Best Extended Car Warranty
  • Buying Guides

Best Extended Car Warranty

By Autolist Editorial | November 4, 2020

Find the best extended car warranty companies:

With so many providers to choose from and so many different coverage plans available, finding an extended warranty can be complicated. To help you compare, we’ve assembled our top picks for extended car warranty providers below. We also explain how to get an extended car warranty, the different coverage types, what warranties cover and how much they cost.

Top-rated overall: Endurance
Runner-up: CARCHEX
Good for peace of mind: CarShield
Good for extra perks: Protect My Car
Good for customer service: Concord Auto Protect

How to get an extended car warranty:

Each provider defines its own policies, so start by deciding how much coverage you want and then take the time to research and compare your options before settling on one.

Consider coverage options: Prepare a list of everything you want included in your warranty and consider how long you want the warranty to last. Warranties with shorter terms are generally cheaper but less likely to be put to use. Alternatively, you can start with your budget and work backward to find the most coverage you can afford.

Compare free quotes: If you’re buying a car from a dealership, the dealer will likely provide just one extended warranty quote. However, you can also get a warranty from third-party providers. We suggest comparing a few quotes and asking representatives about any available discounts. Take your business elsewhere if a company tries to sell you an expensive warranty that doesn't cover much, spam calls you frequently or uses high-pressure sales tactics.

Read customer reviews: As you compare companies and their offerings, read reviews from other customers to see what each provider is really like. Look out for red flags, which might include regularly denying claims or taking a long time to pay out.

Choose the right deductible for your budget: Like with an insurance policy, the higher your deductible, the lower your payment. However, a high deductible could leave you financially vulnerable when you have high repair bills. Also, make sure your policy charges one deductible per visit, not per each item that needs to be repaired.

Read the fine print: All service contracts are different, so be sure you understand your plan’s coverage details. Know when your coverage actually begins and pay close attention to the listed exclusions. For example, some plans cover the engine but not its internally lubricated parts. Also, check if your contract is transferable — this could make it easier to sell your vehicle while it's still under contract.

Top-rated extended car warranty companies:

To select our top picks, we analyzed ratings from more than 30 vehicle warranty providers on ConsumerAffairs. Ratings are determined by a proprietary algorithm that weighs review recency, length and other factors. As of publishing, the five top-rated extended auto warranty companies are Endurance, CARCHEX, CarShield, Protect My Car and Concord Auto.

1. Top-rated overall: Endurance

Endurance is a direct provider of extended warranties. Its most affordable plan, Secure, covers most vital components, including lubricated parts of the engine, transmission and water pump. The Secure Plus plan is comparable to other gold-level vehicle protection plans and protects major components, such as the engine, brakes, transmission, air conditioning, steering and electrical systems.

Endurance pays claims upfront for all covered repairs, and you can take your car to any licensed, authorized repair facility. Through its app, you can check your maintenance schedule, review your factory warranty, check for recall news, access Endurance Elite benefits and view regular notifications. The company offers $250 to spend with its partners and discounts at select merchants.

Endurance reviews in the last year indicate that policyholders receive good customer service. Positive reviews mention that the representatives answer customers’ questions and offer helpful explanations.

Pros

  • Good customer service
  • Helpful representatives
  • Coverage up to 150,000 miles
  • No-fee payment plans

Cons

  • Some claims denied
  • Preexisting conditions excluded
  • No corrosion coverage

2. Runner-up: CARCHEX

CARCHEX partners with American Auto Shield, Royal Administration Services and Allegiance to provide five levels of coverage. On the high end, its Titanium plans offer bumper-to-bumper coverage and the company’s maximum level of breakdown protection. Gold plans, recommended for vehicles with more than 60,000 miles, offer comprehensive coverage for all major systems. Silver programs provide powertrain coverage, and Bronze plans only cover major repairs, like for the engine and transmission.

Optional program perks include emergency roadside assistance, towing, rental cars and trip interruption benefits. CARCHEX offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a refund if you change your mind within a month.

