Best Extended Car Warranty Companies of 2024

We compared 55 companies and chose the top extended auto warranty providers

    • Best overall
      Endurance Auto Warranty
    • Customer service
      American Dream Auto Protect
    • Maximum coverage
      Omega Auto Care

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      Extended car warranties help protect your bank account from expensive repair bills. While finding the perfect plan for you might seem hard, extended warranty reviewers on our site over the last year gave an overall satisfaction rating of 4.2 stars out of 5. We analyzed thousands of consumer reviews to help you make the right choice.

      Our research team compared 55 warranty companies and chose our top five based on availability, value, customer service and coverage. Read our full methodology for details on how we selected our top picks. Our picks may be Authorized Partners that compensate us — this does not affect our recommendations or evaluations but may impact the order in which companies appear.

      Our editor’s top picks

      Note to California residents: California state regulations prevent any business other than a car dealership from selling vehicle service contracts, but you can purchase mechanical breakdown insurance from one of our top picks.

      Why trust ConsumerAffairs?
      • Our recommendations are based on what reviewers say.
      • 4,459,484 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
      • We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
      • We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
      • Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.

      Compare our top 5 extended car warranty companies

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      More details about our top 5 extended car warranty picks

      Our top pick overall
      Levels of coverage
      Maximum mileage
      Waiting period
      30 days and 1,000 miles
      Most states (not MA)

      For our top pick overall, we evaluated companies based on the factors we thought mattered most for an extended warranty provider. Endurance won, and it wasn’t particularly close.

      Endurance is well established in the auto warranty world. The company says it has paid out $355 million in claims since 2012, and it has over 12,000 reviews on ConsumerAffairs as of publishing. That’s almost 10 times more than any of our other top picks.

      In an industry where scams and unproven companies are common, having that much consumer feedback and maintaining a good standing really means a lot.

      Plus, it’s the only one of our top picks that offers mechanical breakdown insurance, which means Californians can buy a warranty plan directly from Endurance without going through a car dealership.

      When making our overall top pick, we compared brands based on a multitude of factors, including critical features (like what vehicles they accept) and how consumers reviewed their coverage, pricing and customer service.

      Endurance lists three plans on its website that should work for most extended warranty shoppers:

      • Secure Plus: The company’s most basic plan covers 10 component groups across your vehicle’s powertrain, air conditioning, brakes, steering and electrical system.
      • Superior: This midtier plan adds coverage for your suspension, fuel system and cooling system.
      • Supreme: This plan offers exclusionary coverage (meaning all parts are covered except specific exceptions listed in your contract).

      Here’s a tip: If you want more options, call and speak to an Endurance representative to hear about all 12 of the plans it offers (but doesn’t always advertise).

      All Endurance plans come with one year of Elite Benefits, which include 24/7 roadside assistance, reimbursement for up to two tires per year for damage caused by road hazards, key fob replacement, up to a $500 discount on post-collision bodywork, and Total Loss Protection, which applies up to $1,000 toward the purchase of a new vehicle.

      Endurance’s review scores usually hover close to the industry average, but that’s in part because Endurance’s massive number of reviews largely defines the average for the entire industry on our site.

      Also, some of Endurance’s best and most unique perks are only available for the first year of coverage, so don’t expect to keep your complimentary Elite Benefits long-term.

      Endurance is the most-reviewed auto warranty provider on our site by far, but that wouldn’t be noteworthy if those reviews weren’t good. In the past year, 88% of Endurance customers whose reviews have been analyzed by ConsumerAffairs are happy or satisfied with the company. Endurance scored the highest on our overall ranking, and when we ran the numbers to see which company was best for high-mileage vehicles, it beat the competition so thoroughly that we had to scrap the award. Five-star reviews for Endurance frequently highlight helpful reps, good value and comprehensive coverage. However, some negative reviews indicate misunderstandings about what was covered under a specific warranty plan.

      “The plan was extremely reasonable and affordable. It's less than $125 per month,” said a reviewer in South Carolina. “I have a BMW, so my premiums typically range way more than that. The military discount made things even sweeter and took my decision over the top.”

      “I canceled my other policy because Endurance covered more, and it was the most affordable,” a reviewer in Ohio said. Another reviewer in Louisiana said their coverage “came to about $1,000 a year.” (That’s about average for a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty in our experience.)

      Our pick for customer service
      Levels of coverage
      Maximum mileage
      Waiting period
      30 days and 1,000 miles
      Most states (not CA)

      American Dream Auto Protect was only founded in 2021, but it already has strong reviews, especially when it comes to its customer service.

      Plus, it frequently offers generous promotional discounts, such as $750 off for Black Friday 2023, so you might be able to score a deal if you’re shopping while a promotion is active.

      To make our pick for customer service, we compared brands based on our personal experience and consumer reviews related to their customer service, claims handling, refunds and marketing.

