We explore the industry’s top extended protection plans so you can make sure your vehicle is covered in the long run.

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Are you looking for a way to protect your used car, and your wallet, against costly repairs? You have probably heard of extended warranties, but maybe you aren’t sure if they’re worth it.

We rounded up all of the important things you should know about extended warranties, including what they cover, how they work, and how to find the right one. Learn whether an extended warranty for cars is right for you. We’ve also sorted through some of the top-ranking providers to give you the best recommendations for coverage.

 

In this article:

 

The Best Extended Auto Warranty Providers
Motor1 reviewed the top car warranty companies to find the best.
Below are our top 4 picks for your Chevy vehicle.
Best Overall Best Quote & Claims Process Best Direct Provider Most Popular
CARCHEX autopom! Endurance CarShield
★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★ ★★★★★
Get Quote Get Quote Get Quote Get Quote
(877) 253-0058 (888) 691-2354 (877) 374-1840 (800) 563-2761
       
 

 

Everything You Need To Know About Extended Warranties

An extended warranty, also called a vehicle service contract, is designed to protect your vehicle from costly repairs. You generally make a small monthly payment toward your contract, and then pay a deductible if and when you need covered services from a mechanic.

The best way to find a reputable extended warranty for cars is to understand just what an extended warranty is, and what it’s not.

Common Myths About Extended Warranties

There is a lot of misleading information out there when it comes to extended warranties. We break down some of the biggest myths below.

Myth Fact
An extended warranty for cars is an extension of your manufacturer’s warranty. A manufacturer’s warranty comes with new vehicles (and some used ones) and covers defective or faulty parts. Extended warranty service contracts are an additional purchase that can help pay for certain repairs after the manufacturer’s warranty expires.

Some manufacturers like GM and Mercedes have extended warranties that actually are extensions of the factory warranty. They simply add years and miles to the term length. But this is not the norm. Most extended warranties are standalone plans separate from the factory warranty.

My car still has the manufacturer’s warranty, so it’s completely protected. Most manufacturer warranties only last for a few years. Vehicles tend to experience more issues as they age, so by the time your car breaks down, your factory warranty could be expired.
An extended warranty pays for all repairs to my car.

Since your extended warranty is a service contract, you’ll choose the level of coverage you want. While there are comprehensive, bumper-to-bumper plans available, no warranty will cover your car for every ding, dent, or breakdown.

The biggest mistake people make with extended warranties is not reviewing the details of the contract and winding up with the wrong type of coverage for their driving needs. Your contract tells you what is and isn’t covered by your plan. Understanding your contract is vital to getting the most out of an extended warranty for cars.

An extended warranty is a scam that won’t pay for any repairs.

Unfortunately, fake warranty companies do exist to scam people out of money. But there are many reputable providers too. If you research your provider before making a commitment, you can avoid these scams and find a great vehicle protection plan.

Again, the worst thing you can do when buying an extended warranty is not thoroughly read your contract. Too many people assume their service contract pays for certain repairs when, in fact, it doesn’t.

Extended warranties are expensive. While some extended warranties can certainly be expensive, there are countless options for protecting your car. Try to find a warranty company that offers the coverage you want at a price that fits your budget. Many warranty providers let you make monthly payments so your plan is more affordable.
You can’t get an extended warranty on a used car or one with high mileage. Most warranty companies offer protection plans specifically for older or high-mileage vehicles. Drivers today are keeping their cars for longer than ever before, so it makes sense for a warranty provider to offer coverage for older cars.
 

How An Extended Warranty For Cars Works

Buying a used car is always a bit of a gamble. Even certified pre-owned vehicles that undergo a manufacturer's inspection can come with issues from previous owners. An extended warranty helps protect you by providing coverage for your vehicle in case it has a breakdown or a covered part needs a repair. You can choose to get comprehensive coverage, also called exclusionary coverage, or a named component plan.

  • Exclusionary Coverage: This type of extended warranty covers all parts of your vehicle from mechanical breakdown due to normal driving activities, except for a short list of excluded parts and components.
  • Named Component: This plan type is essentially the opposite of exclusionary coverage. Your contract will have a list of the parts and systems that are covered, and any unlisted parts are not covered.

After purchasing your contract, you’ll have to go through a waiting period until it can be used. This helps protect the warranty provider from someone purchasing a car warranty right after discovering an issue with their car. Most extended warranties require you to wait 30 days and 1,000 miles before you can make a claim for repairs.

If you have a covered breakdown after your waiting period is up, you’ll file a claim with your warranty provider. Depending on your contract, you may have to use a dealership, or you might be able to use your favorite repair shop. Most plans require you to pay a deductible, and the extended warranty covers the rest of the repair cost.

How Much Is A Used Car Extended Warranty?

The cost of any extended warranty varies by provider. Generally, you can expect the cost to be based on the following factors:

  • Amount of coverage
  • Make and model of your car
  • Age of your car
  • Mileage
  • Whether or not you have a luxury vehicle

With so many different factors, it’s hard to say what an extended warranty for cars might cost. You may have to pay upwards of $1,000 for a service contract from a dealership, while the same type of coverage from a third-party provider could be less. The best way to find the right price on extended protection is to shop around and get multiple quotes customized for your vehicle.

Remember, however, that the cheapest option isn’t always the best choice. You’ll get the most out of an extended warranty if you find a plan that fits both your budget and coverage needs.

Where To Buy An Extended Warranty

Finding a reputable warranty provider is the most important thing you can do when shopping for an extended warranty on a used car. 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.

Dealership Warranties Vs Third-Party Warranties

Dealerships usually offer extended warranties on new cars at the time of sale. If you’re buying a relatively low-mileage, used car from a dealership, there’s a good chance you’ll be offered a warranty, too.

