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Extended Vehicle Warranties: One Size Does Not Fit All

August 13th | No Comments | Posted in Articles, Car insurance

Back in the old days when there used to be a Soviet Union, some strange things would happen from time to time with defectors who escaped to the U.S. They would actually get paralyzed in grocery stores, unable to make decisions about which of several hundred cereals they would buy. For some people who never had much choice beyond buying or not buying whatever was on the shelf that day, this much choice and that many options brought them to a halt.

If you are shopping for a new or used car, and want to add an extended warranty, you should immediately wonder about a car dealer or warranty firm that seems to have just one policy rather than a selection. It could be a matter of the dealer trying to sell a preferred (and high-profit) plan, or it really could be that the third-party firm you are dealing with is not quite as experienced or full-service as it claims. The fact is, you should be able to select from among a range of different extended warranties, from different providers. It does not matter if a car dealer does not help you with this, since nothing says you have to buy the warranty when you buy the car.

Various types

All of the reputable extended warranty firms offer a wide range of plans to cover new and used vehicles of all types (including boats). The bumper-to-bumper plans are normally quite popular, and are backed by both auto manufacturers and companies that have been in business for some years. It is not necessarily true that younger firms are questionable, but longevity in an industry that has had problems with some unreliable operators is a good sign. As always, check out every aspect of the firm (and read the whole warranty policy).

The bumper-to-bumper plans are not always quite as inclusive as the names imply, so if you really want coverage of (alphabetically) the air conditioner, brakes, cooling system, drive axle, engine, fuel system, seals/gaskets, supercharger, steering, suspension, transfer case, transmission and turbocharger, you need to make sure what you want is listed. Full-service and full-coverage plans can also include reimbursement for roadside and during-repair expenses (towing, rental car, etc.).

Soup to nuts (or not)

In addition to towing and car rental coverage, you can get plans that cover changing flat tires, giving your battery a jump, delivering emergency fuel or other fluids, attempting to open your locked vehicle and other services. Although there is not much that extended warranty firms have not heard of and covered, it is also possible to negotiate specific services, especially when you are dealing directly with a third-party warranty firm and not a dealer network or car manufacturer.

Conversely, there are also simpler plans, all the way down to what you (not they) might call bare bones coverage. The most common of these is the drive train coverage plan, which covers the engine, transmission and one or two other major, named systems. The last sentence ends on a very important term (named systems), as you need to remember that nothing will be covered that is not expressly stated in the written service contract. This should go without saying, but this is something that should not be overlooked. Again, if a salesperson told you that you are covered for unicorn damage, but it is not in the written agreement, then you really do not have unicorn coverage.

Bottom line

As with any other major purchase, you need to do some research, ask some questions, get advice from experts if you need it and take care with your decision. You have to make a rough calculation of cost benefits, and there are some handy calculators online that help you develop cost figures for car maintenance and repairs. If you want to retain your car past the manufacturer warranty period, and have good information on the repair record of the particular make and model, you should be able to arrive at a good approximation of the value of the coverage.

Finally, do not succumb to pressure tactics by salespeople. There is no law that says you have to buy the warranty when you buy the car, or says you have to buy it from a dealer or any other certain place. You are in the driver’s seat, so make sure you stay in control of the purchase of both the car and any additional warranty coverage you decide you need.

Whether you have a car, truck, SUV, or van we can find the best possible extended car warranty for your money. Do not let your limited warranty expire without shopping for continued coverage first. Visit 5starwarranty.com online today for more information.

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