In this article, we’ll look at the best extended car warranty companies in California and provide tips for shopping for a used car warranty in the state.
Best Extended Auto Warranty Companies in California
Our researchers have compiled information on every major car repair warranty provider on the market, evaluating price data, plan information, customer reviews and more to rate and rank the best extended car warranty companies in California. Our reviews found that CARCHEX and autopom! are the most reputable extended car warranty companies in California. Below is our complete list of the state’s best providers:
- Top choice for high-mileage cars
- Contract term limits up to 10 years/250,000 miles
- Partners with industry experts like Kelley Blue Book and CARFAX
Based on our research, CARCHEX ranks highest among the best extended warranty companies for used cars. The provider has five coverage levels to choose from, including a few basic plans that are great for older vehicle protection. It also offers some of the highest contract term limits we’ve seen, so if your used car has a lot of miles on it or if you plan on keeping it for a long time, CARCHEX may be a great option for you.
CARCHEX makes warranty use easy for drivers, offering flexible repair facility options and paying repair shops directly after work has been completed. This way, customers don’t have to pay upfront and wait around for a reimbursement check. We also like that CARCHEX is accredited and holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
For an in-depth look at the provider’s plans, benefits and pricing, read our CARCHEX review.
- Has consistently maintained a high BBB rating for an extended car warranty provider
- Provides extensive educational resources and transparency to keep customers informed
- Works with customers to handle disputed claims with administrators
autopom! has been a major name in the extended car warranty business for over 10 years. The company is a broker that works with several administrators to ensure you are getting the best deal and coverage. autopom! also diligently works to make sure customers understand their coverage by providing informative resources on their blog, a car buying checklist, and very informative explanations on their site about how the industry works.
autopom! offers four coverage levels, including special considerations for drivers who live in the state of California. The company is also hignly rated by online reviewers. Instead of acting as pushy salespeople, which is often the norm, autopom! representatives serve the role of a customer advocate that helps inform California warranty holders of their options. If you own a car covered by an autopom! warranty and decide to sell the vehicle, you can transfer the coverage to another vehicle for free. There is a 30 day, 1000 mile waiting period after purchase for the coverage to apply for most vehicles.
- The Ability to easily choose your own technician.
- Transparent information about its contracts, including sample contracts that are posted on the company website.
- You can pay less up-front with easy month to month payments.
Toco is a California-based extended warranty company that has served drivers for nearly 10 years. A relative young extended car warranty company, Toco has placed a heavy emphasis on a simplified claims process, transparency, and customer education. The company’s website has a ton of information about how the extended warranty industry functions.
The company has policies available to customers across the US, with the exception of Washington, Missouri, and Washington. When reviewing the company, we liked it’s monthly payment options and easy to understand contracts.
- Plans come with built-in features
- 24/7 Customer Service
- Claims handled by ASE licensed technicians
Though Patriot Warranty didn’t meet the criteria to be featured in our national reviews for the best extended car warranty in the industry as a whole, they company does have a large enough customer base in the state to be mentioned in this review of used car warranties in California. Founded in 2007 in California, Patriot warranty has since expanded to provide warranties to customer’s nationally.
The company’s stated goal is to provide “exceptional customer service, eliminate delays, and develop the industry standard for Extended Vehicle Service Programs”. Patriot warranty hires ASE certified mechanics directly to interface with your choice of repair center about ongoing vehicle repairs. This is an interesting and unique approach to claims rarely seen in the industry.
Extended Car Warranty Basics
In this article, we’ll provide basic information on what’s covered by a car warranty, how much they typically cost and whether coverage is worth it. We’ll also give you recommendations on where to get the cheapest protection.
How Long Does Coverage Last?
A vehicle protection plan can last anywhere from a few months to over 10 years, depending on the provider you choose. Manufacturers typically offer shorter term limits than third-party providers, and the length of coverage you’re eligible may vary depending on the current age and mileage of your vehicle.
To give you more insight into how long coverage lasts, here are the maximum term limits of a few popular manufacturer and third-party vehicle protection plans:
The term length you choose will affect the overall cost of your vehicle service plan, so make sure you’re aware of what you’re opting into.
How Do Claims Work?
Typically, in the event of a mechanical breakdown, you’ll need to take the following steps:
- Take your vehicle to an authorized repair shop and have the mechanic perform a diagnosis to determine the cause of the issue
- The repair facility will reach out to your warranty provider to confirm your coverage and have repairs authorized.
- After gaining prior authorization, the mechanic will begin repairs.
- Once repairs are completed, you’ll pay your deductible and your provider will cover the rest of the bill. Some providers will have you pay the total cost upfront and send you a reimbursement check, but the best providers will pay the repair shop directly.
How Much Does a Vehicle Protection Plan Cost?
According to our research, the average cost of a vehicle protection plan is between $1,700 and $4,000. This is such a wide range because there are many factors that influence the cost of coverage. These include:
- Deductibles: A higher deductible leads to a lower premium cost, and vice versa.
- Levels of coverage: A comprehensive plan is more expensive than a basic plan.
- Term length: As you’d expect, a longer contract is more costly.