      American Dream Auto Protect offers three warranty plans, with relatively small changes in coverage between them:

      • Silver: The company’s most basic plan covers your engine, transmission, brakes and other mechanical components.
      • Gold: The midtier plan is the same as Silver but includes the steering system.
      • Platinum: American Dream Auto Protect’s most comprehensive plan adds coverage for your navigation/GPS system, air conditioning, suspension, and various seals and gaskets.

      American Dream Auto Protect is a relatively new company. Its reviews are promising, but it lacks the history of successful claims that you sometimes see with older companies. We have few reasons to doubt American Dream Auto Protect, but this is an industry where proven results should be valued.

      If you do choose to work with American Dream Auto Protect, just be aware that it doesn’t provide quotes online, so you’ll need to call to get pricing. The company also doesn’t offer an exclusionary, bumper-to-bumper plan. Its Platinum plan only covers a few hundred parts out of the 5,000-plus on the average vehicle, making it more akin to most competitors’ midtier plans.

      American Dream Auto Protect reviews are overwhelmingly positive. In fact, 88% of its reviewers over the last year were happy or satisfied with their purchases, and it scored well on our rankings for value, coverage and customer service.

      “I filed a claim about a month ago and the process was seamless,” wrote a reviewer in Houston. “I was pleased with my experience because that was a $775 repair of which I only paid $100 on. And I paid $2,800 for the policy. So, I'm going to keep a running total to see whether it was worth it or not. I don't put that many miles on the car and I may have another repair or I may not. But at least I know if I have a major repair, it's going to be covered.”

      In the past, American Dream Auto Protect did have a poor track record when it came to giving refunds, but it seems to have rebounded, erasing that dark mark from its scores.

      “Samuel has now insured 3 vehicles for me. Returning directly to him should speak volumes. He has worked to find me the best coverage at an affordable price,” said a reviewer in Texas.

      Our pick for maximum coverage

      Omega Auto Care

      Levels of coverage
      Maximum mileage
      Waiting period
      30 days

      One of the most overlooked stipulations in extended auto warranty contracts is that you must perform all the recommended maintenance in your owners manual (and you probably want to keep your receipts). Otherwise, your provider may deny your claims on the basis that you didn’t take care of your car.

      In addition to offering well-reviewed exclusionary coverage, Omega Auto Care actually helps you keep up with maintenance by partially or fully compensating you for oil changes, brake pads, wiper blades and cooling system maintenance during your warranty term.

      In total, the included maintenance program could save you north of $500 on top of the company’s other benefits, such as roadside assistance, tire repair, rental car reimbursement and trip interruption coverage.

      To make our pick for maximum coverage, we compared brands with exclusionary plans based on how consumers reviewed their coverage and claims handling.

      Omega offers five different plans, including three levels of powertrain-adjacent coverage:

      • Powertrain: Omega’s lowest-tier plan covers your engine, transmission and other drivetrain-related components.
      • Powertrain Plus: The Powertrain Plus plan adds coverage for a few miscellaneous parts to the Powertrain plan.
      • Powertrain Enhanced: Another step up from the Powertrain Plus plan, this coverage adds a few more miscellaneous parts, including many pricey electrical components (e.g., window power regulators).
      • Used Stated: The Used Stated plan covers a large number of parts across all of your vehicle’s systems, similar to other providers’ Gold plans.
      • Exclusionary: This plan provides bumper-to-bumper coverage with only a handful of exceptions, as the name implies.

      Not everyone is able to take advantage of Omega Auto Care’s exclusionary coverage. While the company covers vehicles that are up to 15 years old with fewer than 250,000 miles, that only applies to its powertrain plans. If you want exclusionary coverage, your vehicle needs to be under 8 model years old and have fewer than 100,000 miles.

      The Omega Auto Care Maintenance Program also expires 13 months after your warranty purchase date (in effect, 12 months after the 30-day waiting period), and you cannot purchase an Omega Auto Care policy online like you can with some competitors — you must call and speak with a rep.

      Omega Auto Care reviewers frequently highlight the company’s coverage and how it handles claims. In fact, 78% of Omega Auto Care customers whose reviews have been analyzed in depth by ConsumerAffairs over the past year are happy or satisfied with the company.

      “When I needed service for my transmission, I just brought my car into the dealership and let them know what extended warranty I had,” said one customer from Louisiana. “They dealt with the people and got everything going. … It’s very important to have coverage. That saved me $6,000.”

      Other customers noted the maintenance benefits Omega offers, noting that it helped them save money on routine automotive care.

      “I was looking for a full bumper-to-bumper coverage, and I got everything that I wanted, plus a maintenance care [benefit],” said a customer from Florida. “We just put brakes on my wife’s vehicle and they covered up to a couple of hundred dollars on the brake replacement.”

