Make the car warranty claims process work for you with these tips.
Paying for an auto warranty only to have your claim denied when an issue occurs can be an incredibly frustrating experience. The purpose of a car warranty is to bring peace of mind and guard against unexpected costly repairs.
Our research team has carefully reviewed dozens of car warranty companies, and we’ve seen countless customer complaints regarding denied claims. Read our 10 tips for getting your auto warranty claim approved to make sure you’ll be covered after a breakdown.
If you're looking for a reputable warranty provider, consider getting free quotes from our top recommendations.
In this article:
- Tip #1: Choose The Right Provider
- Tip #2: Read And Understand Your Warranty Contract
- Tip #3: Keep Up With Regular Maintenance
- Tip #4: Save Your Receipts
- Tip #5: Address Mechanical Issues Immediately
- Tip #6: Double-Check Your Coverage
- Tip #7: Wait For Authorization
- Tip #8: Keep All Documentation
- Tip #9: Get Any Claim Denial In Writing
- Tip #10: File A Complaint
Tip #1: Choose The Right Provider
Our first three tips are steps you should take before a breakdown ever occurs. These are also the most important tips for ensuring your warranty claim is approved.
It’s no secret that some car warranty administrators offer poor coverage. When it comes time to file a claim, the worst extended auto warranty companies will do everything they can to avoid paying out. However, not all companies behave this way.
Some providers, like Toco warranty, have an excellent customer service reputation and are known for paying out customer claims. You can check a provider’s reputation by using sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot. Toco warranty, for example, has an A+ rating and accreditation from the BBB. It also has a 4.48 out of 5-star customer review score, which is exceptionally high even among the best extended car warranty providers. You can get a free quote from Toco by visiting TocoWarranty.com.
There are also customer complaints posted on the BBB. Keep in mind that, like any company, warranty providers are likely to have their share of bad reviews and denied claims. You can read customer complaints for yourself. Leading extended car warranty companies will address all complaints, usually to the customer’s satisfaction.
In the case of the most reputable extended car warranty companies, denied claims are often the result of customers who don’t understand their contracts and what is and is not covered. This leads us to tip No. 2.
Tip #2: Read And Understand Your Warranty Contract
Extended car warranty contracts are multi-page documents that carefully explain warranty terms and coverage. Make sure that you fully understand any extended warranty contract you sign. If you’re at all unclear about what a warranty covers, don’t buy it.
There is a common set of exclusions that are not covered by nearly any extended warranty contract. Most extended warranties will not cover the following:
- Covered parts that are damaged by non-covered parts
- Any vehicle that is involved in a serious accident and has been given a “salvage” title
- Cars used for racing or offroading
- Glass parts like windshields and mirrors
- Wear-and-tear components such as brake pads, wiper blades, and shock absorbers.
- Exterior trim
- Interior upholstery
- Latches, hinges, bulbs, and fuses
The best extended warranty contracts are exclusionary. An exclusionary warranty contract specifically lists all the parts that are not protected. Be sure to read your warranty carefully and understand the parts on any such list.
Tip #3: Keep Up With Regular Maintenance
In addition to reducing the chances that you will need to file a claim in the first place, keeping up with regular maintenance is often a condition for any extended warranty contract. Your claim may be denied if you have not followed your vehicle’s factory-recommended service schedule or missed an oil change.
Tip #4: Save Your Receipts
Make sure to save any service records or receipts. After you file a claim, you may be required to prove that you kept your vehicle well-maintained. If you change your own oil or perform your own maintenance, be sure to save the receipts for any parts and fluids you purchase.
Some contracts may require that maintenance only be performed at a licensed repair shop. Don’t perform your own maintenance if this is the case.
Tip #5: Address Mechanical Issues Immediately
As soon as you experience an issue, take your vehicle to a repair shop and initiate the claims process immediately. Check your contract to see which repair shops will accept your coverage. Most manufacturer extended warranties require that you take your car to a dealership for repairs. Third-party warranties typically stipulate that the repair shop be certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE®).
In many cases, addressing problems right away is a contract condition. Even if your issue is not covered by your contract, it’s a good idea to have your vehicle fixed as soon as an issue arises. Failing to do so can lead to more expensive repairs down the road.
When you take your vehicle to the repair shop, you should first authorize a tear-down service to diagnose the problem.
Tip #6: Double-Check Your Coverage
After the mechanic has diagnosed your issue, double-check your contract to see if your repair is covered. If you aren’t sure, it is worth filing a claim to find out. However, you can save yourself a big headache and a lot of time if you’re already certain that your repair is excluded or included in your contract.
If you’re confident your repair is covered, go ahead and start the claims process. This typically entails your mechanic contacting your warranty provider to confirm repair coverage and authorize work.
Tip #7: Wait For Authorization
After filing a claim, you must wait until your warranty administrator authorizes your repairs before any work can begin on your car. With a reliable extended warranty provider, this process should be very quick.
The entire authorization and claims process can take some time, especially if there is any disagreement about coverage. It’s important to be patient and take the proper steps to ensure your claim is ultimately approved.
Tip #8: Keep All Documentation
Save any paperwork you get from your mechanic as well as communications with your warranty administrator. Should your claim be denied, this documentation may be important for arguing your case in court. In general, the more documentation you have, the better chance your claim is approved.
Tip #9: Get Any Claim Denial In Writing
Our final two tips are relevant if you feel your claim has been unfairly denied.
If you think your repair should have been covered but your claim is denied, your first step should be to request a reason for the claim denial in writing. This document will be useful for your lawyer or in claims court should it come to that.
Tip #10: File A Complaint
If your claim has been denied and going to court fails or is not an option, you have one last recourse. There are several outlets through which you can file a complaint. At the very least, this may help warn future customers about a poor warranty administrator. To complain about an unscrupulous warranty company, try contacting:
- Your local consumer protection office
- Your state’s attorney general
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- The provider’s BBB page
You can also get free quotes from a few reputable extended warranty companies to find better service and coverage in the future.
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.