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, you’re on your own.
An extended car warranty can give you 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 often are 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.
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.
Best Overall : Endurance
Around-the-clock roadside assistance for policyholders
You can cancel it within 30 days for a full refund
Offers coverage for older models
Pays claims upfront to the repair facility
Not available in California
Has a consequential loss clause in its contracts
Endurance has been in business since 2006. It manages most of its contracts and administers its own claims, which helps streamline the process and gives it a strong reputation for customer service.
Endurance policies come with rental car benefits, 24-hour roadside assistance, and the ability to choose from any licensed, authorized repair facility in the nation. Because it’s a direct provider, Endurance pays claims upfront directly to repair facilities, 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 20 model years 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
Offers a wide range of services
No downpayment necessary
Affordable five-year plan
Policies can be canceled without penalty within a 30-day window
Not a direct provider
Vehicles must not be more than 25 years old at the time of enrollment
Limited range in pricing quotes—only up to 125,000 miles
Carchex has been in business since 1999 and is endorsed by Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com.
All Carchex plans include 24/7 emergency roadside assistance, gas delivery, trip interruption, lost key or lockout service, and more. You also can 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 25 years at the time of enrollment. A standard five-year plan costs $1,500. 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’s 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
Wide range of options for every budget
Fast approval process
Nationwide roadside and rental car assistance
No restrictions on which licensed repair facility you choose
Not all policies available in all states
Requires down payment (10%)
Coverage may have limitations depending on the provider you select
Though in business only since 2010, Autopom—stylized as autopom!—quickly has established itself in the marketplace.
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.
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
Pays your claims directly to your repair provider
24-hour roadside assistance
Any dealer or ASE-licensed mechanic is covered
It's easy to qualify for a wide range of coverages
No options for cars with 200,000 miles or more
A broker and not a direct provider
CarShield has been in business since 2005. In this time it has covered more than 1 million vehicles and has a reputation for excellent customer service.
With six plans available, CarShield offers coverage for almost any vehicle with less than 200,000 miles. Its wide variety of plans for new, used, and pre-owned vehicles make it easy to qualify for a warranty. Most plans are monthly, and most warranties also can 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 less than $100 a month. CarShield also offers a maximum payment schedule of 24 months.
Best Customer Service : Concord Auto Protect
Known for excellent customer service
Standard 30-day money-back guarantee for its policies
Claim payments go directly to auto repair facilities
No bumper-to-bumper plans offered
Cannot get pricing unless you request a quote
Concord Auto Protect has been in business since 2013. It 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 its plans without a quote request, most reviewers find its 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
No fees to transfer your warranty up to twice per purchase or household
Covers up to 46 makes of vehicles
Three affordable plans
Must be approved over-the-phone for repairs
Does not offer plans in California
All repairs are reimbursed after a 30-day waiting period
Vehicles with more than 150,000 miles not eligible for coverage
Liberty Bell Auto Protect has been in business since 2010. It covers a wide range of vehicles, 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 standard warranty benefits, including 24/7 roadside assistance, transferable contracts, a 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.
One notable drawback is that Liberty Bell Auto Protect doesn’t offer plans in California or Florida.
|The 6 Best Extended Car Warranty Companies of 2021|
|Company||Cost||Roadside Assistance||Mileage Requirements|
|Endurance||$350-$700||Yes||Up to 200,000|
|Carchex||$1,500||Yes||36,000 to 125,000|
|Autopom||$1,500||Yes||Varies on provider|
|CarShield||Less than $100 per month||Yes||Under 200,000|
|Concord Auto Protect||Doesn't disclose||Yes||Not disclosed|
|Liberty Bell Auto Protect||$.04 to $.05 per mile||Yes||Up to 150,000|
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 offered and administered only 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.
Extended car warranties are service contracts offered by third parties that extend some of the terms of the original car warranty. Many 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 part of the car to repair. More expensive plans 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, typically are not covered, nor is glass damage or 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 which typically can 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, or 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 $850, paying $1,500 to cover those repairs may not make much sense. Something larger and more complicated like a transmission rebuild can cost between $1,500 and $5,000. 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 the 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.
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.