How to choose an extended car warranty

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Written by Vincent Landino
Edited by Justin Martino

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    5 steps to choosing a reputable car warranty company

    Extended auto warranties, also known as vehicle service contracts, help you avoid large out-of-pocket costs when your car breaks down. Here's how to choose the best auto warranty for you in five easy steps.

    1. Pick your coverage

    First, pick your desired level of coverage. An extended auto warranty can pay to fix your vehicle when it malfunctions due to regular wear and tear. However, your warranty only applies to specific components. Decide what parts you want covered and find plans that meet your needs.

    For example, a drivetrain warranty would cover important components like your car's transmission, drive axle, drive shaft, differential and transfer case, whereas a powertrain warranty would cover all of those parts and your engine. Bumper-to-bumper or exclusionary warranties cover everything except specific components listed in the contract. The more coverage you want, the more you'll pay, though.

    2. Make sure your warranty is a good fit

    Second, make sure you and your warranty company are a good fit. Find out if your auto warranty company works with mechanics in your area and covers vehicles matching your car’s age, make and mileage. Take notice of maintenance requirements too, like getting oil changes, and if those requirements fit your overall budget.

    3. Read reviews

    Third, read reviews about the company you're interested in. Look for comments about customer service, the claims process and payment options. It's also helpful to read reviews from people who live in your state or drive a similar vehicle. Seeing what past customers have to say is a great way to learn what to expect from your auto warranty provider.

    4. Get multiple quotes

    Fourth, get multiple quotes on ConsumerAffairs. Prices for vehicle service contracts usually aren't posted online, so you need to compare offers to verify you're getting a good deal. Extended auto warranties cost about $2,500 total, but payment plans are available. While warranties often seem expensive, they can be much cheaper than paying out of pocket for expensive repairs.

    5. Read the fine print

    Fifth, read the fine print. Make sure your contract contains the terms you wanted and see how the company handles things like waiting periods, making claims or canceling coverage. ConsumerAffairs has all the advice and information you need to choose the right auto warranty for you. Visit our site to get matched to the company that fits your needs, read reviews and learn more.

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