An auto warranty is an agreement between the owner of the vehicle and a warranty company. The warranty company agrees to pay for repairs, identified in advance, during the specified warranty period. A warranty period is generally based on car mileage; anywhere from one thousand to several tens of thousands of miles. The longer the coverage, the higher the price of the auto warranty. Warranties are often purchased
in lump sum amounts, but certain companies also offer monthly payment plans.
Auto warranties are generally considered a wise purchase, since the cost of car repairs can easily exceed thousands of dollars. However, that reasoning only holds true if the auto warranty covers the repairs needed. Auto warranty contracts have a lot of fine print. Understanding the scope of coverage is imperative to making a wise purchase. You also need to make sure the company offering the auto warranty is reputable - a warranty
company that goes out of business will not be there to issue auto claim payments. Simply put, not every auto warranty is created equal.
Before agreeing to purchase an auto warranty, you need to be sure to consider the following items:
Repair Coverage. Will the auto warranty plan cover the costly repairs that may be needed?
Cost. How does the cost of one auto warranty company compare to the next? Are you getting what you're paying for?
Reputation. If and when you have an auto repair claim, will the auto warranty company stand behind you and your claim?
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best auto warranty plans available today. We hope you find these reviews helpful in finding the best auto warranty that fits your needs!
Disclosure: We pay our reviewers and we are compensated for our reviews. Click here for details.
$1,300 - $2,200 (varies based on coverage plan and age/mileage of vehicle)
CARCHEX has been in the business of selling extended auto warranty coverage for over 10 years and provides a website that offers a wealth of vehicle information, tips and resources. Originally, CARCHEX served as a broker of extended warranties, offering plans from multiple warranty providers. But now, in addition to those plans, CARCHEX is also offering their own warranty plans provided by Assurant Solutions - a highly rated insurance company.
In addition to this
core product, they also sell vehicle inspection services and provide vehicle history reports on their website.
The CARCHEX website is by far the best of the companies reviewed and lists their endorsees and business partners such as Pat Goss, CARFAX, Cars.com, RepairPal, LendingTree Autos, Kelley Blue Book and more. CARCHEX also holds an impressive A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
The quote and warranty purchase process is simple through CARCHEX. This includes a quick online survey, a phone call to a representative to review a link of the plan options available. The customer may then continue reviewing the plans online until they are ready to make a purchase either through a representative or via an online option.
CARCHEX allows customers to choose any licensed repair facility in the United States. They also take the hassle out of filing a claim. The service repair company simply contacts the auto warranty company directly for approval and payment. There's no need for the auto warranty holder to pay out of pocket and then await reimbursement. An auto warranty through CARCHEX also includes 24-7 roadside assistance,
towing, tire repair, emergency gas delivery service, battery, lock-out and rental car benefit that varies per plan.
CARCHEX offers five coverage plans that vary from the most comprehensive bumper-to-bumper coverage, to a more basic plan that is best for older and/or higher mileage vehicles:
Titanium offers the highest level of bumper to bumper coverage available. Similar to a factory coverage with a limited amount of exclusions
Platinum provides the highest level of stated-component coverage available through CARCHEX and include all major systems on the vehicle
Gold comprehensive coverage for vehicles with over 60k miles. Contracts include coverage for all major systems and comes with flexible terms at affordable prices
Silver coverage for the major systems of a vehicle
Bronze coverage on the most common and expensive vehicle repairs
We found that when dealing with CARCHEX the representatives were very friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and professional. CARCHEX offers a no-haggle, low price, 30 day money back guarantee. This approach eliminates the high pressured sales tactics we found at other extended warranty companies.
Payment terms are flexible at CARCHEX. You can either pay the full auto warranty premium upfront, or through 6, 12 or 18 month financing - some with no down payment requirements. The terms of coverage available range from one to seven years and they are priced accordingly.
As with other auto warranty plans, the bumper-to-bumper coverage includes most mechanical and electrical system repairs and excludes only normal wear-and-tear, cosmetic repairs such as faded paint and anything resulting from owner neglect. If you choose to cancel your auto warranty before the end of the term, you'll receive a prorated refund. The auto warranty is also transferable if you choose to sell the car.
CARCHEX prides themselves as the gold standard of extended warranty plans and it shows. Their non-pushy sales approach, and their focus on helping the customer make the best decision for their needs, was a breath of fresh air. In addition, CARCHEX has access to an impressive variety of different auto warranty plans, warranty companies, and warranty pricing. Combined with their dependable history, CARCHEX
lands at the top of our list of extended warranty companies. They earn our highest rating.
$1,300 - $2,500 (varies based on coverage plan and age/mileage of vehicle)
Warranty Direct is a 30+ year old company that is an online division of a dealer agency, Interstate National Dealer Services. Their website is very user friendly and contains all of the essential information you need to know about the company, its history, how to purchase an auto warranty, and how to file a claim.
All Warranty Direct plans come with excellent features such as no limits on the number of claims filed, the ability to choose the car service facility, 30 day satisfaction guarantee, rental car reimbursement, 24-7 complimentary roadside assistance, Monday through Saturday claims assistance and more. Also, each of Warranty Direct's plans clearly outline what is covered and not covered.
