If you’re worried about the cost of car repairs, getting warranty coverage for your vehicle is a great way to ease your mind. If you have a new car, you probably already have a warranty.
However, if you drive an older vehicle, or if your factory warranty has expired, you may wonder how to get a warranty on your car. Our guide will help you learn how to get a protection plan at any point in the car’s life.
When shopping for extended warranties, it’s a good idea to get quotes from multiple providers. We’ve researched the best extended car warranty companies to help you find the coverage that best fits your needs.
What Is A Car Warranty?
A car warranty is a vehicle service contract (VSC) that states a provider will pay for repairs and replacement of certain components of a vehicle. Car warranties cover defects and damage due to mechanical failure or bad workmanship.
Manufacturers like Honda or Toyota offer warranties on all new cars. These coverage plans last for a specific period of time past the purchase date. Extended warranties lengthen the coverage terms. Manufacturer extended warranties generally must be purchased before the factory warranty expires. If you opt to look for a third-party warranty company, your window for purchasing extended coverage expands.
Types Of Warranties
To learn how to get a warranty for your vehicle, it’s important to know the available options. Some offer comprehensive coverage while others have more specialized protection plans.
Exclusionary Vs. Inclusionary
There are two main types of warranties: exclusionary and inclusionary.
- Exclusionary warranties, also known as bumper-to-bumper warranties, cover the vast majority of a vehicle’s components. They’re called “exclusionary” warranties because rather than a list of covered parts, the contracts provide a list of components not covered – exclusions.
- Inclusionary warranties only list the parts they cover. If the contract doesn’t mention a certain component, it is not covered under the particular warranty. These VSCs are often referred to as “stated-component” warranties.
Factory warranties are usually several different warranties combined into one product. The various sub-warranties will often have different coverage terms and mileage limits. Here’s what a manufacturer’s warranty can include:
- New car limited warranty: Sometimes referred to as a limited or standard warranty, this covers almost all of your vehicle’s components.
- Powertrain coverage: This warranty usually lasts a little longer than the standard bumper-to-bumper coverage.
- Emissions warranty: This covers emissions components like the catalytic converter. Some states, like California, have different emissions regulations, so the amount of coverage and length of the warranty can differ state to state.
- Corrosion warranty: This covers repairs on your vehicle’s body or other components due to rust or corrosion.
There are two options for purchasing extended warranty coverage. You can buy one from your car’s manufacturer, usually through the dealership where you bought the vehicle. You can also purchase extended coverage from an aftermarket provider.
There are various extended vehicle warranty coverage options to choose from:
- Bumper-to-bumper warranties are usually the highest tier of warranty coverage. These are exclusionary contracts that cover nearly all of your vehicle’s components and systems.
- Comprehensive stated-component warranties are the highest level of inclusionary coverage that providers offer.
- Medium-tier stated-component warranties offer coverage for some electrical components and air conditioning systems as well as engine, transmission, and drivetrain components.
- Powertrain plus warranties tend to offer powertrain coverage that extends to the fuel system and gaskets.
- Powertrain warranties are usually the most affordable plans providers offer and cover only the most vital systems of your vehicle: the engine, transmission, and drivetrain.
If you opt for coverage from the car manufacturer, you’ll likely have to purchase extended coverage before the original warranty expires. Third-party extended warranties can be purchased at any time, and often allow longer term and mileage limits than manufacturer extended warranties.
Used car owners whose vehicles have been certified by the manufacturer can purchase a certified pre-owned (CPO) warranty. These usually have less tiers of coverage, but offer a CPO bumper-to-bumper and a CPO powertrain warranty. Some car warranty companies offer specialized coverage plans specifically for CPO vehicles.
Additional Benefits And Add-Ons
Additional perks often come with most car warranties and are designed to give you peace of mind. Benefits typically have strict daily limits and overall caps for the money given to contract holders, but can be helpful when needed.
The biggest benefits are often:
- Roadside assistance and towing to help safely transport your car to a repair facility in the event of a mechanical breakdown.
- Rental car reimbursement to help you stay mobile while your car’s in the repair shop.
- Trip interruption coverage that helps pay for lodging and meals if your car suddenly breaks down usually 100 miles or more away from home.
You can also purchase additional coverage packages from the warranty company. Some of these include:
- Prepaid maintenance that allows you to pay in advance for routine maintenance services like tire rotations and oil changes. These may be offered at a discounted rate.
- Wear-and-tear packages that cover smaller components like brake pads, wiper blades, and spark plugs that need to be replaced over time.
- Glass coverage packages that cover chips and cracks on windshields and other auto glass. Some glass packages will cover the cost of windshield replacement.
The Process For Getting An Auto Warranty
The process for obtaining an auto warranty is fairly straightforward.
How Do I Get A Factory Warranty?
Factory warranties usually come packaged with the purchase of a new car, so you don’t have to seek it out. Some dealerships will offer additional coverage or add-ons at the time of purchase. To make sure you know exactly what your factory coverage includes and how long it’ll last, look over all warranty information provided when you purchase your vehicle.
How Do I Get An Extended Warranty?
When purchasing extended warranty coverage, there are a few steps you’ll need to take.
- Decide whether you want coverage from the manufacturer or a third-party extended warranty company.
- Get a few free quotes to compare. When getting a quote, you’ll need to provide information about your vehicle: make, model, model year, mileage, and sometimes the vehicle identification number (VIN).
- Choose the coverage plan that best fits your needs.
- Sign a contract with the manufacturer or aftermarket provider.
Depending on your warranty provider, you may have to make a down payment or pay the first month’s cost upfront. You’ll typically have to wait a period of time (usually around 30 days) before your coverage begins. Once your car is covered, your provider pays for the cost of repairs after you’ve met your deductible.
Recommendations For Extended Warranties
Our team reviewed the top extended warranty providers in the country. Here are a couple recommendations.
Endurance: Best Coverage
Endurance is one of the most trusted names in the car warranty industry, with an average star rating of 4.1 out of 5.0 from over 5,400 customers on Trustpilot. According to the company’s website, Endurance has paid over $185 million in claims over the past 16 years.
As a direct provider, there’s no third party between you and Endurance when filing a claim. Plus, the company offers substantial benefits with every coverage plan and affordable rates.
Keep reading: Endurance warranty review
CARCHEX: Best For Used Cars
CARCHEX offers comprehensive coverage plans with higher mileage limits, making it an ideal choice for used vehicles. The warranty provider is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and holds an A+ rating from the organization. Customers on the BBB’s reviews section tend to highlight excellent customer service, transparency in communication, and affordable pricing.
Keep reading: CARCHEX review
How Do I Get A Warranty On My Car: FAQ
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.