If you want to purchase extended protection from a reliable company, we’ve got you covered.

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When you purchase a new or certified pre-owned car, you’re generally covered under the manufacturer’s warranty for an average of 3 years or 36,000 miles. But after that, you should consider investing in  an extended warranty that will cover the repairs and service you’re likely to need over many years of wear and tear.

Unfortunately, not all extended warranties are equal, so you need to do your research to ensure that you end up putting your money in the right place. Without properly vetting companies, you could end up wasting your hard-earned money on an extended warranty that will give you a major headache anytime you try to get a repair covered.

Luckily for you, we’ve done the heavy lifting and researched the best providers in the industry. In this guide, we’re going to give you our top recommendations for reputable extended car warranty companies, including the low-down on industry leaders, the different levels of coverage you can expect from them, and how they stack up to each other. By the end, you’ll be on your way to making a well-informed and educated decision about your extended warranty.

We strongly encourage you to get several quotes, so that you can compare coverage and prices. Get a free quote from our top provider picks below:

 

In this article:

Who Needs An Extended Car Warranty?

Anyone who’s planning to keep their vehicle for a long time should consider investing in an extended warranty. In fact, the opposite is true too. If you plan on selling your vehicle after a few years, a transferable service contract will make your car more appealing to potential buyers.

The typical manufacturer warranty offers bumper-to-bumper coverage for 3 years/36,000 miles. While some manufacturer warranties, like the Hyundai warranty, cover you for longer (5 years/60,000 miles), they still fall short of the more than 100,000 miles the average car owner can expect to put on their vehicle over the course of its lifetime.

An extended warranty is exactly what it sounds like: It acts as an extension to the original manufacturer’s warranty, albeit sometimes from a third-party provider. In a nutshell, it will cover your vehicle after your original warranty runs out, and depending on the provider you choose, it can sometimes offer even better coverage than your original warranty ever did.

Remember, insurance generally doesn’t cover repairs that are due to mechanical breakdowns. It covers damages caused by collisions and environmental factors, so don’t think that you’re in the clear just because you have auto insurance. If you want full financial peace of mind, an extended warranty is worth looking into. Considering that car repairs become more likely and more frequent as a car ages, it’s generally worthwhile to invest in an extended warranty that will cover your vehicle in its later years when the repair bills typically start to pile up.

How To Find Trustworthy Companies

When searching for reputable extended car warranty companies, you typically have two options: dealers and third-party providers. Let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

Dealers

Most car dealers and manufacturers offer their own extended warranty options. However, dealers may try to mark up the cost of extended warranties, so it’s a good idea to try to negotiate the price. Always make sure you’re clear on what will and won’t be covered before purchasing an extended warranty from your dealer.

When you purchase a contract from a dealer, you’re usually only able to carry out repairs at an authorized service center. This comes with ups and downs. On the one hand, you’re guaranteed you’ll get exact replacements for any parts that need to go, but on the other hand, you’ll typically have fewer service location choices.

Third-Party Providers

Third-party warranties are, in many ways, the reverse of dealer warranties. While you generally won’t be guaranteed to receive exact factory replacement parts, many third-party warranty companies have much larger service networks, meaning that there’s a much higher chance you can get your car repaired at your favorite local auto body shop and still be covered by your warranty.

The coverage options and additional perks are similar to what you’ll get from the dealership – and sometimes even better.

Top Reputable Extended Car Warranty Companies 

Through our research, we found that Endurance, CARCHEX, CarShield, and Protect My Car are the most reliable and reputable extended car warranty companies. Here’s an overview of each company to see how they stack up to one another.

  Our Award Best For Coverage Levels Maximum Term  

1. Endurance

Best Overall Motorists looking for a direct warranty administrator

5

15 Years

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2. CARCHEX

Best Service

Motorists that want to buy from a well-established brand

5

10 Years

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3. CarShield

Best Value Owners of used or specialty vehicles

6

Not Stated

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4. Protect My Car

Best Long-Term Plans Owners looking for long and flexible payment terms

3

Not Stated

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Endurance: Best Overall

 

 

Endurance is a well-known direct provider backed by an AM Best A-rated insurance company. Its customer satisfaction score on BBB is just under four stars. It is not accredited by the BBB, but we know that some companies choose to forego the accreditation process as it can cost more than $10,000 in some cases.

Unfortunately, there is an alert on BBB stating that many customers are confused by the warranty terms, so be extra careful and read the fine print when working with this company. Most customers are satisfied, but you need to be sure you understand what you are signing up for when you work with Endurance so you don’t end up disappointed.

Customer Service

Endurance is a direct administrator of warranty plans, so there is no go-between when filing claims. You’ll always be dealing with Endurance directly, which can speed up and make the filing process much easier. It’s one of the reasons we think Endurance is one of the most reputable extended car warranty companies.

