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:
- Types Of Aftermarket Warranty Plans
- Extended Flexibility
- What Perks Come With Aftermarket Auto Warranties?
- Extended Car Warranty Costs
- Who Provides Aftermarket Auto Warranties?
- What Are The Best Aftermarket Car Warranty Providers?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Aftermarket Auto Warranties?
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 repair costs.
An aftermarket auto warranty can be a good idea for 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 of the worst extended auto warranty companies, too. You can learn more in our guide here.
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 will cover and it includes the engine, drivetrain, and transmission. These can be expensive parts to fix, so it’s a good idea to protect them on high-mileage cars.
Aftermarket auto warranties also provide more flexibility compared to factory or dealer 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 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
- Trip interruption benefits
- Rental car benefits
- Repair financing (non-covered repairs)
- ID theft protection
Extended Car Warranty Costs
Aftermarket auto warranties are based on your car and your situation, so it’s impossible for us to say what you would pay. The only way to find that out is to get a quote. However, there are some average ranges. According to Endurance, drivers pay between $350 and $700 per year for coverage.
Other estimates put the range a little bit higher, at around $1,500 per year. In any case, 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 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 repairs, these are the companies that should be on your shopping list: Endurance, CARCHEX, and CarShield. All of these providers let car owners visit their favorite repair facilities, choose deductibles starting at $0, and enjoy a variety of perks.
Out of all the companies we reviewed, we found Endurance to be the best overall 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.
We named CARCHEX as the Best Service provider. The company has a great customer service record and is endorsed by industry leaders like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com. CARCHEX has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with accreditation – not many other aftermarket auto warranty providers are accredited. A CARCHEX extended warranty can come in five different levels ranging from basic to bumper-to-bumper coverage. Get to know the plan options and request a free quote below.
CarShield is our choice for Best Value provider. It's also the most popular provider that we’ve reviewed – it has a 4-star rating on Trustpilot with over 7,500 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best aftermarket auto warranty?
We think the best aftermarket auto warranty providers are Endurance, CARCHEX, and CarShield. You can’t go wrong with a plan from one of these companies.
Are aftermarket warranties worth it?
Yes, aftermarket warranties are worth it for many drivers. From a financial standpoint, many people use the full values of their warranties over the coverage period. But also, an aftermarket warranty brings peace of mind, and that alone is worth the cost for some drivers.
How much is an aftermarket car warranty?
Prices depend on your car’s model and mileage, as well as the level of coverage you select. Generally, prices can range from $350 to $1,500 per year. Warranties on luxury cars and cars prone to breakdown will cost the most.
Is it worth it to buy an extended warranty on a used car?
The worst thing is to buy a used car and then have a $2,000 repair in a couple of months. This is actually one of the best reasons to buy an extended or aftermarket warranty. When you buy a used car, you might not know what kind of person drove the car before you, or what service history the car had. An aftermarket car warranty can cover vehicles that have many miles or are many model years old, too.
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