If your manufacturer’s car warranty is about to expire, it can be a good idea to look for extended warranty coverage. An extended warranty, also known as a vehicle service contract, covers unexpected repair costs due to mechanical breakdowns or failures.
If you’re a first-time buyer, you may be wondering what you should look for in a good car protection plan. Our team has polled consumers to find out what matters most to them when selecting extended warranty coverage. We have also reviewed the best extended warranty companies on the market so you can make a well-informed decision.
Overview: 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 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.
The data in the chart below shows the percentage of respondents from our consumer report who believe cost, term length, covered components, company reputation, customer service, and an easy claims process matter when buying a vehicle service contract.
How Much Does An Extended Car Warranty Cost?
Based on our research, the cost of an extended warranty can range between $1,500 and $4,500. 45% of consumers polled 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)
What Should I Consider Before Buying An Extended Warranty?
The extended warranty plan that’s best for you will depend on your specific needs. However, it’s always smart to consider cost and available coverage options in our decision.
Our team has reviewed every major extended auto warranty provider in the industry. We rated each provider in the following categories:
- 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.
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.
How Do I Get A Quote For An Extended Warranty?
Reputable extended warranty companies make it easy to get a quote online or by phone. Make sure you have details about your vehicle’s year, make, model, and mileage ready before reaching out for a quote.
Once you have your quote, consider not only the monthly payment but also the total cost and deductible. A higher deductible can mean a lower overall payment and vice versa. But remember, you will need to pay your deductible for any covered repairs.
We recommend comparing free quotes from multiple providers to find the best price and coverage plan.
What Is The Best Extended Auto Warranty Company?
With hundreds of extended warranty companies that offer a variety of coverage options and costs, it can be challenging to figure out the best choice for your vehicle.
In our consumer survey about buying extended car warranties, 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 up to 250,000 miles.
5 Recommendations For Buying An Extended 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!.
- #1 Endurance: Best Coverage
- #2 CARCHEX: Best For Used Cars
- #4 Protect My Car: Best Maintenance Benefits
- #3 CarShield: Best Value
- #5 autopom!: Best Claims Process
Here’s how our team rated these providers:
|Warranty Company||Motor1 Overall Rating||Cost Rating||Coverage Rating|
|#3 Protect My Car||4.3||4.1||4.1|
Endurance: Best Coverage
One of the best extended warranty companies of 2021, Endurance is a direct provider of vehicle service contracts and has multiple coverage options. It offers six coverage levels ranging from affordable powertrain coverage to an exclusionary, bumper-to-bumper warranty. It also offers a comprehensive plan that covers mechanical breakdowns as well as routine maintenance services such as oil changes.
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 Pros||Endurance Cons|
|Direct-to-consumer service||Endurance Benefits is only free for the first year|
|Many choices for coverage, including a maintenance plan and extensive benefits||C+ rating from the BBB|
|Positive customer service ratings|
Read our full Endurance review for information about coverage.
CARCHEX: Best For Used Cars
CARCHEX is a leading provider of vehicle service protection for new and pre-owned cars. It offers five coverage tiers ranging from powertrain to exclusionary that are available for vehicles up to 250,000 miles. The company also has affordable extended warranty rates and partnerships with Kelley Blue Book, CARFAX, and more.
The average monthly payment for a CARCHEX extended warranty ranges between $100 and $200 according to our secret shopper analysis.
|CARCHEX Pros||CARCHEX Cons|
|Strong industry reputation||Average customer service|
|Comprehensive coverage plans with high mileage limits||No maintenance coverage|
|Affordable rates compared to competitors|
Read our complete CARCHEX review to learn more.
Protect My Car: Best Maintenance Benefits
Protect My Car has three levels of warranty protection, as well as the Ambassador Maintenance program that covers routine maintenance services such as oil changes and tire rotations. If your car doesn’t qualify for extended warranty coverage, the Ambassador plans can be a smart choice to help with maintenance expenses.
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||Protect My Car Cons|
|Maintenance plans available for older vehicles||No basic powertrain or exclusionary warranty plan|
|Strong customer service reputation||Doesn’t provide coverage for cars over 13 years old|
|Low monthly payments available with long payment terms|
If you’re considering an extended warranty plan from this provider, check out our Protect My Car review for more information.
CarShield: Best Value
Since 2005, CarShield has protected millions of vehicles under six coverage plans. 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. The company also offers a specialty plan for motorcycles, ATVs, and RVs.
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.
|CarShield Pros||CarShield Cons|
|Most popular provider on the market||F rating from the BBB|
|Coverage for specialty vehicles||Average customer service|
|Industry-low rates||No maintenance coverage|
To learn more about the pros and cons of a CarShield warranty, check out our full CarShield review.
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 2021.
|autopom! Pros||autopom! Cons|
|Easy quote process||Doesn’t cover some luxury vehicles|
|Varying levels of coverage||No maintenance coverage|
|Highly regarded customer reviews||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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.