How to Choose the Right Plan
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right plan for you and your vehicle. Make sure to take into account the year, make, and model of your vehicle, as these factors alone can help determine how much coverage you may require. It is also important to have a budget in mind, and research which warranty companies are offering promos. This can help you save money and get a few extras with your plan.
Types of Extended Car Warranty Plans
A car warranty covers defects in manufacturing and workmanship for a specific time and mileage limit. Factory warranties are completely free for car owners, and the automaker’s dealerships handle covered repairs. The best new car warranty lasts for the majority of your ownership.
New car warranties are made up of a few different types of coverage:
- Bumper-to-bumper: Also called a new vehicle limited warranty, this warranty covers almost any mechanical failure on the car due to factory defects.
- Powertrain: This type of warranty covers the engine, transmission and drive axles, which are collectively known as the powertrain. It usually lasts longer than the bumper-to-bumper warranty.
- Emissions: Federal and state laws require automakers to cover certain emissions components for different lengths of time.
- Corrosion: This warranty can cover corrosion on sheet metal from the inside out, outside in or both.
- Adjustments and accessories: Adjustments like wheel alignments are usually covered for one year, and the same goes for factory-installed accessories.
- Extra perks: Factory warranties may come with perks like roadside assistance, trip interruption or rental car coverage. A few automakers also cover some scheduled maintenance for a short period of time.
So, what makes a good car warranty? The bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties are the most important, and these are what people usually talk about when comparing warranties. The best bumper-to-bumper plans last for 5 years/60,000 miles, and the best powertrain plans last for 10 years/100,000 miles.
On the other end, the shortest bumper-to-bumper plan is 3 years/36,000 miles, and the shortest powertrain plan is 4 years/50,000 miles. While there are some variations in what different automakers cover under their warranties, most of the covered parts are the same.
Be aware that warranties (factory and extended) don’t cover things like wear and tear, damage from lack of maintenance or cosmetic damage.
Top Extended Car Warranty Companies
Not all extended warranty providers are equal. We’ve reviewed the top providers on the market and ranked them in terms of price, customer service, transparency, reputation and coverage. We recommend getting quotes from multiple reputable extended car warranty companies to find the best coverage and price for your situation. You can start with two of the best providers around: Endurance and CARCHEX.
1.) Endurance: Best Provider
In our in-depth Endurance warranty review, we ranked the company as the best provider overall. Many companies sell plans for other administrators, but Endurance works directly with drivers. That means you can work with the same company whether you’re shopping for a plan or filing a claim.
Endurance offers six plans that can cover vehicles up to 15 years/200,000 miles. That’s much longer than extended coverage offered by auto manufacturers. Plans range from covering just the basics to nearly any mechanical breakdown, and they can match factory-style comprehensive coverage. You can also purchase plans that come with routine maintenance coverage.
2.) CARCHEX: Best Customer Service
CARCHEX is the best choice for high-mileage vehicles, as it can cover cars up to 250,000 miles. CARCHEX offers five plans that span a good range. Each plan comes with a few deductible options and extras like roadside assistance and trip interruption coverage.
Like Endurance, CARCHEX lets drivers go to any licensed repair facility for coverage, which includes independent shops and dealerships. You can read sample contracts online for each contract to know exactly what’s covered before purchasing a plan.
3.) Protect My Car: Best for High-Mileage Cars
The longest coverage term from Protect My Car extends to 125,000 miles, which isn’t as long as the other used car warranty companies on our list. However, Protect My Car is one of the few providers that offers prepaid maintenance coverage along with repair coverage.
You can get this kind of coverage with one of the company’s Ambassador Maintenance Plans. These plans cover a fixed portion of most car repairs (except wear-and-tear items) along with maintenance items like oil changes and tire rotations.
If you want to stick with the standard extended warranty, the company’s Select plan covers vehicles that have over 50,000 miles, while the Driveline plan covers vehicles with over 80,000 miles. All Protect My Car plans come with rental car reimbursement, while most come with roadside assistance and trip interruption. The company has a 4.6-star rating from the BBB and a 4.4-star rating on Trustpilot.
4.) CarShield: Most Affordable
CarShield warranties cover repairs for vehicles with up to 200,000 miles. The company was started in 2005 and today is the most popular provider we’ve researched. Over 18,500 reviewers on Trustpilot give CarShield a 4.1-star rating, and the company has over 3,000 ratings between Google and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) as well.
CarShield has six plans to choose from, two of which apply to specialty vehicles and high-tech equipment. The Gold plan is generally the best option for used vehicles, and it covers hundreds of parts on the major systems of the car including the engine, transmission and air conditioning. Depending on your car’s mileage, you can choose from the Silver or Bronze plans as well.
CarShield also offers more affordable monthly payments than many used car warranty companies we researched. If your car has many miles on the odometer, it would be worth getting a quote at CarShield or by calling (844) 240-3344 to see what prices are available.
5.) Liberty Bell: Great Customer Service
Liberty Bell Auto Protect offers extended warranty plans that can help you avoid surprise repair bills. Unlike some of its competitors, Liberty Bell Auto Protect does not offer an extended warranty option that only includes powertrain coverage. Plans with additional benefits may appeal to drivers who prefer more comprehensive coverage, but those who just want powertrain protection may not be willing to pay for other forms of coverage.
Liberty Bell Auto Protect has received mostly positive online reviews for its extended warranty plans and customer service. If you are thinking about purchasing a vehicle service contract, we think it’s likely you’ll have a good experience with this provider.
Many companies across the U.S. offer vehicle service contracts. Costs are based on factors like the plan you choose and a vehicle’s make, model, year and mileage. That means the plan your friend or neighbor is happy with might not be the best choice for you. We strongly recommend that you contact a handful of reputable extended car warranty companies to get detailed information on the options available for your vehicle before you choose a plan.
6.) Concord: Best in Customer Satisfaction
Concord Auto Protect holds many positive ratings from multiple review sources. On Google, it holds a 4.8-star rating with over 500 reviews, and on Trustpilot, almost 300 consumers have weighed in to give Concord Auto Protect a 4.8-star rating.
The company is not accredited by the BBB, which isn’t uncommon given that accreditation can cost upwards of $10,000. However, Concord Auto Protect does hold a B+ rating and a 4.64 out of 5-star customer review score.
We noticed some reviews on the company’s BBB page are replicated with different reviewer names, which is slightly concerning. One reviewer also claimed the company offered him up to $500 to take down a negative comment. As with any online customer reviews, it’s best to take these with a grain of salt.