      Our pick for value
      Levels of coverage
      Maximum mileage
      Waiting period
      10 to 30 days

      We used to exclude Zurich from our top picks because it only sold extended warranties through new car dealers. However — in 2023 — Zurich teamed up with Caramel, a digital checkout platform, to sell plans directly to consumers online.

      That’s good news because Zurich scores well across the board with reviewers, many of whom are enthusiastic about the value their plans provide.

      To make our pick for value, we compared brands based on how consumers felt about their prices (what they spent) and claims handling (what they got in return). We also factored in the combined total value of their secondary benefits, like complimentary towing.

      Zurich offers three plan options:

      • Powertrain: Zurich’s entry-level Powertrain plan covers the usual suspects, including your engine, transmission, transfer case and transaxle.
      • Standard: Zurich’s midtier plan covers everything above plus your suspension, steering, brakes, air conditioning and electrical systems.
      • Comprehensive: Zurich’s most expensive plan offers exclusionary coverage for all but a handful of parts.

      Dealers set their own prices for the warranties they sell, so the relative value of your Zurich plan will depend on where you buy it.

      Dealers may also include hidden markups in your quote for a Zurich warranty. For the best possible price, be sure to consult multiple dealerships, Caramel and other providers before committing to an offer.

      Finally, a car dealer may offer to include the cost of a Zurich warranty in your financing package. This may seem convenient, but it also means you’ll be paying interest on the cost of the warranty.

      Zurich customers are generally happy, and a lot of that has to do with what they get for their money. 91% of Zurich customers are happy or satisfied with the company, based on reviews collected by ConsumerAffairs in the past year.

      “Zurich has been great. They've fixed the couple of things that have gone wrong with my truck so far. I had an AC and an engine claim, and the dealer handled them. I didn’t have to do anything and Zurich covered everything,” a reviewer in Florida said. “Overall, there's a lot of benefit financially to having Zurich. Those motors would have cost me a pretty penny.”

      Our pick for focused coverage
      Levels of coverage
      Maximum mileage
      Waiting period
      30 days

      Concord Auto Protect is known for undercutting the competition on prices and not offering bumper-to-bumper coverage, making it a good fit if you want to save money and don’t necessarily need the most comprehensive coverage.

      It also has a $0 deductible option — which isn’t as common as you might think — and very good reviews despite its narrower, more focused plans.

      To make our pick for focused coverage, we required brands to offer at least a powertrain plan, but we compared them based on the same factors we used on our pick for maximum coverage. The intent was to highlight whichever company had the most positive reviews about their coverage and claims handling, regardless of whether they offered an exclusionary plan.

      Concord's three plans provide different levels of stated-component coverage:

      • Powertrain: This plan covers the usual powertrain components (engine, transmission and drive axles) plus your cooling system and brakes.
      • Advanced: Concord’s midtier option adds coverage for your electrical components, four-wheel drive system and steering system.
      • Premium: Concord’s most comprehensive plan adds coverage for your heating, air conditioning, fuel system, suspension and more, but it still isn’t exclusionary/bumper-to-bumper coverage like most competitors’ top-tier plans.

      If you’re not paying attention, you may assume that Concord Auto Protect’s top-tier Premium plan offers bumper-to-bumper, exclusionary coverage. In reality, it’s more like many competitors’ midtier offerings. Concord’s coverage can still be a good choice, but just be aware that it’s best suited for situations where you’re only worried about a few big-ticket components.

      Concord is highly recommended by existing customers for its prices and coverage, despite the fact that it doesn’t cover as many parts as some competitors. In the past year, 70% of Concord customers whose reviews have been analyzed in depth by ConsumerAffairs are happy or satisfied with the company.

      “I cannot find anything at all to complain about because the warranty plan covered what I needed it to,” wrote a reviewer from Colorado. “I did research other companies prior to purchasing this but it's hard to pass up the cost of this plan versus others.”

      According to a reviewer in Idaho, Concord is “anywhere from $1,400 to $3,600 less expensive than others. … For the difference in price, with what appears near-identical terms, 30-day wait, $100 deductible, etc., I'll gamble.”

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        Extended auto warranty buyers guide

        Regardless of your vehicle’s make, age and mileage, repairs are rarely cheap. They’re also getting more expensive — according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the cost of maintaining and repairing a vehicle rose over 36% between January 2019 and January 2024.

        That’s where extended auto warranties come in. Think of an extended car warranty as insurance against high repair bills. They can actually save you money if you need enough covered repairs, and they often provide peace of mind — even when you’re not using them.

        But how exactly do extended auto warranties work? What do (and don’t) they cover? What do they cost? And how do you know if it’s worth buying one?

        Read on to find out.