Warranty Direct offers six basic auto warranty plans: XtraCare+, PowerShield, PowerShield Enhanced, MajorCare, SecureCare+ and LuxuryCare+.
XtraCare+ offers the most comprehensive coverage for all 16 major systems of an automobile that are 4 years or older and/or have more than 50k miles.
PowerShield is major component coverage for older used vehicles. The warranty covers engine, transmission, drive axle and more.
PowerShield Enhanced is premium coverage for high cost repairs on older model, higher mileage vehicles. It is a low cost warranty intended to cover only certain major repair expenses.
MajorCare covers component of the 12 major systems of a vehicle and provides protection against the "big ticket" or major repairs that may occur. . This warranty is designed for vehicles up to 7 years of age and that have less than 100k miles.
SecureCare+ offering extensive bumper-to-bumper coverage on all major vehicle systems in your automobile that is less than 4 years old and has 50k or fewer miles. These include everything from major breakdowns to repairs caused by normal wear and tear.
LuxuryCare+ is an upgrade from SecureCare+. This warranty includes coverage of such things as GPS navigation systems, DVD video systems and Blue tooth phone systems. SecureCare+ and LuxuryCare+ are available for newer vehicles still covered by their manufacturer's warranty and that have less than 50K miles.
The auto warranty plans for most vehicles can be for four, five or six year terms. Premium payments can be made as a one-time, upfront payment, or over in payment plans stretching over 3, 10, or 18 months. As expected, you pay less each month the longer you spread out the payments. If you wish to cancel prior to the end of the term, you'll receive a prorated refund. The auto warranty is transferable to a new owner if you
decide to sell the vehicle prior to the end of the term.
Warranty Direct services and pays their own claims versus outsourcing them to other insurance brokers - a nice benefit, since you'll only deal with one company. Warranty Direct has consistently received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and have been named to Forbes Magazine's Best 200 Small Companies list three times.
With the large variety of auto warranty plans available, consumer-friendly repair policies, and excellent customer service, Warranty Direct earns a strong rating.
Varies based on coverage plan and age/mileage of vehicle
Endurance Warranty Services has been in business since 2006 and offers three different auto warranty plans. Their website provides clearly explained information, though slightly less so than those ranked higher regarding their plan information and what is included and excluded with each option. Endurance currently holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Purchasing an Endurance auto warranty plan is very straightforward. The customer answers a few questions online and then awaits a phone call for details regarding the best available warranty options for their vehicle. You don't have to wait very long - Endurance was mentioned on Forbes.com for ranking in the top 5 for lead response times. When purchasing a warranty through Endurance, customers also benefit from the option
to choose their own licensed mechanic or dealer, 24 hour roadside assistance, and a 30 day money back guarantee.
Endurance Warranty Services auto warranty plans include:
Supreme covers from bumper to bumper, which is similar to a factory warranty. This plan provides the maximum coverage available at Endurance.
Superior provides coverage on a long list of vehicle components.
Secure is the lowest cost plan available at Endurance. This covers only the most vital and expensive repairs on a vehicle.
The focus at Endurance is to protect a vehicle the first time a customer contacts them for a quote. This approach came off as a little pushy at first, but was eventually explained by the representative. Placing coverage on a vehicle on the first call eliminates the risk of customers returning to place coverage after something goes wrong with the car, which can raise the warranty cost and lower the coverage. Less risk for
them means lower prices and better coverage for you.
Endurance is not just the marketer of the extended auto coverage plan, they are the administrator and handle the claims adjudication process too. This means that you deal with only one company for the entire life cycle of the plan - a big positive. The auto warranty plan terms vary by the age and manufacturer of the car, but are typically between 3 and 7 years. Premium payments can be made as a one-time, upfront payment,
or spread over 12 or 18 months. The claim payment process at Endurance Warranty Services is straightforward. The customer or mechanic calls for preapproval, and when accepted, Endurance issues payment directly to the service company.
Endurance Warranty Services provides a good list of auto warranty plans. While their sales process can come off as a bit forceful at times, their claim process is hassle-free and we liked the added benefits that come with their plans. Overall, Endurance Warranty Services receives high marks.
$1,700 - $2,800 (varies based on coverage plan and age/mileage of vehicle)
AA Auto Protection serves as an auto warranty broker for several companies.
Their website is somewhat misleading because it boasts they provide instant quotes. However, after you submit your vehicle and personal information, rather then providing you an instant quote, they send an e-mail stating that they need additional information and ask you to call a toll-free number to provide the answers.
When we called and provided the information the sales representative was helpful and friendly enough, albeit a little on the unprofessional side in both manner and speech. They did not put the hard sell on and were content when told we wanted to think it over. He did provide his direct extension should we decide to call back with additional questions or to purchase a warranty.
