I have always felt that shopping for the best used car warranty is often more difficult than shopping for the car itself. When it comes to shopping for your prospective vehicle, you can typically narrow it down based upon your preferences and lifestyle.
I mean, you're probably not going to purchase a minivan if you don't have any kids, or a Ferrari if your budget is limited. However, when it comes to an extended auto warranty the options you have to choose from are vast and it's almost impossible to narrow it down if you don't enter into the decision-making process with some fundamental extended auto warranty knowledge.
Let's take it back to the basics and see what the following terms actually mean.
The term extended auto warranty refers to a voluntarily elected layer of vehicle protection and benefits available through a dealer or a third-party such as autoPOM! and many competitors. Purchasing through a dealer, however, is often times more expensive than purchasing through a third party, and will usually limit you to returning to that same dealer or types of dealership every time you have a claim.
Regardless of who you buy the warranty from, the coverage is designed to "extend" protection beyond the limits of the manufacturer's standard warranty. The term extended auto warranty may not be the best term to use when talking about this type of protection, since only the manufacturer can offer a warranty, but it is certainly the most widely known.
You will also hear it commonly referred to as a Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) and Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI) in a handful of states such as California and Oregon. All of these labels refer to the same thing: coverage for your vehicle in the event of a breakdown.
Now that you're armed with some basic general knowledge, we'll focus on what to look for in the best used car warranty.
One of the most important features is the strength of the underwriter behind it. Let's face it, the only reason to buy an extended vehicle service contract is so that you don't have to cough up a lot of money if your car breaks down. For this reason you will need to find a warranty that has the strength and financial backing behind it to weather the ups-and-downs of the industry.
A lot of warranty companies haven't had much luck in this regard; because of their inability to plan for the months when more money is going out in claims than is coming in, a number of warranty companies have had to close up shop. And who suffers the most? The millions of contract holders left without anyone around to pay claims, that's who. This is why it's so important to research the underwriter; make sure they have strong financial assets, that they have a good A.M. Best rating, and that they have been in the extended auto warranty industry for at least a few years.
This simple research will help to ensure that you are not one of those unfortunate people left with a meaningless piece of paper and nobody around to cover your claims. Click here to research insurance underwriters.
The next most important thing to look for when shopping for the best used car warranty is to find the one that offers the coverage that best fits your needs. But what if you don't know what your needs are?
First, you will need to take a look at your vehicle. What kind of bells and whistles does it have? Does it have any specialized components that make it unique? You will need to keep these components in mind when examining the covered and non-covered components to ensure that the protection you are buying will cover these expensive-to-repair components. And don't be afraid to take the time to read the fine print! It is the nuts and bolts of the contract, after all, and reading it will provide you with in-depth knowledge of what the contract actually covers.
After looking at the component coverage in detail, examine the additional benefits the contract offers. Most standard extended warranties include these in the price of the extended auto warranty. Here are some additional benefits that you might expect to find:
Every extended auto warranty will offer a variation in covered components and additional benefits, so once you have found the one that fits your needs, you are one step closer to finding the best used car warranty.
Finally, you will want to look at price. Even though I list this one last, for most people it is usually the most important factor in determining which is the best used car warranty.
However, a low price should never be the decisive factor, as often times an extended auto warranty will be priced low to look attractive to the buyer but it won't provide coverage for components that actually break down. There's no point in paying hard-earned money for something if it's not going to step up to the plate when you actually need it, so this is why you can't let price alone guide you in finding the best used car warranty for you.
I encourage you to do your research; these days, you can do so from the comfort of your own home with only an Internet connection and a little time. Before you decide be sure to get a copy of the contract and read it. Don't rely on a sales pitch or a glossy brochure!
There are plenty of sites out there that will allow you to quote and purchase an extended auto warranty.Compare and find one that has an underwriter with strong financial resources and a good reputation behind it, offers the protection and additional benefits that appeal to you, and that is in your price range. As soon as you have found the one that shines in these three areas, you have found the best used car warranty.