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- An extended car warranty costs around $1,600 to around $4,500, depending on the provider and coverage.
- Our team reviewed more than 20 coverage providers to find the best extended car warranty companies.
- Leading car warranty companies offer flexible payments and coverage ranging from powertrain warranties to bumper-to-bumper protection.
The best extended car warranty companies offer affordable plans that protect you from the financial shock of expensive car repairs. Our review team wanted to see which companies offered the best coverage at the best value. So, we took a deep dive into the industry’s top warranty providers, assessing coverage, rates, industry ratings, and customer reviews.
If you’re considering purchasing an aftermarket auto warranty for a new or used vehicle, you’ll want to learn more about coverage and costs. In this article, you’ll find everything you need t know about extended car warranties as well as our top picks for the best providers.
What Is an Extended Car Warranty?
An extended warranty for cars, also called a vehicle protection plan or vehicle service contract, foots the bill for mechanical breakdowns after your factory warranty expires. Rather than paying a costly repair bill, you’re only responsible for a deductible and a one-time or monthly payment.
Some car manufacturers offer extended car warranties along with the factory warranties they include with new vehicles. But third-party providers tend to offer more coverage options and more flexibility in where you can have your vehicle serviced.
Here are some of the variables that can impact the price of an extended car warranty:
- Vehicle condition: What condition your car is in, including the mileage on the odometer and any existing issues it might have will affect how much you pay for an extended warranty. Since higher-mileage vehicles and cars with existing issues are more likely to experience problems, you’ll have to pay more for coverage.
- Vehicle make and model: Some cars just cost more to repair than others, so you can bet that those cars will cost more to cover. Cars that are known to experience problems at a high rate will also come with a higher warranty cost.
- Level of coverage: As you’d expect, the higher your level of coverage, the more you’ll have to pay for that coverage. If you want to find the most affordable plan, stick to powertrain coverage plans.
- Deductible amount: Warranty providers often let you choose the deductible you pay at the repair shop. While you can get a lower rate with a higher deductible, you’ll also have to pay more out of pocket if you do need vehicle repairs.
How Does an Extended Auto Warranty Work?
As we mentioned above, having an extended warranty means you aren’t responsible for the entire cost of a repair bill, depending on the component. Here is how the car warranty process typically works:
- Choose a repair shop: Most aftermarket car warranty providers have a wide network of repair facilities for customers to get covered repairs done. Take the vehicle to an in-network shop if a covered part breaks down.
- Get the car diagnosed: A technician will assess the car to diagnose the problem. During this time, you should provide the repair facility with contact information for your warranty company.
- An administrator reviews the claim: Once the car is assessed, an administrator will review the warranty claim to determine if it’s covered under your protection plan.
- Pay your deductible: If the claim is approved, you’ll pay your deductible and the warranty company will cover the rest of the repair.
It’s important to remember that most extended car warranties come with a built-in waiting period, defined both in terms of time and mileage. You won’t be able to use your coverage before this waiting period expires.
Our Choices for Best Extended Car Warranty Companies
After we thoroughly reviewed the most popular providers on the market, these extended warranty companies came out on top:
If you’re considering purchasing an aftermarket auto warranty for a new or used vehicle, you’ll want to learn more about coverage and costs. Our team did much of this work for you, factoring in industry standing, extended car warranty plans, affordability, and customer service.
When we compared some of the most popular aftermarket car warranty companies based on factors such as industry standing, coverage, affordability, and customer service, we found 10 companies that were the best extended car warranty providers.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at our top three providers: Endurance, CARCHEX, and CarShield.
1. Endurance: Best Overall
Endurance is known for its comprehensive benefits and positive customer service experiences. We named it Best Overall for these reasons and because it’s one of the only direct providers available.
Endurance Pros & Cons
|Endurance Pros||Endurance Cons|
|Your choice of licensed repair facility||Lack of customizable plan options|
|Endurance takes care of all claims itself||Endurance Elite Benefits are only free for one year|
|Covers up to 200,000 miles|
Endurance Extended Car Warranty Ratings
Endurance Industry Standing
Endurance has underwritten extended car warranties since 2005, which bodes well for the company’s standing. It has a good reputation with experts like AM Best, as well as with customers on rating sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot.
