Are you wondering, "are extended warranties on used cars worth it?" The answer depends on your vehicle and preferences. It must be worth it for some people to purchase an extended warranty, as obvious by the almost 18 billion dollars spent on extended car warranties in the United States in 2019, according to IBIS World.
In this article, we discuss common situational and lifestyle factors that play a role in deciding if an extended warranty is right for your used car. You can start researching cost right away by reaching out for free, personalized quotes from some of our top recommended providers.
In this article:
- What Is An Extended Warranty?
- Is A Used Car Extended Warranty Worth It?
- Pros And Cons Of Extended Warranties On Used Cars
- Who Has The Best Extended Warranty For Used Cars?
What Is An Extended Warranty?
As vehicles age, the chances that particular parts will wear down and stop working increases. An extended warranty, also called a vehicle service contract, is one way to protect your used vehicle from potentially costly repairs once your the factory warranty ends.
Like the manufacturer's warranty issued through the dealership when you bought your new car, an extended warranty covers the cost of parts and labor to repair specific components of a vehicle if they break down through normal use. This means that repair costs that results from misuse, neglect, or an accident are not covered.
Exactly what car parts are covered differs from contract to contract, so make sure to read the fine print. Some extended warranties only cover major components of a vehicle, like the engine and transmission. Other contracts may be described as bumper-to-bumper warranties and cover practically every vehicle part with some exclusions.
Extended warranties on used vehicles can be paid for entirely upfront, but are typically paid for on a monthly basis, with payments ranging from about $100 to $120 on average.
Is A Used Car Extended Warranty Worth It?
Whether or not you should get an extended warranty on a used car depends on your needs and your budget. Some drivers may prefer to pay for car repairs as they arise, while others may not be able to afford unexpected expenses out of pocket. In that case, an extended warranty on a used car is worth it because you can make small monthly payments over time.
If your car doesn't experience any major issues, you may spend more money on the extended warranty than on auto repairs. However, an extended warranty on a used car can bring considerable peace of mind to an owner.
Below we discuss several reasons an extended warranty may or may not be worth it for you.
Pros And Cons Of Extended Warranties On Used Cars
While we recommend getting an extended warranty on your used vehicle to covered unexpected repairs, we understand that an extended auto warranty isn't the best fit for everyone. We considered some of the most common pros and cons below.
Pros Of Extended Warranties For Used Cars
1. You don't have to pay for costly repairs out of pocket. There is always the possibility that your car could suddenly require an expensive repair. The chances of a breakdown only increase as your vehicle ages. If you aren't able to pay a $1,000 or $2,000 repair bill out of pocket, a reputable used car extended warranty provider will foot covered repair bills on your behalf, excluding a small deductible. Most extended warranties will even cover the cost of towing your car to a repair shop, as well as roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement.
2. You get peace of mind on the road. With an extended warranty, you can anticipate that the cost of your warranty minus your deductible is all that you will have to pay to keep your car on the road. In this way, a warranty acts as a sort of insurance for car repairs, protecting you against bank-breaking bills. For some car owners, extended warranties on used cars are worth the extra money just to have that security.
3. You can keep your used car for many years knowing it is protected. If you love your used car and want to keep it for many years, an extended warranty will help you do that by covering repair costs that might otherwise encourage you to sell your vehicle. The sooner you purchase an extended warranty, the sooner you can lock in a low rate.
Cons Of Extended Warranties For Used Cars
1. Extended warranties don't cover everything. An extended warranty is not a promise to pay for every repair that your car may need. After your car breaks down, you will need approval from your claims administrator before repairs are made. Your claim could be denied if your contract doesn't cover the part or breakdown, so make sure to read any contract carefully before signing up for coverage.
2. They can be expensive if you don't end up using the coverage. If you have thousands of dollars in savings that you could use to cover car repairs, it is probably not worth it to purchase an extended warranty for your used car. While it would still be unfortunate to foot a $1,000 to $3,000 repair bill, you could potentially save more money in the long-term by not purchasing an extended warranty for a used car.
3. You may not keep your used car for very long. If you plan to purchase a different car in the near future, then purchasing an extended warranty for your used car may not be worth it because there is a good chance that you will not use the warranty. Most extended warranties are transferable and can make your car more appealing to potential buyers, but won't greatly increase the resale value of your car.
Who Has The Best Extended Warranty For Used Cars?
There is no single best extended warranty for everyone. Different drivers have different coverage needs and may receive different quotes based on where they live, the car the drive, and a number of other factors. The only way to find the best extended warranty for your own used car is to shop around and compare costs.
Our review team has examined the best extended car warranty providers on the market, comparing prices, coverage, customer reviews, and more. Reach out for free quotes from some of our top picks below.
Two of the best car warranty companies for used cars are Endurance and CARCHEX. Both of these providers provide coverage options ranging from powertrain warranty to bumper-to-bumper coverage and received excellent ratings from our review team.
#1 Endurance: Best Coverage
Endurance offers direct-to-consumer extended warranties, which means that warranty services and claims are all handled by Endurance. There is no middleman or underwriting provider.
Here are a few things our review team likes about Endurance:
- Excellent customer service: We found many positive customer service reviews for Endurance, which are highlighted in our Endurance warranty review.
- Treats employees well: Endurance was named a Great Employer at the 2019 Stevie Awards. The company was selected due to its “impressive set of employee benefits and activities, particularly given the size of the enterprise.”
- Direct model: Endurance’s direct-to-consumer model avoids the complexity and inconsistency of third-party warranty administrators.
- Comprehensive benefits: In our industry-wide review, Endurance had the most comprehensive benefits with its Endurance Elite Benefits program. The program includes roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, tire repairs and replacements, key fob replacements, and more.
#2 CARCHEX: Best For Used Cars
CARCHEX offers a total of five extended warranty plans, each of which can be customized. All plans include 24/7 emergency roadside assistance, gas delivery, trip interruption services, and lockout services.
Here are a few reasons our team gave CARCHEX top marks in our CARCHEX review:
- Sample contracts available for review: CARCHEX provides sample contracts online so you know exactly what you’re getting before you purchase a plan.
- Industry partnerships: CARCHEX has partnered with leading experts such as CARFAX, Kelley Blue Book, and Edmunds.com. This is a strong indication that it is a top provider for automobile owners.
- Exceptional service: Both experts and customers think CARCHEX provides great service. If you're looking for an extended warranty on a used car, CARCHEX could be worth it.
Struggling to decide between CARCHEX and Endurance? Read our CARCHEX vs. Endurance review.
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.
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