        Key insights

        • Extended warranties, also known as vehicle service contracts, pay to fix your car when a covered part breaks on its own.
        • The exact parts covered will depend on your contract, but exclusionary, bumper-to-bumper coverage is often the best value.
        • That kind of comprehensive coverage will usually cost about $1,000 per year, but prices vary a lot based on your vehicle and warranty provider.
        • An extended warranty won’t be worth it for everyone, so make sure you’re the kind of person who has the best chance of benefiting from one before you buy.

        How do extended car warranties work?

        An extended car warranty functions as a contract between you and your warranty provider — either your car’s manufacturer or a third party — that states the provider will help cover the cost of certain repairs following a breakdown during an agreed-upon period.

        Extended car warranties help pay for repairs or replacements when parts fail, but they do not cover damage caused by accidents or misuse.

        The key word there is “breakdown.” The most common misconception about warranties is that they cover everything: chips, dings, flood damage, worn leather, etc. In reality, warranties cover none of these things — they cover parts that fail entirely on their own and not as a result of damage.

        A ConsumerAffairs survey of 1,000 drivers found that about 45% of respondents either didn’t know what was covered under a car warranty or weren’t sure about what was covered. And the 55% who said they did know what a warranty covered? About half of them mistakenly thought that a warranty usually covers routine maintenance.

        To maintain this coverage, you must pay your warranty provider ahead of time. (How much will largely depend on the coverage you want and the car you want covered.) And you’ll typically have a deductible of up to $200, which you’ll pay each time you take your car in for a covered repair.

        Your warranty company may decide where you can take your vehicle for repairs, but they usually let you visit any ASE-certified mechanic. Just note that you’ll likely need to have your repairs pre-authorized by your warranty provider before the shop can begin working.

        Once your car is ready for you to pick up, you’ll pay your deductible to the shop and be on your way.

        Does your mechanic overcharge?

        A ConsumerAffairs survey found that the vast majority of drivers don’t trust their mechanics, with 80% of respondents saying they’d been overcharged by a garage before. According to the experts we spoke with, technicians don’t usually set their own prices, but that doesn’t stop some shops from charging for services you don’t need.

        Of course, if your repairs are covered by your extended warranty, you probably don’t need to worry about how much they cost. (Most warranties don’t cap payouts until they equal to the value of your car.)

        Additional findings:

        • Roughly 3 out of 4 drivers we surveyed said they don’t always trust mechanics.
        • Compared to women, men were more than twice as likely to say they always trusted their mechanics.
        • About 5 out of 6 people said they sometimes or always consult a person they know after getting a recommendation from a technician.
        • However, most respondents (65%) still said they preferred taking their car to the mechanic over visiting the dentist.

        » READ THE FULL REPORT: Driven to distrust? 78% of drivers are skeptical of mechanics

        You can buy an extended car warranty, more accurately called a vehicle service contract, at nearly any time. But it’s usually a good idea to have your coverage start when your factory warranty ends. (Not sure when your original warranty ends? You can look it up with your vehicle identification number.) You may see your warranty term written as “three years/36,000 miles,” which means it expires after three years or 36,000 miles — whichever comes first.

        Some companies will cover your vehicle for up to 250,000 miles, but a typical extended warranty term is more like five years/50,000 miles. Just know that doesn’t always mean it adds five years to your factory warranty. Some warranty providers count their terms from when your car was new, so your “five-year warranty” may expire when your vehicle is just 5 years old. In these cases, you’re effectively purchasing up to two years of additional coverage on top of your three-year factory warranty.

        What do extended car warranties cover?

        Generally speaking, car warranties only cover manufacturing defects. In other words, they only cover parts that fail entirely on their own during normal, everyday driving. Car warranties do not cover failures due to damage, bad weather, abuse or lack of maintenance (e.g., missed oil changes).

        Exclusionary warranties are often called “bumper-to-bumper” or “platinum” plans.

        Let’s say you’re driving down the road, and your infotainment system suddenly stops working for no discernible reason. Nothing happened to it; it just went black. A part failure like this would very likely be covered under warranty.

        However, if you spill coffee on it first, that would not be covered under an extended warranty. Again, the general idea of a warranty is to protect you from factory defects, not damage.

        In terms of exactly which parts are covered, not all car warranties are built the same. Some cover a few dozen parts, while some cover 5,000-plus parts. It mostly depends on whether the warranty is inclusionary or exclusionary.

        • Inclusionary warranties cover only the parts listed in the warranty.
        • Exclusionary warranties cover all parts except the ones listed in the warranty.

        A great example of an inclusionary warranty, also known as a stated-component warranty, is your standard “powertrain warranty.” Most powertrain warranties only cover 50 or so parts inside your engine, transmission and drive systems — the absolutely essential parts needed to make your car go.

        On the other end of the spectrum, you have your exclusionary warranties. “Bumper-to-bumper” and “Platinum” are labels typically reserved for exclusionary warranties, which cover virtually everything on your car except wear and tear, cosmetics and the excluded parts listed in your contract (hence, the name).

