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By: Kathryn Parkman & Chris Davies | Updated Jun 21, 2021

If you love your car, there’s a good chance you take pretty good care of it. But even with proper maintenance, things can go wrong down the road. With an extended warranty, you don’t have to worry as much about the costs of unexpected repairs to your vehicle’s major systems and components.

Read our car warranty buying methodology to see how we rated each company.

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Top Extended Car Warranty Companies

Endurance Auto Warranty

Endurance Auto Warranty

5/5.0

Pros

  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Free Endurance Elite Membership
  • Direct administration of most plans
  • Covers vehicles up to 20 years old

Cons

  • Not available in California
  • Waiting period

Endurance covers most cars up to 20 model years old and with up to 200,000 miles. New customers get a year of Endurance Elite Membership with a plan, which includes 24/7 roadside assistance, key replacement, tire repair and replacement, ID protection tools and concierge service. Plans are accepted by any authorized repair facility in the U.S. The company has paid out over $95 million in claims since 2010.

Average costs start between $350 and $700 per year. The Secure plan is Endurance’s most affordable. It covers the drive axle, electrical components, engine, transmission, transfer case and turbo. A step above Secure, the Secure Plus plan comes with additional coverage for air conditioning, brakes, electrical components and steering. The company also offers comprehensive stated-component and exclusionary plans.

Protect My Car

Protect My Car

4.9/5.0

Pros

  • Military and student discounts
  • Plans with and without deductible
  • Flexible payment plans
  • 30-day “free look period”

Cons

  • Not available in all states
  • Lower mileage limits

Protect My Car plans come with perks like 24/7 roadside assistance, free oil changes and free tire rotations. The Driveline plan covers the engine, transmission, drive axle, air conditioning, heating, electrical system and timing chain. Additional coverage for front and rear suspension, select brake system components, the turbocharger and the navigation system is also available. Each plan is transferable and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Depending on your plan, you may have a deductible of $100 or $200. Average starting costs vary by location and coverage. Protect My Car offers flexible long-term financing terms that range from 36 to 48 months. You can find vehicle service contracts for vehicles with up to 10 years and 125,000 miles. Plans are not available in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Missouri, Oklahoma or Washington.

CarShield

CarShield

4.8/5.0

Pros

  • Customizable payment plans
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Five different plans

Cons

  • Not available in California
  • Not a direct administrator

CarShield plans also come with 24/7 roadside assistance and towing services, plus many contracts include rental car reimbursement. Plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Most contracts are transferable if you ever sell your vehicle. CarShield has covered more than 1 million vehicles, and administrators have paid over $1 billion in claims.

On average, CarShield prices start around $1,500 for a five-year contract. The Aluminum plan protects electrical and computer-related problems (starter, alternator, navigation system and electrical system, for example). The Silver plan covers the most important parts of the vehicle, including all lubricated parts on the engine, transmission, drive axle and water pump. Added coverages for the air conditioner, starter, alternator, water pump and more are also available.

Concord Auto Protect

Concord Auto Protect

4.7/5.0

Pros

  • Available nationwide
  • 0% interest payment programs
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Highly rated by reviewers

Cons

  • Only three plan options
  • No instant online quote tool

All Concord Auto Protect plans include 24/7 roadside assistance, towing, rental car reimbursement and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Trip interruption service, fuel delivery and locksmith services are complimentary with all plans. Customers can use any ASE-certified professional for repairs.

You can select from Powertrain, Advanced and Premium plans. The Powertrain plan covers the engine, transmission, drive axle, electrical, cooling and brakes. Coverage for steering, all-wheel drive, heating, air conditioning, fuel system, anti-lock brakes, electronics, turbo and suspension are available through Concord’s other plans.

Concord Auto Protect quotes typically start around $425 per year, according to online reviews. Pricing is somewhat flexible, depending on your plan and contract terms. You can increase your deductible to reduce the overall cost of coverage.

CARCHEX

CARCHEX

4.6/5.0

Pros

  • Available nationwide
  • Customizable coverage
  • Flexible payment terms
  • Low-price guarantee

Cons

  • Not a direct provider
  • 30-day waiting period

CARCHEX is a vehicle service contract broker that offers a “No-Haggle, Low Price, Everyday Guarantee.” Plans include 24/7 roadside assistance, towing, gas delivery, rental car coverage and trip interruption service. Customers can take their vehicle to any ASE-certified mechanic.

