Should You Buy an Extended Car Warranty?

An extended car warranty can ease some financial stress and reduce the likelihood of having to pay for expensive repairs. However, it’s important to consider whether this kind of protection is worth the price tag — particularly when it comes to an older vehicle.

According to Consumer Reports, fewer than half of owners who purchased a car warranty in the past three years actually used it to cover a repair bill. And the cost of a car warranty is often more than the actual cost of the covered repair itself. Nevertheless, an extended warranty can save you thousands over the course of the car’s life.

If you decide to buy one, be sure to choose a provider with a reputation for excellent customer service and a solid track record. In addition to a comprehensive list of covered items, the best warranties also offer perks like roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement.

When researching the best extended warranty companies, make a note of how much their plans cost and what the deductible is. It’s also essential to find out whether the plan covers normal wear and tear items, such as tires, brake rotors and mufflers. If you’re not clear on these details, it may be a good idea to walk away.

A warranty should also be easy to use, and most providers will let you have your vehicle repaired at any shop of your choice. Some will even reimburse you for the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop. The best extended warranty companies also provide detailed sample contracts that clearly list what is and isn’t included in each plan. If you see a company that withholds this information or seems to discount your concerns, it’s probably a bad fit.

The leading extended auto warranty companies include CarShield, Endurance and Carchex. CarShield is a newcomer to the market but already has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and offers low monthly payments for its plans. Endurance has a long history in the industry and is known for offering coverage that can be used at any mechanic, as well as a money back guarantee.

Another popular option is Mercury Insurance, which has been in business for more than a century. Its mechanical protection plans are accepted at any ASE-certified mechanic and can be paid for in monthly installments. The plans are available for both new and used vehicles and have a variety of benefits, such as rental car coverage, trip interruption coverage and roadside assistance. The only downside is that these plans don’t cover any mechanical breakdowns that aren’t caused by an accident or a flood. Nonetheless, they are still an affordable option for drivers who want peace of mind and a lower risk of expensive repair bills. best extended car warranty

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