Here’s a breakdown of Endurance’s ratings:
|Expert||Score||What This Means|
|AM Best||A+ in financial strength (Superior)||The company is reliable financially to pay out customer claims.|
|BBB||C+||Endurance’s rating recently dropped due to advertising issues, which have since been resolved.|
|Trustpilot||4.4/5.0 stars||Customers have a positive experience with the extended warranty services from Endurance.|
Endurance Coverage Options
Endurance offers six plan options, all providing different levels of coverage. All plans come with your choice of a $0, $50, $100, or $200 deductible, which is the price you’ll pay to the repair shop out of pocket for any covered repair. If you choose a higher deductible, your monthly costs will be lower, and vice versa. Endurance will handle the rest of the repair cost.
Here’s a breakdown of Endurance’s vehicle service contracts:
|Plan||Best Extended Car Warranty For||Type of Coverage|
|Supreme||New, high-tech, commercial, or hybrid vehicles||Bumper-to-bumper, exclusionary|
|Superior||Drivers who want comprehensive coverage||Highest level of stated-component coverage|
|Secure Plus||Drivers who need coverage soon||Powertrain plus coverage with the shortest waiting period|
|Select Premier||Drivers of high-mileage vehicles||Specifically-designed powertrain plus coverage for older cars with lots of miles on them|
|Secure||Drivers on a budget||Most affordable powertrain coverage plan|
|EnduranceAdvantage™||Both extended warranty and maintenance coverage||High-level stated-component coverage plus regularly scheduled maintenance services like oil changes|
Each Endurance plan comes with rental car reimbursement, trip interruption coverage, and 24/7 emergency roadside service. Drivers also get their first year of Endurance Elite Benefits for free. Benefits include:
- Collision discount: Receive up to $500 per covered collision up to $1,000.
- Total loss protection: Get up $1,000 toward vehicle replacement if your car is totaled.
- Tire repair/replacement: Get reimbursed for up to two repaired or replaced tires per year.
- Key fob replacement: If your key fob is lost or broken, Endurance will cover the cost of a new one up to $500.
After the first year, customers have the choice to renew their memberships for a small fee.
Endurance Warranty Affordability
While Endurance contracts tend to be on the more expensive side, many drivers think it’s worth it for the perks and comprehensive benefits. Our review team found that, on average, the best extended car warranty from Endurance, the Supreme plan, costs around $70 per month for 36 months to get five years or 100,000 miles of extended car warranty coverage.
In general, we found that Endurance plans of all levels cost about $69 to $180 per month and require a down payment of $150 to $350.
Endurance Customer Service
On the BBB website, Endurance has over 1,100 customer reviews rating the company at an average of 3.4 stars out of a possible 5.0.
Positive Endurance warranty reviews praise the company for its excellent customer service, simple buying experience, peace of mind, and affordability. Negative customer reviews shine a light on long wait times to speak to customer representatives, slow claims approval, and phishing emails.
2. CARCHEX: Best for Used Cars
Founded in 1999, CARCHEX has a long history of positive customer experiences, along with a strong reputation among industry experts such as CARFAX, Edmunds.com, and Kelley Blue Book. We chose it as the best extended car warranty company for used cars and high-mileage vehicles because it covers vehicles with up to 300,000 miles on the odometer.
CARCHEX Pros & Cons
|CARCHEX Pros||CARCHEX Cons|
|Coverage can last as long as 10 years||There are many different contracts to read to fully understand the terms among suppliers|
|Affordability with small or no down payments and $0 deductibles||Coverage for hybrid vehicles costs extra|
|Excellent customer reputation|
CARCHEX Extended Car Warranty Ratings
CARCHEX Industry Standing
CARCHEX has an A+ rating from the BBB, and consumers on Trustpilot rate CARCHEX an average of 3.2 stars out of a possible 5.0. The company’s years in business and positive ratings bode well for its reliability and ability to pay out customer claims in a timely manner.