Select from five levels of coverage. On the low end, the Bronze plan covers major vehicle systems for up to six years. Platinum plans provide the highest level of stated-component coverage and protect hundreds of components for up to 10 years. Comprehensive exclusionary packages are also available.

According to online reviews, CARCHEX warranties have a starting cost of about $550 per year. You can make payments over six, 12, 18 or 24 months for coverage that lasts up to five years or more. Most plans have a flat-rate $100 deductible.

Zurich Vehicle Service Contract

Zurich Vehicle Service Contract

4.5/5.0

Pros

  • Plans for cars, motorcycles and more
  • Many optional coverages
  • Plans are transferable

Cons

  • Only available through select dealerships
  • Limited price transparency

Zurich is an insurance group that offers vehicle service contracts, maintenance plans and other vehicle protection plans. Benefits include emergency roadside assistance, rental car coverage and trip interruption coverage. You can take your vehicle to any dealership or ASE-certified professional./p>

Standard plans include powertrain coverage (engine, transmission, transfer case and drive axle) plus protection for suspension, steering, brakes, heating, air conditioning and electrical systems. The company provides plans for cars, trucks, motorcycles and powersports vehicles. /p>

Zurich plans are only available through select dealerships. According to reviews online, service agreements cost anywhere from $1,200 to $4,000 for multiple years of coverage. Most customers seem to pay for the plan within two years. Additional coverages are also available for tires and wheels, paintless dent repair, key replacement and regular maintenance.

Omega Auto Care

Omega Auto Care

4.4/5.0

Pros

  • Waives deductible at RepairPal-certified shops
  • High mileage limits
  • Maintenance benefits included

Cons

  • No online quotes
  • May not be available in your area

Omega Auto Care vehicle service contracts come with benefits such as roadside assistance, tire repair or replacement, rental car reimbursement and trip interruption service. Omega Auto Care also includes maintenance benefits with its plans, providing reimbursements for oil changes, battery replacement and cooling system maintenance.

Available plans include Powertrain Protection for cars up to 15 years old with less than 250,000 miles, Used Stated Coverage for cars up to 10 years old with less than 150,000 miles and New Exclusionary plans for cars up to 7 years old with up to 100,000 miles.

According to online reviewers, monthly costs are anywhere from $30 to $130, with deductibles around $100. Your vehicle, desired coverage and location determine the overall price. Depending on your contract, coverage lasts a set number of years or up to a specified mileage.

How We Found the Best Extended Car Warranty Companies

To select our favorite extended car warranty companies, we considered coverage options, availability and customer reviews, starting with a list of 30+ providers. To narrow it down, we excluded companies with fewer than 30 reviews over the last year. We then eliminated companies with less than a 3-star average rating. Star-rating averages were calculated based on an aggregation of reviews sourced from ConsumerAffairs, Trustpilot, Yelp, Google and Facebook. Finally, we only included companies with at least a 2-1 ratio of 5-star to 1-star reviews.

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Compare Extended Auto Warranty Companies

Below, compare our top picks by number of plan options, coverage terms, availability and pricing.

Provider Number of plans Coverage terms Available in all 50 states Average starting cost
Endurance 5 Vehicles up to 20 years old/with up to 200,000 miles No $350 to $700 per year
Protect My Car 4 Vehicles up to 10 years old/with up to 125,000 miles No Varies
CarShield 5 Varies by make/model No $300 per year
Concord Auto Protect 3 Up to 10 years/ mileage varies Yes $425 per year
CARCHEX 5 Varies by make/model Yes $550 per year
Zurich Vehicle Service 3 Varies by make/model No Varies
Omega Auto Care 3 Vehicles up to 15 years old/with up to 250,000 miles No Varies

What Do Extended Car Warranties Cover?

Extended car warranties cover the costs of certain repairs — including parts and labor — that are no longer covered by the vehicle’s manufacturer. These contracts last for a specific length of time or number of miles on the covered vehicle. Most include a deductible, or amount you are responsible for paying out of pocket for each claim, before coverage kicks in.

The exact coverage you have for your vehicle depends on the plan you choose: Basic plans start by covering the most essential components of your car (and the most expensive to repair), such as the engine, transmission and axles. The most comprehensive plans are similar to the warranty that originally comes with every new vehicle from the manufacturer.

