Is an Extended Car Warranty Worth It?
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This is a contributed post from Brooke on extended car warranties.
Many products these days come with an extended warranty. You can even get an extended warranty for your car once the manufacturer’s warranty expires. However, many people are unsure if an extended warranty for their car is worth it.
While online resources like Protect My Car reviews can help you figure out if an extended warranty is the right choice, the usefulness of this additional coverage really depends on the individual.
Let’s explore what an extended car warranty is so you can find out if it’s worth the investment.
Table of Contents
What Is an Extended Car Warranty?
When you buy a new car, it’s not unusual to receive a manufacturer’s warranty with your purchase. A manufacturer’s warranty covers the cost of mechanical and electrical defects for a certain amount of time after the purchase date. For example, you may receive a warranty that lasts for three years or 36,000 miles.
An extended car warranty is essentially an extension of the original warranty. It covers the cost of repairing or fixing specific parts of your car for a certain amount of time after the original warranty expires. For example, you may purchase an extended warranty that lasts for five years or 60,000 miles.
It’s important to note that an extended warranty is not an insurance plan. An insurance plan covers the cost of repairing or replacing your car if it’s damaged in an accident. Extended warranties only cover the cost of repairing or fixing specific parts of your car if they break down due to defects.
How Extended Warranties Differ for Used vs. New Vehicles
When you buy a new car, the manufacturer’s warranty already covers most of your repair costs. This means that if anything goes wrong with it and needs fixing, like an engine blow, for instance, the manufacturer will cover the cost of the repair.
When you buy a used car, the situation is different. The original warranty has likely already expired. So, you’re responsible for paying for all repairs that may be necessary.
This is where an extended warranty comes in handy. It provides you with coverage for a specific number of years or miles, whichever comes first. Extended warranties can be a great investment, but only if you know what you’re getting into.
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When Does an Extended Warranty Make Sense?
If you’ve recently purchased a used car, an extended warranty may make sense. Think of it this way: you can purchase an extended warranty before the original warranty expires, or you can wait until the original warranty expires and hope that your car doesn’t break down. If it does break down, you’ll have to pay for the cost of repairs out-of-pocket.
An extended warranty can also be a good idea if you own a car that’s prone to mechanical and electrical failures. If you know a specific part of your car is likely to break down, an extended warranty can help you avoid the cost of repairs.
Finally, if you plan on keeping your car for a long time, an extended warranty may be worth it. After all, the longer you keep your car, the more likely it is to break down, and the more it would cost to fix.
When Does an Extended Warranty Not Make Sense?
An extended warranty usually doesn’t make sense if you have a low-mileage car. This is because the chances of your car breaking down are slim, so you won’t be able to make the most of an extended warranty.
Similarly, an extended warranty typically doesn’t make sense if you plan on selling your new car before the manufacturer’s warranty expires. In some cases, you can transfer your extended warranty to the person who buys your car.
What To Look For in an Extended Warranty
If you do decide to opt for an extended warranty, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Make sure the extended warranty is backed by a reputable company. You don’t want to spend your money on a warranty that won’t be honored.
- Avoid extended warranties that charge high premiums and have low coverage limits. If you have to pay a lot for an extended warranty, your best bet is to purchase the bare minimum.
- An extended warranty should cover the cost of parts and labor. Some warranties only cover the cost of parts, which can be expensive if the labor costs are high.
- Finally, find an extended warranty that pays the auto shop directly. This way, you don’t have to worry about receiving a refund after you’ve already paid for the repairs.
When purchasing an extended warranty, always read the terms and conditions carefully. Make sure you understand what’s covered and what’s not. And, finally, don’t forget to shop around. Prices for extended warranties vary, so it’s important to compare prices before you decide.
What Type of Extended Warranty Is Best for You?
It really depends on your needs and how much money you’re willing to spend. Do some research, read the fine print, and ask the right questions before you decide which extended warranty is best for you:
- Bumper-to-bumper – Covers everything that’s mechanical or electrical in your vehicle. It’s the most comprehensive option, but it’s also the most expensive.
- Powertrain – Covers the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. This is a good option if you’re concerned about those specific parts of your car.
- Limited – Covers specific parts of your car that are likely to break down. This is a good option if you know which parts are most likely to fail.
No matter which option you choose, make sure the warranty includes roadside assistance. Without this feature, you could be stranded on the side of the road if your car breaks down.
Once you’ve decided whether an extended warranty makes sense for you, it’s time to find good coverage. Be sure to compare prices and read the fine print before you commit. You may also find it useful to read reviews of car warranty companies to determine which of these are trustworthy.
In the end, it’s up to you whether an extended warranty is worth it.
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Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66), and is an expert on Investment Products and Financial Planning. Greg has 22+ years experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy.
Greg has been quoted/interviewed in Yahoo Money, Yahoo Finance, USA Today, Authority Magazine, Realtor.com, Business Insider, and others.
Greg is an avid runner, and the father to identical twin girls and their awesome brother. His love of budgeting and his kids led him to join The Great Resignation in 2021.
Disclaimer: Any Financial Tips on ChaChingQueen are general and informational. Speak with a professional about your specific situation.