Overall, recent CARCHEX reviews indicate helpful customer service, easy sign-ups and comprehensive coverage. However, some dissatisfied customers complain about long hold times on the phone when filing claims.

Pros

  • Helpful customer service
  • Comprehensive coverage
  • Accepts high-mileage cars
  • Easy sign-up process

Cons

  • Not all contracts are renewable
  • Exotic vehicles not covered
  • Some claims denied

3. Good for peace of mind: CarShield

CarShield partners with American Auto Shield to offer coverage for used cars with gas or diesel engines. It also provides coverage for motorcycles and ATVs.

CarShield’s top-tier vehicle service contract is the exclusionary Diamond Plan. Its Platinum policies are fairly comprehensive but only cover stated components. Gold-level powertrain warranties cover mostly powertrain components, air conditioning systems and power windows.

Claims are paid directly to any dealership or facility certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. If you have a covered repair scheduled for more than four hours of labor, CarShield covers rental costs up to $40 per day.

CarShield doesn’t increase your rate when you file a claim, no matter how many you file. However, some negative reviews refer to claims getting denied.

Pros

  • Covers gas or diesel engines
  • Flexible payment terms
  • Customizable service plans
  • Sample contracts available in Spanish

Cons

  • Lengthy quote process
  • Some claims denied
  • Limited extra perks

4. Good for extra perks: Protect My Car

All Protect My Car plans include coverage for the engine, transmission, transfer case, drive axle and differential. Supreme plans also include coverage for your cooling system, front and rear suspension, electrical system, timing chain and select brake system components. Warranty programs are available for up to five years and 125,000 miles. Policyholders pay $100 to $200 deductibles, depending on their plans.

You can opt into Protect My Car’s Ambassador program, which earns you rewards and guarantees between 25% and 75% off car repairs. If you purchase an Ambassador Maintenance plan, you can file a claim within 15 days of signing the contract.
According to Protect My Car reviews, car owners seem to enjoy the customer service and perks, which include free oil changes and tire rotations. Some reviewers believe that Protect My Car is worth it, even if it’s a little bit more expensive than some competitors.

Pros

  • Extra perks and benefits
  • Specialized plan for older cars
  • Flexible payment terms
  • Ambassador Policy option

Cons

  • Not available in all states
  • More expensive
  • Some claims denied

5. Good for customer service: Concord Auto Protect

Concord Auto Protect coverage is available in three tiers: Premium, Advanced and Powertrain. All of these cover your vehicle’s engine, transmission, drive axle(s), brakes, electrical components and cooling components. Concord’s most comprehensive protection plan covers everything in the Advanced and Powertrain contracts plus fuel systems, anti-lock brakes, turbochargers, front and rear suspensions, high-tech electronics, heating systems and air conditioning systems.

Concord Auto Protect offers a money-back guarantee and lets you get repairs at the facility of your choice. Additional benefits include 24/7 roadside assistance, car rental reimbursement, trip interruption and dead battery protection.

According to verified customer reviews from the last year, Concord Auto Protect customer service is helpful and its representatives are knowledgeable about extended warranty products. However, a few Concord Auto Protect reviews that expressed dissatisfaction referred to claims being denied.

Pros

  • Good customer service
  • Prorated refunds
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Roadside assistance and dead battery protection

Cons

  • Fewer plan options
  • Some claims denied
  • Excludes preexisting conditions
  • What is a car warranty?

A car warranty, also called a vehicle service contract or maintenance agreement, offers coverage against vehicle malfunctions or breakdowns. New car warranties are offered through the vehicle’s original manufacturer to cover issues that arise in the first years or miles of driving, including factory defects. However, you can get a warranty for your used car as well.

Often, the factory warranty has already expired when you buy a used car, so used car warranties are provided by the dealership or a third party. According to the Federal Trade Commission, used car warranties can be implied, full or limited.

In some states, implied warranties are unspoken and unwritten promises from the seller to the buyer that the car meets certain reasonable quality standards. However, sellers may get around implied warranties by selling the car “as is” or “with all faults.”

A full warranty covers the cost of repairing or replacing specific parts on the vehicle. In this case, full refers to the level of service you can expect, not to the extent of the coverage.