- Vehicle age, make and model: Older, less-reliable cars are often more expensive to protect.
Many providers offer customers the choice to pay upfront for coverage or with monthly payment plans.
Are Auto Protection Plans Worth It?
Auto protection plans are worth it for many drivers. In fact, in a recent survey by Pegasystems Inc., 60% of drivers with vehicle protection plans reported benefitting from their coverage within the past year. However, they’re not a great investment for everyone.
There are a few reasons to consider purchasing a vehicle protection plan, like if you don’t have an especially reliable car, if you don’t have the ability to pay for repair costs outright or if you just want added peace of mind on the road. On the other hand, if you do own a highly reliable car or if you’re able to save on your own for repairs, you probably don’t need a vehicle protection plan.
If you’re on the fence, get free, no-obligation quotes from a few different providers and see whether the cost outweighs what you think you may pay in repair costs over the warranty period. (You can accurately estimate this using a site like RepairPal.) This will help you determine whether a vehicle protection plan would be worth it for your car.
Used car warranty companies like Endurance, CARCHEX, and CarShield provide the best used car warranties on the market. In this article, we’ll look at the best used car warranty companies, along with providing basic info on their coverage, cost, plans, customer service, and more.
What is a Car Repair Warranty?
A car repair warranty is one way to finance the cost of unexpected car repairs. You can purchase coverage through your vehicle manufacturer or a third-party company. Your car repair warranty administrator will pay for the parts and labor required to fix covered vehicle parts after they fail.
Car repair warranties are also called extended warranties, vehicle service contracts and vehicle protection plans. It’s important to note that car repair warranties are not insurance. Car insurance covers damage after a collision or act of nature, and auto warranties cover certain repairs in the event of a mechanical failure.
The specific components covered by a car repair warranty will vary depending on the particular contract. Most providers offer a range of options. Two common levels of warranty protection are powertrain warranties and bumper-to-bumper warranties:
- Powertrain warranty: Covers vital powertrain components such as the engine, transmission, drive axle and transfer case
- Bumper-to-bumper warranty: Covers nearly all vehicle components, including electronics and navigation systems
Car Repair Warranty Fine Print and Exclusions
The details of each car repair warranty differ from provider to provider. However, most extended warranty contracts have similar conditions and exclusions.
Typically, to keep warranty coverage valid, vehicles must be serviced in accordance with their factory-recommended maintenance schedule. Car repair warranty contracts do not usually cover damage that is caused by improper maintenance, misuse or neglect. They also do not cover scheduled maintenance, so these services will need to be paid for out of pocket.
Additionally, certain wear-and-tear components are almost always excluded from coverage. Examples of commonly excluded components are:
- Brake pads and shoes
- Shock absorbers and struts
- Wiper blades
- Headlamps and bulbs
- Interior upholstery
- Catalytic converter
- Exterior trim
- Aftermarket components
Car Lemon Law California
If you have a new car that has a serious warranty defect that cannot be fixed by the dealer after multiple attempts, you may be eligible to get another car or a refund in the state of California.
In California, Lemon Law applies to the following new and used vehicles that come with the manufacturer warranty:
- Cars, SUVs pickup trucks, and vans.
- Vehicles leased or purchased for family, household, or personal reasons
- Demonstrators and dealer owned vehicles.
- Many vehicles leased or purchased mainly for business use.
- The drivetrain, chassis, and chassis cab of a motor-home
If the dealer or car manufacturer can’t repair a serious warranty defect after a “reasonable” amount of attempts, the maunufacturer must refund the purchase price or replace the vehicle, whichever you prefer. While there is no se
WHAT IS A “REASONABLE” NUMBER
OF REPAIR ATTEMPTS?
A: There is no set number. However, California’s
Lemon Law Presumption contains these
guidelines for determining when a “reasonable”
number of repair attempts have been made:
• The manufacturer or dealer hasn’t fixed the
same problem after four or more attempts.
• Your vehicle’s problems could cause death
or serious bodily injury if it is driven, and the
manufacturer or dealer has made at least
two unsuccessful repair attempts.
• The vehicle has been in the shop for more
than 30 days (not necessarily in a row)
for repair of any problems covered by its
warranty. This is called the Lemon Law
DO I NEED TO GO TO COURT FOR
THE LEMON LAW TO HELP ME?
A: No. In many cases, the manufacturer
of your vehicle may offer a state-certified
arbitration program that may assist you in
resolving your dispute. If so:
• You must request arbitration in order
to claim the benefits of the Lemon Law
• You may accept or reject the arbitrator’s
I BOUGHT MY VEHICLE USED WITH NO
WARRANTY. DOES CALIFORNIA’S LEMON
LAW STILL APPLY TO MY VEHICLE?
A: No. The Lemon Law applies only to
disputes involving the manufacturer’s new
Frequently Asked Questions
Are bumper-to-bumper warranties worth it?
Bumper-to-bumper warranties are worth it for vehicles with expensive, complex and high-tech systems. Bumper-to-bumper car warranty plans provide maximum peace of mind and are typically exclusionary, meaning that the contract lists the parts not covered by the warranty.
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.