Q1: What are Auto Service Contracts and Extended Warranties?
A: 'Extended warranty' means buying an extension on your existing original manufacturer's warranty. Since current coverage must exist, this is for cars with less than 36,000 miles and less than 3 years old. 'Service contract' refers to a warranty purchased for a car which is no longer covered by the manufacturer. Frequently, however, the terms are used interchangably.
Q2: How do they work?
A: Details vary by warranty company, but generally when a covered auto needs service you simply bring it to a licensed repair facility. Their service manager contacts the Claims Company to receive repair authorization, and repairs your vehicle. Depending on your warranty company, you are either reimbursed for expenses at a later date, or you pay your deductible directly to the repair facility. Deductible amounts are either on a per component or a per visit basis.
Q3: What is covered?
A: Coverage varies from contract to contract. It is important to understand what components are insured because if a breakdown occurs on a part which is not covered then you are responsible for the repairs.
Q4: Are there any other benefits?
A: Sometimes there are benefits to extended warranties that go beyond basic breakdown protection. Some examples are free towing, auto rental and lost key/lockout services. If purchased as an extended warranty on a new car, contract coverage does not begin until the manufacturer's warranty expires, however the coverage for additional benefits begins immediately. In addition, your contract may be transferrable, which can increase the resale value of your car tremendously.
Q5: How can I tell if a warranty company is reputable?
A: When purchasing an extended warranty or service contract, you need reassurance that the selling entity will still be around when your vehicle breaks down. Sometimes they are required to be insured and sometimes not. There are things you should find out before dealing with a company, especially one that you find Online.
- Who exactly insures the contract, if anyone?
- Do they have good or bad records with consumer bureaus (e.g. Better Business Bureau)?
- Do they have obvious and clearly stated ways to contact them with questions or concerns?
Q6: New cars come with a warranty, so is an extended warranty needed?
A: Automobile Manufacturers offer warranties because the odds of breakdown in the first few years of ownership are small. Frequently, the real headaches come after the typical Manufacturer's Warranty has expired. An 'extended warranty' on a new automobile goes into effect the moment the original warranty expires. It is cheaper to purchase an extended warranty when you buy your new vehicle than it is to get additional coverage years down the road.
Q7: What about refunds?
A: State law requires that the consumer have 30 to 60 days to cancel a service contract.