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.

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Buying An Extended Car Warranty

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.

Extended warranties help protect against unforeseen, potentially pricey repair costs, so many drivers think an extended car warranty is worth considering.

Extended Car Warranty Costs

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)
  • Deductible
  • Term length (many begin at 3 years/36,000 miles)

What Matters To Warranty Consumers

Our team recently conducted a survey to learn what matters most to drivers when choosing an extended warranty. We polled 1,000 consumers who had purchased or considered purchasing a vehicle protection plan and found that cost was the top consideration.

Here’s a closer look at the top six most important factors according to vehicle owners:

  • #1 Cost: The most significant factor that impacts consumers’ decisions to buy an extended car warranty is cost. The cost of an extended warranty depends on several factors, such as vehicle type, provider, length of coverage, level of coverage, and more.
  • #2 Term length: The length of a warranty is a major consideration for many consumers. Extended warranty companies that offer flexible term lengths or month-to-month subscription plans are sought out most among car owners.
  • #3 Covered components: The number of plans a company offers can be telling, but more than that consumers look for the parts and components that are covered under the warranty. Access to comprehensive coverage at an affordable price matters to many drivers.
  • #4 Company reputation: When buying an extended warranty, consumers feel more comfortable purchasing from companies with high industry ratings. It can be smart to look for providers that have positive scores from organizations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a low complaint index based on size.
  • #5 Customer service: Consumers want to experience stress-free coverage and great customer service. Many car owners will opt for companies that hold high customer service ratings from Google Reviews, the BBB, Trustpilot, and more.
  • #6 Ease of claims process: No one wants to deal with being reimbursed for car repairs months after they’re completed or battling with a warranty company over what’s covered. Especially if you’re a first-time buyer, we recommend choosing a company that pays repair costs directly to the shop or mechanic.

Our Research

Our team of experts polled 1,000 consumers who have purchased or considered purchasing an extended car warranty to learn what matters to consumers. When asked which factors are most important when purchasing an extended warranty, 645 out of 1,000 drivers responded that cost is the most significant consideration.

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.

Our team of experts considers these five factors to be the most important when ranking extended car warranty companies – and this is comparable to what consumers look for when making a decision about buying an extended service plan.

  • Industry standing: Look for a reputable warranty provider with a history in the industry and strong ratings from automotive experts.
  • Cost: You want to ensure that your extended warranty plan offers a good value for the coverage you receive.
  • Coverage: Many providers offer a range of comprehensive coverage plans. Read through the details of each plan to ensure you get the coverage that’s best for your needs.
  • Transparency: Search for a company that offers a money-back guarantee for greater peace of mind.
  • Customer service: Take a close look at a provider’s reviews to learn about the customer experience and ensure it will handle claims efficiently.

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. 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.

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.

When To Buy An Extended Car Warranty

It can be difficult to determine whether you’ll save more money over time when weighing the pros and cons of extended car warranties. It’s always important to evaluate your contract options based on warranty cost, coverage level, and the company’s reputation.

Pros Of An Extended Warranty

Here are some of the advantages that come with buying an extended car warranty online:

  • Customizable coverage and prices: Buying an extended warranty from a third-party provider comes with the freedom to choose which coverage level and price point is best for you.
  • Saves you money: Third-party extended warranties tend to cost less than manufacturer’s warranties. This gives you the chance to save more money with longer-term protection that will cover repairs for an agreed-upon amount of time and/or number of miles.
  • Gives you peace of mind: With an extended warranty, you don’t have to worry about how expensive an auto repair bill will be. Also, perks like towing, roadside assistance, and rental car reimbursement provide extra peace of mind if your car breaks down.

