purchased warranties, whether they had used the coverage or not, just 13 percent were dissatisfied while 65 percent were satisfied with their extended auto warranty.