The Best Used Car Warranty Companies: Keep Your Well-Used Vehicle Covered
Yes, you can keep a used car covered, even when the original warranty expires. Here are some of the best companies to check out.
Just bought a used vehicle and don’t know about the car warranty situation for it? If your new used car is either past the factory warranty or you just want additional coverage, there are several options to consider.
The trick to finding the right used car warranty is finding a plan that has the warranty coverage your vehicle needs at the price you want.
Read on for our handy guide to find out everything you need to know about used car warranties and what companies provide some of the best plans.
Basic Used Car Warranties Explained
A used car warranty is just an extended auto warranty, also known as a vehicle service contract, that offers coverage for a specific set of parts found within the vehicle. Compared to manufacturer’s warranties, extended warranties tend to offer more coverage and extra perks for the money.
Third-party warranties can offer even more than most factory extended warranties, depending on the particular plan you choose. Technically, any warranty can be a used car warranty if it applies to the right vehicle.
In other words, as long as the vehicle isn’t brand-new right off the lot, you can add an extended warranty to have a “used car” warranty. That said, there are a few special requirements and considerations that apply to true used car warranties.
Coverage limits are the big thing that will affect which warranty plans are available to consider. Some plans have lower coverage limits (below 100,000 miles), which isn’t a problem for newer used cars with recently expired factory warranties.
For older vehicles, especially ones above 75,000 miles, the options tend to decrease. That said, there are still many providers that have dedicated used or old vehicle plans with extensive inclusion lists or comprehensive coverage options.
Comparing Used Car Warranties
It can be difficult when comparing different car warranties for a used car. On one hand, any extended car warranty will most likely do the trick. Depending on the age of the vehicle, however, you may find that older vehicles require specific plans that offer more coverage for powertrain and engine parts.
As a result, we’ve tried to take into account the different needs used cars may have. Here are the most important consideration points we factored into our overall provider selection process:
- Inclusions: The list of inclusions shows you exactly what is covered by a warranty plan. More common with basic warranties that may have a lot of components not covered, the inclusion list is a good place to see if a plan will work for your particular vehicle. We’ve included providers that have tiered inclusion lists, meaning if one plan doesn’t cover something, a higher plan just might.
- Coverage Limit: For extended warranties, coverage limits influence what vehicles will and won’t qualify for a particular plan. Used vehicles come in at all ages and mileages, so you may find that some providers have more coverage for your particular used ride. Older vehicles are generally harder to cover since limits average around 100,000 miles or under, but there are several providers with 150,000-miles-plus plans available.
- Exclusions: Exclusion lists are the opposite of inclusions: They show what won’t be covered by a plan. Common with comprehensive plans, you are more likely to find this type of list when searching for a warranty for a used vehicle. Just remember: If there is a component that you need to be covered, you don’t want to see that component on this list.
- Extra Perks: You will get a lot of extra value from an extended car warranty if there are plenty of extra perks the third-party provider offers. Most providers include useful additions for used cars like roadside and emergency assistance, towing, windshield repair, and even travel disruption reimbursement. Any auto protection for mechanical breakdowns or routine maintenance (like oil changes) can also keep regular car repair costs down.
The Best Used Warranty Providers
There is no shortage of used car warranty providers these days. Unfortunately, there does seem to be a shortage of quality providers. That is why we have taken the time to find the best, most reputable car warranty providers that either offer a dedicated used vehicle warranty plan or have the plan coverage needed to keep an older vehicle running.
Best Comprehensive Used Car Warranty: Endurance
Endurance is one of the largest third-party car warranty providers on the market. We like Endurance because, in terms of just the sheer number of plans, the company is among the best for personalizing your plan to suit the vehicle.
As a result, the company is good for used cars or vehicles with more than 100,000 miles on the odometer since they are likely to face more wear-and-tear-related issues on the drivetrain and electrical systems.
Endurance offers a used- and old-car-specific extended warranty known as the Select Premiere. The plan has a fairly extensive inclusion list that focuses on most of the drivetrain. Specifically, things like air conditioning, the engine components, fuel components, seals, gaskets, and the transmission are all covered.