CARCHEX Coverage Options
CARCHEX offers five extended vehicle protection plans with several contract options under each tier:
|Plan||Best For||Type of Coverage|
|Titanium||Drivers who plan to own their cars for a long time||Exclusionary contract, similar to a bumper-to-bumper warranty you’d get on a new car at the dealership|
|Platinum||Car owners who want comprehensive coverage||Highest level of stated-component coverage|
|Gold||Vehicles with over 60,000 miles||Second-highest level of stated-component coverage|
|Silver||Older cars more liable to have hefty auto repair costs||Powertrain plus coverage|
|Bronze||Reliable vehicles expecting infrequent repairs||Basic powertrain coverage|
All CARCHEX service plans come with:
- 24/7 roadside assistance: Includes emergency tire service, lockout service, battery service, fuel delivery, and winching
- Towing reimbursement: Up to $75 per occurrence
- Rental car reimbursement: Up to $40 per day (up to $160 per occurrence)
- Trip interruption service reimbursement: Up to $50 per day for three days maximum if your vehicle breaks down more than 100 miles away from home
Reimbursements may vary by contract.
CARCHEX plans cost about $100 to $200 per month. For example, a Titanium plan with five years or 100,000 miles of coverage can cost about $136 per month for 18 months. The deductible with this plan is $100.
CARCHEX Customer Service
There are over 100 CARCHEX reviews on the BBB website. Positive reviews detail a speedy claims process, satisfactory service for luxury vehicles like BMW, and friendly, professional customer service representatives.
Negative CARCHEX reviews detail unsolicited sales calls, slow claims approval, and difficulty canceling contracts.
3. Protect My Car: Best Maintenance Benefits
Protect My Car has quality coverage with its standard extended car warranty plans. But what stands out about the provider is its Ambassador Maintenance service plans.
These plans add prepaid maintenance plans to mechanical breakdown coverage, offering additional peace of mind to car owners. For people who want to cover most of the costs of responsible car ownership, Protect My Car could be one of the best extended car warranty options.
However, it should be noted that Protect My Car does not offer extended warranties in every state except Alaska, California, Hawaii, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Washington.
Protect My Car Pros & Cons
|Protect My Car Pros||Protect My Car Cons|
|Oil changes and tire rotations are included||Not available in every state|
|Warranty and maintenance plans are available||Not available for vehicles older than 10 years|
|Long payment terms|
Protect My Car Extended Car Warranty Ratings
Protect My Car Industry Standing
Protect My Car has strong ratings from both customers and the BBB itself on the BBB website. The bureau gives protect my car an A+, although it has not accredited the company. Customers give Protect My Car an average of 4.22 out of 5.0 stars on the BBB website.
The company also has favorable ratings from customers on TrustPilot. With more than 2,700 reviews, Protect My Car has a 4.6-star rating.
When people did complain about Protect My Car, most of those complaints centered around being unclear on what was covered. Particulars such as the amount of time or miles in the waiting period also came up.
Protect My Car Coverage Options
Protect My Car offers three vehicle service contracts, with coverage for up to 125,000 miles. Here are the details of those plans
|Plan||Best For||Type of Coverage|
|Supreme||Newer vehicles that you plan to keep for several years at least.||Exclusionary coverage similar to a manufacturer’s factory warranty.|
|Select||Vehicles with over 50,000 miles in good condition.||Covers the same components as the Supreme contract, minus the navigation system and turbocharger.|
|Driveline||Vehicles between 4 and 10 years old with more than 80,000 miles.||Similar to Supreme and Select plans, but does not cover the navigation system, turbocharger, or the front and rear suspension|
4. CarShield: Most Affordable
CarShield is known for having unbeatable pricing for its extended car warranty coverage options. The company doesn’t underwrite its own policies but administers vehicle service contracts from other highly ranked providers such as American Auto Shield.
It’s important to note that CarShield does not offer coverage in California, so if you live in the Golden State and want extended auto warranty coverage, you’ll need to go with a different provider.
CarShield Pros & Cons
|CarShield Pros||CarShield Cons|
|Month-to-month contracts allow flexibility||Catalytic converters aren’t covered|
|One plan is specifically for covering electrical and high-tech features, which can be expensive to repair||Rental reimbursements are lower than average|
CarShield Extended Car Warranty Ratings
CarShield Industry Standing
CarShield’s BBB rating could be higher. It currently has an F, the lowest rating. This is because a high number of consumers have reported a pattern of behavior regarding misleading sales and advertising practices, rude customer service, failure to cover needed repairs, and difficulty canceling a policy for a refund, despite the 30-day money-back guarantee.