        What extended car warranties won’t cover

        Extended car warranties won’t cover damage, negligence or abuse, preexisting conditions, maintenance, cosmetic fixes, regular wear and tear, off-road use or aftermarket parts that cause damage to factory parts. Let’s break down what they don’t cover in more detail to prevent any misunderstandings or false expectations. Car warranties — factory or extended — typically will not cover:

        • Damage, negligence or abuse: If the warranty company can link a part failure to damage (e.g., a rear-end collision causing an emissions failure), negligence (e.g., missed oil changes causing engine damage) or abuse (e.g., doing donuts in the Walmart parking lot), it will deny your warranty claims for repairs and may void your warranty entirely.
        • Preexisting conditions: If something was a problem on your vehicle before your warranty became active, your warranty won’t cover it. Many extended auto warranties have 30-day/1,000-mile waiting periods to prevent consumers from purchasing them the minute they break down. Likewise, breakdowns or part failures that you can’t prove happened during the warranty period may not be covered, which is why we strongly suggest you get a pre-purchase inspection (typically around $150) in tandem with your warranty purchase.
        • Routine maintenance: Most car warranties won’t cover regular maintenance items like oil changes, filter changes, tire rotations, fluid top-offs, alignments and more. You’ll be required to stick to the regular maintenance schedule in your owners manual and prove that you’re maintaining your car in order to keep your warranty active. Keep your receipts!
        • Cosmetics: Unless otherwise stated, most warranties will not cover upholstery, dashboards, trim, fabrics, leather and other visual items that don’t impact the function of the car.
        • Regular wear and tear: Items that are expected to need replacing after a certain mileage won’t be covered. That typically includes your brake pads, tires, wiper blades, clutch and more.
        • Off-road or racetrack use: Your warranty likely won’t cover parts that fail while you’re off-roading or tracking your car. Certain specialty vehicles may be covered during this kind of use (e.g., Jeep Wranglers or Z06 Corvettes), but never assume they are — check your contract.
        • Aftermarket parts: The Magnuson-Moss Act prohibits companies from voiding your warranty simply because you installed an aftermarket part. However, if that part causes a factory part to fail (e.g., a lift kit ruining your truck’s suspension), neither part will be covered under warranty.

        Types of extended car warranties

        There are six common varieties of extended warranty plans that you can choose from depending on your car’s age and mileage. If you want to feel confident you’re picking the right kind of warranty (and likely getting a better outcome in the long run), it pays to familiarize yourself with what’s available.

        Only 35% of drivers are confident about choosing warranty coverage for their vehicles, according to our survey results.

        Here’s a summary of the most common coverage options that you’ll see as you shop for an extended warranty:

        • Exclusionary warranties: These warranties, which are also called bumper-to-bumper warranties, offer exclusionary coverage. Basically, rather than stating what your warranty covers, your contract lists what isn’t covered, and everything else is covered by default. Third-party companies may also call these plans “Platinum,” “Diamond” or something similar. Just keep in mind that the most comprehensive warranties are typically reserved for cars with less than 100,000 miles on their odometers.
        • Midtier stated-component warranties: These are typically called “Gold” warranties by warranty providers, and they tend to provide coverage that’s somewhere between the powertrain and bumper-to-bumper tiers. Details vary between plans, but you can check your contract to see which components are covered. Be sure to compare the price against the cost of an exclusionary plan if your car qualifies for both. (Exclusionary plans tend to be far more comprehensive for only a slight increase in cost.)
        • Powertrain warranties: These warranties effectively extend your factory powertrain warranty, as the name implies. That means they cover the critical components that create power and deliver it to your wheels, like your engine, transmission, drivetrain, etc.
        • Drivetrain warranties: A drivetrain warranty is similar to a powertrain warranty but does not cover your engine. (These warranties are now exceedingly rare.)
        • Specialty warranties: Specialty coverage is an umbrella term that we use to describe warranties that only target specific component groups on your vehicle, like electronics. Not all manufacturers offer specialty plans, and those that do may have very different offerings. However, if you’re mostly worried about just a few components and you want to keep costs down, you might want to consider specialty coverage.
        • Wrap warranties: These plans are designed for cars that are still under a manufacturer’s powertrain warranty. Wrap warranties complement your existing coverage and get the rest of your vehicle back under warranty.

        You may also see labels like “Supreme” or “Gold Plus” as you shop, but for the most part, 95% of extended warranty plans are just exclusionary, midtier or powertrain plans by other names.

        Extended car warranty costs

        A bumper-to-bumper extended warranty will typically cost you $1,000 for each year of coverage. Sometimes, the warranty company will require a lump-sum payment, while other times it may offer a financing plan (e.g., $80 a month for 36 months). An increasingly popular option is to let warranty holders pay month-to-month, which means you can cancel anytime.

