Aftermarket auto warranties offer a wide range of coverage for breakdowns and repairs.
An aftermarket auto warranty adds coverage for repairs after the manufacturer’s warranty expires. It’s also called a vehicle protection plan or vehicle service contract. Aftermarket auto warranties are typically cheaper than dealer-backed options, too.
There are many options to choose from, so we’ve researched the best aftermarket car warranty providers and ranked them on things like customer service and industry reputation. We found that a few providers stood out from the rest. Check out different plans and prices from our top picks below.
In this article:
- Why Should You Consider An Aftermarket Auto Warranty?
- Types Of Aftermarket Warranty Plans
- What Perks Come With Aftermarket Auto Warranties?
- Extended Car Warranty Costs
- Who Provides Aftermarket Auto Warranties?
- What Are The Best Aftermarket Car Warranty Providers?
- FAQ About Aftermarket Auto Warranties
Why Should You Consider An Aftermarket Auto Warranty?
As perfect as your dream car can be, it’s not immune from breakdowns and mechanical failures. Factory warranties cover many repairs – but only for a specific time. After that, you’re on your own. Instead of signing over a whole paycheck for one repair, you could use an aftermarket auto warranty to spread out cost of repairs.
An aftermarket auto warranty is a good idea to provide peace of mind after your factory coverage has expired, especially if you missed the window for adding a dealer-backed extended plan. We think there are a few reasons to pick an aftermarket plan over a dealer one, anyway. Aftermarket plans can also be useful if you buy a used car – you might not know its service history, so the added protection could be a lifesaver later on.
Many aftermarket warranties have flexible payment plans to make budgeting easier. But as you shop around, be careful to read the fine print. A number of complaints about extended warranties begin with a misunderstanding of what was covered under the contract. Reputable extended car warranty companies will provide sample contracts and will go over each point of your contract with you in detail.
If you’re new to shopping for warranties, definitely take a minute to get to know the red flags. Learn more in our guide to the worst extended auto warranty companies.
Types Of Aftermarket Warranty Plans
Aftermarket auto warranties come in many different varieties. Like factory warranties, the limits are designated by year and mileage, with the plan expiring when one of the limits is reached. For example, a 5-year/60,000-mile plan would expire for both of these scenarios: the car is 5 years old and has 40,000 miles, or the car is 4 years old but has 60,000 miles.
The best providers allow drivers to choose from a number of different coverage lengths. They also let drivers choose what items the plans cover. Many companies have around five basic coverage options that follow a formula like this:
- Exclusionary coverage: The highest level is similar to a factory bumper-to-bumper warranty and lists the things that it doesn’t cover to define the plan. It covers almost all mechanical parts of the car. Like a factory warranty, it won’t cover wear and tear, misuse, or neglect.
- High-stated coverage: The next level is the highest level of stated coverage – every covered part is listed out on the contract. This plan level can cover hundreds of separate components.
- Medium-stated coverage: This level usually covers most of the main systems of the car and includes things like A/C, steering, and electrical components.
- Low-stated coverage: Also known as a “powertrain plus” type plan, this covers the powertrain along with a few important systems.
- Basic powertrain: This is the least that an extended warranty covers and is comparable to a powertrain warranty. It covers repair costs of the engine, drivetrain, and transmission. These can be costly repairs, so it’s a good idea to protect them on high-mileage cars.
Aftermarket auto warranties also provide more flexibility compared to factory or dealership warranties. For example, factory extended warranties usually have to be purchased before the standard warranty expires. In some cases, you have to get an extended warranty at the time you purchase your new car – how would you know if you need one that early?
In contrast, aftermarket auto warranties can be added on at any point in time. They can also last a lot longer compared to factory extended warranties. For example, Toyota’s longest extended warranty coverage lasts until 125,000 miles, but plans from our top aftermarket picks can last up to 200,000 or 250,000 miles.
What Perks Come With Aftermarket Auto Warranties?
Now, many drivers like to stick with dealer-backed coverage for the other perks that come along with it. However, you can get many of the same perks with aftermarket options, too. Here are a few perks that you can find from some of the best providers:
- 24-hour roadside assistance and towing
- Trip interruption benefits
- Rental car reimbursement
- Repair financing (non-covered repairs)
- ID theft protection
Extended Car Warranty Costs
Based on quotes we received from more than 30 warranty companies, the average cost of an extended warranty is about $2,862. Aftermarket auto warranty prices are based on your car and your unique situation, so the only way to know how much you would pay is to get a quote.
A 2017 Toyota with 30,000 miles will fetch a much different price than a 2012 BMW with 80,000 miles. Prices also have to do with the average reliability of your car. All else being equal, coverage for more reliable cars will be cheaper since the warranty company expects to pay out less.
The main thing to figure out is if a small monthly payment is worth the peace of mind that a warranty can bring. If you go without a warranty, you should definitely keep an extra grand or two of cash in the bank to cover auto repairs once your car has a few miles under its belt.
Who Provides Aftermarket Auto Warranties?
While there are only a few dozen car companies, there are many more vehicle service contract companies. Here are just a few:
Obviously, not all of these companies will provide the same level of service or offer a good variety of plan options. That’s why it’s important to shop around and compare different providers. You need to decide what the most important thing is for you. Maybe you really want to have roadside assistance or a $0 deductible, or maybe you just want the simplest powertrain coverage for a few expensive parts.
What Are The Best Aftermarket Car Warranty Providers?
If you’re looking for extra coverage for car repairs, these are the companies that should be on your shopping list: Endurance, CarShield, and CARCHEX. All of these providers let car owners visit their favorite auto repair facilities, choose deductibles starting at $0, and enjoy a variety of perks.
Endurance: 5.0 Stars
Out of all the companies we reviewed, we found Endurance to be the best coverage provider. It's a direct provider, meaning Endurance manages all the plans that it sells, and you’ll work with the same company throughout the life of your plan. Endurance extended warranties come with a free one-year membership of Endurance Elite – that includes roadside assistance, key fob replacement, ID theft services, tire replacement, and more. Endurance auto warranty reviews are mainly positive with reports of great customer service. Find out why and get a free quote from Endurance below.
CarShield: Best Value
CarShield is our choice for Best Value provider. It's also the most popular provider that we’ve reviewed – it has a 4.1-star rating on Trustpilot with over 15,000 reviews. The company has also appeared on networks like CNN, ESPN, and HGTV. Something unique about CarShield is that it has plans specifically tailored to vehicles with high-tech systems and non-standard vehicles like ATVs. The high-tech option can also come in handy if you’re looking to cover a luxury vehicle. See what CarShield plans are available to you and get a free quote below.
CARCHEX: Best For Used Cars
CARCHEX has a great customer service record and is endorsed by industry leaders like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com. The warranty company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau with accreditation – not many other aftermarket auto warranty providers are accredited. A CARCHEX extended warranty can come in five different levels ranging from basic plans to plans similar to bumper-to-bumper coverage. Get to know the plan options and request a free quote below.
Read our other guides: