How Much Do Extended Car Warranties Cost?
Extended Car Warranty Prices
Extended car warranties go a long way in creating peace of mind - especially if you're on a tight budget. There's comfort in knowing that you're covered if an expensive repair pops up.
Extended warranties can be purchased through the factory at the time of the initial purchase or at any point in time through a third party. They're not for everyone, but many people find them invaluable.
It's important to shop around to find the best warranty for your vehicle. You want to strike a balance between the proper length of the warranty, a reasonable deductible and a fair purchase price. The right balance differs for everyone.
About Extended Car Warranties
Extended car warranties usually span two to five years. Some plans have mileage limits - they might be good for two years but only up to 24,000 miles, for example. Be sure to ask about that upfront.
There are generally three coverage levels:
- Powertrain - least expensive, covering just the parts that generate power
- Powertrain plus some additional components
- Bumper to bumper - most expensive, covers most parts and components
No matter which level of coverage you select, be sure to ask for a list of exactly what is covered. You don't want to end up surprised if an expensive repair is not covered under you plan.
Be sure any extended warranty you purchase includes the following:
- Claims are paid directly to the shop. Be wary of plans that ask you to pay up front and then submit a claim for reimbursement.
- Repairs can be made at the shop of your choice
- A cancellation policy that offers a pro-rated refund
- The policy is fully transferable to the new owner if you sell the car
Extended Car Warranty Average Costs
Extended car warranties start at about $1,000 for a two-year plan and run up to about $3,000 for a five-year plan. The price depends on the age and condition of the car, the coverage you select and your deductible.
Many plans have deductibles ranging from $50 to $250. Zero deductible plans are available but they're more expensive. If you're only concerned with covering the cost of expensive repairs, a high-deductible plan is probably sufficient.
Price is an important consideration when shopping for an extended warranty, but don't buy on price alone. Cheap warranties might not cover some of the most expensive and critical repairs.
Also keep in mind:
- Cars with low mileage will cost less to cover; higher mileage cars will cost more.
- The more items that are covered, the more expensive the plan will be.
- Coverage for vehicles with special features such as turbo-charged or diesel engines will cost more.
Is an Extended Car Warranty Right for You?
Like all insurance policies, buying an extended warranty is a gamble. You might never use the policy, or it might pay for itself several times over. There's really no way to know in advance.
If you're buying a vehicle with lots of extra features like all-wheel drive, a navigation system and parking assistance and you plan to keep in long past the manufacturer's original warranty, buying an extended warranty is probably a good idea. It's also a good idea if you're tight on money. However, it's probably not worth the expense if you're buying a new car and only plan on keeping it for a few years.
You should also base your decision on the general reliability of the brand you're purchasing and how expensive it is to fix.