Frequently Asked Questions About Used Car Warranties
When you shop for a used car at a dealer, you might see a tag (called the Buyer’s Guide) on some cars with a box checked that says, “As Is - No Warranty.”
The Buyer’s Guide on other cars may show a warranty.
When you buy the “as-is” car, you pay for any repairs once you buy it.
A warranty can buffer against costly repairs.
But know that it adds value to the car. Therefore, you’ll pay more.
When you buy from a private seller, you usually buy it “as-is.” In some cases, you might have the luck of finding a car with a warranty.
- A newer car with some of the factory warranty in effect.
- A transferable extended warranty.
- The seller agrees to pay for a car warranty.
Just as with the dealer, a warranty increases the car’s value, so you’ll likely pay more.
But it could be worth it since it protects you from getting a hefty repair bill. Auto breakdowns can get really expensive.
For example, in the Los Angeles, CA area, repair costs for a 2019 Ford Fusion could look like this:
- Air conditioner compressor replacement - $573.00 to $1033.00.
- ABS control module replacement - $613.00 to $683.00.
- Alternator replacement - $801.00 to $929.00.
- Fuel injector replacement - $815.00 to $956.00.
Source: Consumer Reports.
How Much Does an Extended Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Cost?
It depends on a number of factors:
- The car’s make and model.
- Condition of the car.
- Length of the contract.
- Amount of the deductible.
Lower end plans start at about $1,000.00. Plans can range to several thousand.
Many providers let you make monthly payments.
For example, if you buy the Supreme plan from Protect My Car for a Honda CRV:
- Length of contract - 4 years/100,000 miles.
- $125.00 per month for 40 months.
- $100.00 deductible.
If you go with Carchex Titanium for the same car:
- Length of contract - 5 years/125,000 miles.
- $194.00 per month for 18 months.
- $100.00 deductible.
You’ll usually make a down payment on an extended warranty. In the examples above, the first month’s payment is the down payment.
As you can see, the Protect My Car plan costs a total of $5,000. With Carchex, you pay $3,492. In both examples, you’ll shell out a deductible of $100 for each repair before the warranty pays for anything.
Is an Extended Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Transferrable?
Each contract has its own terms and conditions. Most extended warranties can transfer from person to person for the same car.
Be sure to check the contract for conditions of transferring the warranty.
For Example, Endurance requires a $50.00 admin fee for the transfer. Also, you have 30 days from the date of the sale to transfer coverage.
Only the current holder of the warranty can authorize the transfer.
Is an Extended Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Different From Insurance?
Although it’s called an extended warranty, it’s not really a warranty by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) definition.
Federal law defines a warranty as an agreement from the manufacturer to pay for repairs for a certain length of time. It’s included in the price you pay for the car.
Strictly speaking, an extended warranty is a service contract, which hedges your risk of costly repairs. It’s insurance in the sense that you’re paying a premium to manage risk.
A service contract that provides bumper-to-bumper coverage is called an exclusionary contract. It covers most of the car’s parts and systems, with a small list of exceptions.
An insurance company may underwrite the contract, but not in all cases.
An extended warranty differs from the manufacturer’s warranty in that a third party provides it.
What Repairs Does an Extended Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Cover?
As the name implies, a bumper-to-bumper warranty covers everything from the front bumper to the rear bumper…
Warranty providers offer coverage for most of the car’s parts and systems. Many have a small list of exceptions.
Keep in mind that having an extended warranty doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t pay anything out of pocket. Most plans require you to pay a deductible.
Deductibles for most bumper-to-bumper extended warranties are $100 or more.
An extended warranty only covers repairs that you need due to mechanical failure. It doesn’t cover damage from other causes:
- Hail or storm damage.
- Damage from a flood.
- Any causes other than mechanical failure.
You’ll need insurance to cover those kinds of damage.
Where Do I Go For Service With an Extended Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty?
Someone might tell you that going somewhere besides the dealer for routine maintenance will void your warranty.