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 branded parts. Branded parts are usually more expensive than their generic counterparts. If you have any local repair shop work on your car for regular 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. This might sound convenient, but you will then be charged interest on the cost of your warranty.

Reputable third-party companies present a more flexible alternative for an extended warranty for cars. Unlike a dealership service contract, a vehicle protection plan from a trustworthy third-party provider usually means:

  • 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 repair shops and national chains. As long as your favorite mechanic is certified by the provider, you should be able to go there for covered repairs.
  • Lower Costs: Without dealership markup, third-party companies may be able to provide much better pricing on a service contract. Many third-party providers are brokers, meaning they offer plans from a variety of warranty administrators and have competitive pricing. Additionally, you’ll be able to customize your coverage to walk away with a plan that fits your budget.
  • No Pressure: There’s no need to purchase your extended warranty on the day 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 contract – 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.

What To Look For In A Used Car Warranty Provider

In order to find the right warranty company, it’s important that you do your homework. Always consider these steps when shopping for a third-party warranty provider:

  • 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 go through your contract.
  • Get a Guarantee: Reputable 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.

The Best Extended Warranty Companies

There are plenty of extended warranty companies to choose from, but working with a highly respected company can help you save money and headaches in the long run. We’ve done the research for you on these five top-rated warranty providers.

 

 

Our Rating

Coverage Levels

Years in Business

Best For

 

CARCHEX

Get Quote

★★★★★

5

20

Used cars of almost any age or mileage

CARCHEX

Endurance

Get Quote

★★★★★

5

13

Drivers looking for extra perks in their contract

Endurance

CarShield

Get Quote

★★★★★

6

14

Car owners looking for long term lengths

CarShield

Protect My Car

Get Quote

★★★★★

3

14

A variety of plans, including one for motorcycles and ATVs

Protect My Car

AA Auto Protection

Get Quote

★★★★☆

5

30

Drivers with newer cars or lower mileage cars

AA Auto Protection

 
Data updated November 2019

CARCHEX

One of the industry leaders in extended warranties for cars, CARCHEX provides plenty of coverage options to satisfy almost any car or budget. You’ll be able to choose from five levels of coverage, with various contracts within those levels. Every CARCHEX plan comes with extra perks like 24/7 roadside assistance and trip interruption services, too.

 

Best Overall

★★★★★

Get Quote

(877) 253-0058

No. 1 overall, beating the competition in company reputation, coverage options, and customer service. 

 

CARCHEX holds an A+ BBB rating and has been BBB accredited for a decade. The company has also been in business for 20 years, so you don’t need to worry about it folding as soon as you need a repair. CARCHEX has numerous endorsements and partnerships with top automotive industry leaders like CARFAX, RepairPal, Edmunds.com, and Kelley Blue Book. When we recently reviewed the most popular car warranty providers, all of these factors made CARCHEX come out on top as the Best Overall provider for extended protection.

Endurance

Endurance is a direct provider of extended warranties, which means the company services the contracts it sells. If you need a covered repair, you’ll talk with the Endurance customer service team directly. Most other providers are brokers for service contracts, serving as the middleman between you and a warranty administrator.

Best Direct Provider

★★★★★

Get Quote

(877) 374-1840

The best option for a direct provider, meaning you work with their team throughout every step of the process. 

 

While Endurance provides its own contracts, it has a more limited selection than other providers. There is a 60-day waiting period before you can make a claim, which is double the 30-day industry standard. Where Endurance really stands out, though, is its excellent benefits, like roadside assistance, ID theft protection, and key fob replacement service if you lose or break your electronic key fob.

Protect My Car

Protect My Car offers several service contracts that are ideal for older or high-mileage vehicles. The company also has some of the longest term lengths available for extended warranties, ranging from 36 to 60 months.

Protect My Car

★★★★☆

Get Quote

(844) 243-9472

A provider that offers different plan options to fit your needs.

 

The only speed bump we ran into with Protect My Car was the quotes process, which we found to be a little confusing. Most warranty providers have intuitive online quote forms, but Protect My Car makes it hard for you to get your quote.

Why CARCHEX Is Your Best Bet

A variety of coverage options at an affordable price makes CARCHEX our top recommendation for an extended warranty for cars. Get the most out of your long-term protection with added perks and exceptional service, including:

  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee: Cancel your service within 30 days, and get your money back with no questions asked.
  • Repairs Paid Directly: CARCHEX pays your preferred repair shop for covered repairs. You won’t be forced to pay for a repair up front and then have to wait months to get a reimbursement check.
  • Roadside Assistance: Get the protection of 24/7 roadside assistance, including trip interruption services and coverage for rental cars and lodging if you’re stranded due to a breakdown.
  • Great Customer Service: CARCHEX makes a point to provide excellent customer service. You can be sure you’re getting the best price on your contract without the hassle of haggling.

CARCHEX Coverage Overview

With five levels of coverage from comprehensive to named component, CARCHEX has a service contract for almost every vehicle. Here’s a closer look at the plans:

  • Titanium Coverage: Comprehensive, bumper-to-bumper service plans with a short list of excluded systems and parts
  • Platinum Coverage: Named component coverage for hundreds of car parts with term lengths up to 10 years
  • Gold Coverage: Great for used cars with over 60,000 miles
  • Silver Coverage: Coverage for the powertrain and several other components
  • Bronze Coverage: Coverage for the most important parts of your vehicle

Although CARCHEX came out on top in our research, we highly recommend getting quotes from several different providers so you can find the extended warranty coverage that is right for you.

Gallery: Three Ships Images