As a car owner, you know that car ownership has many aspects to keep track of. The documents, the registration, the maintenance – it can be a lot. So when you’re in the market for your next car, it’s important to do your research on everything, especially if you plan to buy a used car.
The used car market has become more alluring since the pandemic started. People want to save money and avoid public transportation, so buying a used car has become popular. Many used cars are reliable and won’t break the bank.
One of the biggest risks when buying a used car is not knowing the history of the vehicle. Unless you buy a certified pre-owned car, it’s hard to know how the previous owner treated it. Usually, before you purchase a used car, you are strongly advised to inspect the car mechanically and run a car check to get the vehicle’s history report. This will tell you if the used car has been in any accidents, stolen, or has any other important information you should know. They may already have done this for you if you’re buying a used car from a dealership.
If you’re still worried about potential problems with your used car, another option is to purchase a used car warranty. Today we will discuss whether or not you should buy a used car warranty and the pros and cons of doing so.
Used Car Warranty Explained
A used car warranty is a service contract that covers repairs or replacements that the owner might need during the specified warranty period. The warranty length varies, but they can last anywhere from one year to several years. This warranty is only applicable for used cars, not new cars.
A used car warranty is not the same thing as car insurance. Car insurance covers damages to your car or other people’s property in the event of an accident. A warranty, on the other hand, covers repairs for issues that are not related to accidents.
The dealership offers the most used car warranties, but aftermarket options are available. An aftermarket warranty is a service contract you purchase after buying the car. This type of warranty is offered by third-party companies, not the car manufacturer.
Types of Used Car Warranty
There are two types of used car warranties: bumper-to-bumper and powertrain. Bumper-to-bumper covers everything on the car except for the “powertrain” components like the engine, transmission, and drive axle. Powertrain coverage is more limited and only covers those specific parts.
Most used car warranties will be powertrain coverage since it’s the most affordable option. Bumper-to-bumper is going to be more expensive and offer more comprehensive protection.
Some used car warranties are included in the purchase price, while third-party companies offer others. It’s important to read the fine print of any warranty before buying it. Some warranties cover repairs considered “normal wear and tear.” This means that the warranty won’t cover if your car needs a repair.
Coverage of Used Car Warranty
A used car warranty coverage varies, but most plans cover major repairs like the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. Some plans will also cover towing, battery jump-starts, and flat tire changes. Most plans will have a deductible you must pay before the coverage kicks in.
You will also want to ensure that the warranty covers parts and labour. Otherwise, you will be responsible for paying the mechanic for their time, even if the warranty covers the repair. The warranty company will reimburse the mechanic for their time with labour coverage.
The Cost of Used Car Warranties
The cost of used car warranties depends on your coverage length and plan. Plans can range from $500 to $2000, average around $1000. The deductible also affects how much you pay for a warranty. A higher deductible means paying more out of pocket for repairs and lowering the monthly warranty cost. With a lower deductible, you will pay less out of pocket for repairs but have a higher monthly warranty cost.
This cost is usually rolled into your car loan, so you’re not paying the entire amount upfront. Your monthly car payment will be higher because it includes the warranty cost, but you can spread out the expense over a longer period.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Car Warranty
Now that we’ve gone over what a used car warranty is and how it works, let’s consider the pros and cons of getting one.
- You have peace of mind knowing that repairs are covered – we know a used car can come with some surprises. With a used car warranty, you can relax a little more, knowing that if something goes wrong, it’s covered.
- Covered repairs can save you money – as we mentioned earlier, some used car warranties cover towing, battery jump-starts, and flat tire changes. These services can be expensive when you pay for them out of pocket.
- You can avoid expensive repairs – a big repair bill can put a serious dent in your budget, but with a warranty, you don’t have to worry about it.
- It’s easier to budget for repairs – when you have a warranty, you know exactly how much you will pay for repairs.
- It can increase your resale value – if you have a transferable warranty to the new owner, it could make your car more attractive to buyers. With a warranty in place, the new owner will have peace of mind knowing that any future repairs are covered.
- Not all repairs are covered – as we mentioned before, most warranties have exclusions for accidents or “normal wear and tear.” Before you purchase, you must ensure you understand what is and isn’t covered. Read the fine print!
- You still have to pay a deductible – even with a warranty, you will have to pay a deductible for each repair. The deductible can range from $0 to $1000 or more.
- The warranty cost may not be worth it – depending on the length of coverage and type of plan, and a used car warranty can be quite expensive. You must decide if the peace of mind is worth the cost.
- A used car warranty is not required – unlike auto insurance, a used car warranty is not required by law. It’s just an added protection that you can choose to purchase or not.
- You may already be covered – some credit cards and extended warranties from the original manufacturer cover used cars. Before purchasing a used car warranty, check to see if you’re already covered.
- You may never use it – if you never need to use the warranty, you’ve wasted money. It might not be worth it if you’d rather put that money into savings.
Should You Buy a Used Car Warranty?
Now that we’ve gone over the pros and cons of buying a used car warranty, you can decide if it’s the right choice. If you’re still undecided, consider these factors before you make your decision:
- What Driving Habits? – Do you drive long distances or stick to short trips around town? Do you frequently take your car on off-road adventures? The more you drive, the more likely you will experience mechanical issues.
- How old is your car? – If your car is newer, it’s less likely to need repairs, and a warranty may not be necessary. However, if your car is getting up in age, a warranty could give you peace of mind as you rack up the miles. You can run a car check to understand how your used car measures up in age and mileage.
- Do you have an emergency fund? – If you have money to cover unexpected repairs, you may not need a warranty. But if an expensive repair would put a serious dent in your budget, a warranty could be worth the cost, especially if your used car is older.
