Six Popular Used Car Warranty Companies
Read about the top used car warranty companies and how extended protection for an aging vehicle can keep repair costs low.
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When you buy a used car, you may not know the whole story about its current condition. Hidden defects can become a nightmare. It’s also probable that the car is no longer protected under a warranty. While many states have protections against “lemons,” an extended warranty for a used car may be your only hope for keeping repair costs low.
We’ll walk you through the ins and outs of getting an extended warranty for a used car from six top-rated auto warranty companies.
Finding the Right Extended Warranty for Your Used Car
There are three types of car warranties you’ll come across in your search.
The worst case scenario when buying a used car is that it doesn’t even make it through the drive home. One of the most basic forms of a car warranty is one covered by the dealership. These usually cover limited repairs, and coverage ends within a few months or years after the purchase.
A manufacturer’s warranty or factory warranty comes at no additional cost with the purchase of a new car, and it covers repairs and replacements due to faulty factory materials or workmanship. An extended manufacturer’s warranty or service contract, however, offers continued coverage at an extra cost. Be aware that while coverage is usually comprehensive, these warranties tend to be more expensive than warranties from third parties.
This type of extended auto warranty can be administered by a broker or a company that directly handles repairs. A broker will help you choose a coverage plan that we normally see backed by an insurance company. In other words, the broker itself is just an intermediary.
Because independent extended car warranty companies are not highly regulated, their reliability varies. Some companies have the financial responsibility to meet claims and others do not, according to the South Carolina Bar, so you should check the Better Business Bureau for ratings and customer complaints.
Used Car Coverage Options
Before you decide on a coverage plan for your used vehicle, you should have a local repair shop do a health check. You’ll learn about any warning signs or weaknesses that could leave you stranded on the side of the road in the future. Plus, you’ll gain better insight into the level of coverage you need.
There are several types of vehicle service contracts, but most companies focus on these few:
- Powertrain/Drivetrain—This warranty covers the engine, transmission, and related components. These warranties are usually cheaper, as they don’t include electrical systems, braking systems, heating/cooling, etc. They tend to last 5 years or 60,000 miles on average.
- Powertrain Plus—These are common coverage plans offered by independent companies. They include powertrain coverage and additional components, such as air conditioning, electrical systems, and fuel delivery systems. It’s still a step below full coverage.
- Bumper to Bumper—Sometimes called exclusionary plans, you’ll get a short list of components that are not covered rather than a list of items that are covered. It’s closest to the full coverage offered by many manufacturers. Though more expensive, this protection can be the difference between a small deductible and a $3,500 repair.
Always read the contract before making a decision so that you don’t fall victim to certain limitations. Vehicle service contracts often have the following exclusions and limitations:
- Repairs due to normal wear and tear (covers only a mechanical breakdown) or pre-existing conditions
- Commercial vehicles
- Items like brake pads, tires, etc.
- Ineligibility for owners who failure to perform regularly scheduled maintenance
- Limited choices for local repair shops
- Mileage limits
What to Look for in a Warranty
If you believe buying an extended auto warranty will help you breathe a bit easier, then you should know the criteria for a good coverage plan.
What should you look for?
- Search a company’s BBB rating to gauge trustworthiness or see common customer complaints.
- Service contracts underwritten by insurance companies are more reliable, so stick to those. Insurance regulations require companies to maintain enough financial reserve to pay your claim.
- Is there a mileage limit on the contract? Some companies provide coverage for high-mileage vehicles—protection your used vehicle probably requires.
- Find a service contract that pays for the repairs up front rather than reimbursing you later. Reimbursement could take months in some cases.
- Look for a service contract with low deductibles, especially if a deductible is required for each repair. Your repair should cost more than the deductible.
- Some extended warranty companies do not allow you to choose your own repair facility. Companies that offer more flexibility are a better option.
These are all important factors to consider during your research. Don’t allow price to be your only driving factor when buying an extended auto warranty.
What to Avoid When Buying an Extended Auto Warranty
Just as there are many features to look for in a service contract, there are also red flags to avoid. It can be costly to succumb to the pressure of buying an extended warranty right away.
Avoid these warning signs and drawbacks:
- Deceitful coverage (e.g. a contract that covers the engine but excludes most of its internally lubricated items)
- Contracts that don’t allow cancellations or typical 30-day refunds
- Contracts that don’t explicitly explain the claim process
- Pressure to buy coverage immediately over the phone
- Warranties that are non-transferable
- Lack of roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, travel interruption service, or towing reimbursement
- No choice of repair facility or extreme limits when away from home
- Sample contracts that aren’t readily available
Remember: the most important thing you can do is read the entire contract.
The Top Six Used Car Warranty Companies
Owners of older cars are twice as likely to expect to spend more than $1,000 on maintenance and repairs, according to the NPD group. Cars are lasting longer, including used cars, and the global aftermarket industry is projected to grow to $1 trillion by 2022.
It’s no wonder that there are so many extended auto warranty companies. It can be hard to navigate all of them, but we picked six well-known used car warranty companies and highlighted their strengths and weaknesses.
Years in Business: 20
BBB Rating: A+ (BBB accredited)
Number of Plans: Five levels (16 available contracts from suppliers)
Affordability: Plans are affordable, and monthly payment plans are available.
- The Platinum plans are best for high-mileage cars.
- CARCHEX has an excellent reputation, few customer complaints, and endorsements from Kelley Blue Book, AAA, Edmunds and more.
- Some coverage plans have terms as long as 10 years.
- Small down payments and affordability make CARCHEX a great option for budget-conscious car owners.
- As a broker, there are many different contracts to read to understand the different terms among suppliers.
2. Concord Auto Protect
Years in Business: 5
BBB Rating: A+ (not BBB accredited)
Number of Plans: Three (direct)
Affordability: Prices vary across plans.
- Find coverage at the powertrain, advanced, or premium level.
- You can use any ASE certified repair shop, including the dealer.
- Coverage options are available for high-tech electronics, turbo/supercharger, and anti-lock brakes (ABS).
- Air conditioning and heating is only covered in the highest level plan.
Years in Business: 3
BBB Rating: B+ (not BBB accredited)
Number of Plans: Four (direct supplier)
Affordability: Endurance claims to save you up to 60 percent more than brokers, but high-coverage plans are expensive by default.
- A Select Premiere plan is best for used vehicles and high-mileage vehicles.
- Endurance is a direct supplier, so you won’t have confusion about who takes care of the claim.
- Endurance pays mechanics directly, avoiding long waits for reimbursement.
- Their warranties are honored nationwide at a variety of repair facilities.
- Exclusionary coverage (full coverage) and a lack of mid-level plans makes Endurance more expensive than some other competitors.
- There aren’t many plans to customize to your vehicle’s needs.
4. AA Auto Protection
Years in Business: 30
BBB Rating: A- (not BBB accredited)
Number of Plans: Five levels (over 20 available contracts from suppliers)
Affordability: AA Auto Protection has “Easy Pay” and a low down payment.
- Premium Stated Component plans are a comprehensive alternative if you don’t qualify for a Full Coverage plan.
- AA Auto is one of the cheapest options for an extended car warranty. The company boasts a low down payment, easy payment plans, no credit check, and zero fees.
- Backed by trusted industry leaders, you can expect reliability.
- It’s not easy to understand the major differences between some of the levels of coverage. You may have more than a few questions about the contract.
- Not all cars are eligible for the Full Coverage plan.
5. Delta Auto Protect
Years in Business: 4
BBB Rating: Not rated
Number of Plans: Three (direct supplier)
Affordability: Zero deductible plans are available.
- A Select Premiere plan is best for used and high-mileage vehicles.
- Delta is backed by an ‘A’ rated insurance company.
- Customer service and repairs are generally quick, and the claims process is simple.
- There are only three plans available, so you won’t get many options or specialized plans.
- You won’t find much of an advantage by using this company for your used car or high-mileage vehicle.
6. Protect My Car
Years in Business: 13
BBB Rating: A (not BBB accredited)
Number of Plans: Three levels
Affordability: Flexible payment terms range from 36 to 60 monthly payments. Pay $100 deductible with every plan.
- The Platinum plan offers bumper-to-bumper coverage for high-mileage cars.
- A high-tech plan covers GPS and other electrical components.
- Navigation coverage is optional in their Supreme plan.
- Heating and air conditioning and the timing chain are covered under all three plans.
- These plans are limited to vehicles less than 10 years of age and less than 125,000 miles.
Used Car Warranty Company Spotlight: CARCHEX
CARCHEX is known as a trustworthy and reputable extended auto warranty company. Their customer service—a 99 percent rating—is one of the main reasons they continue to dominate in the industry.
Not only will you save money on expensive car repairs, you’ll also get other benefits:
- The usual extras (24/7 roadside assistance, travel interruption service, towing and rental car reimbursement)
- Network of 30,000 mechanics and flexibility to use smaller repair shops or large chain facilities
- Direct payment to repair shops (no reimbursement needed)
- Diagnostic fee coverage
- Transferable contracts at a small fee
- Customer Experience Above All promise
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
Get a Free Used Car Warranty Quote
With CARCHEX, you can speak to a used auto warranty and insurance expert over the phone to answer your questions and get a free quote that’s customized to your budget, driving habits, and vehicle. This used car warranty company promises a No-Haggle, Low-Cost, Everyday Guarantee™, so you can expect to get the lowest price available without having to negotiate.
To contact CARHEX and get your customized quote, call (877) 225-7247 or answer a few questions online.
FAQ: Used Car Warranty Companies
How do I know if the used car I want to purchase already has a warranty?
When purchasing a used car from a dealership, you will typically find a Buyer’s Guide sticker on the car. This guide will tell you whether the vehicle is covered by a warranty or if it’s being sold “as is.”
What is an aftermarket warranty?
An aftermarket warranty is from a third -party company. These warranties do not always use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts. This shouldn’t have any serious effects, but it isn’t always ideal to have parts that are not specifically made for your car.
Is AA Auto Protection part of AAA?
No. They are separate companies that offer different vehicle services.
What is the difference between a certified pre-owned vehicle (CPO) and one that’s not?
A CPO vehicle is likely to come with a manufacturer’s warranty and a pre-inspection. You will pay a premium for these used vehicles over a non-certified used vehicle.
Will my warranty coverage start right away?
Most extended warranties do not start until after 30 days or a certain number of miles (usually 3,000).
What is the cost of an extended warranty?
An extended car warranty can cost from $300 to over $1,000.
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