        Costs can vary based on numerous factors. If you drive a $90,000 BMW M4, you can expect to pay significantly more for warranty coverage than the driver of a $30,000 Mazda Miata, for example.

        Check out our series of articles on different manufacturers’ extended warranty programs to get a better idea of what a warranty might cost for your vehicle.

        What impacts the cost of your extended car warranty

        When quoting a price for coverage, the best extended car warranty companies examine multiple factors, including your vehicle’s make, model, condition and location. Some of the most significant factors that affect the price of your extended auto warranty include:

        • Vehicle make, model and year: Warranties tend to cost more for luxury vehicles, sports cars and other expensive cars since these vehicles tend to require pricier parts and labor.
        • Expected reliability: Warranties typically cost significantly more for vehicles with known build quality issues and below-average expected reliability. That’s why a warranty on an Alfa Romeo will almost always cost more than the equivalent warranty on a Mazda.
        • Vehicle mileage: Expect to pay more if your odometer reading is higher. Warranty providers know higher-mileage vehicles are more likely to need repairs.
        • Level and length of coverage: Bumper-to-bumper plans with comprehensive, exclusionary coverage cost the most parts, while simpler warranties that only cover essential parts, such as powertrain warranties, are the most affordable. Also, plans with longer coverage periods have higher costs.
        • The deductible: Most extended car warranties require a deductible, though some companies offer zero-deductible policies. You’ll have to pay this deductible each time you take your car in for a covered issue. A typical deductible for a repair or replacement is $100. All else being equal, the higher a deductible is on a policy, the less expensive the “premium” is.
        • Your driving habits: Before buying an extended auto warranty, you’ll probably be asked about how you use your vehicle and how much you drive. If you spend a lot of time in the car, the price of a contract can be higher.
        • Annual mileage: Most warranty companies will ask you to estimate how many miles you put on the car each year, although it’s unclear how this may impact your rate. Drivers who commute 20,000 miles per year will encounter part failures more often but will also run out of warranty faster.
        • Special use and aftermarket parts: Commercial use (such as using your vehicle for Lyft or to carry construction materials), regular towing use or installing aftermarket parts may impact your rates (or lead to your claim being denied).

        » LEARN: How to get a cheap extended car warranty

        Is an extended car warranty worth it?

        It’s important to consider the benefits and costs involved so that your warranty is worth what you pay for it. Basically, if your repairs don’t qualify for coverage (or your vehicle just doesn’t break down enough), your warranty may cost you more than it saves you.

        As wise an investment as an extended warranty may look on paper, even the most robust Platinum-level warranty has exclusions and exceptions. A warranty is not bulletproof; it will cover only some parts in some cases.

        You can judge the odds of a warranty being worth it for you depending on how you answer the following questions.

        1. Do you drive a vehicle with below-average reliability?

        If your vehicle only needs affordable, infrequent repairs, you’re probably fine paying out of pocket when it needs to go to the mechanic. But if you plan to purchase a model that’s known for breaking down, an extended warranty may be a smart choice.

        2. Is the cost of the warranty less than your expected cost of repairs?

        Look up the expected cost to repair your vehicle each year and multiply that by the number of years you plan to own it. Is the cost of your extended warranty (plus a few deductibles) significantly less? If so, getting a warranty might make mathematical sense, even if it doesn’t cover 100% of expected repairs (which it won’t).

        3. Would a large repair bill wreck your finances?

        When we surveyed drivers nationwide, almost 60% of respondents said they couldn’t pay cash for a $1,000 repair bill, and 13% of people said they’d have no way to pay for it at all — even by taking on debt. If you’re in a similar position where a large repair could mean you lose your main mode of transportation, you might consider paying monthly for an extended warranty.

        Wondering how expensive car repairs can get? Check out our articles on how much it costs to repair or replace major components in your car:

        Just note that a catastrophic problem could theoretically exceed your plan’s coverage limits. (Most extended warranties have coverage limits close to your vehicle’s estimated value.)

        » MORE: 10 most expensive car repairs

        4. Do you value peace of mind, even if you never file a claim?

        Some folks sleep better knowing they're partially protected against surprise repair bills. Just don’t make the common mistake of thinking your warranty will cover 100% of parts 100% of the time.

        If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may find a warranty worth it, both financially and emotionally.

        If you didn’t, consider paying out of pocket for repairs to potentially save money over the investment in a warranty. That way, you’ll also maintain more control over your vehicle, deciding where and how your repairs are done and what replacement parts are used. (Some warranty companies may force you to use rebuilt or aftermarket parts for covered repairs.)

        For those shopping for a vehicle, sometimes the best “extended warranty” can be to buy one that’s historically reliable and has a strong factory warranty and then keep up with regular maintenance.

        What reviewers say about extended car warranties

        Are consumers who invested in an extended warranty happy with their purchase? Tens of thousands of ratings on ConsumerAffairs would indicate that, yes, they’re happy for the most part.

