A standard car manufacturer’s warranty can help you manage any unexpected repairs for the first three to five years after your purchase. After that, however, you’re on your own.
However, an extended car warranty can give you the peace of mind knowing that future repairs won’t empty your wallet after your manufacturer’s warranty runs out. As with any sort of protection you pay for, however, understanding these warranties can be complicated. Many come with exclusions and limits that are often buried in the fine print. The last thing you want is to find out you’re not covered for a repair when you need one.
With that said, we researched the best extended car warranties available on the market based on coverage, price, customer satisfaction, and more to help you find the right one for your needs. Here are our top picks.
The 6 Best Extended Car Warranty Companies of 2020
Best Overall: Endurance
Endurance has been in business since 2006 and has gold certification from the Vehicle Protection Association. Endurance manages most of its contracts and administers its own claims, which helps streamline the process and give it a strong reputation for customer service.
Endurance policies come with 24/7 claims processing, 24-hour roadside assistance, and the ability to choose from almost every dealership and 350,000 certified mechanics in the U.S. and Canada. Because it’s a direct provider, Endurance pays claims upfront directly to the repair facility, including parts, labor, and tax. Other benefits include being able to choose new or used parts and a 30-day cancellation period with a full refund.
While pricing depends on the mileage, year, make, and model of your car, our research shows that an extended warranty from Endurance ranges from $350 to $700 per year with a $100 deductible. In terms of eligibility, Endurance offers coverage for models as far back as 1958 and up to 200,000 miles.
Unfortunately, Endurance does not offer coverage in California. The company also has a consequential loss clause which means your warranty won’t cover insured parts that are damaged by uninsured parts. For instance, if an uninsured battery leaks acid onto an insured part, the warranty will not cover the repair of the insured part.
Despite these few limitations, Endurance rates as our top pick because of its fair pricing and willingness to cover a wide age and variety of cars.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: CARCHEX
CARCHEX has been in business since 1999. It enjoys an A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating and is endorsed by Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com. The company has also received numerous awards for outstanding customer service.
All CARCHEX plans include 24/7 emergency roadside assistance, gas delivery, trip-interruption, lost key or lockout service, and more. You can also take your car to any licensed repair facility, including dealers, repair shops, and national chains. This means you’re not forced to use only new parts for repairs. CARCHEX also pays claims directly to repair shops so you don’t have to pay out of pocket and then wait to get reimbursed.
Pricing quotes range from 36,000 to 125,000 miles and coverage is not available for cars older than 20 years at the time of enrollment. A standard five-year plan costs $1,500 total. Plans require no down payment and have a maximum payment schedule of 24 months. Finally, you get a 30-day money-back guarantee with every policy.
Unlike Endurance, CARCHEX is a broker and not a direct provider. Most of its plans are guaranteed and administered by two different companies, American Auto Shield (AAS) and Royal Administration Services. As a result, you may have to pay more in out-of-pocket costs since each provider will have its own limitations and exclusions. For instance, Royal’s contracts have a consequential loss clause. In addition to consequential clauses, all of AAS’ contracts also have betterment clauses, which means that if the repair or replacement of the damaged part results in improving the overall value of the vehicle, the repair won’t be covered.
Best Value: autopom!
Though only in business since 2010, autopom! has quickly established itself in the marketplace. It maintains an A+ rating with the BBB and Thoroughly Reviewed gives the company a 10.0 score.
As a broker, autopom! partners with three warranty providers—Mercury Insurance Group, Royal Administration, and Integrity Admin Group—giving customers a choice of mileage caps and term from three to eight years. Although most plans require cars to be in good mechanical and electrical shape, autopom! also offers optional Mechanical Breakdown Insurance which covers the cost of vehicle breakdowns caused by engine problems, transmission issues, or a faulty electrical system.
The company provides a range coverage options for every budget, from high level coverage for specific parts within the major systems to extended coverage that covers most of the mechanical and electrical components on your vehicle. You also get nationwide roadside and rental car assistance and can choose any licensed repair facility for your vehicle repair with no restrictions.
What makes autopom! appealing to most reviewers, however, is the quick, hassle-free quote process. An average policy runs between $1,500 and $4,000 and can be paid upfront or monthly. However, the company does require a 10% down payment rather than the industry standard of 5%.
Because autopom! is a broker, coverage, exclusions, and limitations apply depending on the provider you choose. Not every plan is available in every state and some are strictly state-specific.
Best Consumer Reviews: CarShield
CarShield has been in business since 2005. While it is not BBB accredited, it boasts over 11,000 Trustpilot reviews and over 3,000 Google reviews, far more than its competitors. It also scores 4 out of 5 with ConsumerAffairs and has a reputation for excellent customer service.
With over 30 plans available, CarShield offers coverage for almost any vehicle under 300,000 miles. This wide variety of plans for new, used, and pre-owned vehicles makes it easy to qualify for a warranty. Most plans are monthly and most warranties can also be transferred.
Like CARCHEX, CarShield pays claims directly to auto repair facilities and offers 24/7 roadside assistance. And even though CarShield is a broker like CARCHEX, it still offers the flexibility of taking your vehicle to any dealer or ASE-licensed mechanic for repair.
While CarShield rates can vary widely, pricing is typically under $100 a month. CarShield also offers a maximum payment schedule of 24 months.
