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How To Buy An Extended Car Warranty
When buying an extended car warranty, you can purchase coverage through a dealership or third-party warranty provider specializing in vehicle protection.
When you purchase a new car, it comes with a factory warranty that lasts for a set number of years. However, once this warranty expires, it can be wise to buy an extended car warranty to help cover unexpected repair costs due to mechanical breakdowns or failures.
If you’re a first-time buyer or just beginning your search, you may be wondering what you should look for in a good car protection plan, where to find the best coverage, whether purchasing an extended warranty is worth it, and how to decide between plan options from multiple providers online. In this article, our team will discuss the best process for buying an extended car warranty online. We have also reviewed the best extended warranty companies on the market so you can make a well-informed decision.
At Motor1.com, we're dedicated to supplying car owners with the well-researched information they need to make sound decisions about auto warranties. Our editorial team consists of experienced automotive researchers, writers, and editors that follow strict guidelines to ensure that our articles are unbiased and fact checked.
To compile our product reviews and rankings, our team continuously evaluates dozens of warranty companies to compare plans, coverage, costs, customer service, and transparency. We verify each provider’s quality through our hands-on research process. More than 1,500 hours of research has gone into analyzing past customer reviews and mystery shopping top providers to gather pricing quotes for various plans. We’ve also surveyed 2,000 extended warranty customers to learn what matters most to consumers when purchasing a warranty. Lastly, to obtain first-hand product knowledge our team bought five warranty plans from separate providers to test the coverage levels and claims process of each company.
An extended warranty plan helps cover the cost of specific car repairs and reduces out-of-pocket expenses in the case of a mechanical breakdown.
While extended warranties do not generally cover damage due to a collision or routine maintenance costs, these plans offer drivers peace of mind that breakdowns or part failures due to defects in workmanship will be covered.
Providers like Endurance, CARCHEX, and CarShield offer various levels of coverage and benefits, ranging from full bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage to basic drivetrain coverage. For instance, CarShield provides coverage for new and used vehicles with six types of warranty plans starting at $99, and Endurance offers six coverage plans with additional benefits such as rental car reimbursement, roadside assistance, and trip interruption coverage.
Based on our research, the cost of an extended warranty can range between $1,500 and $4,500. Forty-five percent of consumers polled in our survey paid between $1,500 and $2,500 for their extended car warranties, though the amount you pay will vary depending on many factors.
Extended warranty pricing can be affected by:
Vehicle make, model, year, and mileage
Type of warranty (powertrain, mid-level, bumper-to-bumper)
Term length (many begin at 3 years/36,000 miles)
How To Purchase An Extended Vehicle Warranty
The extended warranty plan that’s best for you will depend on your specific needs. However, it’s best to spend some time researching and comparing top-rated warranty providers to see which ones will provide the best value and coverage for your vehicle.
What To Look For In An Extended Car Warranty
To find the best extended warranty for you, we recommend following these steps:
Check the BBB rating: A high rating from the Better Business Bureau helps you understand how the company handles customer comments and complaints.
Check online reviews: Look at reviews to make sure your potential warranty company is honoring contracts and taking care of customers. Oftentimes, you learn the most about a company by what customers have to say.
Read the contract: The contract is the only legally-binding document that guarantees what is and isn’t covered under your plan terms. Always make sure to read the fine print when going through your contract. If you want to take a look at a contract without any commitments, check if the provider has sample
Get a guarantee:Reputable extended car warranty companies often offer a money back guarantee if you decide the plan isn’t for you after all. Find out when you need to cancel in order to receive a full refund.
Stay away from sales: This might seem backwards. After all, who doesn’t want to get a great deal? However, a third-party company that offers you a “today only” price is only trying to pressure you to make a decision. Look for a company that offers you its best price and gives you time to think it over before making a commitment.
It’s also helpful to remember that the overall value of the warranty coverage is most important – not necessarily the coverage plan with the cheapest price. Make sure you read through sample contracts from the providers, if available, to ensure you have a full understanding of what is covered under each plan. Also, consider choosing a provider that will allow you to bring your car to a repair facility close to you and pay the repair shop upfront instead of reimbursing you for costs later.
