Can the military-focused company provide long term vehicle protection?
Typically, we buy vehicles we can trust. We want to trust that not only is that car going to get us to work every day, or that truck going to haul the load we need hauled, but we want to know that vehicle will be able to do all of those things reliably until the day we choose to sell it.
That’s why a lot of people put their trust in an extended warranty. Below, we explain the reasoning behind why you may want to explore options for an extended auto warranty and give you the scoop from our team of researchers on what’s out there. We’ll also answer questions specifically about USAA – one of the most popular networks of care for military personnel and their families in the United States – and its extended warranty options.
We did some homework and found that, out of the top extended car warranty providers out there, Endurance came out at the head of the pack. USAA wasn’t included in the competitor pool, since the company focuses on so many other areas.
In this article:
- What Is An Extended Warranty?
- Does USAA Offer An Extended Auto Warranty?
- What Did USAA Offer?
- Is USAA Going to Replace Its Warranty Program?
- What Are My Other Extended Warranty Options?
- What Extended Warranty Should I Buy?
What Is An Extended Warranty?
An extended car warranty can cover the cost of needed vehicle repairs and replacement parts that aren't caused by a car accident or through any fault of your own. When you’re looking to buy a protection plan, it’s important to not only consider the coverage, but also the comprehensiveness of the plan and the reputation of the provider backing it. Some service contracts are backed by the original vehicle manufacturer, whereas others are guaranteed by a third-party provider.
An extended auto warranty is not actually a warranty at all – at least not legally. The more accurate terminology is “vehicle service contract.” It all comes down to the timing. A service contract can be arranged at any time and is an additional purchase. A warranty is included in the purchase price of the vehicle and comes from the original manufacturer of the vehicle.
Whichever term you prefer, an extended warranty will still protect you from shelling out the cost of a vehicle repair should something breakdown with time. So, if you’re not up to wrenching your own ride, and don’t want to be surprised when a major mechanical part goes bad, it’s a good idea to at least consider an extended service contract.
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Does USAA Offer An Extended Auto Warranty?
The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) is a nearly 100-year-old company that offers life and auto insurance, banking, investment, and retirement plans to individuals and families who serve, or have served, in the U.S. Armed Forces. It’s currently ranked 101st in the Fortune 500 highest revenue-grossing corporations in the U.S. There's no question that USAA auto insurance, banking products, and more have been popular among consumers.
So, let’s say that you’re a member of the Armed Services, or you previously served, or you meet another criterion of membership with USAA and you want to know if your favorite insurer offers extended auto warranties. We’re afraid we have some disappointing news for you: You’re too late. When our team called the military-oriented company to inquire about options for auto service contracts, we were informed by the friendly customer service representative that in January of 2018, USAA discontinued enrollment for new customers in their Vehicle Protection Plan.
They will, however, continue to honor the contracts currently in place. The USAA extended warranty service plans fall into two main coverage policies: Manufacturer Wrap Protection and Comprehensive Protection.
What Did USAA Offer?
For consumers enrolled prior to the halt of the program, you’ve got a transferable manufacturer wrap plan. From what we can tell in a sample contract, powertrain coverage isn’t included, and the most mileage your car can have is 50,000 miles.
USAA extended warranty policies for military personnel and their families came with a couple of benefits that we haven’t seen offered by other companies, particularly in its rental protection and plan deferment options.
- Rental coverage
- Roadside assistance
- Deployment coverage extension
USAA extended warranty coverage for both plan levels includes full reimbursement for any rental car costs incurred during covered service or repairs – up to $50 every day for as many days as needed. While most other providers do indeed provide a similar service, the norm is to reimburse for about $30 per day up to five days. USAA is the only company we know of with an unlimited number of days for rental car reimbursement.
The other USAA extended vehicle warranty perk that especially impressed us is its deployment deferment option. During a covered member’s deployment, USAA will suspend the service contract for up to 15 months. When you get home, USAA will not only extend the expiration date of your agreement by the length of time you were deployed, but they’ll even reimburse you for one oil change, up to $45.
If you’re a current USAA Extended Vehicle Protection customer, another thing you should know about your coverage is Assurant Solutions, USAA’s administrator. It is common practice for extended warranties to be backed by an insurance company – as in the case of USAA and Assurant Solutions. A warranty or service contract administrator is the company who handles the actual claims process, so it’s a good idea to check them out when researching extended warranty providers.
Is USAA Going to Replace Its Warranty Program?
According to a USAA representative response to a customer comment regarding the disappearing Extended Vehicle Protection plan, “[USAA’s] goal is to ensure we are consistently delivering the highest quality products and services to our members. After identifying opportunities to improve Extended Vehicle Protection, USAA has ceased offering until further notice. I would add that there is no ETA currently on a replacement.” – USAA Social Service, March 2019
We don’t know why the policy was cancelled or if it’s ever coming back. If USAA was your top preference for an extended warranty provider, and you’re bummed that the company’s taken its vehicle protection options off the table, don’t worry: We have more options for you. Read on to see our recommendations.
What Are My Other Extended Warranty Options?
Outside of USAA extended warranties, there are some very reputable companies offering excellent service coverage and extended warranty plan options – some with great customer reviews and stellar industry reputations. In to help you choose a dependable company, we’ve gathered a list of our top picks for the best extended auto warranty providers.
Of the competitors we compared, third-party service contract provider Endurance ranked Best Overall. Not only is the company receptive to its customers’ needs, but representatives are careful to check you have the vehicle coverage you need and the preferences you want.
We suggest doing a little research and reading the fine print of the service contract plans offered by several companies. Just as each vehicle is different, so are extended warranty providers.
You can get a free quote from our top-recommended providers below:
What Extended Warranty Should I Buy?
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all best warranty coverage option. It comes down to the type of car you have and its history. When shopping, you’ll want to do research on common repairs for your make and model of car. This will not only let you know which components you want to be sure are included in any extended warranty contract, but it’ll also give you a good idea of how much money a vehicle protection service contract could end up saving you.
When you get coverage for your vehicle by means of an extended warranty, what you’re getting coverage for is the actual statistical probability of the breakdown, and doing your research beforehand can help you have a better understanding of that probability, which will help you feel better about the investment in a protection policy.
Extended service contracts and third-party protection plans can actually be tailored to fill gaps in a manufacturer’s warranty. For example, J.D. Power found that problems with technology like Internet, Bluetooth, and GPS systems are the top reasons for declines in vehicle dependability, which are features that manufacturer warranties won’t always cover, but extended warranties just might. Some companies have “high-tech” packages that warrant against malfunctions and needed repairs in those computer-backed systems that we all know can be pretty expensive to fix.
With some plans, you can even go to the service shop or repair facility of your choice, while others have their own proprietary network of shops customers can use for repair. As with any service or contract, you should research thoroughly and read the fine print to know what you’re getting into, and which repair locations are allowable under your plan.
Cost and coverage will vary depending not only on the make, model, and history of the vehicle, but your location and its applicable state regulations have an impact on the packages available for you. Find out what your vehicle may need in the future, and what your budget can allow, then contact a few of the above providers to start the process of finding the right one for you. Put your trust in an extended warranty to make sure your vehicle will deliver results as long as you need it to.
Read our guides to other warranty providers: