A Look at Aftermarket Warranty Policies
Discover how you can benefit from the protection of a high-quality aftermarket warranty.
In almost all cases, getting an aftermarket warranty for your vehicle is a worthwhile investment. If you plan to keep the vehicle working without the risk of hefty repair bills, it’s necessary to get coverage when your manufacturer’s warranty runs out.
A survey conducted in 2018 noted that the majority (62 percent) of those with warranties used them during the coverage period. An aftermarket warranty is the coverage you get after the lapse of your manufacturer’s plan. Also called an extended warranty, there are a lot of options, letting you customize your coverage.
An aftermarket warranty is a type of vehicle service contract. After your vehicle reaches the mileage or time cap offered by the manufacturer, it’s important to investigate other forms of coverage. Though there are specific add-ons you can get from select providers, some plans are consistent across the whole industry:
- Bumper-to-Bumper Coverage. A comprehensive type of warranty that some get in conjunction with their manufacturer coverage. It usually lasts for 36,000 miles or three years (whichever comes first). These plans address, as the name suggests, all the components of the vehicle from bumper to bumper. Noted exemptions will vary based on the specific contract and the vehicle. With these plans, if your vehicle breaks down and needs repair, you simply pay the deductible and the plan should cover the rest.
- Powertrain Coverage. Ideal for those seeking the most basic coverage for their automobile. Usually lasting five years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first), a powertrain warranty addresses issues with the drivetrain, the engine, and the transmission only. Since these parts are typically the most expensive to repair or replace, these warranties have a lot of benefits for those on a budget.
- Roadside Assistance. Usually available as a standalone or as a perk associated with a different warranty, roadside coverage varies based on the provider. You can get the protection on an ongoing basis or for only as long as your warranty lasts. Typically, roadside assistance will cover you in the event of an emergency. Some plans include battery boosting services and fuel delivery. Others deal exclusively with towing the vehicle. Look at the agreement to check exactly which roadside services are covered.
- Anti-Perforation Coverage: While there are exemptions due to abnormal wear and tear, this can cover some costly repairs to the car’s paint and frame. There are some catches to these policies, namely the stipulations that could render them void. When you get your contract, review your obligations carefully. There are maintenance requirements that you must meet for this contract to remain effective.
- Saves money on necessary vehicle repairs
- Offers peace of mind, especially financially
- Protects against a wide range of damage types
- Multiple options so you can choose the right plan
- Several dealers to enable you to shop around
- Few plans cover all parts of the vehicle; it can be hard to choose
- It is an investment in future repairs, meaning there is an associated cost
- Some warranties include stipulations that can result in a voided contract
- Success relies on a full understanding of the claims and payment process
At first, when you buy a new vehicle, you get a warranty issued through the dealership. There are options to make it more comprehensive, but these cost extra. When you get an aftermarket warranty, you can either choose a new policy provider or stick with the original dealership. And you can choose from several coverage options, depending on your budget.
Most aftermarket policies involve a deductible, meaning you won’t pay as much upfront but are responsible for an initial down payment on repairs before the coverage kicks in. The more you pay for your policy, the lower the deductible.
This type of coverage usually lasts three years or 36,000 miles. A comprehensive plan, this is a solid option for those who want complete protection.
While most manufacturers offer this type of warranty, you need to take the incentive. All arrangements vary, so be sure what is covered. Ensure that the basics (powertrain, oil system, electricals) are all protected.
The next step is to investigate any responsibilities on your end. Check to see if there is anything you need to do to maintain warranty coverage. It could be preventative maintenance like oil changes and wheel rotations; others involve dealing only with certain repair places. Some warranties can be voided if you install aftermarket parts. Be thorough when reading into the contract. So long as you approach the warranty prudently, you can get a lot of value from it.
Typically, powertrain coverage lasts for five years or 60,000 miles. After you reach either of these thresholds, you are no longer covered. In some cases, there are available options for used cars, letting you get additional aftermarket protection. Since powertrain is a basic, yet really helpful plan, many choose this option.
The powertrain system deals with three components: the transmission, the engine, and the drivetrain. Powertrain warranties are excellent options because failure of the powertrain results in the car not working at all. The second is that these repairs are usually the most expensive of any vehicle parts. Warranties are about risk assessment, and powertrain parts present the largest risk.
Getting extra coverage for your vehicle is wise. Things like windshields and wheels are worth protecting, especially if you live in an area with rough roads. If your previous vehicle suffered a specific set of damage as a result of the roads, you may want to select added coverage to your next vehicle.
Aftermarket warranties range from GAP coverage to trip interruption insurance. GAP protection is there to protect you in the event of a total loss (due to theft or accident). While your insurance will pay for the value of the vehicle, depreciation can result in a gap between what you owe and what’s covered. These warranties pay the difference. It is ideal in high-risk areas with a lot of vehicle theft.
What We Like
There are a lot of things we like about aftermarket warranties. The key benefit is the versatility of the offerings. You can get coverage that’s exclusive to your powertrain or, if you want something more comprehensive, there are bumper-to-bumper solutions as well. Choosing the right plan for your needs lets you find the right fit for you.
Additionally, since there are so many different providers, it is never too hard to find an aftermarket warranty. Though it may take some digging, the choices are numerous. Usually, it is through a dealership so, chances are, you know where to get repairs done.
The unpredictable nature of vehicle repairs makes an aftermarket warranty all the more worthwhile. It ensures that you can access repairs and keep your automobile running, saving you money in the long term.
Knowing what to expect is another benefit. You know what the cost and coverages are upfront. Conversely, you can’t tell beforehand how much a car repair is going to cost, so warranties offer peace of mind and the ability to avoid the unpredictable.
What We Don’t Like
While warranties are popular and valuable, there are some issues with their design. Some make it hard to tell precisely what's covered; other, pricier policies may cover everything, and yet you may never need the coverage.
Next, warranties require a monetary investment to pay for this risk management service. While the protection is essential, it is an upfront cost for savings down the line. Plus, with deductibles, you are likely still going to have to pay to activate the plan.
Finally, we don’t like the restrictions on vehicle use found in certain warranties. Aftermarket parts can void your agreement. Other requirements entail upkeep. Though it makes sense for the provider to require you to perform routine maintenance (oil changes, wheel rotations, etc.), it does require more scheduling. So long as you stick to the maintenance schedule, there should be no issue.
Common Repair Costs
There are some repairs that are common to most vehicles. While the specific wear and tear on the car will differ based on where and how you drive, pricing is fairly stable across the industry for a lot of repairs:
- Transmission. Whether it is a repair or replacement, this is one of the most costly types of repair. It is covered by bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties.
- Engine. Factoring in labor hours in the shop, this part is very expensive to fix. It is covered by both powertrain and bumper-to-bumper plans.
- Drivetrain. While some small repairs are only a few hundred dollars, fixing your vehicle’s drivetrain can be pricey. Coverage is included with bumper-to-bumper and powertrain aftermarket warranties.
- Oil System. Though smaller fixes can cost only a couple hundred dollars, major repairs run in the thousands. While it isn’t necessarily as prone to damage as the powertrain system, it does often suffer issues. Before they happen, there is no way to tell how much the fix will cost. Most bumper-to-bumper warranties cover this.
- Electrical system. Some, but not all, parts of your electrical system are covered through the powertrain warranty. Other electrical issues are separate and fall under bumper-to-bumper arrangements. It can cost thousands to outfit an entire electrical setup.
Though these represent some of the more costly repairs to the vehicle, there are a lot of other small systems that can incur damage. The more comprehensive the warranty, the more likely it is to cover those repairs. If there is a specific part of your car about which you are concerned, ensure that it isn’t exempt from your coverage.
Whether you are new to warranties or have a lot of experience, it’s normal to have some questions about aftermarket coverage. There are a lot of different providers, each with unique plans, pricing, and protections. However, some things remain true across the board. To help you along, we’ve addressed some of the most frequent inquiries.
Q. What is the best aftermarket car warranty?
There are tons of options for aftermarket warranties. Coverage tends to be very similar, with unique exemptions on a situational basis. A popular option is the Endurance warranty plan for its competitive rates.
Q. Can you add a warranty after purchase?
While you can add an aftermarket warranty after purchasing the vehicle, the price tag tends to go up noticeably. There are warranties for any vehicle, it’s just about finding the right one.
Is an Aftermarket Warranty Worth It?
So long as you find the right provider, an aftermarket warranty is worth the investment. Getting any type of warranty is all about risk management. You pay upfront to prevent yourself from incurring massive expenses down the line. Given the investment size of purchasing a vehicle, getting a warranty as protection is well worth it. All cars are vulnerable to damage and incur wear and tear. By opting for a good warranty plan, you can save stress, time, and money in the long run.
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