An original factory warranty is only limited to 3 years/36,000 miles. This is the manufacturer’s guarantee that when a problem occurs within the specified period or number of miles, they will cover the repairs. After the warranty expires, the automaker will not be responsible for your car repairs.
This is where an extended car warranty comes in handy. It is insurance coverage that works much the same way as your health coverage policy. When you fall sick, you always visit the doctor for treatment. Likewise, when your vehicle malfunctions, you take it to the repair shop.
An extended auto warranty protects you from the cost of important repairs once your factory warranty expires. It also offers additional coverage by insuring parts the factory warranty doesn’t.
So how can you get the most out of your extended warranty? Read on for more insight.
Find a Reputable Provider
To begin with, ask yourself this question: “Who is providing my extended car warranty coverage?” Service contracts are either backed by a third party or the automaker. Knowing the company behind your warranty coverage will help you deduce whether your warranty is worth its salt.
While manufacturers’ extended vehicle warranties are good, they cost a lot more compared to warranties backed by independent companies. If you opt for the independent company route, look at their rating. Ideally, look online for reviews such as protect my car reviews to ascertain if your preferred company is reputable.
Read the Fine Print
Unlike the initial factory warranty, extended warranty plans vary widely. So, you need to know the type of components covered under your extended warranty. Generally, extended warranty plans vary based on the level of coverage and cost. It follows that the costlier the service contract, the more coverage afforded to your car.
You may want to part with a little more for an extended warranty that offers more coverage besides the normal deterioration and breakdown. As such, the number of claims that are disallowed will reduce considerably.
Another aspect to consider is the overheating coverage alternative. Some service contracts don’t cover overheating. So, if your car overheats because of a hole in your radiator and, consequently, your engine blows up, you will have to cater for the repair costs for the engine plus the radiator from your own pocket. Also, some warranties don’t insure gaskets and seals. This proves how important it is to read the fine print to know the items covered and what’s not covered.
Take Your Car for Regular Maintenance
You must take your car for recommended maintenance based on the service manual. A warranty company may refuse to pay for a repair if you can’t show proof that your vehicle has been serviced as per the recommended guidelines.
Choose Your Deductible Wisely
Choose the per visit deductible instead of the per repair deductible. The former is a set amount you pay out of pocket whenever you take the car to the mechanic. On the other hand, the latter is a set amount you pay out of pocket for every type of repair done by the mechanic.
Consider the following example: If you take your car to the mechanic for necessary repairs on the alternator, gasket, and battery, you will be charged three times for that one visit based on the per repair deductible policy. But as with a per repair visit, you’re only charged once.
As with most policies, warranties usually offer clients the freedom to choose the amount of deductible to pay. This means you can choose a $0 deductible. While the coverage will cost you more, the savings will rack up quite fast.
Choose a Favorable Payment Option
Go for the payment option whereby the warranty company pays the repair shop or mechanic directly for the repair costs. The challenge with the reimbursement option is you may not always have available cash at hand to pay for the repairs first and subsequently file a claim with your warranty company. Plus, some companies drag their feet with the whole refund process.
Make Sure That Your Warranty Lets You Repair Your Car at Your Preferred Repair Shop
Some warranties specify a specific dealership for repairs. The problem is when your car breaks down during a road trip or when you are far away from the specified repair shop.
Ideally, your service contract should permit you to take your car to any ASE verified mechanic. This sort of flexibility allows you to maximize on your extended warranty wherever you go.
The Bottom Line
Drivers are not obligated to have an extended warranty to drive on the road. The basic minimum is at least a third-party insurance policy. However, the extended warranty comes in to save you money that you would otherwise be spending on huge repair bills once your factory warranty expires.
Thus, you need to take some time and familiarize yourself with the fine print of your extended warranty. That way, you can know which components are covered and which ones are not.