- How long do you plan to keep the car? – If you’re only keeping the car for a few years, it may not be worth purchasing a warranty because you may never use it. But if you plan to keep the car for a long time, a warranty could save you money down the road.
- Do you want the added protection? – A used car warranty is an added protection against expensive repairs. A warranty can give you peace of mind if you’re worried about repairs. With extra protection, you may be more likely to keep your car for a longer period.
- Are you comfortable with taking on more risk? – Without a warranty, you risk more because you are responsible for all repairs. If you’re comfortable with that risk, a warranty may not be necessary. But if you sleep better at night knowing your repairs are covered, a warranty could be the right choice.
Weighing the pros and cons of getting a used car warranty is important before making your final decision. Only you can decide if a used car warranty is right for you. Understanding both sides lets you decide if a warranty is right for you.
Where to Get a Used Car Warranty
If you’ve decided that a used car warranty is right for you, the next step is to find one. You can purchase a warranty from the dealership when you buy your car or shop around and compare prices from different companies.
Dealerships: Many dealerships offer used car warranties from the manufacturer or a third-party company. If you’re buying a car from a dealership, ask about warranty options and compare prices before making your decision. Getting a used car warranty from dealerships means you have to use their service department for repairs, so make sure you’re comfortable with that before purchasing.
Third-Party Companies: You can also shop around and compare prices from different companies. Usually, you can choose which repair shop you want to use, so you’re not stuck with the dealership. Many reputable companies offer used car warranties, so take your time and find one that fits your needs. Always make sure to read the fine print and understand the coverage before you purchase.
Before You Buy
Now that you know everything about used car warranties, it’s time to decide. But before you purchase a warranty, you should keep a few things in mind.
First, make sure you understand the coverage. What does the warranty cover? What’s excluded? Make sure you know what you’re getting before you purchase. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Second, compare prices and find the best deal. Don’t just go with the first company you find. Shop around and compare prices from different companies. Make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. Offers from dealerships and third-party companies can vary, so it’s important to compare.
Third, read the fine print. Once you’ve found a policy you’re comfortable with, read the fine print and check for any exclusions. You don’t want to be caught off guard with a repair that’s not covered.
Purchasing a used car warranty is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. You can find the best policy for your needs with a little research. And when you do, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your car is covered. Do you have a used car warranty? Let us know in the comments below.
If you are planning to purchase a used car warranty, and feel overwhelmed with the process, consider contacting a professional. A professional can help you understand the coverage, compare prices, and find the best policy for your needs. With their help, you can purchase a used car warranty with confidence.
Car Warranty Dictionary
Sometimes we can get lost in all the car warranty terms and definitions. Here’s a short dictionary of some common terms you might see when shopping for a used car warranty:
Age limit: The manufacturer’s warranty on a vehicle is often set to the car’s age. If your car is within its expiration date, a warranty may not be worth it.
Betterment: If your vehicle’s value increases due to a repair or replacement part, you might be asked to cover some of the costs.
Claim limit: The maximum amount of money you can get per claim is typically the automobile’s value, but not always.
Consequential loss – when one component fails, causing another to fail, an extra cost that some policies do not cover.
Deductible: The amount you have to pay out-of-pocket before your warranty coverage kicks in. For example, if you have a $100 deductible and your repairs cost $500, you would only pay $100, and your warranty would cover the remaining $400.
Depreciation – The value of your car going down over time.
Exclusionary coverage: The highest level of protection; it covers everything except what’s specifically listed as excluded.
Excess – the amount of money you will have to pay out on each warranty claim. As your mileage rises, excesses increase.
Garage choice: Some companies have ‘approved’ garages. Using a different garage may subject you to some labour costs.
Included components: A list of parts that are covered by the warranty.
Labour rate: The measure of how much of a garage’s hourly fee the providers are prepared to pay. Most don’t go as far as franchise dealers charge, leaving you to foot the difference.
Mileage limit: Most warranties have a mileage limit, after which they will no longer cover you. For example, a 60,000-mile warranty will only cover repairs up to 60,000 miles.
Non-transferability: The warranty is no longer valid once you sell the car.
Parts and labour: Some warranties only cover the cost of parts, leaving you to pay for labour.
Period of cover: The length of time the warranty is valid.
Pre-existing conditions: If a problem arises from something wrong with the car before you bought it, it’s unlikely to be covered.
Prorated: The value of the warranty decreases over time. For example, if you have a five-year/100,000-mile warranty and your car needs a new transmission at 80,000 miles, the warranty will only cover 20% of the cost because you’ve used up 80% of the coverage.
Regulated provider – The Financial Conduct Authority has approved a regulated lender who provides a 14-day cooling-off period if you back out.
Servicing schedule: You must have your vehicle serviced to the manufacturer’s recommendations and maintain all paperwork to retain your warranty. Failing to do so may invalidate the warranty, as can using non-original components.
Time limits – certain warranties impose time restrictions, such as 90 days (e.g., “only during the first ninety days”). Any problems that crop up during that period would not be compensated for.
Warning lights: Warning lights will prevent your warranty provider from paying out if you neglect them on the dash of your automobile.
Wear and tear – car components that deteriorate due to use and ageing are rarely covered. Even if they are protected,’ consumables,’ such as tyres and brake pads, will not be included.
This is a lot of information, and it might seem like used car warranties aren’t worth the money. However, they can provide valuable protection if you find the right policy and are aware of the potential pitfalls. Do your research before you buy, and make sure to run a car check using Just Car Checks before purchasing a used car to avoid any nasty surprises.