We found the top five car warranty companies after analyzing customer reviews, Better Business Bureau ratings, consumer data and information from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and car repair professionals. By the time you’re finished reading this article, you’ll not only be able to choose the best car warranty, but you’ll be a more prepared auto warranty shopper.
First, this buyers guide explains how extended auto warranties work, what the warranties cover (and what they don’t), and then gives you tips on what to look for when buying a car warranty policy. After reading this, you will be able to spot red flags for a company that may not have the best customer service or coverage terms and you will feel confident in knowing the difference between a traditional auto warranty and an auto service contract or extended warranty purchased for older vehicles.
Top Car Warranty tips:
- Understand what an extended warranty covers
- Know what you’ll pay for coverage (and service)
- Ask the right questions before you buy
Tips for a Wise Car Warranty Buyer
Taking care of your vehicle ensures 10-15 years of reliable and safe transportation, provided you make the necessary repairs as they happen. Maintenance can be expensive; a good auto warranty plays a role in keeping costs down over time.
Understanding Extended Warranty Coverage
Do you know the difference between a traditional car warranty and an extended warranty? Know what you are buying to understand the financial benefits. When most people hear “car warranty,” it is about the manufacturer’s warranty that comes with any new car covering a range of possible defects for a period such as three or five years or so many miles driven. Many auto dealers offer an extended warranty on certain parts and labor for an additional fee that goes into place once the manufacturer’s warranty expires. Beyond that, there is another type of warranty that is more like a service contract. This auto warranty is what most people look for when shopping outside of a dealer for coverage on parts and labor for a used car. Our guide covers the last type of warranty.
Know the difference between types of warranties
Auto warranties vary by company and coverage level, but they are most likely to cover parts and repairs to major automotive systems, such as the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. They are available for cars of any age or condition but are unlikely to cover repairs for damage caused by neglect.
The higher levels of coverage will add in more systems such as the heating/cooling, electrical, steering and brake lines and may be referred to as “bumper to bumper” in that they cover nearly everything that came standard with the car. Wear and tear plans cover regular damage or wear for things like carpet rips, cigarette burns, or chipped paint. More expensive plans pay for roadside assistance services, too.
How You’ll Pay for a Car Warranty
Each company we looked at bills differently, but many offer monthly payments. Most offer one-year contracts with a discount for paying up front. In addition to the cost of your warranty, you will fund any repairs or parts until the deductible is met. Deductibles vary by company and level of service plan.
Add up the costs
You will get to choose your preferred service professional to do your covered vehicle repairs and they will be compensated directly by the car warranty company. A plan with fully-covered services means it’s unlikely that you will have to pay anything out of pocket after the deductible. Additional charges aren’t always covered by your plan, however. A transmission repair covered by the plan may also have some non-covered parts or services, such as a filter or a cosmetic finish.
Ask the Right Questions Before You Buy Auto Warranty Coverage
Many people don’t realize that they have purchased the wrong auto warranty plan until they try to use it. The best time to know coverage details is well in advance of any payments on your plan.
Most car warranty companies have several ways for customers to reach their customer service team. Each of the companies we selected is available via phone, online chat or email. Contact the customer service or sales team with any doubts you have regarding coverage and get the details you need to make a satisfactory purchase.
Auto warranty representative and customer. Getty Images
Our Search for the Best Car Warranty Companies
1. We gathered a list of available auto warranty companies
2. We read and analyzed independent reviews from customers and industry experts to narrow down the best picks in the following categories: customer service, coverage, and value.
3. We listed the top car warranty choices for you to review.
Auto warranty companies aren’t hard to find, and the sheer number of those available can make it difficult to choose your best option. The available information may not answer all of your questions, and company websites contain mostly marketing materials instead of details on how plans might meet your needs.
We began with 12 of the top car warranty companies and came up with the best five. These steps were taken to get our best list:
- We evaluated a dozen auto warranty companies
Our list of twelve providers was narrowed down after consulting the Better Business Bureau. We automatically removed companies with a poor rating of C or lower from the list. We then ranked the remaining companies by the nature of verified reviews. A higher number of authentic reviews for a company caused it to rank higher on our list.