A certain number of negative customer reviews are to be expected with any company, and these complaints are not uncommon in the car warranty industry. When you consider that CarShield has covered over one million vehicles, the number of complaints is small.
CarShield received higher scores on other customer review sites. For example, the company has 4.1 out of 5.0 stars on Google. Trustpilot scores are also calculated from first-person customer reviews, and CarShield has received 4.0 stars out of a possible 5.0-star rating. This is a good indication that customers are largely satisfied with their extended car warranty experience from CarShield.
CarShield Coverage Options
CarShield offers six warranty options:
|Plan||Best For||Type of Coverage|
|Diamond||New cars that will be kept for a longer period of time||Bumper-to-bumper coverage with few exclusions|
|Platinum||High-mileage vehicles||Protection for most of your car’s vital parts|
|Gold||Drivers of unreliable cars liable to have hefty repair bills||Powertrain plus coverage|
|Silver||Drivers on a budget||Powertrain coverage|
|Aluminum||Drivers of high-tech vehicles||Specialty plan for alternator, engine control module, electrical components|
|Motorcycle & ATV||Drivers of specialty vehicles||Platinum or Silver coverage|
Some benefits that come with all CarShield plans include:
- Rental car reimbursement: Get reimbursed for a rental car while your car is in the shop for covered repairs.
- Towing: When your car breaks down, CarShield will tow it to the nearest certified repair facility. Get up to $75 per occurrence.
- 24/7 roadside assistance: CarShield will send roadside services for flat tires, lockouts, dead batteries, fuel delivery, and winching out to your location if your car is disabled.
Our research indicates that the Diamond plan from CarShield costs around $83 per month for 18 months to get five years or 100,000 miles of coverage. The Diamond plan is the highest level of coverage, making it one of the most expensive. We found some plans to be as low as $70 per month.
CarShield’s coverage is unique when compared to Endurance or CARCHEX because some of its lower-tier policies have unlimited terms – as long as you keep paying for coverage, your contract will not be canceled.
CarShield Customer Service
There are over 1,000 CarShield reviews on the BBB’s website. Positive customer reviews detail excellent claims service, courteous staff, and fair rates.
Negative CarShield reviews report unsolicited sales calls, pressure marketing tactics, and trouble canceling a policy.
Are Extended Car Warranties Worth It?
Many car owners think extended car warranties are worth it. In our 2021 extended auto warranty survey, we polled 1,000 consumers that either bought or considered purchasing a vehicle service contract. About 41% of respondents said they were happy with their warranty coverage, and another 24% mentioned they were still satisfied with the purchase despite never filing a warranty claim.
There are pros and cons of extended car warranties. People list lack of availability, high cost, and simply not thinking a warranty is necessary as the main reasons for not purchasing one. However, this study suggests that most drivers would benefit from the coverage.
According to AAA, 64 million Americans don’t have enough money on hand to cover car repair costs. This means those people would need to go into debt to pay for repairs. An extended car warranty can help you avoid that situation by paying for coverage monthly.
What Do Extended Car Warranties Not Cover?
Extended car warranties do not typically cover the following damages and car parts:
- Routine maintenance including oil changes, tire rotations, and replacement of brake pads
- The interior/upholstery, paint, and carpeting
- Damage from misuse, abuse, or corrosion
- Auto glass parts such as the windshield, headlights, and light bulbs
- Damage from a collision, weather event, or environmental damage (unlike car insurance)
Some of the best extended car warranties offer exclusionary coverage. This means your contract only lists the items that are not covered instead of naming each part that is covered. Be sure to read the fine print of your contract carefully to know what your car warranty covers.
If you have not purchased a warranty, look online or reach out to an extended warranty provider, as most companies offer sample contracts.
Mechanical Breakdown Insurance vs. Extended Auto Warranty
Mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) is similar to an extended warranty in that it covers the cost of future automotive repairs should you need them. However, unlike extended car warranties, MBI is typically offered by insurance companies. MBI policies also tend to have few or only one level of coverage.