Levels of Coverage

Endurance offers five tiers of coverage. However, the term lengths are not specified for each tier. That said, we were able to find out coverage is offered up to 20 years/200,000 miles.

Coverage Level

Who It's For

Details

Supreme

Exclusionary coverage

The most extensive plan with bumper-to-bumper protection 

Superior

The most stated component coverage

Covers hundreds of specific components

Secure Plus

Fast coverage

Covers steering, electrical, and brakes, with a shorter waiting period (30 days and 1,000 miles) than Select Premier

Secure

Motorists on a budget

Covers the most vital car components

Select Premier

Motorists with aging vehicles

Covers your basic powertrain components

Additional Information

Endurance is great for motorists that want a quick and easy claims process. Customers can file claims through an online portal or by phone, making the process quite pain-free. Plus, you’ll always get personalized assistance from an online concierge who will assist you anytime you need.

As an added bonus, Endurance offers two free tire repairs or replacements, which is uncommon amongst extended warranty companies. It also offers ID protection tools to make sure you get reimbursed if your identity is ever compromised.

CARCHEX: Best Service

 
 

CARCHEX is one of the most well-known and trusted extended car warranty providers around. After 20 years in business, it has an A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating, BBB accreditation, and numerous endorsements from trusted brands like Kelley Blue Book, CARFAX, and Edmunds.com. In terms of reputable extended car warranty companies, it’s as good as it gets.

Along the way, it has racked up an impressive trophy case, with awards like the Thoroughly Reviewed 2017 Top Pick, a five-star rating on TopConsumerReviews.org for six consecutive years, and the BestReviewsHub.com Best Choice Award for four years in a row.

Customer Service

CARCHEX has a no-pressure signup process and generally low prices. You can call the company anytime and be sure that you’ll get a clear explanation of pricing and coverage terms, without a pushy salesperson on the other end.

The contracts and plans for the different levels of coverage that CARCHEX offers are long and rather confusing, but a representative can walk you through them, which is a major help. If you’re not satisfied with your warranty plan within the first 30 days, you can cancel it and receive a full refund as part of CARCHEX’s 30-Day Money Back Guarantee.

Levels of Coverage

CARCHEX has five tiers of coverage:

 

Coverage Tier

Years of Coverage

Who It's For

Details

Titanium

Up to 10

Owners looking for the highest level of protection

Bumper-to-bumper coverage with a short list of exclusions

Platinum

Up to 10

Long-term coverage of stated components

Hundreds of specific components covered

Gold

Up to 10

Owners of vehicles over 60,000 miles

Covers most major vehicle systems

Silver

Up to 7

High-mileage vehicles

Provides essential coverage for many major systems

Bronze

Up to 6

Those looking for basic coverage

Protects you against the most common and expensive repairs

Additional Information

CARCHEX is a good option for vehicle owners that already have a preferred mechanic or auto repair facility, as the company has a large, nationwide network of approved service providers. Vehicle owners don’t have to go through lengthy claims proceedings. Instead, the auto shop can file the claim directly with CARCHEX, saving you a lot of time and stress.

As an added bonus, CARCHEX offers 24/7 roadside assistance as a perk in all its coverage plans.

CarShield: Best Value

 

CarShield has been in business since 2005 and has a 4.1-star rating with Trustpilot based on over 5,000 reviews. The company has the largest market share as far as used cars are concerned. Because of its overwhelmingly good reviews and large market presence, we’ve named CarShield the Most Popular extended warranty provider.

Customer Service

Unfortunately, a look at its BBB page shows about 500 complaints, but considering it sold over 500,000 contracts in the same time period, this is actually quite impressive. It means the rate of complaints is only 0.1 percent, or 1 in every 1,000 customers.

There is also a BBB alert against CarShield, so make sure you understand that you are not talking to a dealer or manufacturer when you speak with a CarShield representative, and always read the fine print before signing any type of contract. All CarShield policies come with a number of exclusions, so it’s important to make sure you fully understand what’s covered, and what isn’t, lest you end up an unsatisfied customer.

