Learn about extended service plans and whether we recommend them for our readers.
When you buy a new vehicle, your vehicle is often protected under a manufacturer’s warranty for a specific number of years or miles. A typical manufacturer’s warranty is a 3-year/36,000 mile warranty.
After your car passes the manufacturer’s time or mileage threshold, you are now fully responsible for most or all repairs to your vehicle.
Vehicle repairs can be very expensive. For example, a common timing belt replacement can cost up to $900 according to Angie’s List. In addition, a broken timing belt replacement may cost up to $2,000 or more if it causes damage to a vehicle’s pistons, water pump, or valves.
For some vehicle owners, purchasing an extended service plan is a wise decision. In other cases, it may not be worth the cost.
In this article, we’ll make it easier for you to decide whether an extended service plan is right for you by describing what extended service plans are, what they cost, and who the most reputable providers in the industry are.
Use the tool below to get free quotes from our top three picks:
In this article:
- What Is An Extended Service Plan?
- What Does An Extended Service Plan Cover?
- How Much Does An Extended Service Plan Cost?
- Should You Get An Extended Service Plan?
- What To Look For When Buying An Extended Service Plan
- Our Recommendations For Extended Service Plan Providers
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is An Extended Service Plan?
An extended service plan, also known as a vehicle service contract or extended warranty, is an optional plan that is designed to protect you from costly repairs after your manufacturer’s warranty expires.
These plans are offered by dealerships and third-party providers. Third-party providers generally offer more affordable plans than those offered by dealerships.
Typically, you make relatively small monthly payments toward your contract and pay a deductible if and when you need covered services on your vehicle.
What Does An Extended Service Plan Cover?
Different plans cover different repairs and there are usually some exclusions to every plan.
Leading third-party providers such as CARCHEX and Endurance provide easy-to-find sample contracts on their websites for you to review.
How Much Does An Extended Service Plan Cost?
The cost of an extended service plan depends on a variety of factors related to your vehicle and the type of provider with whom you choose to sign your contract.
Our review team has studied several providers, and we found that both Endurance and CARCHEX are excellent extended service plan providers with reasonable costs.
Here is a list of some of the factors that will determine the cost of your extended service plan:
- Age of the vehicle
- Mileage of the vehicle
- Buying from a dealership versus a third-party provider
- Vehicle year, make, and model
- Level of coverage
- Number of high-tech components in the vehicle
- Driving habits and routine vehicle maintenance
Should You Get An Extended Service Plan?
Deciding whether to purchase an extended service plan is an important and often time-consuming decision.
Generally, there are more pros than cons to buying an extended service plan if you can’t afford costly repairs and you want to keep your car for several more years. If you’re in such a situation, consider contacting Endurance for a free, customized quote. You can reach the company at 877-374-1840.
There are more cons than pros to buying an extended warranty if you’re able to afford costly repairs and you plan to purchase a different car in the next several years.
What To Look For When Buying An Extended Service Plan
We recommend that automobile owners look for the following qualities when evaluating extended service plan providers:
Easy-to-Find Sample Contracts
The best extended auto warranty companies provide sample contracts of their plans online. This way, you can tell if the plan is right for you. You won’t be pressured to buy anything because you can choose not to get a quote if the contract isn’t what you need.
Automotive industry partnerships or endorsements help you verify that a company is trustworthy.
Reputable warranty providers offer contracts that are backed by a financially stable insurance company. This gives extra assurance that your covered claims will be paid.
Years in Business
The longer a car warranty company has been in business, the less likely it will fold when you need a claim. Most untrustworthy or scam companies haven’t been in business very long and don’t stay around long, either.
The more coverage options available, the more likely you’ll find a plan that covers your biggest repair concerns without draining your wallet.
Our Recommendations For Extended Service Plan Providers
When shopping for extended warranties, the best thing to do is call around and get quotes customized to your specific vehicle. That way, you can compare each company’s prices and get a feel for customer service. Get a free quote from our top three providers below:
#1 Best Overall Provider: Endurance
Endurance, which offers direct-to-consumer extended service plans, received a 5 star rating from our review team. Endurance stands out among its competitors in the following ways:
- Repair options: Endurance allows automobile owners to choose from any repair shop certified by Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) to complete their covered repairs.
- Covers automobiles with high mileage: Endurance offers extended service plans to automobiles with up to 200,000 miles. This mileage rate is much higher than many other providers.
- Gold level certification from the Vehicle Protection Association: The Vehicle Protection Association (VPA) is a non-profit organization that ensures that member companies are using the best business practices. Few companies hold a gold level certification from the VPA, so this accomplishment by Endurance is very impressive.
Read more about Endurance reviews in our article.
#2 Best Service: CARCHEX
CARCHEX received a 4.5 star rating from our reviews team. Here are a few reasons that CARCHEX is an outstanding extended service plan provider.
- Variety of extended service plan options: CARCHEX provides five different plan options, each of which can be customized. In addition, each of their plans comes with 24/7 emergency roadside assistance, trip interruption services, and lockout services.
- Industry endorsements: CARCHEX has received industry endorsements from Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book, and CARFAX. These endorsements are a strong signal that CARCHEX is a top extended service plan provider.
- A+ BBB rating: CARCHEX’s A+ BBB rating establishes that the company takes customer service seriously and is responsive to its customers.
Read more about CARCHEX reviews in our article.
Having trouble deciding between Endurance and CARCHEX? Read our Endurance vs. CARCHEX review.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average cost of an extended service plan?
An extended car warranty, or extended service plan, costs typically $350-700 per year according to Endurance Warranty.
Are extended service plans worth the money?
It depends on your individual situation and needs. We recommend you read our article on whether extended car warranties (or extended service plans) are worth it.
How is a warranty different from an extended service contract?
A manufacturer or factory warranty is included when you purchase a vehicle. An extended service contract, also known as an extended warranty, is an optional contract that you can sign after your factory or manufacturer warranty expires.