        We previously analyzed two years of consumer ratings for auto warranty companies on our site and calculated an overall satisfaction rating of 4.2 stars out of a possible 5. Overall, 67% of reviewers in that period were happy, 18% were satisfied, and just 15% were upset with their extended auto warranty provider.

        Look for a warranty company with good reviews, and pay extra attention to the reviews that actually mention filing a claim.

        “The deductible was $500. But I’m okay with that because the repairs were up in the $2,000 range,” said one reviewer from California. “I’m very satisfied.”

        “I was pleased with my experience because that was a $775 repair of which I only paid $100 on,” said a reviewer from Texas. “I paid $2,800 for the policy. So, I'm going to keep a running total to see whether it was worth it or not. I don't put that many miles on the car and I may have another repair or I may not. But at least I know if I have a major repair, it's going to be covered.”

        It’s worth noting, however, that among our verified reviewers over the last two years who mentioned filing a claim, 20% were upset, dropping the average overall satisfaction rating for that topic to 3.8 stars. Reviewers especially express frustration after discovering their coverage limitations, such as a California reviewer who learned their warranty did not cover consumable parts such as batteries.

        The deductible was $500. But I’m okay with that because the repairs were up in the $2,000 range.”

        Other reviewers noted communication issues with their providers. Reviews that mentioned sales and marketing and those that mentioned refunds and payouts had the lowest average sentiment, with roughly 30% of those reviewers being upset.

        In short, most purchasers of warranties are happy, but experiences can vary. You improve your chances of being satisfied with an extended warranty purchase by finding the right company.

        How to find the best extended car warranty for you

        Prices, benefits and coverage can vary between providers, so it pays to shop around. Don’t just go with the first offer you get, even if it’s from a top-rated company.

        Here’s how to find the best extended warranty for your car:

        • Consider the amount of coverage you need: While exclusionary warranties tend to offer the best value, you might also consider a more focused powertrain warranty if you’re on a strict budget and all you need is protection for your engine, transmission and drive systems.
        • Get multiple quotes: Warranty prices often vary significantly from provider to provider, and the most reliable way to know that you’re getting a good deal is to get estimates from multiple sources.
        • Compare reviews: As mentioned, many 5-star reviews about vehicle service contract companies refer to the initial customer service and sign-up process. Friendly reps are a plus, but what you really care about is whether the plan is worth your money.
          Look for positive reviews about the claims submission process, speed and ease of getting claims approved, and quick payouts for repairs. If you read about difficulty filing claims or patterns of rejected claims, be wary. And be sure to avoid the lowest-rated extended auto warranty companies.
        • Consider the waiting period: Most plans require you to wait up to 30 days and 1,000 miles before you can request service. This is intended to prevent car owners from getting repairs on preexisting conditions. However, for some drivers, it could take several months to put another thousand miles on the odometer. Some companies, like olive, offer plans with no waiting period.
        • Look for perks: Extended warranties commonly include perks like 24/7 roadside assistance, reimbursement for rental cars and trip interruption insurance, which compensates you up to $200 per day if your vehicle breaks down 100-plus miles from home.
          These perks could be worth $1,500 alone, so be sure to keep an eye out for them as you shop and use them after purchasing an extended car warranty.
        • Read the fine print: Be sure you understand what is and isn’t covered. Ask about any restrictions or conditions that might void your coverage. Find out where your warranty company is allowed to source replacement parts from. If you prefer having more control over the specifics of your coverage, look for a company that offers multiple plans or lets you customize your coverage.
        • Consider the cancellation and refund policy: If you think you might want to sell your car before the warranty expires, check if the company lets you transfer the coverage to the next owner — and ask if there’s a fee. This could be a selling point to potential buyers.

        » READ MORE: Questions to ask a car warranty provider

        How can I avoid car warranty scams?

        “Hello, we’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty.”

        Car warranty scams are common, but they’re also easily avoided. Here are the key takeaways from our feature on how to avoid car warranty scams:

        1. Never purchase anything or forfeit personal information to an unsolicited caller. If the mysterious caller mentions anything about an extended warranty — or even says, “Hello, can you hear me?” — immediately hang up without speaking.
        2. Only purchase a car warranty directly from a trusted source. This will not only help you avoid scams; it may save you money, since middlemen not working directly with the warranty provider may charge hidden fees.
        3. Report scams to the Federal Communications Commission. Every valid consumer complaint will go toward reducing the number of scams and robocalls we all receive. You can file complaints directly with the FCC.

        It’s especially worth prioritizing stable, established warranty companies so that you’re not left with a worthless service contract. Car warranty companies that have gone out of business have left their customers out of luck.

        Extended car warranty questions

        What is an extended car warranty?

        An extended auto warranty, also known as a vehicle service contract, is like an insurance policy that can safeguard you against repair bills when your car breaks down — after you pay a deductible. This coverage lasts for an agreed-upon period of time or until your car hits a given mileage.