How To Get An Extended Warranty On A Car
When searching online for an extended warranty, you’ll probably see several third-party providers mentioned within the first couple of search results.
Extended Car Warranty Reviews
Browse through trusted car review sites and articles that compare top-rated extended car warranty companies to decide which provider will best suit your driving needs. Online reviews vary depending on the warranty provider, but many customers of companies think that extended car warranties are worth the cost – even if the return is just peace of mind.
“CarShield gives me peace of mind. I know no matter what happens with my vehicle, it will only cost me $100.”
-Paul via BBB
“Good, friendly service. No nonsense sales. [CARCHEX] offered the most affordable long-term option.”
-James via BBB
There are plenty of negative reviews for car warranty companies, too. However, if you read through them, it’s evident that many of the complaints have to do with repairs not being covered. Most of the time, this can be avoided by reading your contract and making sure you have a thorough understanding of your policy.
Extended Car Warranty Quotes
The best extended car warranty companies make it easy to get a quote online or by phone. When visiting a provider’s website, you will likely only need to fill out a short form to request a free quote. You can also contact a customer service representative directly to learn more about a provider’s pricing, coverage, and range of plans. Both options are generally quick and simple.
To get a quote, you should be prepared to submit information about yourself and your vehicle, including its year, make, model, and mileage. Remember to consider not only the monthly payment but also the total cost and deductible once you have your quote. A higher deductible can mean a lower overall payment and vice versa. But you will need to pay your deductible for any covered repairs.
We recommend comparing free quotes from multiple providers so you can look at pricing and determine which option is right for you. You can get started with quotes from our top-rated providers below.
Finding a reputable warranty provider is the most important thing you can do when shopping for an extended warranty on a used car. Warranty providers know car owners want to save on mechanical repair costs, as it can be expensive to pay for labor and parts out of pocket. You have several options if you decide to purchase extended coverage. To find a trustworthy provider that fits your needs, you’ll first need to decide between buying a warranty from a dealership or buying from a third-party warranty company.
Extended Factory Warranty
Manufacturer-backed plans are usually only available at the dealership, which usually offer a factory extended warranty at the time of sale for new and pre-owned vehicles. For that reason, if you are buying a new or relatively low-mileage, used vehicle from the dealership it’s almost a guarantee that you will hear a pitch for extended protection plans at the dealership. If you decide to go this route, there are some important things to consider before you sign up for extended protection with the vehicle manufacturer:
Repair shop limitations: Most dealership extended warranties require you to have covered repairs completed at a branded dealership. For example, a service contract from your Lexus dealership may require you to only visit a Lexus dealer for repairs. This means your preferred mechanic is not an option.
Name brand parts: Manufacturer-branded service contracts almost always require repairs to be made with genuine manufacturer parts. Branded parts are usually more expensive than their generic counterparts. If you use a local repair shop for routine maintenance, it may have to use genuine parts in order to not void your extended warranty contract.
Greater expense: Dealership service contracts are generally more expensive than third-party contracts. Your dealer may even suggest you roll the cost of the warranty into your car’s financing. Be wary of including the coverage with your car loan. While this might sound convenient, it might not be a good idea for multiple reasons. First, you will likely pay interest on the service plan. Even if the company offers zero-percent interest for a short time, you will eventually extra for financing. Additionally, adding warranty costs to your loan can raise your loan-to-value ratio, resulting in you owing more than your car is worth. For these reasons, consider paying for warranty coverage upfront instead of including monthly payments with your loan if you purchase an extended warranty from a dealer.
Extended Car Warranty Companies
While a third-party extended warranty business can make a profit off of coverage plans, drivers gain a sense of security from them and save money too. With a third-party warranty, you’ll gain flexibility in where your car can be taken for repairs, as most automakers’ extended warranties limit you to only their dealerships. You also tend to have more coverage options when you opt for a third-party extended warranty.
However, another option is to purchase an extended warranty from a third-party provider like Endurance, as there are several reputable companies that offer affordable comprehensive vehicle service contracts. Reputable third-party companies present a more flexible alternative for an extended car warranty. Here are a few benefits of third-party warranties:
Choice of repair shop: Because they are not tied to a dealership, third-party warranty providers allow you to take your car to a network of local auto repair shops and national chains. As long as your favorite mechanic is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE®), you should be able to go there for covered repairs.