They offer six types of plans to choose from that range in price with the more expensive plans covering most areas of the vehicle. Most plans include full roadside service and pay for lodging and food if you breakdown 100 miles or more from your home. Car rental reimbursement is also included. Also, as with most other plans, you are able to use any service facility of your choice.
With their comprehensive plans, most repairs are covered with the exception of regular maintenance, repairs covered by an accident insurance claim and those caused by basic owner neglect. If you cancel before the end of the term you will receive a prorated refund. The warranty is transferable if you sell the vehicle before the end of the term.
AA Auto Protection receives a B- rating from the Better Business Bureau. We echo this BBB rating in that AA Auto Protection offers a good, if nondescript, auto warranty product.
$1,400 - $2,300 (varies based on coverage plan and age/mileage of vehicle)
Mogi has a fairly simple, easy to navigate website that provides basic information about the company and their warranty plans. They offer five plans: Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Basic.
The high-end Platinum plan is the most comprehensive, providing bumper-to-bumper coverage similar the coverage provided by new car warranties. The Gold plan includes engine, transmission, transfer unit of 4x4 drive axle assembly, front and rear suspension, steering, air conditioning unit, electronics, seals, gaskets, brake system, electrical system. The Silver plan is designed more for pre-owned vehicles, while the Bronze
is for high-mileage vehicles and the Basic for older, high-mileage vehicles.
We were quoted a five-year term or 100,000 miles, whichever came first for the Platinum plan. As with most companies, you can make a one-time payment in full or make a partial down payment and spread out the remainder of the cost into monthly payments. In the long-run you pay more if you spread the payments but otherwise it's a larger chunk of cash upfront. If you cancel you will receive a prorated refund and the warranty
is transferable if you sell the vehicle.
The representative on the phone was able to answer our questions, however, he went into hard-sale mode very quickly. It was obvious he was trained to close every sale. He was ready to counter every objection and began to increase the pressure, continually seeking credit card information in order to make the first payment. When he was finally told that we just wanted to think about it for a couple of days, he practically
hung up on us.
Mogi has received an F from the Better Business Bureau. This, combined with the high pressure technique of their representatives, has earned Mogi a low rating.
US Fidelis is currently under chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, filed on March 10, 2010. This company discontinued selling vehicle service contracts as of December 2009 although claims from contracts previously sold will be paid by the companies they represent.
US Fidelis had received numerous complaints regarding nearly all of their business practices. They have been accused by many of "robo-dialing," an aggressive telemarketing tactic. Countless consumers claimed to have received completely unsolicited calls from this company with automated messages stating that their factory warranty was about to expire. This was the case no matter how new or old the car you
owned was or if you even owned a car. If you returned the call and asked what they were talking about, they were usually abrupt, rude and evasive, and would quickly hang up on you.
As stated, a simple search engine search of their name yields a bounty of complaints and negative comments. They were the subject of a number of national news stories reporting on these consumer complaints as well as their overall business practices.
Even if this company was not under bankruptcy protection, we would highly recommend you choose a higher ranked company. US Fidelis receives a very strong "Buyer Beware" warning from many.
The Basics of Auto Warranties
Cars are expensive investments, whether you like to purchase new or pre-owned. In protecting that investment and to avoid future repair expenses on your car, you may want to consider purchasing an auto warranty.
Most new and some used cars are covered by some sort of warranty when purchased. For example, new cars are usually covered by a manufacturer's warranty. These warranties vary greatly and are limited in duration. They may cover a variety of repairs until either a time limit or mileage limit such as three years or 36,000 miles. Once you reach that time or mileage limit, the warranty will either totally expire or much of what it covers will be void.
Some manufacturers also offer various program warranties on specific used or pre-owned cars, usually called "certified used" or something similar, that extend the original manufacturer's warranty or parts of the warranty.
If you plan on keeping the car past the life of the manufacturer's warranty, you may want to consider purchasing an extended warranty. Extended warranties are insurance policies against expensive, unforeseen repairs. In essence, extended warranties are actually service contracts. They cover expenses incurred that your warranty doesn't cover.
Unlike manufacturer's warranties, extended warranties are purchased separately from your car. They can be purchased either through the original manufacturer or through a third-party, independent warranty company. In some cases, you'll receive offers to purchase extended warranties in the mail or over the phone from the manufacturer just as the original manufacturer's warrantee is expiring.
Extended warranties are all different. They each differ on what repairs are covered, how much is covered, duration of the coverage and cost of the warranty. Before purchasing any extended warranty, determine what is still covered on the warranty you possess, determine how long past the life of the warranty you'll keep the car, what you want covered and for how long.
When researching the details of the warranty you want to purchase, look for information on the policy's deductible, whether the policy is transferable if you sell the car and whether repairs can be done anywhere or only with specific shops. Also, look for specifics on what is covered and what is not. For instance, does the warranty cover breakdown of parts as well as wear and tear? A warranty that only covers breakdown requires the part to break before the warranty will pay to replace it. A wear and tear policy will cover parts that need to be replaced because they are too worn to work efficiently.
Purchasing an extended warranty can be a smart investment. Don't forget to research the warranty specification and the companies offering them online before making the purchase.
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