- We prioritized car warranty services available nationwide
Since some providers are regional or for specific types of drivers, we focused our top choices on those open to all 48 contiguous states in the U.S. plus the District of Columbia. We excluded companies that focused on business services or specialized vehicle types only.
- We chose companies that were easy to work with
With most customers wanting information via the internet, we made sure our final choices reflected that preference. We did not favor those that required a phone call or in-person visit.
Auto Warranty Reviews
We focused our list of best car warranty companies on those that exhibited excellence in our top three categories. After our evaluation, we chose five for their excellence in all categories: CARCHEX, RepairBanc, Mechanics Choice, Endurance Warranty, and Omega Auto Care.
Best Service |
One thing we like about CARCHEX is how they offer customers access to the best auto repair mechanics, which eliminates doubts about the quality of your car’s repair. Customers can input their geographic region, coverage needs, and type of car on the CARCHEX website to get a wide range of service and pricing options. Even customers with hard-to-cover makes and models are usually able to get at least one coverage option from CARCHEX.
CARCHEX has an excellent reputation in the industry as well. As one of the largest providers of coverage, it has partnerships with many of the top warranty administrators and can provide competitive pricing to a broader range of customers. Their A+ Better Business Bureau rating is a result of over ten years of experience responding quickly to customer complaints and issues. They partner with CARFAX to provide a trusted solution for people who want to take their car buying and care into their own hands. CARCHEX also offers many other vehicle services, such as roadside assistance plans, auto financing, car inspections and standard auto insurance coverage.
Read the full CARCHEX review.
Best Prices |
If you’re on a fixed income or if money is tight, an unexpected repair bill can make paying the bills really tough. A warranty from RepairBanc pays for auto repairs on covered items on your behalf. It’s like a rainy day fund for auto repairs.
What we like about RepairBanc is their flexibility for payment plans (annual or monthly), money back guarantee and most of all affordable prices. The company offers auto repair cost protection in tiers based on the car’s age and mileage: Newer cars with under 100k in miles, older cars with less than 150k miles, and cars with 150-250k miles.
Best Perks |
Mechanics choice customers don’t have to worry about many of the high added costs of car repair thanks to the many extras included in their plans. In addition to the mechanical coverage of the service contract, Mechanics Choice also offers roadside assistance benefits, road hazard coverage (tire only), rental car reimbursement, and trip interruption coverage. These benefits are meant to take the hassle out of auto repair.
As for the car warranty coverage, Mechanics Choice offers 3 simple plans that can cover anything from a brand new car to an older car with up to 250,000 miles. Repair facilities are available nationwide, giving you peace of mind while traveling. And the vehicle can be repaired at any licensed repair facility, not just a pre-selected group of shops.
Endurance Auto Warranty
Best Coverage |
It can be challenging to cover just what you want with a car warranty, and that’s why Endurance made our list for best coverage. With their 30-day guarantee, car owners can get a feel for a full month of warranty protection without any obligation. You will be issued a refund if the warranty does not meet your expectations to give you plenty of time to decide if the level of service you selected is appropriate for your needs. Note that this free trial period also coincides with the plan’s waiting period, so you usually won’t get service during this time.
Screenshot: Endurance Warranty
Endurance contracts directly with service contract providers so there is less cost compared to buying directly from a dealer. Their range of four coverage options for car owners covers most of the repairs you would need, and even their high-mileage plan balances a reasonable monthly cost with coverage for major systems such as the engine, transmission, and air conditioning. Every service level includes roadside assistance and rental car benefits.
Endurance’s plans go from basic needs to bumper-to-bumper with many of these plans including a generous benefit of $150/day for expenses you incur as a result of a breakdown including the cost of food and lodging. Customers can also add on high-tech coverage options for GPS and backup cameras, as well as benefits for hybrid vehicles. Most plans range from a few hundred dollars to a thousand dollars or more per year. Deductibles average $100 per term.
Read our comprehensive Endurance car warranty review.
Omega Auto Care
Best Value |
This company offers just three service plans, but customers have been satisfied with their return on investment. As an auto warranty provider that allows you to have your car fixed by any licensed mechanic, Omega has earned a reputation for being easy to work with. Customers simply show their mechanic their coverage card, and most repair facilities can take it from there. Omega reviews mention timely service and that the process is straightforward. Most covered repairs only require a $100 deductible.