Lower costs: Without the dealership markup, third-party companies are able to provide much better pricing on your service contract, in the form of both lower prices and low to zero deductible options. Many third-party providers are brokers, meaning they offer warranty plans from a variety of administrators and have competitive pricing.
No pressure: There’s no need to purchase your extended warranty on the day you buy your car. The dealership may require you to purchase your warranty when you buy your car. Other providers allow you to purchase a plan anytime.
Coverage for older used cars: If you buy a used car with high mileage, you may not qualify for a dealership service agreement – even though you probably need it more for an aging vehicle than for a new car. A great third-party provider will offer plans for cars with upwards of 100,000 miles.
Flexible Coverage: Additionally, you’ll be able to customize your coverage to walk away with a plan that fits your needs. Because you can shop around for the best deal, you can find coverage that includes additional perks like roadside assistance and towing. Buying a third party warranty also allows for the flexibility of being able to purchase coverage at any time.
Buy Extended Car Warranty Online
With hundreds of extended car warranty companies that offer a variety of coverage options and costs, it can be overwhelming to research and figure out the best choice for your vehicle. In our consumer survey about buying extended car warranties online, the top three companies consumers had purchased plans from were CarShield, Endurance, and CARCHEX.
CarShield is the most popular provider in the industry. It offers six coverage plans for cars and specialty vehicles like motorcycles, as well as some of the lowest rates on the market.
Endurance and CARCHEX are two more top providers offering six and five levels of coverage respectively. Endurance is known for its extensive benefits, including roadside assistance, tire repairs, and lockout assistance, while CARCHEX can be a smart choice for high-mileage vehicles with coverage of up to 250,000 miles.
Best Companies For Buying An Extended Car Warranty
Our team has reviewed and ranked every top extended auto warranty company. Based on this research, we recommend Endurance, CARCHEX, Protect My Car, CarShield, and autopom!.
Roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, oil changes, and tire rotations
$0, $50, $100, $200
Roadside assistance, towing, and rental reimbursement
Roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement
#1 Endurance: Best Coverage
One of the best extended warranty companies of 2022, Endurance is a direct provider of vehicle service contracts and has multiple coverage options for different needs. It offers six coverage levels ranging from an affordable powertrain warranty like the Secure plan to coverage designed for high-mileage vehicles like the Select Premier plan. The company also provides a comprehensive plan that covers mechanical breakdowns as well as routine maintenance such as oil changes.
In addition, Endurance is known for having some of the best benefits in the industry. A few additional benefits included with every Endurance plan are 24/7 roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and a free Endurance Benefits membership for one year. In our review of the company, we gave Endurance the highest rating of any provider with 4.6 out of 5.0 stars.
Endurance Warranty Pros And Cons
ProsDirect-to-consumer serviceMany choices for coverage, including a maintenance plan and extensive benefitsPositive customer service ratings
ConsEndurance Benefits is only free for the first yearB- rating from the BBB
To learn more about this warranty provider, check out our Endurance review or get a free quote for your vehicle below.
CARCHEX is a leading provider of vehicle service protection for new and pre-owned vehicles. It offers five coverage tiers ranging from the exclusionary Titanium plan to the basic Bronze plan that are available for vehicles up to 250,000 miles.
The average monthly payment for a CARCHEX extended warranty ranges between $100 and $200 according to our secret shopper analysis. Deductibles tend to range from $0 to $100.
The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and partners with industry leaders like Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book, and CARFAX. It also has a 3.2-star Trustpilot customer rating.
CARCHEX Warranty Pros And Cons
ProsStrong industry reputationComprehensive coverage plans with high mileage limitsAffordable rates compared to competitors
Protect My Car has three levels of warranty protection: Supreme, Select, and Driveline. If your car doesn’t qualify for extended warranty coverage, it also offers Ambassador Maintenance plans, which cover routine maintenance services like oil changes and tire rotations, lockout services, and an average of 50 to 70 percent off repairs.
The company is highly regarded in the industry and has received high customer service ratings and reviews, with an A+ rating from the BBB and an “Excellent” rating from Trustpilot customer reviews. Like most warranty companies, Protect My Car offers a 30-day money back guarantee for all of its vehicle service contract plans.