Although CarShield benefits from hundreds of positive reviews, it has an “F” rating with the BBB due to complaints alleging misleading sales and advertising practices as well as poor customer service. Make sure you read the fine print before signing up with CarShield.
Best Customer Service: Concord Auto Protect
Concord Auto Protect has been in business since 2013, and although it is not BBB accredited, it scores 4.9 out of 5 with ConsumerAffairs. It also offers the best customer support of the companies we reviewed, with options to connect by phone, online, email, and via Facebook Messenger 24/7.
Concord Auto Protect offers many industry standards with its plans, including free 24-hour roadside assistance and transferable plans. As a direct provider of its vehicle service contracts, Concord Auto Protect pays claims directly to auto repair facilities and lets you choose any ASE-certified mechanic.
Although Concord Auto Protect won’t disclose the price of their plans without a quote request, most reviewers find their pricing equal to if not less than their competitors. Each plan also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Unfortunately, Concord Auto Protect offers no bumper-to-bumper plans, so a lot of parts are not covered, including tires, and regular maintenance items like filters and brake pads. Also, because Concord Auto Protect backs its own extended warranty plans, there is no insurance company protecting your investment if the company were to go out of business.
Most Vehicle Makes Covered: Liberty Bell Auto Protect
Liberty Bell Auto Protect has been in business since 2010 and has an B+ rating with the BBB. It also ranks 4.6 out of 5 stars on ConsumersAdvocate and 4.6 out of 5 on TrustPilot.
While most extended warranty companies cover about 40 makes, Liberty Bell covers up to 46, from Acura to Volkswagen. The company offers three plans that cover the basic range of components and breakdowns. To be eligible, vehicles must have fewer than 150,000 miles and be built after the year 2000.
All Liberty Bell Auto Protect plans come with most standard warranty benefits, including 24/7 roadside assistance, transferable contracts, price match guarantee, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. What’s more, you can transfer the warranty up to two times per purchaser or household without fees.
For a vehicle at 140,000 miles and a 48-month warranty, the company quoted us around $0.04 and $0.05 per mile. Down Payments come in at the industry standard of 5% with deductible amounts ranging between $0 and $100.
To file a claim, you must call the service line to get authorization first. All repairs must be done by an ASE-certified technician or repair facility and will be reimbursed after a 30-day waiting period.
One notable drawback is that Liberty Bell Auto Protect doesn’t offer plans in California.
What Is an Extended Car Warranty?
While the companies we researched refer to their products as extended car warranties, the term is a bit misleading. True car warranties are only offered and administered by car manufacturers and are included when you buy your car. Plans typically include bumper-to-bumper protection, powertrain coverage, or a combination and come with time and mileage limits.
Technically, extended car warranties are service contracts offered by third parties that extend some of the terms of the original car warranty. Most new cars come with a three-year or 36,000-mile manufacturer's warranty, so if you plan to keep your car for at least 10 years, you might consider an extended warranty for peace of mind for the first few years after your manufacturer's warranty expires.
What Does an Extended Car Warranty Typically Include?
Extended car warranty companies offer a range of plans that extend the manufacturer's warranty for the powertrain which is the largest and most expensive car component to repair. More expensive plans will offer bumper to bumper coverage which includes the powertrain, electronics, suspension, major vehicle systems, and more.
Extended car warranty companies try to sweeten their deals by including other perks, like roadside assistance, trip-interruption coverage to reimburse you for unused travel expenses when you have to cut your trip short, gas delivery, lost key or lockout service, and rental car reimbursement.
What Does an Extended Car Warranty Typically Exclude?
In general, extended warranties don’t cover maintenance costs items like oil changes, timing belt replacements, and tune-ups. Components subject to wear and tear, including brake pads and windshield wipers, are typically not covered as well as glass damage and rust.
What are the Expected Costs of an Extended Car Warranty?
Extended car warranty companies are notorious for not quoting prices upfront. Our research shows, however, that you can expect to pay between $300 to $4,000 upfront for a plan. Many plans also come with deductibles too which can typically run $100.
There are many factors that affect the price of coverage. Older cars with more mileage tend to be more expensive to cover. Coverage for complex electronics, including power seat controls, voice activation, sensors, cruise control, LCD screens, GPS, can cost extra.
Is Paying for an Extended Car Warranty Worth It?
The old joke goes that the minute your car warranty expires something big and expensive will break in your car. According to a Consumer Reports survey, 55% of people never end up using their extended car warranty plan during the life of their coverage. What’s more, car owners typically pay more for the coverage than they get back in benefits.
Because the average price of a car repair is around $180, paying $1,500 to cover those repairs may not make much sense. Something larger and more complicated like a fuel system repair can cost $1,033 and a transmission rebuild $1,865. In those cases, an extended car warranty can be a lifesaver.
How We Chose the Best Extended Car Warranty Companies
During our process for choosing the best extended car warranty companies, we looked at companies that received high scores in customer surveys in the areas of value for price, customer service, the types of plans, claims satisfaction, and cancellation policies. We also looked at companies that had been in business for at least 10 years and that were BBB accredited or received high ratings from the BBB.
Other factors included inclusions and exclusions in coverage as well as additional perks offered, like roadside assistance, emergency gas delivery, rental car reimbursement, towing, trip interruption coverage, and more.