Omega offers coverage options for cars with odometers running up to 250,000 miles, and higher-mileage vehicles are eligible for the powertrain-only plans. Drivers of older cars can have the most expensive repairs covered with plan premiums that are typically affordable. Omega does not pay for pre-existing issues or those caused by neglect and requires vehicle owners to have regular maintenance services done along with keeping reliable records. Omega adheres to these policies to be able to sell their warranties at a lower cost for coverage. All plans provide roadside assistance, rental car fees and trip interruption coverage.
Check out our full review of Omega Auto Care.
Other Car Warranty Companies
CarShield works with several different automotive contract service providers so that you can compare plans to make sure that you have the best plan for your car. Check out our CarShield comprehensive review.
Related Car Warranty Resources
Readers of this car warranty guide content also read these related articles.
Learn the differences between the warranties that come with new vehicles and what come in an extended car warranty.
When your car has more than 100,000-miles, thinking about extended auto warranty makes is commonplace. Find out what you need to know.
Your car’s warranty does not always cover repair services, especially if you find out that you’ve voided it unintentionally. Find out what mistakes to avoid.
Frequently Asked Questions about Car Warranties
Do auto warranties only cover new cars?
No. While new car manufacturers generally offer auto warranties, used car buyers often find the original manufacturer’s warranty has expired. The value of buying an extended auto warranty is it offers new car warranty protections to buyers of used cars.
How old is too old for a car warranty?
Many car warranty companies specialize in older cars or those with over 95,000 miles on them. Even antique vehicles can qualify for specialty car warranty plans.
Doesn’t my car insurance cover damage to my car?
Yes and no. While insurance can cover your car for collision damage or weather events, you may not have protection for things that go wrong with your car over time. Car insurance doesn’t pay out unless an accident of some type happens.
Why do most car warranties have a waiting period?
Since extended service plans don’t cover pre-existing failures or needed repairs, this short time after you buy a policy ensures that you’re not just buying coverage because you know you’ll need a repair. This practice protects car warranty companies from having to pay out on existing problems and also keeps them from having to send out an inspector to qualify your car for eligibility. The waiting period ensures people won’t take advantage of the plan by waiting to sign up when something goes wrong.
Will an auto warranty cover repairs by my choice of mechanic?
Most reputable car warranty companies allow you to choose from a list of approved car repair providers in your area. Always ask if your preferred mechanic is an approved provider for the policy you are considering. Remember, that the warranty company needs to approve all repairs ahead of time no matter who does the work. If you need a recall repair, you may be advised to take your vehicle to the dealership for that brand of car. Auto manufacturers cover recall repairs, not your car warranty company.
If you need a recall repair, you may be advised to take your vehicle to the dealership for that brand of car. Recall repairs are covered by the auto manufacturer, not your auto warranty company. You can enter your car’s VIN at the National Highway Safety Administration website to see if there has been a bulletin, recall or investigation for your automobile.
Is a car warranty transferable?
When you decide to sell your car, what happens to the warranty? You can usually transfer the paid portion of the warranty to the new owner, but an additional fee may apply. If the new owner wants to continue coverage after your original policy expires, it is their responsibility to purchase a new warranty. You generally cannot get a refund for the remaining time left on a warranty.
Someone recently called me at home to offer me an auto warranty. Is this real?
Unless you specifically requested information for an extended car warranty, you should not be getting unsolicited calls or offers of car coverage. The FTC has issued a statement warning consumers of scams involving companies acting as auto warranty dealers. Do not give your information to a company or person you have not made contact with first yourself.
Concluding Thoughts on Car Warranties
In this guide, we analyzed many car warranty companies and chose five companies who stood out from the rest. We recommend these companies because they met our criteria and provide the excellent service, coverage and value so you can purchase an auto warranty policy with confidence.
A car warranty can help cover expensive repairs to get your car back on the road in less time for a lower cost.
The Best Car Warranty Companies
|Car Warranty Company||Best For|
|3||Mechanics Choice||Best Perks|
|5||Omega Auto Care||Best Value|