Manufacturer’s Extended Warranty vs. Third-party Extended Car Warranty
These days, more and more carmakers are offering their own branded extended warranty programs. While these may offer good coverage at a favorable rate, they do come with one major restriction: you can only use this coverage at the brand dealership.
With a third-party warranty, on the other hand, you can get covered repair work done at any licensed mechanic. Aftermarket warranties also tend to have multiple levels of coverage to choose from, while it’s more common for manufacturers to only offer one coverage plan.
How to Get the Best Extended Car Warranty Prices and Coverage
The first extended car warranty provider you try may not be the best one for you. Just as you would when choosing a car insurance company, check reputations and prices to ensure you’re making a valuable purchase.
Read Industry Reviews
Price isn’t everything. You’ve probably heard of phone scams and pushy salespeople asking about your car’s extended warranty. Before making a financial commitment, check out what sites like the BBB and Trustpilot say about a provider.
Customer reviews usually offer insight into how companies respond to complaints or how effective they are at approving claims and sending refunds. You should also see if the company has been fined by any government watchdogs, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
When you are looking for rates on the best extended car warranty, our experts recommend getting quotes from at least three providers. While it’s important to compare costs, you should also look at each company’s coverage plans to see if one better suits your needs. All of our top providers offer multiple levels of coverage, so being flexible can help you get the best deal.
After thoroughly examining the vehicle service contract industry’s top providers, we believe that these are the best extended car warranty companies:
FAQ: Best Extended Car Warranties
What does a car warranty cover?
Extended auto warranties cover select mechanical components. Basic extended warranties (typically referred to as powertrain or drivetrain warranty coverage) protect the parts of your car that help the vehicle move, like the engine, transmission, and drive axle.
A more comprehensive coverage plan (typically referred to as a bumper-to-bumper warranty) covers the same components as a powertrain plan, plus your car’s cooling and electrical systems, high-tech components, air conditioning system, and more.
What is the average cost of an extended car warranty?
According to our research, the average cost of an extended car warranty is around $2,600. Most third-party warranty providers will allow you to purchase a warranty and pay it off through a monthly payment plan that typically lasts around three years.
Is an extended car warranty worth it?
An extended vehicle warranty can be worth it if you have an older vehicle or your manufacturer’s warranty is going to expire. Companies with the best coverage will offer protection for your vehicle’s major systems and perks such as rental car coverage, trip interruption coverage, and regular maintenance.
What is an extended warranty on a car?
An extended warranty for cars covers the cost of unexpected repairs for a range of components, depending on the plan you choose. Some manufacturers offer extended car warranty plans, but you can also buy coverage from one of many aftermarket car warranty providers.
How much does a CARCHEX warranty cost?
A CARCHEX warranty costs around $100 to $200 per month, according to our research.
Is CarShield expensive?
Compared to many of the other best extended car warranty companies, CarShield is not expensive. In fact, its rates are some of the lowest we saw, which is why we awarded it “Most Affordable” in our study.
Can you buy an extended warranty after purchase?
If you choose an aftermarket auto warranty provider, you can usually buy an extended warranty after you purchase a vehicle. While some manufacturers offer this option, others require you to buy extended warranty coverage when you purchase your vehicle.
How do you cancel an extended warranty on a car?
Each provider has its own methods for canceling an extended warranty on your car. Some allow you to cancel in just a few steps online. Others require you to notify the company with a physical letter.
Our expert review team takes satisfaction in providing accurate and unbiased information. We identified the following rating categories based on consumer survey data and conducted extensive research to formulate rankings of the best extended auto warranty providers.
- Affordability: A variety of factors influence cost, so it can be difficult to compare quotes between providers. Our team performs ongoing secret shopper analyses for different vehicles, mileages, warranty plans, and locations to give this rating.
- Coverage: Because each consumer has unique needs, it’s essential that a car warranty company offers an array of coverage options. We take into account the number of plans offered by each provider, term limits, exclusions, and additional benefits.
- Industry Standing: Our team considers Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings, availability, and years in business when giving this score.
- Customer Service: Reputable extended car warranty companies operate with a certain degree of care for consumers. We take into account customer reviews, BBB complaints, and the responsiveness of the customer service team.