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Kia extended warranty: cost, coverage and plans

Somewhat hard to find and potentially impractical

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    Kia, Endurance Auto Warranty and olive
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    Kias are generally considered pretty reliable and cheap to own. Still, you might consider an extended warranty to protect yourself from spending big on an unexpected repair, and Kia even has its own line of extended warranties. Keep reading to find out what they cover, what they don’t and how they stack up to your other options.

    Key insights

    • Kia’s extended warranty plans are called Kia Distinction Vehicle Service Contracts.
    • These warranties are sold exclusively by Kia dealers, but we couldn't find a single Kia dealer currently selling them.
    • You may have to go with a third-party warranty if you want additional repair coverage.
    • However, extended warranties often aren’t worth it for Kias given their reported reliability and low repair costs.

    Kia extended warranty coverage

    Kia calls its official extended warranties Kia Distinction Vehicle Service Contracts. They're administered by Fidelity Warranty Services. (If you’re unfamiliar with the industry, extended warranties are also called vehicle service contracts or VSCs for short.)

    Kia used to offer five plan options on these warranties (Powertrain, Silver, Gold, Gold Plus and Platinum), but it has since narrowed the options down to three: Powertrain, Gold and Platinum.

    Platinum coverage is like a direct extension of your Basic (aka bumper-to-bumper) factory warranty, Powertrain mimics your factory powertrain coverage and Gold offers something in between. Platinum plans provide “exclusionary” coverage, meaning they cover all but a handful of parts explicitly listed in your contract (mostly wear-and-tear parts made to wear out over time, cosmetic items and some clutch-related parts).

    For context, Kia’s factory warranties offer five years or 60,000 miles of Basic coverage and 10 years or 100,000 miles of Powertrain coverage (first owner only — drops to five years/60,000 miles after first resale).

    Coverage options for Kia Distinction Vehicle Service Contracts vary based on the age, model and mileage of your vehicle, but, in general, most new or used Kias should be eligible for coverage until their odometers hit 150,000 miles.

    Extended auto warranties are also available from third-party warranty companies, and they’re often a better option anyway.

    You can only purchase a Kia Distinction Vehicle Service Contract from a dealer, but not all dealers offer them. In fact, we called 10 dealers in 10 states and not a single one of them offered Kia Distinction Vehicle Service Contracts. An experienced finance manager at Rick Case Kia Sunrise, the largest Kia dealer in the country, told us he’d never even heard of them.

    Fidelity Warranty Services did confirm with us that the warranties are still available and gave us a short list of dealers that carried them. Two of them were dealers we’d already called, though.

    Nevertheless, we were still able to grill Fidelity Warranty Services about the nitty-gritty details, so if your dealer does offer you a Kia Distinction Vehicle Service Contract, here’s everything you need to know.

    » LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

    Kia extended warranty benefits

    Kia Distinction VSCs come with the following benefits:

    • Alternate transportation coverage, which reimburses you up to $40 per day for up to 10 days for rental cars, Lyft rides, etc., while your Kia is in the shop for a covered repair
    • Towing coverage of up to $100 per covered breakdown
    • Travel coverage, aka trip interruption coverage, of up to $100 per day for up to five days to help cover the cost of meals and lodging if your Kia breaks down over 100 miles from home
    • Fluids coverage, which pays to replace all necessary fluids, greases, oil, etc., used in conjunction with a covered repair

    Roadside assistance is noticeably absent. This perk is included with most other automakers’ extended warranties, and it’s even included with Kia’s Basic five-year/60,000-mile factory warranty.

    Otherwise, these are decent benefits for an automaker extended warranty.

    Kia extended warranty plans

    Here’s a visual breakdown of what each Kia Distinction Vehicle Service Contract plan covers.

    Component groupPowertrainGoldPlatinum
    Drive axle
    Additional hybrid/plug-in electric compressed natural gas components
    Air conditioning
    Front/rear suspension

    Dealers across the industry have told us that they’ve stopped offering Gold- and Powertrain-equivalent extended warranties simply because:

    1. People rarely buy them.
    2. Those who do often end up disappointed when their breakdown isn’t covered.
    3. Platinum-equivalent plans cost just 10% to 15% more to cover many more parts.

    Given that we were unable to contact (at the time of publishing) a single Kia dealer with a Kia Distinction Vehicle Service Contract, we’re not sure how prices for Kia’s different coverage levels compare, though.

    Kia extended warranty terms and conditions

    While Fidelity Warranty Services was unable to provide us with a sample contract for a Kia Distinction VSC (they’re generated by the dealer), we were able to confirm some of the finer details of their terms and conditions over the phone.

