Learn about the best-kept secrets of the auto extended warranty business.
Most car dealers are middlemen who make their highest commissions on the financing and extended warranties they sell. They are going to want you to purchase your warranty from them when you buy your car, so it can be included with your financing. Finance charges can increase the overall warranty cost by hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. You should try to buy your warranty direct from the source, if you can. Why not look for the best price for the extended warranty, just like you did on your vehicle?
Nothing could be further from the truth. There are many different types and levels of coverage. Without the knowledge of how an extended warranty actually works, price is the only thing one can base their decision on. You should insist on reviewing the actual warranty contract before you purchase.
Buying a warranty is all about transferring your risk of costly repairs and having your claims paid. Low prices may look good up front but they are often coupled with low levels of service and many restrictive contract clauses which will lead to many out of pocket costs for you on each claim.
Here are a few contract clauses you should be leery of:
A common misconception is that by waiting to purchase extended coverage, you will get coverage for a longer time. Much like life insurance, costs rise as we age; the cost for a car warranty will rise as the vehicle ages and accrues mileage. You will be offered the longest terms and the lowest rates for newer vehicles with lower mileage.
Warranty companies understand that you may have a warranty from the manufacturer. Their coverage is simply an extension of that, not double coverage. The manufacturer’s warranty has been factored into your price quote. The more factory warranty you have remaining, the lower the cost and greater the length of the warranty extension. In other words, you are paying for tomorrow’s coverage at today’s rates. In addition, benefits like roadside assistance are available to you during the manufacturer warranty period.
It does not make any sense that a person would be required to increase the amount they are financing by adding an extended warranty, in order to obtain financing. Financing is approved or denied based upon your credit, and nothing else. By including the extended warranty in your car purchase, you will be stuck paying additional interest. There are several companies that now offer interest free payment plans for their warranties.
Some service contracts exclude repairs needed due to "wear and tear." However, a large number of car repairs are needed because a part wears out from a long period of use or improper maintenance, not because it was poorly built.
The more miles on a car when a repair becomes necessary, the more likely it is that the repair will be needed because a part wore out, rather than because the part broke due to poor manufacturing. Again, some service contracts do not cover parts that wear out.
Most service contracts and policies define "mechanical breakdown" as a defect in parts and workmanship as supplied by the manufacturer, or a defect that makes the part unable to perform the function for which it was designed. Service contracts that exclude wear and tear will not cover repairs needed because a part’s performance has gradually deteriorated because of normal wear and tear, unless a mechanical breakdown has occurred.
Before buying a service contract, you should carefully review what is covered and not covered to see whether wear and tear claims are excluded from coverage. If they are, you might want to consider buying a service contract that does not exclude wear and tear claims. That way, if it is not clear whether a repair is needed due to a manufacturing defect or simple wear and tear, it is more likely that the service contract company will pay for the repair. It is a mistake to assume that a repair agreement will cover every repair your car may need.
Cars still need proper maintenance, as outlined in your vehicle’s owners manual. Be sure to keep accurate maintenance records and receipts. To neglect this responsibility to your car may not only jeopardize your claims getting paid, but will also put your investment at risk.
The marketing and sales of extended warranties has moved beyond the traditional car dealer channels. Dealers not only offer the manufacturer’s extended warranty, but are now offering third party warranties as well. Most third party warranty companies pay the repair facility immediately over the telephone by credit card, so there should be no objections about accepting the warranty. In fact, a warranty from a third party will require the dealer do less paperwork and not wait for reimbursement.
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