Some vehicle service providers use third-party administrators to handle contract details, while others deal with claims in-house, cutting out the middleman. Using a direct service provider can fast-track the claims process after your car breaks down, but which warranty companies administer their own plans?
In this article, we’ll look at the vehicle service providers that handle all quotes and claims directly and what that means for customers. Our team of warranty experts has combed through the industry and ranked the best extended car warranty companies, so we’ll also share our top recommendations for providers that administer their own plans.
If you’re shopping for an extended auto warranty, it’s smart to compare plans and costs from a few companies. You can get free, personalized quotes from our highest-rated providers below.
In this article:
- What Does It Mean To Be A Direct Service Provider?
- Best Direct Service Warranty Providers
- Other Options For Extended Warranties
- Do You Need an Extended Warranty?
What Does It Mean To Be A Direct Service Provider?
Car warranty companies that handle their own protection plans are called direct service providers. Being a direct service provider means handling everything from selling the warranty to approving car warranty claims to paying the repair shop after your car is fixed.
The idea is that a customer will always know who they’re dealing with. There’s no confusion about going through a middleman to file a service request, and you ideally avoid extra administrative fees or slowdowns during the claims process.
Best Direct Service Warranty Providers
Providers that choose to keep the process in-house can ensure customers receive a higher standard of service, as the same team that handles the quotes and sales process also handles your claims. There can also be better rates for customers, as there are no external administrative fees, and the claims process will never be slowed down by back-and-forth with a middleman.
Most extended warranty companies use third-party administrators to handle claims and contract details, but there are a few vehicle service contract providers that handle policies directly, such as industry leaders Endurance, Protect My Car, and Infinite Auto Protection.
Endurance: Best Coverage
Formed in 2006 and based in Northbrook, Illinois, Endurance has grown into one of the largest competitors in the extended car warranty market. Endurance offers plenty of options when it comes to warranty plans. With these six tiers of protection, you can choose the coverage that best suits your needs and wallet:
- Supreme: Endurance's most comprehensive choice for protection, this plan is a bumper-to-bumper, exclusionary warranty that covers most mechanical and electrical car parts, except for a short list of exclusions.
- Superior: This stated-component warranty covers hundreds of car parts, including parts of the engine, transmission, steering, air conditioning, fuel system, and more.
- Secure Plus: This plan offers mid-level coverage and has the shortest waiting period out of the bunch at 30 days and 1,000 miles.
- Secure: This is Endurance’s most barebones option, which only covers the powertrain – the engine, drive axles, and transmission.
- Select Premier: This plan is geared toward high-mileage vehicles and covers mostly the powertrain, air conditioning, and select electrical parts.
- EnduranceAdvantageTM: Three are three sub-tiers of EnduranceAdvantage coverage to choose from, all of which cover certain mechanical breakdowns as well as routine maintenance services like oil changes.
Additionally, each plan comes with trip interruption protection, rental car reimbursement, courtesy towing, and 24/7 roadside assistance (up to $30 per day and $150 per incident).
Overall, we rate the provider 4.6 out of 5.0 stars and recognize it for having the Best Coverage of 2021. Along with comprehensive coverage, Endurance has affordable rates and strong customer reviews. Check out our Endurance warranty review for more information.
Protect My Car: Best Maintenance Benefits
Protect My Car is another extended warranty company that administers many of its own plans. It offers direct service for its Ambassador Maintenance Plans, which are contracts that cover routine maintenance and give mechanical repair discounts of up to 75 percent. These plans are designed for vehicles with over 125,000 miles on the odometer.
Ambassador plans come in three levels of protection – Platinum, Pro, and Elite – which cover the same general vehicle components but give customers different perks and deductible limits. Each plan comes with complimentary oil changes, tire rotations, and rental car reimbursement, and two of the three tiers also include roadside assistance.
Protect My Car stands out among extended car warranty companies with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and our research team gives it an overall rating of 4.3 out of 5.0 stars. Costs will depend on your vehicle’s mileage and the level of protection you choose, but Protect My Car claims plans are available for as low as $2 per day. For more information, read our full Protect My Car review.
Infinite Auto Protection: Superior Direct Provider
Founded in 2008, Infinite Auto Protection is a slightly younger company than most providers. This Michigan-based warranty company has more stripped-down coverage options compared to competitors. Infinite Auto Protection’s three warranty plans are as follows:
- Prime: Under its most extensive plan, Infinite Auto Protection covers repairs for over a dozen major vehicle systems, including the fuel system, front and rear suspension, and the powertrain.
- Modern: This mid-tier option covers nine systems, like the powertrain, electrical, and differential assembly.
- Foundation: This basic option provides the same level of protection as the Modern plan, minus the differential assembly coverage.
Along with industry-standard add-ons like roadside assistance and trip interruption coverage, Infinite Auto Protection has flexible payment plans, 24/7 claims servicing, and a price-match program. Warranty holders can also transfer their plan to subsequent owners for a $50 fee if they decide to sell the car before their coverage expires.
When we took a look at Infinite Auto Protection, we awarded it 4.0 out of 5.0 stars overall. It’s accredited and has an A- rating from the BBB, but its plan options don’t allow for much choice. See more on this company in our Infinite Auto Protection review.
Other Options For Extended Warranties
When it comes to buying vehicle warranties, you have two options for protection: getting coverage from your car manufacturer or opting for an independent auto warranty company. We’ve already talked about the advantages of a company that administers its own plans. Now, let’s check out your other options.
Manufacturer-Backed Extended Warranties
All new cars leave the dealership with a factory warranty. If you enjoyed the level of vehicle protection that you got from your manufacturer's warranty, there is the option of buying an extended warranty directly from the carmaker.
Typically, extended manufacturer warranties are only available for purchase before a car’s original warranty expires. They are typically less extensive than the bumper-to-bumper warranty and powertrain coverage you get during the first few years of a car’s life, but they do cover many parts. One upside is that repairs are guaranteed to be made by factory-trained technicians using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts and accessories.
That said, extended warranties from the manufacturer usually come with a higher price tag than a third-party option, and you don’t have as much room to customize your coverage plans. You’re also limited to dealership repair shops. Plus, many manufacturers drop coverage soon after your car reaches 100,000 miles.
Third-Party Warranty Brokers
Although warranty companies that administer their own plans have a number of advantages, vehicle service agreement brokers are still a viable option. You’ll want to make sure you’re looking at reputable extended car warranty companies in order to avoid potential scams.
A car warranty provider like Toco could be a great place to start. Toco is a third-party warranty company with an A+ rating and accreditation from the BBB, and it offers low rates without a down payment. If you’re curious or want a free quote, check out TocoWarranty.com.
Do You Need an Extended Warranty?
If unexpected costly repairs are something you’re worried about, you should look into third-party warranty coverage. With independent providers, you have the ability to purchase an extended service plan for new and used vehicles at any mileage. Third-party providers also typically have more coverage options than manufacturers, so you can purchase a plan that better suits your vehicle and budget.
Just like with auto insurance, car owners should read the fine print of a vehicle service contract to see what’s excluded and what can potentially void a warranty. You should also make sure that you’re signing up for a monthly payment that fits within your finances. To be sure the extra coverage is a good decision for you, it's important to consider the pros and cons of extended car warranties.
Weighing coverage options from brands like Endurance vs. CARCHEX can provide a better sense of what you’re getting from each company, and comparing free quotes from multiple providers is a great way to find the best price for car protection. Click below to start getting free, no-obligation quotes from our highest-rated providers.
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.