        It’s important to understand the service requirements, exclusions and perks attached to any vehicle service contract you’re considering. Different providers offer varying types and levels of coverage, and an extended warranty is not the same as car insurance, which you’ll want to have regardless.

        Do extended warranties cover every single part?

        We’ve spent hundreds of hours researching extended warranties, and we’ve never come across a plan that covers every part of your vehicle. Top-of-the-line exclusionary warranties may cover most parts, but practically no warranty will cover cosmetic items or wear-and-tear parts that are designed to be replaced over time, like brake pads, wiper blades, tires and fluids.

        When can I purchase an extended auto warranty?

        Most third-party extended warranty companies will let you purchase an extended warranty at any point while your vehicle is under 10 years old or has fewer than 100,000 miles. Some automakers, however, require you to purchase coverage before your factory warranty expires.

        In either case, the price will typically rise as your vehicle ages.

        What voids a car warranty?

        It’s rare for an extended warranty provider to void a warranty altogether. In most cases, they’ll simply deny your claims repeatedly until you cancel the plan yourself for a partial refund.

        Reasons for repeated claim denials may include:

        • Failure to get routine maintenance as recommended in the owners manual
        • Inability to prove the condition wasn’t preexisting
        • Unauthorized off-road or racetrack use
        • Unauthorized aftermarket parts causing other parts to fail (e.g., lift kits causing suspension issues)
        • Failure to get preauthorization for repairs
        What are the different types of car warranties?

        There are several different types of warranty plans. Bumper-to-bumper coverage is the most comprehensive, providing protection for all vehicle components except those that are specifically excluded. A powertrain warranty covers parts that power the vehicle, including the engine and transmission. Stated-component coverage provides a list of parts covered — anything not listed is not covered.

        New vehicle warranties come from the automaker, while extended auto warranties may be from the manufacturer or a third party.

        What’s the difference between vehicle service contracts vs. manufacturer warranties vs. car repair insurance?

        These three terms can be a bit confusing at first, so here’s a clear breakdown:

        • Vehicle service contracts: In a broad sense, a “vehicle service contract” is just a contract to service or repair your vehicle under certain conditions. All extended warranties are vehicle service contracts (which is why you’ll often see the terms used interchangeably), but not all vehicle service contracts are extended warranties. Sometimes, companies sell routine maintenance plans (e.g., prepaid oil changes) as vehicle service contracts, too, so just be sure you know what you’re buying.
        • Manufacturer warranties: These are basically synonymous with factory warranties. You may also see them abbreviated as OEM warranties, which stands for "original equipment manufacturer."
        • Car repair insurance: This is essentially an extended warranty sold by an insurance provider instead of a warranty provider. You may also see this called mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI).
        What is a manufacturer’s warranty?

        All new cars come with a manufacturer’s warranty, also called a factory warranty, that's backed by the car maker. The minimum new car warranty is three years/36,000 miles, and factory warranties are transferable to subsequent owners.

        To see what warranties automakers currently offer on their new vehicles, check out our factory warranty guide.

        We should also mention that most manufacturers have their own extended warranty programs. However, these plans are usually limited to covering the brand’s own vehicles.

        » LEARN: What to know about manufacturers’ extended warranties

        Which manufacturer offers the best extended warranties?

        To find out which manufacturer offers the best extended warranties, we performed an in-depth analysis of 34 major car brands and the extended warranties they offered for their own vehicles, collecting hundreds of quotes along the way.

        Honda offered us the best value by far, with some Honda Care plans priced 50% below their Toyota or Hyundai equivalents.

        That being said, Honda vehicles only come with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty from the factory. Hyundai, Kia and Genesis vehicles come with a five-year/60,000-mile factory warranty, which some might consider to be a “free” extended warranty. But if you’re looking for the brand with the best overall warranty protection, all four are worth considering.

        We’ve covered the pros and cons of most automakers’ extended warranty programs in other articles. If you want to know how your car’s manufacturer stacks up, click on the relevant link below.

        How do I check whether my car is under warranty?

        We can help with that. Check out our car warranty check by VIN article. You can also check your owner's manual or your automaker’s main warranty page.

        Guide sources

        ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work.

        1. California Department of Insurance, “Guide to Automobile Service Contracts, Extended Warranties and Other Repair Agreements.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
        2. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, “Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: Motor Vehicle Maintenance and Repair in U.S. City Average.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
        3. Federal Trade Commission, “Auto Warranties and Auto Service Contracts.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
        4. Federal Trade Commission, “Extended Warranties and Service Contracts.” Accessed April 4, 2024.
        5. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “What is an extended warranty or vehicle service contract?” Accessed April 4, 2024.
        6. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis “Do You Want an Extended Warranty with That?” Accessed April 4, 2024.

        Not sure how to choose?

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