We awarded Protect My Car 4.3 stars in our review for its variety of coverage options and positive customer service reputation.
Protect My Car Pros And Cons
ProsMaintenance plans available for older vehiclesStrong customer service reputationLow monthly payments available with long payment terms
ConsNo basic powertrain or exclusionary warranty planDoesn’t provide coverage for cars over 13 years old
Since 2005, CarShield has specialized in providing vehicle protection to shield drivers from the high cost of auto repairs. The company has protected millions of vehicles under six coverage plans, including one for motorcycles, ATVs, and RVs. Depending on the plan you choose, an extended warranty with CarShield can include benefits such as roadside assistance, trip interruption coverage, and rental car reimbursement.
We rated CarShield 4.2 stars for having some of the most affordable rates compared to competitors. CarShield’s extended warranty coverage plans begin at $99 per month. The provider can be a good choice for car owners who prioritize pricing when buying an extended warranty, as well as those with older vehicles. It has a mileage limit of 300,000.
While CarShield received a lower rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) than other providers on this list, it maintains a positive customer reputation on other sites, with a 4.1-star average rating from Google and a 4.0-star rating from Trustpilot customer reviews.
CarShield Pros And Cons
ProsMost popular provider on the marketCoverage for specialty vehiclesIndustry-low rates
ConsF rating from the BBBAverage customer serviceNo maintenance coverage
To learn more about this extended warranty provider, check out our CarShield review or get a free, personalized quote below.
Founded in 2009, autopom! has been providing quality extended warranty coverage in all 50 states for the past 12 years. The aftermarket warranty provider holds an A+ rating from the BBB and is highly rated by customers with a rating of 4.6 out of 5.0 stars. The provider also boasts a 4.8-star Trustpilot customer rating.
Autopom! offers four levels of coverage, which can cover your vehicle up to 7 years/150,000 miles. Based on our extensive research, our review team awards autopom! an overall rating of 4.2 stars and names it as the company with the Best Claims Process in 2022.
Autopom! Warranty Pros And Cons
ProsEasy quote processVarying levels of coverageHighly regarded customer reviews
ConsDoesn’t cover some luxury vehiclesNo maintenance coverageExpensive down payment
To learn more about coverage from the provider, read our complete autopom! Review.
Buying an extended car warranty online can be worth it if you want peace of mind and extra protection for your vehicle after your factory warranty expires. You can purchase extended vehicle coverage online with a third-party provider like Endurance, CARCHEX, CarShield, Protect My Car, and autopom! or from the dealership where you purchased your car.
We recommend that you get quotes from at least three extended car warranty providers to be able to compare your options side by side.
Below are frequently asked questions about how to purchase an extended vehicle warranty.
In our search for the most reputable extended car warranty companies, we recognized Endurance as the warranty provider with the best coverage and CARCHEX as the best warranty company for used cars. Both providers can cover vehicles with over 200,000 miles and have high ratings from our team for coverage, cost, and transparency.
A few key benefits of buying an extended coverage plan online are quick access to a free quote, a shorter waiting period, and a greater selection of coverage levels and options. When looking for the perfect warranty plan, you have the freedom to choose what will work best for you.
It truly depends on what you’re looking for. You may not be completely sure what type of coverage, benefits, and services you’ll need when purchasing your used or new vehicle. If you’re interested in an extended warranty plan beforehand, do some research on what third-party providers usually offer and compare it to the extended warranty offered to you by the dealership.
An extended warranty covers the cost of certain mechanical repairs. According to a survey we conducted, many car owners believe that extended warranties are worth the cost – 41 percent of respondents said they were very satisfied with their extended warranty because it covered needed repairs, and only 15 percent believed it wasn’t worth it.
If you plan to own a car for several years, it can be worth looking into buying an extended warranty in case you experience mechanical problems down the road. You might also want a warranty if you have a high-mileage vehicle because you could encounter more issues as the car ages.
Before purchasing an extended warranty plan, you should ask the following questions: How much does it cost? What repairs are covered? What are the coverage options and benefits offered? It’s also helpful to ask yourself how long you plan to keep your vehicle, because if it’s just a few years, you may not need to invest in an extended warranty.