A limited warranty is similar to a full warranty but with some qualifications. For instance, a limited warranty may not be transferable, or you may have to pay for warranty service even if you’re covered.

Types of extended warranties for cars:

There are two primary types of extended car warranties: ones from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and aftermarket warranties from third-party vendors. For example, if you buy a new Jaguar, then your OEM is Jaguar, and it would provide the initial warranty. If you want protection beyond the automaker’s terms, you can extend the warranty through a third-party company, such as Endurance or CarShield.

You can further categorize OEM and aftermarket car warranties by the coverage they offer. Here are some of the most common types:

Bumper-to-bumper: A bumper-to-bumper warranty typically covers all your vehicle's major systems between the front and rear bumper. These are sometimes referred to as exclusionary policies because they outline what isn’t included instead of what is.

Named component: Named component warranties are the inverse of exclusionary warranties. Instead of saying what isn’t covered, they precisely outline what is covered. Also called stated component warranties, these can still cover a fair amount of your vehicle — just usually not as much as a bumper-to-bumper service contract.

Powertrain: A powertrain warranty covers the drivetrain of your vehicle, which includes the engine, transmission and drive axle(s). These are usually more commonly purchased for high-mileage vehicles.

Wrap: Wrap warranties cover what isn’t included in a powertrain warranty, such as fuel systems and air conditioning. These warranties are often purchased in situations where a vehicle still has its powertrain covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. When combined, you can think of the two almost as a single bumper-to-bumper policy.

What does a car warranty cover?

A car warranty is meant to cover the cost of unexpected repairs to your vehicle’s major systems, such as the drivetrain. However, some also cover certain technological components, such as backup cameras and GPS systems.

Most comprehensive protection plans include coverage options for your:

Engine
Transmission
Drive axle(s)
Electrical components
Suspension
Gaskets
Steering
Fuel delivery system
Cooling system

What does a car warranty not cover?

Extended warranties do not cover interior or exterior damages resulting from accidents. That’s what car insurance is for. Routine maintenance, like oil changes and tire rotations, is not usually covered, but some extended warranty providers include these as perks. Extended warranties also don’t offer coverage for maintenance services or replacements needed because of standard wear and tear, including consumables like brake pads, wiper blades, tires and spark plugs.

To sum it up, don’t expect your warranty to cover:

Regular maintenance
Wear and tear
Damage from collisions or accidents
Damage from neglect
Environmental damage

How much does an extended warranty cost?

Extended car warranty costs usually range anywhere from $500 to $2,000, with an average of around $1,200. However, most car owners don’t pay for their protection plans upfront and instead make yearly or monthly payments over 12 to 36 months.
When you request a free quote, knowing your vehicle's year and mileage helps the warranty company provide an accurate pricing estimate. The make and model can also let the company know what parts might be needed and the likelihood of a repair. For example, warranties for luxury vehicles are more expensive because the repairs cost more, and warranties for newer cars are cheaper because there's less likelihood of a breakdown or malfunction.

Keep in mind that you can negotiate extended car warranty prices. Extended warranties are where many dealerships make a good chunk of money, so they’re very interested in selling you a policy. Because of this, you usually have a bit of wiggle room in terms of price as long as you’re willing to ask and be assertive about it.

If my car is under warranty, do I have to pay for a service?

It depends on whether the service is covered in your service contract. Even with a warranty, you have to pay out-of-pocket for services related to maintenance or repairs after an accident. Car warranties generally cover major systems and components. So, a powertrain warranty would cover the cost of transmission repair, minus the deductible.

Some people end up spending more on their warranty than they would have for repairs, but the peace of mind and the potential to avoid catastrophic repair costs are worth it to many car owners. If you aren’t sure whether an extended car warranty is a smart purchase for you, read more about the pros and cons.

Additional Resources:

Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vs Used - What's Better?

10 Best CPO Programs and Warranties for Used Cars

How Much Can You Negotiate on Certified Pre-Owned Cars?

Can You Buy CPO Cars from Independent Dealers?