Extended Warranty 101

Vehicle expenses and maintenance can be costly, especially for car owners paying out of pocket. An extended warranty, or vehicle service plan, is a protection plan that can help cover your auto repair costs once the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. While extended warranties may be expensive to purchase from an auto dealer, there are companies that provide warranty options that may save you money in the long term.

Pros and Cons

When deciding whether to purchase an extended warranty for your vehicle, it’s helpful to understand the pros and cons. Being prepared for the unpredictable is usually the main reason to buy an extended warranty. Even newer vehicles can have mechanical problems in the future. If your car needs an expensive repair or replacement, a warranty could offer you some peace of mind that you are covered.

Purchasing an extended warranty, however, is not entirely without drawbacks. It could come with a high price tag and may not necessarily cover everything that could go wrong with a vehicle. Additionally, some warranties will not cover a repair unless the owner provides proof that recommended guidelines have been followed. It’s therefore important to read the fine print of a warranty before purchasing one.

One of the best ways to help decide whether or not an extended warranty is right for you is to research the car’s make and model. Do you see any system or part recalls on record? Ultimately, purchasing an extended warranty depends on the vehicle and your personal risk tolerance.

Are There Restrictions?

Typically, a standard warranty will cover you for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. An extended warranty will cover you for an agreed-upon mileage or period of time beyond the standard warranty. Aside from this main restriction, a warranty may also limit the kind of repairs or replacements for which you’re eligible. Make sure you’re aware of all the restrictions on an extended warranty so you can make an informed decision on its value.

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Coverage Options

There are many options in choosing the best warranty for your needs. For example, depending on the climate where you live, a corrosion warranty may be useful. Another popular extended warranty option is roadside assistance; however, you should consider that companies like AAA may already include roadside assistance with their service, so not every driver needs this coverage. It’s a good idea to ask your car dealer what benefits are included with the extended warranty options they offer. Then weigh the benefits of having the protection versus what it may end up costing.


As a blog writer, Jessica gets to mix her passion for creative writing with her love for helping others. As native California resident, she shares her free time with Disneyland, outdoor adventures, and her dog.
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