Levels of Coverage

CarShield offers six levels of coverage:

Coverage Level

Who It's For

Details

New Car Diamond

Owners looking to maintain factory-level coverage

Bumper-to-bumper coverage designed to be similar to a manufacturer’s warranty for new cars

Platinum

High-mileage vehicle owners

Comprehensive coverage 

Gold

Coverage for both minor and major vehicle parts

Powertrain-plus coverage for the engine, transmission, water pump, air conditioning, starter, and more

Silver

The most basic coverage

Powertrain coverage for the most important parts of your vehicle

High Tech

Vehicles with advanced electrical systems

Protects the engine control module, alternator, navigation/GPS, electrical system, starter and more

Specialty

Owners of motorcycles, ATVs, or other off-road vehicles

Variety of coverage levels and contracts for specialty vehicles

Additional Information

Some bonuses that come along with many CarShield plans include:

  • Low deductibles
  • 24/7 roadside assistance
  • Towing services
  • Claims paid directly to the repair shop
  • Rental car reimbursement with some plans

Protect My Car: Best Maintenance Plans

Best Maintenance Plans

★★★★1/2

Get Quote

 

(888) 430-0227

 

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

 

Established in 2005 and today based in Saint Petersburg, Florida, Protect My Car is a popular choice among car owners for vehicle service contracts. The company's flexible and lengthy payment terms of 36 to 60 months are significantly longer than terms offered by other third-party auto warranty companies. While these terms can make the monthly payment more affordable for customers, the generous lengths may indicate that the overall plan prices are higher than other providers. Like other warranty companies, Protect My Car offers a 30-day money back guarantee on all of its extended car warranty plans.

Customer Service

Protect My Car has hundreds of five-star customer reviews on the (BBB) website. The complaints, though, have shown a pattern of Protect My Car failing to provide the services it has been contracted for. According to the BBB, “Customers allege that they have purchased warranty plans from the company but that the company fails to honor the warranty when claims are submitted.” This is why it’s important to clearly understand what is and isn’t included in your contract.

Levels of Coverage

Protect My Car offers three levels of coverage:

Coverage Level

Recommended For

Details

Supreme

Owners looking for something similar to the manufacturer's warranty

Designed for customers who need additional coverage because they plan to keep the new vehicle beyond the manufacturer’s factory warranty term

Select

Vehicles over 50,000 miles

Comprehensive coverage 

Driveline

Vehicles that are 4 to 10 years old with more than 80,000 miles

Covers many of the same components as the Supreme and Select plans, but excludes the front and rear suspension, turbo charger, and navigation system

Although vehicles over 13 years old can’t take advantage of an extended warranty with Protect My Car, the company does offer Ambassador Maintenance Plans. These car maintenance insurance contracts offer guaranteed discounts between 25 and 50 percent on repairs, 24/7 roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and more for older cars. However, they do not provide protection on the same level as an extended warranty.

The Importance Of A Reputable Provider

Extended warranties are all about peace of mind, but if you can’t trust your provider to be there for you when you need them, then that peace of mind you’re paying for can easily turn into stress.

Let’s be realistic: Any time a provider covers a repair, they lose money. While reputable extended car warranty companies will take those hits like champs, untrustworthy providers will do everything they can to weasel their way out of paying up, leaving you to foot the bill for costly repairs on top of the premium you’re paying for your extended warranty coverage. Ouch.

Before signing the dotted line with any extended warranty company, make sure you check its ratings on review sites like BBB. Reputable companies tend to be endorsed by major auto brands and even celebrities. Both of these scenarios are generally a good sign that the provider can be trusted.

Avoiding Car Warranty Scams

Unfortunately, some providers take their business practices to a new lows and are outright scams.

Spam Calls

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports that there are a number of car warranty scams in which a car owner will receive a sales call that states their warranty is about to expire. During these calls, the scammer may pose as an employee from a legitimate company and may even be able to provide specific information about the receiver’s car, further deceiving the receiver into believing the call is from a reputable business.

However, the caller is generally phishing for personal information, so do not provide any sensitive information. If you believe you have been contacted by one of these scammers, you can report it to the FCC.

Unreliable Companies

Outside of these phishing scams, there are car warranty companies that will simply make getting any of the coverage you’re paying for either impossible or an absolute nightmare. Red flags you should look out for when vetting an extended warranty company are a lack of industry endorsements, major limitations in coverage, and poor ratings on popular review sites.

The BBB lists consumer complaints on its site, so that’s a great place to look. Ideally, you’ll want to look for a company with an A rating or better that’s also BBB accredited, although there are plenty of legitimate companies out there that don’t have have BBB accreditation.

Choosing The Best Plan For You

All the reputable extended car warranty companies we’ve discussed will likely serve you well and provide you with peace of mind. However, each company offers plans that appeal to different types of vehicle owners, so the final decision comes down to your preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average cost of an extended car warranty?

Most extended car warranties cost between $350 and $750 per year, but costs vary depending on your vehicle, the provider, and the level of coverage you want.

Are extended car warranties worth it?

We think extended car warranties are worth it for vehicle owners that prefer to have peace of mind when it comes to repair costs. An extended car warranty functions similarly to an insurance policy: You may not end using it, but if you get coverage from a trustworthy provider, you can more easily budget for repair costs as there won’t be any surprises. Your repair budget will be based entirely on your warranty premium.

What are the most reputable extended car warranty companies of 2020?

 

Read our guides to other warranty providers: