Vehicle service contracts from First Automotive give drivers a wide range of coverage options.

 
 

 

Vehicle repairs can be expensive, especially for major components, such as the engine or transmission. Problems often crop up unexpectedly, leaving customers facing large bills they didn’t see coming. An extended warranty can protect drivers from those sorts of situations.

Many companies offer extended warranties, or vehicle service contracts, that may cover nearly all repairs or only select components. Plans have a range of prices and deductibles, and companies have different track records and reputations when it comes to claims processing and customer service.

To help you avoid the stress of trying to sort out all that information yourself, we took a detailed look at many of the most popular extended auto warranty providers in the United States and compiled a short list of our top picks. Below, we’ll go into detail about First Automotive’s warranty options. 

 

In this article:

 


 

Summary: What We Think About First Automotive

First Automotive offers extended warranties with an array of coverage options, as well as benefits such as roadside assistance, towing, and trip interruption coverage. The company has received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but some customers have complained about claims that were denied. First Automotive emphasized that it’s important for you to understand what your extended warranty plans do and don’t cover and to follow the company’s procedures, so it can pay for covered repairs.

 


 

 

Company Background

SouthwestRe is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has offices in Dallas, Texas. It was founded in 1985 and is one of the leading third-party administrators and reinsurance program providers in the U.S.

SouthwestRe works with independent agents and other distributors to offer finance and insurance products to auto dealerships, which in turn offer them to customers. SouthwestRe develops products, and its team members handle underwriting, compliance, marketing, licensing, insurance, policy administration, claims processing, and other essential functions.

First Automotive is SouthwestRe’s brand that works with franchise and independent dealerships to provide vehicle service contracts for owners of new and used vehicles, as well as aftermarket products and guaranteed asset protection (GAP).

 


 

First Automotive Warranty Coverage

First Automotive offers vehicle service contracts that cover not only cars and trucks, but many types of vehicles normally excluded from other companies’ plans. Its plans cover new and used:

  • Cars
  • Trucks
  • SUVs
  • Class 3-8 commercial trucks
  • Motor homes
  • Campers
  • Towables
  • Utility vehicles
  • Motorcycles
  • Scooters
  • All-terrain vehicles
  • Snowmobiles
  • Personal watercraft
  • Jetboats

Many extended warranty plans from First Automotive cover the following:

  • Roadside assistance: This includes services like towing, jump-starts, lock-out assistance, flat tire changing, and emergency delivery of fuel, oil, fluids, and water.
  • Rental car/transportation expense reimbursement: Some contracts allow customers to choose a rental upgrade option.
  • Trip interruption reimbursement: If a vehicle breaks down more than 100 miles from the customer’s home and repairs are covered, First Automotive may reimburse the customer for lodging and meals.

 


 

Plans Available

Standard VSC:

  • For new vehicles up to 4 years old with up to 60,000 miles and used vehicles up to 12 years old with up to 125,000 miles
  • Coverage available for hybrid, all-electric, PHEV, and fuel-cell vehicles
  • Multiple levels of coverage offered
  • Includes towing, transportation expense reimbursement, trip interruption 
  • Optional emergency roadside assistance

Xtended Care

  • For vehicles up to 20 years old with up to 200,000 miles
  • Coverage available for hybrid, all-electric, PHEV, and fuel-cell vehicles
  • Includes towing, transportation expense reimbursement, trip interruption
  • Optional emergency roadside assistance

Enhanced Care

  • For new and leased vehicles up to 1 year old with up to 7,500 miles 
  • Terms from 24 months/24,000 miles to 60 months/60,000 miles
  • Covers all mechanical and electrical components, plus many wear and tear components
  • Includes travel expense reimbursement and roadside assistance
  • Additional options available

5 Yr./100K Mile Protection

  • For vehicles up to 15 years old with up to 150,000 miles
  • Coverage levels include Engine Plus (powertrain coverage), which has three exclusive coverage options, and High Tech coverage
  • Includes towing and rental car reimbursement

3 Yr./100K Mile Protection

  • For vehicles up to 15 years old with up to 150,000 miles
  • Covers engine, transmission components, and transfer case components (with surcharge)
  • Includes towing and rental car reimbursement

Lifetime Powertrain Limited Warranty

  • For new vehicles up to 1 year old with up to 12,000 miles and used vehicles up to 10 years old with up to 100,000 miles for as long as the customer owns the vehicle
  • Covers some components of hybrid, all-electric, PHEV, and fuel-cell vehicles
  • Customer must return vehicle to the dealer for complimentary powertrain inspection every five years

Powertrain Wrap

  • For new vehicles up to 1 year old with up to 12,000 miles and used vehicles up to 4 years old with up to 50,000 miles
  • Covers all mechanical and electrical components (except powertrain and other components specifically excluded)
  • Includes roadside assistance, towing, and rental car reimbursement

Limited Warranty:

  • For vehicles up to 20 years old with up to 200,000 miles
  • Covers all internal lubricated engine parts, transmission/transfer case, and differential, as well as some components of hybrid, all-electric, PHEV, and fuel-cell vehicles
  • Choose from plans with $100 and $200 deductibles

Extended VSCs for Certifieds:

  • Programs for Acura, Honda, Toyota, and Volvo vehicles are available through franchise dealerships
  • Coverage varies

Other programs are available that cover tires, wheels, keys, paint, upholstery, windshield, body 

damage (dents and dings), theft, and routine maintenance.

 


 

First Automotive Warranty Claims Process

If your vehicle breaks down, park it and turn off the engine. If you continue to drive when you know it isn’t functioning correctly, you’ll violate your service contract, and your claim will likely be denied.

Call a towing company. In some cases, you may be required to take your car to the dealership where you bought it for repairs. If that’s impossible or if there is an emergency outside normal business hours, you may be able to have your vehicle fixed at the licensed repair shop of your choice, as long as it accepts First Automotive’s extended warranties.

First Automotive recommends that you keep a copy of your vehicle service contract in your glove box, so you’ll have important information readily available if your car breaks down. Before you file a claim, review your service contract to see if the needed repair is covered or excluded so you can save time and avoid frustration. Your contract will also tell you whether you have to pay a deductible and, if so, how much. If you have a deductible, you’ll need to pay it to the repair facility directly.

Show an employee at the repair shop your vehicle service contract and your maintenance records, if requested. Ask an employee to call First Automotive’s Claims Department at the toll-free number at the bottom of each page of your service contract. The Claims Department will need to provide authorization before the repair shop may diagnose the cause of the breakdown and commence any repairs.

First Automotive breaks repairs down into two categories: simple and complex. 

Simple repairs involve the replacement of parts that commonly fail. Those can usually be approved over the phone and don’t require an inspection by a First Automotive employee. 

Complex repairs involve failure of components such as the engine or transmission. In those cases, due to high costs, the repair facility will have to remove damaged or worn-out parts, so a First Automotive employee can conduct an inspection and decide whether to approve the repair or replacement. Processing a complex claim typically takes three to seven days, but it may take longer if parts must be shipped.

Many claims representatives are also ASE-certified technicians who have a thorough understanding of vehicles. That helps them communicate effectively with repair shop employees and process claims efficiently.

Contract Cancellations And Transfers

You can purchase or cancel a vehicle service contract by filling out an online form. If you sell your car, you can transfer the vehicle service contract to the new owner online.

 


 

First Automotive Customer Service

First Automotive has received accreditation and an A+ rating from the BBB. You’ll see them listed as the name “First Automotive Service Corp.”

Some customers wrote about their positive experiences with both the customer service and the repairs covered. One noted that the company has paid out triple what she paid for her First Automotive warranty.

On the other hand, several customers have submitted complaints regarding difficulties getting repairs covered and having refunds issued. For example:

“….When I took the contract out I was told all of the major components of the car will be covered. First Automotive wants to put a used transmission in with high mileage. The shop (Fiat) said that's not a good idea because it most likely won't last …”

 


 

Our Verdict: First Automotive Warranty

First Automotive offers extended warranties that cover a wider range of vehicles than many of its competitors’ plans. It provides a variety of coverage options and benefits such as roadside assistance and towing and has earned the highest-possible rating, A+, from the BBB.

Pros Cons

Wide range of coverage for new and used vehicles

Repairs require prior authorization in most cases

Plans cover many types of vehicles not covered by competitors

Customers have complained about claims being denied

Customers can purchase, cancel, and transfer vehicle service contracts online

 

Some customers have had overwhelmingly positive experiences, while others have struggled with getting claims covered. 

When choosing an extended warranty for your car, we have found that the best way to get the lowest price and right coverage is to get several quotes and compare costs. If one of First Automotive’s extended warranties sounds like the right fit for you, we still suggest calling other providers.

 


 

Other Providers We Recommend

The differences in coverage, price, and customer service can make all the difference in an extended warranty provider. Here are a couple of companies we found to rank highly in each category when we reviewed the best extended car warranty providers.

 

Endurance

Endurance offers five tiers of coverage, and each plan includes a year of Endurance Elite membership that provides member rewards, roadside assistance, and other benefits. Many businesses act as a middleman, selling extended warranties issued by other companies, but Endurance directly administers its own vehicle service contracts. Customers only deal with Endurance employees, which simplifies the claims process and keeps things moving efficiently. 

 

 


 

CARCHEX

CARCHEX, an industry veteran, has been selling extended warranties for over 20 years. Its reputation for outstanding customer service has earned it an A+ rating from the BBB, several customer service awards, and endorsements from industry leaders, such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds.com, CARFAX, and the Vehicle Protection Association.

One of the things that customers like about CARCHEX is its No-Haggle, Low-Price, Everyday Guarantee™. The company clearly explains its plans, even providing sample contracts online, to help customers understand what is and isn’t covered before making a purchase.