Here are more details about these two common types of vehicle service contracts:

  • Powertrain: Powertrain vehicle service contracts are usually the most basic type of coverage you can purchase. They cover the engine and all the parts of your car that help it move, including the transmission, drive shafts, axles and the transfer case. Many drivers choose to buy powertrain coverage because it protects against the most expensive types of car repairs.
  • Bumper-to-bumper: Bumper-to-bumper coverage, sometimes referred to as exclusionary coverage, is the closest type of plan to an original manufacturer’s warranty. These plans are usually only available for relatively new cars with lower mileage. Exclusionary contracts cover everything on your car except for parts and components that are listed in the contract as excluded. Excluded items might include batteries, lightbulbs, wheels, tires and regular maintenance.

Car Warranty vs. Insurance

A car warranty covers repairs when your vehicle breaks down or when there is a manufacturing defect or problem with a part. However, warranties do not pay for repairs of your car after an accident — that’s what car insurance is for.

An auto warranty is never a legally required purchase. Car insurance, on the other hand, is required for car owners in most parts of the U.S. It protects you financially if you are involved in a car accident or if your car is stolen or vandalized.

Despite their fundamental differences, extended auto warranties and car insurance can share some common features. Insurers and vehicle service contract companies often include roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement and other benefits with their plans.

Extended Car Warranty Costs

An extended auto warranty can cost anywhere from $350 to $2,500 per year. The price depends on several factors:

  • Make, year and mileage: Luxury car brands have pricier parts that lead to higher warranty costs. Older cars are more likely to need repairs, so the cost of a contract is greater. The more miles on the odometer, the more expensive the coverage usually is.
  • Coverage plan: Powertrain-only coverage is generally the least expensive type of coverage. Exclusionary contracts, which provide the highest level of coverage you can buy, cost the most.
  • Deductible amount: Deductibles on vehicle service contracts typically range from $0 to $250 or more. Plans with higher deductibles tend to cost less.

As with most purchases, it’s to your advantage to shop around for the best value. As you compare pricing, look for extended auto warranty companies that provide free, no-obligation quotes. Ask each company whether it offers a money-back guarantee and what its policies are on canceling and transferring a contract. Otherwise, you could end up being charged unexpected fees.

Bottom Line: Are Extended Car Warranties Worth It?

It depends. Consider your car’s likelihood of needing repairs, the cost of those repairs and how easy it will be for you to pay the costs 100% out of pocket. Even with a basic plan, it’s possible that an expensive repair or two can make up the entire cost of coverage. If you decide a vehicle service contract is right for you, we suggest comparing multiple companies, including their financial health, their plans, the claims process and customer reviews.

Extended car warranties provide financial security for owners of vehicles that are no longer under warranty from the manufacturer. They make the most sense for those who plan to keep their car for a long time and don’t want to worry about costly trips to the mechanic.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Warranties

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According to the Federal Trade Commission, an extended car warranty is actually a vehicle service contract. New cars come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Most manufacturer’s warranties only last around three to five years. An extended car warranty simply extends a similar type of coverage, and the provider covers the cost to repair or replace parts and components after breakdowns. Depending on your particular contract, coverage can include hundreds of parts on your vehicle.

An extended auto warranty can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs if your car breaks down and is no longer covered by the manufacturer.

Most companies let you take your vehicle to any certified mechanic or dealership, and some handle payment directly with the repair shop so you don’t have to wait for reimbursement. Companies often include extras like roadside assistance and trip interruption service. Most of the top companies let you transfer your warranty contract to another owner, which could help you sell the car in the future.

Potential downsides of an extended auto warranty are paying for it and never having to use it or not using it enough to justify the cost. An extended auto warranty also doesn’t cover everything, and there are limitations and conditions stated in the contract. Many extended car warranty complaints describe situations in which the car owner incorrectly assumed that a particular repair would be covered. Vehicle service contract terms have a lot of fine print, so be sure to read carefully.

Yes, in some cases, you can negotiate the price of an extended auto warranty — just like you can negotiate the price of a car. This is particularly true when you are buying a warranty at the dealership, where the markup is typically higher. Always get quotes from multiple companies, and don’t forget to ask about available discounts.
Yes, you can buy an extended warranty at any time, whether you’re purchasing a new or used vehicle or you’ve owned your vehicle for years. Keep in mind that warranty providers often have limits on the age and mileage of vehicles they cover. Also, as a rule, the longer you wait to purchase a vehicle service contract, the more it will cost.
If you trade in a vehicle with an active extended warranty contract, you might be able to get a prorated refund. If you sell the vehicle to a private party, you may be able to transfer the warranty. Before you purchase coverage, ask the warranty company about these scenarios. If you already have coverage, read the fine print in the contract to find out if there are provisions for canceling or transferring the contract.