    We’ve included a few key aspects of these plans below, but be sure to read your own contract before you sign:

    • Maintenance: To keep your warranty active, you must stick to the recommended maintenance schedule listed in your Kia owners manual and keep your receipts. (You may need to provide proof of regular maintenance before your claims are approved.)
    • Preexisting conditions: As with almost all extended warranties, issues that existed before you bought the warranty won’t be covered. This may also include issues that you can’t prove originated during the warranty period, which is why we strongly recommend you get a dealer inspection report (about $200) in tandem with your warranty purchase.
    • Exclusions: Kia Distinction Vehicle Service Contracts do not cover cosmetic, wear-and-tear or routine maintenance items (like tires, wiper blades and clutches). Kia Distinction VSCs also don’t cover breakdowns due to off-road use, racetrack use or towing beyond your vehicle’s rated towing capacity.
    • Transferability: If you sell your Kia, you can transfer your Kia Distinction VSC to the new owner by filing paperwork and paying a small fee.
    • Cancellations and refunds: You can cancel your Kia Distinction VSC within 60 days of purchase for a full refund, provided you haven’t yet submitted a claim. If you have submitted a claim or it’s been 60 days or longer, you can receive a prorated refund.

    All in all, these are pretty average terms and conditions for an extended auto warranty, and we didn’t find or hear of any “gotchas” that would bite you later. Just be mindful of your maintenance schedule, keep your receipts and don’t skip that dealer inspection report.

    Is a Kia extended warranty worth it?

    Assuming your Kia dealer does offer Kia Distinction Vehicle Service Contracts, should you buy one?

    In general, extended auto warranties are more likely to be worth it if you’re in any of the following situations:

    1. You drive a vehicle with below-average reliability.
    2. A large, unexpected repair bill could cause you financial hardship, but you can budget for a warranty.
    3. The price of the warranty is less than the price of anticipated repairs.
    4. You don’t mind paying $2,000 or more for peace of mind, even if you spend more on your warranty than you would on repairs.

    Kia’s record for reliability is pretty solid. J.D. Power ranked the Korean automaker third out of 33 automakers in 2023, and Consumer Reports — which draws from a wider array of model years — ranked it ninth out of 24 brands in 2022.

    RepairPal estimates that Kia vehicles cost just $474 per year on average to maintain and repair. Compare that to the industry average of $652. The average Kia also makes an unplanned trip to the mechanic just 0.2 times per year — that’s half the industry average of 0.4.

    Things can still go wrong, of course — especially with the Sorento SUV, which has had 10 recalls since 2020 as of publishing.

    A single major repair can offset the cost of an extended warranty, but those issues are less likely with a reliable vehicle.

    “I bought a brand new 2016 Kia Sorento. Nothing but problems,” wrote Genavie, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Georgia.

    Edward, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Florida, told us, “I purchased my 2022 Kia Sorento in the beginning of 2022 ... after approximately 16,000 miles I started having transmission problems with the vehicle. … Within a month of the transmission being replaced [t]he problems with the lack of acceleration started all over again.”

    Sorento woes aside, Kias seem to be pretty reliable and cheap to repair long-term. This means you may never get a chance to use your extended warranty, and it likely makes more financial sense to just pay for repairs as they come, unless you can get a great deal on coverage.

    We can’t tell you how much a Kia Distinction VSC costs because we can’t find any dealership that sells them. However, Kia isn’t your only option for an extended warranty provider.

    » MORE: Pros and cons of extended auto warranties

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      Kia extended warranty alternatives

      Before writing off extended warranties for Kia altogether, let’s see if other extended car warranty companies can offer suitable deals.

      One of the Kia dealerships we contacted while looking for a Kia Distinction VSC, Rick Case Kia Sunrise, offered “direct equivalent” CostGuard warranties from Protective Asset Protection.

      Protective Asset Protection CostGuard quotes for Kias

      We’ve included the quotes we received for those plans from Rick Case Kia Sunrise below. For context, the average extended auto warranty costs around $2,500 in our experience.

      2023 Kia Sportage Platinum 10 years or 100,000 miles $1,951 ($0 deductible)
      2021 Kia Telluride Platinum 10 years or 100,000 miles $2,209 ($0 deductible)
      2019 Kia Soul Platinum 10 years or 100,000 miles $1,951 ($0 deductible)

      Comparing third-party warranty company quotes

      We also wanted to see how these plans might stack up against other third-party warranty companies, so we got comparable quotes from olive and Endurance to see how they stacked up.

      2023 Kia Sportage $1,951 ($0 deductible) $4,384 ($100 deductible) $5,199 ($100 deductible)
      2021 Kia Telluride $2,209 ($0 deductible) $3,682 ($100 deductible) $5,611 ($100 deductible)
      2019 Kia Soul $1,951 ($0 deductible) $2,367 ($100 deductible) $5,199 ($100 deductible)
      *Courtesy of Rick Case Kia Sunrise

      It doesn’t quite surprise us that the nation’s largest Kia dealer has great deals on warranties, given the high volume they probably move. However, unless you really need extra peace of mind, a Kia extended warranty may not be necessary.

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      ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page. Specific sources for this article include:
      1. J.D. Power, “Vehicle Dependability Improves Despite Continued Problems with Technology, J.D. Power Finds.” Accessed March 14, 2023.
      2. Consumer Reports, “Who Makes the Most Reliable New Cars?” Accessed March 14, 2023.
      3. RepairPal, “Kia Reliability Rating.” Accessed March 14, 2023.
      4. Cars.com, “Kia Sorento Recalls.” Accessed March 14, 2023.  
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