Cons Of An Extended Warranty

Take the time to consider the disadvantages of an extended car warranty as well:

  • Exclusions: Even though the most comprehensive coverage option is often referred to as a bumper-to-bumper warranty, these plans are still “exclusionary,” meaning the warranty covers everything except a list of excluded items. Make sure you take the time to understand what the exclusions are for your chosen plan.
  • Can be a risk: A company with a bad reputation and low ratings won’t provide good service and coverage to its customers. Be sure to do your research on the best-rated mechanical breakdown insurance companies and which providers are highly regarded by industry standards to avoid potential scams.
  • Low usage factor: Even though it’s a good financial investment, you may never have to use your extended warranty before the contract ends. Opt for an extended warranty plan that offers perks to make up for higher pricing and help reduce the costs of your most expensive repairs should the need arise.

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!.

Here’s how our team rated these providers:

Extended Warranty CompanyMotor1 RatingCoverage LevelsDeductible OptionsAdditional Perks
#1 Endurance4.66$0, $50, $100, $200Roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, and 1-year of Elite Benefits, which includes tire and key fob repairs, and ID theft protection
#2 CARCHEX4.45$0, $50, $100Roadside assistance, towing, rental reimbursement, trip interruption
#3 Protect My Car4.33$100Roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, oil changes, and tire rotations
#4 CarShield4.26$0, $50, $100, $200Roadside assistance, towing, and rental reimbursement
#5 autopom!4.24$100Roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement

#1 Endurance: Best Coverage

One of the best extended warranty companies of 2023, 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

Pros Direct-to-consumer service Many choices for coverage, including a maintenance plan and extensive benefits Positive customer service ratings
Cons Endurance Benefits is only free for the first year B- 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.

#2 CARCHEX: Best for Used Cars

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

Pros Strong industry reputation Comprehensive coverage plans with high mileage limits Affordable rates compared to competitors
Cons Average customer service No maintenance coverage

To learn more about this extended car warranty provider, check out our CARCHEX review or get a free quote below.

#3 Protect My Car: Best Maintenance Benefits

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

Pros Maintenance plans available for older vehicles Strong customer service reputation Low monthly payments available with long payment terms
Cons No basic powertrain or exclusionary warranty plan Doesn’t provide coverage for cars over 13 years old

To learn more about this extended warranty provider, check out our Protect My Car review or get a free quote for your vehicle below.

#4 CarShield: Best Value

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

Pros Most popular provider on the market Coverage for specialty vehicles Industry-low rates
Cons F rating from the BBB Average customer service No maintenance coverage

To learn more about this extended warranty provider, check out our CarShield review or get a free, personalized quote below.

#5 Autopom!: Best Claims Process

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 2023.

Autopom! Warranty Pros And Cons

Pros Easy quote process Varying levels of coverage Highly regarded customer reviews
Cons Doesn’t cover some luxury vehicles No maintenance coverage Expensive down payment

To learn more about coverage from the provider, read our complete autopom! Review.

Do Consumers Trust Extended Warranty Companies?

In our review team’s survey, we asked consumers about their level of trust in extended warranties from both third-party providers and car dealerships. We found that 63 percent of respondents trust an extended warranty from a third-party car warranty company, with 4.4 percent having complete trust. On the other hand, 15 percent of respondents do not trust purchasing an extended warranty from a third-party car warranty provider, with 2.7 percent who say they don’t trust it at all.

When it comes to purchasing an extended warranty from a car dealership, 65 percent of consumers we polled trust this process, and 7.6 percent specified that they completely trust in a dealership extended warranty. However, 16 percent of respondents don’t trust purchasing an extended warranty from a car dealership, with only 0.6 percent who don’t trust it at all.

From this data, we can generalize that slightly more consumers have absolute trust in purchasing an extended warranty from a car dealership than from a third-party car warranty company.

It’s important to note that 55.8 percent of respondents polled said that they have never purchased an extended warranty from a third-party extended warranty company. This means that they either chose to purchase from a dealership or chose not to purchase a vehicle service contract.

Purchase Extended Warranty: Conclusion

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.

How to Purchase An Extended Vehicle Warranty: FAQ

Below are frequently asked questions about how to purchase an extended vehicle warranty.

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.