That is not so...
...except in rare cases where the dealer underwrites its own extended warranty.
If you’re buying a car that has a transferable service contract from a dealer, a third party most likely handles it.
Many warranty providers have a large network of service providers. Some plans, such as Endurance Supreme, pay for service at any accredited shop.
You’ll want to make sure you have in-network service centers near your home and work. If you have a shop that you already like doing business with, it’s a good idea to make sure they are in the warranty’s network.
How Can I Get Bumper-To-Bumper Coverage If the Car I Bought Doesn’t Have One?
Remember, an extended warranty is really a service contract. It’s insurance against paying costly repairs. If you buy a car that doesn’t have a transferable warranty, you can still get one most of the time.
You’ll want to look for a provider that offers the best value.
- How large is their service provider network?
- Do they pay the shop directly or reimburse you later?
- Does the provider handle claims directly, or is another party involved?
Who Are the Most Reputable Extended Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Providers?
You pay for a service contract so that you can get peace of mind. It’s so that you don’t get hit with a large repair bill that you can’t pay for.
But if the warranty provider makes it difficult or impossible to get paid for costly repairs, what good is it?
Here are a few companies that have been in the business for a while and have a track record of good service.
You should do your own research. PrivateAuto doesn’t by any means endorse or recommend these companies.
Endurance Auto Warranty
Endurance’s highest tier plan (Supreme) offers bumper-to-bumper coverage.
- Plans available for high-mileage cars - up to 200,000 miles.
- Vanishing deductible option.
- Handles claims and payments directly.
Please note: The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently downgraded Endurance’s rating. The BBB in Chicago, IL received a lot of complaints about Endurance’s advertising practices starting in 2018.
Consumers charged that promotional mailers had aggressive and confusing language. They said that the mailers intimidated readers into buying a service contract.
The BBB monitored the mailers. As of April of 2020, the BBB determined that the mailers meet the Bureau’s Code of Advertising standards.
Titanium coverage provides protection for most car systems. Contract lengths range from 5 to 10-years.
- Better Business Bureau Accredited with an A+ rating.
- No-pressure sign up process.
- Large network of service providers.
- 24/7 roadside assistance.
Serves as a broker. In other words, they shop for a warranty provider to get a plan for your needs.
- High-mileage and specialty coverage available.
- Roadside assistance is available.
- Most contracts are transferable.
Protect My Car
They have plans that cover 5 years or 125,000 miles. There’s a $100 deductible on most plans.
- Rewards program offers shopping and dining discounts.
- 24/7 Roadside assistance included.
- Rental car coverage included.
Infinite Auto Protection
They provide coverage directly, not through a broker.
- Covers cars with up to 140,000 miles.
- Prime plan covers high-tech features.
- $100 deductible.
Are There Car Warranty Scams?
You might get a lot of robocalls where the recorded voice tells you, “The warranty on your [make and model] is about to expire…”
Some are legit companies, but their selling practices are questionable. Others are trying to trick you into giving away your credit or debit card info.
Some warranty companies use high-pressure sales tactics. They might try to close the sale before you’ve had the chance to read the contract. Don’t let them.
- Always make sure you understand the contract before you sign or make a payment.
- Never give your card info over the phone.
If you’re selling a used car with a transferable bumper-to-bumper extended warranty, be sure to emphasize it in your ads.
If you’re buying, consider looking for listings with bumper-to-bumper coverage.
- Increases the car’s value.
- Gives peace of mind.
- Guards against hefty repair costs.
Whether you’re selling or buying, no one makes private car trading easier than PrivateAuto.
- Dealer-quality services in the palm of your hand.
- Integrated banking service lets you safely transfer funds.
- State-specific documents you can complete and sign directly from the app.
PrivateAuto now partners with AutoCheck. When you sign up for PrivateAuto Premium, an AutoCheck vehicle history report is included at no extra cost.
Buy or sell a used car with PrivateAuto today.
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