Endurance also has more expensive plans (Superior and Supreme) that cover additional components like the brakes and suspension if you need even more coverage than what the Select Premiere offers.
The best thing about Endurance we’ve found is the wide range of dealerships and garages that accept the service. Since any ASE-certified repair shop or repair facility can do the covered repairs, it isn’t difficult to find a repair service quickly if your used car happens to break down while traveling.
The company also includes one year of its Endurance Elite membership to keep you covered with roadside and emergency assistance.
Best Used Car Warranty for Personalization: CarShield
As one of the companies with one of the largest plan selections available, CarShield is a natural company to start with when searching for used car warranties. A good starter plan is the Platinum plan, designed for high-mileage vehicles, that takes care of most of the drivetrain, including the transmission, transfer case, suspension, steering, brakes, and drive axles.
Since these are the most important parts for keeping a car moving (in addition to the engine), the coverage is more than adequate for aging vehicles. CarShield does offer other plans, including specialty options for other vehicles.
Beyond the plans, CarShield offers a lot of flexibility in how you pay. For example, its monthly payment plan does away with the usual upfront costs from companies that make you pay for the entire year.
As a result, you don’t have to invest as much into the car warranty, and you can generally cancel in the middle of a year instead of having to wait until the very end when your service contract is up.
Filing a claim and getting repair work done is fairly straightforward, but the process can be slightly longer. Getting information for cost quotes or coverage information requires getting in touch with the CarShield resources or customer service and may incur some waiting during certain times of the year.
Best Value Used Car Warranty: Concord Auto Protect
When it comes to simplicity, Concord Auto Protect is hard to beat. With three plans that include progressively larger inclusion lists, the way this company has structured its warranty offerings is about as straightforward as you can get.
More importantly, the company offers direct warranty plans instead of just acting as a typical broker, meaning it’s easier to get information and service quickly all from a single source.
The company’s Advanced and Premium plans are the best for older vehicles that will need more attention under the hood or undercarriage. The Advanced plan covers the main engine, transmission, and electrical components but lacks a few specific parts. It’s also fairly limited for used cars that have some modifications like turbo or superchargers installed.
For the ultimate coverage, the Premium plan is the better buy. In addition to the engine, transmission, and electrical components, the plan adds suspensions, brakes, fuel system, electronics, and performance enhancements to the list of inclusions.
As the company’s most comprehensive plan, it also includes helpful extra perks like roadside assistance, locksmithing, rental car reimbursement, and towing (as do the other plans Concord Auto Protect offers).
Q. How much does a used car warranty actually cost?
A. Different policies and providers have different ways of calculating the cost, but most come down between $350 and $700 a year. The actual cost will depend on the plan, your vehicle, and your driving history.
Q. Do I need a used car warranty?
A. It isn’t required, especially if you are okay with paying for repairs and services out of pocket, but an extended warranty for a used car can help reduce your costs.
Q. How can I check to see if my used car has a warranty on it already?
A. Check with the original dealership. If the car is just a few years old or has under 36,000 miles on the engine, there is a good chance it may have the original factory warranty. Older vehicles, however, will likely be out of coverage unless they have an extended warranty left.
Q. Does a used car warranty protect me against buying a lemon?
A. No. Car warranties only cover service costs. There are a few federal “lemon” laws, however, that may protect you.
Considering Used Car Warranties
If you take your time, do your research, and weigh your options, it’s fairly easy to find a used car warranty that will give you all of the coverage you need for your aging vehicle and some extra peace of mind.
Whether you purchase a used car outright or just find that your once brand-new car is now past its prime, a used car warranty can save you money as more maintenance and costly repairs are required.
Do the necessary research on vehicle protection options, get some free quotes, and always read the fine print of each protection plan that can trap up any car owner.
Ultimately, a car warranty plan should save you money. If you are spending more on the warranty itself or by paying out-of-pocket, the plan isn’t doing its job. So, compare the inclusions and exclusions, along with the extra perks, of any plans you are ultimately considering.
If possible, know your vehicle’s maintenance needs ahead of time as well. Doing so will make it easier to find the plan that will actually make an automotive and financial difference.
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