Millions of dollars are spent every year by Americans alone on extended car warranties. Chances are, you have considered an extended warranty or are currently wondering, “are extended car warranties worth it?”
In this guide, we help you decide if an extended car warranty is worth it for you through an analysis of extended car warranty coverage and cost. Then, we’ll recommend the best extended warranty companies in the industry. To see how much you would pay for coverage, go ahead and get a few free, no-obligation quotes from leading providers below.
What is an Extended Car Warranty?
An extended car warranty is a vehicle service contract designed to protect you from costly repairs after unforeseeable mechanical breakdowns. Extended car warranties are typically purchased from a dealership or a third-party provider to lengthen the manufacturer warranty on your vehicle.
Extended warranties can be purchased for new or used cars from the vehicle manufacturer or a reliable, third-party alternative. Understanding the difference between a manufacturer warranty and third-party warranty could help you decide whether extended car warranties are worth it for you.
|Manufacturer Extended Warranty||Third-Party Extended Warranty|
|Guaranteed use of factory-trained technicians and original parts for repairs||Wide network of licensed repair facilities to choose from|
|Tend to have higher, less negotiable prices||More affordable payment plans and negotiable pricing|
|Plans designed with the unique needs of your vehicle in mind||More customizable coverage options to choose from|
|Shorter coverage limits||Long-term coverage|
What Does an Extended Car Warranty Cover?
To decide if extended car warranties are worth it, we recommend looking into what a car warranty covers to decide what level of coverage is worth it for you.
There are typically three main types of extended car warranties: bumper-to-bumper warranties, powertrain plus plans and powertrain plans. Understanding the difference between each type of extended warranty can help you decide which level of protection is right for you:
- Bumper-to-bumper: This term refers to the highest level of vehicle protection available, providing coverage for the most vehicle components. Ironically, these plans do not cover the physical bumpers of your vehicle, but rather protect most parts in between the front and rear bumpers.
- Powertrain plus: This middle-of-the-road plan protects some (not all) high-tech and electrical systems that bumper-to-bumper plans cover, plus powertrain components that are covered by a powertrain plan.
- Powertrain: The most basic level of coverage, best for highly reliable vehicles, a powertrain plan provides protection for the parts of your vehicle that deliver power from the engine to the wheels.
We recommend that you compare sample warranty contracts and weigh the pros and cons of extended car warranties before deciding on a specific provider and plan. Sample contracts give you detailed information on what exactly your warranty would cover in case of a needed repair.
Extended car warranties are worth it for customers who want peace of mind knowing their finances are protected in the event of unforeseen repairs. However, no warranty covers every repair. Each has a list of exclusions, with some of the most common being:
- Normal wear-and-tear items like brake pads and windshield wiper blades
- Regularly scheduled maintenance like oil changes or recommended maintenance
- Damage due to misuse, abuse, neglect, or use of improper fuel or fluids
- Damage due to environmental factors, chemicals or extreme weather conditions
- Damage from theft, vandalism or a collision
What Does an Extended Car Warranty Cost?
Based on our research, the average cost of an extended car warranty is about $2,708. Typically, extended car warranty cost ranges from around $1,700 to $4,000 for three to seven years of coverage.
On average, a bumper-to-bumper warranty is around $2,511, and a powertrain warranty rings in at $2,904. An extended warranty’s cost is dependent on multiple factors, including:
- The plan and provider you choose
- The year, make and model of your vehicle
- The number of miles on your vehicle
Providers such as CARCHEX and Endurance allow you to get free quotes for your vehicle online. This can help you get a better idea of what you would be paying for coverage. The best way to get the most coverage for the best price is to compare personalized quotes from a number of top providers.
Are Extended Car Warranties Worth It?
Whether or not an extended car warranty is “worth it” depends on your preferences and lifestyle. Drivers that can cover unexpected repairs may not need an extended warranty, but those who prefer to make small monthly payments will find value in extended protection.
A recent study by software manufacturer PegaSystems, Inc. surveyed Americans on their opinions on car warranties, and 62 percent of drivers reported having benefited from coverage in the past year.
We recommend honestly assessing your vehicle’s reliability and your personal financial situation to determine if purchasing an extended car warranty is worth it for you. If you can easily afford the cost of unexpected repairs out-of-pocket, purchasing an extended warranty might not be the right plan for you. If you want to guarantee you aren’t paying for coverage you will never use, keeping a savings account exclusively to be used in the event of a breakdown is one way to save for repair costs.
Our Recommended Extended Warranty Providers
If purchasing an extended warranty makes sense for your personal car repair needs, we recommend looking into Endurance, CARCHEX and CarShield. These reputable extended car warranty companies scored highest in our industry-wide review.
Is an Endurance Extended Warranty Worth It?
An extended car warranty from Endurance is best for drivers who want:
- An extended car warranty from our No. 1 provider
- Six coverage options to choose from
- The most comprehensive benefits package through the Endurance Elite Membership program
Although Endurance warranties tend to be on the expensive side, we find these extended car warranties are worth it for drivers who want comprehensive coverage and benefits, as well as top-rated customer service.
To learn more about coverage, read our complete Endurance warranty review, and get a free quote for your vehicle below.
Is a CARCHEX Extended Warranty Worth It?
CARCHEX was named Best for High-Mileage Vehicles by our review team for its high term limits, notable industry partnerships, and A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). CARCHEX is best for drivers looking for:
- A top-rated extended warranty provider that partners with auto industry experts
- Coverage for high-mileage vehicles
- Top-tier customer service
Having trouble deciding between CARCHEX and Endurance? Read our Endurance vs. CARCHEX review to help make a decision.
Is a CarShield Extended Warranty Worth It?
After comparing prices from every major auto warranty provider in the country, CarShield came out on top with the most affordable plans overall. Carshield is also the most popular provider in the market with more than one million policies sold since its inception.
You might enjoy working with CarShield if you’re looking for:
- Low prices on an extended car warranty
- Coverage for specialty vehicles like motorcycles and ATVs
- A provider with a strong reputation (including endorsements from celebrities and television personalities)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good price for an extended warranty?
Based on our research, a good price for an extended warranty is about $2,700, but the cost of your plan will depend on factors such as your car’s mileage and age. Extended warranty companies charge more for cars that are older or have many miles.
Can you cancel an extended warranty on a car?
A reputable company will allow you to cancel an extended warranty on a car, but manufacturer extended warranty cancellation policies vary depending on the provider. Review your warranty contract before signing to understand the cancellation policy.
Which is the best extended car warranty?
You can get the best extended car warranty from Endurance, CARCHEX, or CarShield. These providers scored highest in our industry-wide review of extended warranty coverage, pricing, customer reviews, and more.
The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car warranty provider to formulate rankings of the best warranty companies. Our in-depth rating system takes into account coverage, pricing, transparency, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each provider is given a weighted score in five categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend auto warranty companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best coverage.