If you are buying a nearly new car that is still within its initial manufacturer's warranty, this cover should simply move over to you. In simple terms, the warranty is attached to the specific car, rather than its owner. That said, do check this out directly with the manufacturer and make sure you have all the appropriate documents to hand before you make the call. In order for the warranty to be valid, full ownership must have passed legally to you.
The more likely scenario, however, is that you are buying a car that's no longer covered by a manufacturer's warranty, and so you'll be wondering ‘can you buy a warranty for a private car sale?’ The answer is still yes.
What to have in place before you start looking for a car warranty
All the points you are advised to check before buying a car privately are equally important when it comes to shopping around for a warranty. You'll get a much better deal if you have all the right documentation and information about your car and its history.
Try to make sure that:
- Your car comes with a full service history and ideally receipts for any work done or parts purchased
- You have the log book and the car's MOT certificate (you must have the original - a photocopy isn't enough)
- You've checked out the car's details with the DVLA's free online vehicle information checker (you need the registration number, MOT test number, mileage, make and model)
- You've checked the MOT history of the car on Gov.uk's free service
- You've run a data check to ensure the car hasn't been written off (available through the AA and the RAC at an approximate cost of £20)
How can I find the best car warranty provider?
As with all purchases, doing your homework before you buy pays off. Take your time and don't rush into a deal with the first provider you come across. Most of the reputable car websites and magazines offer reviews of warranty companies, so accessing industry evaluations can be relatively easy.
The majority of warranty providers’ websites include customer reviews, and if you read enough of them, you should get a clear picture of levels of customer satisfaction. Also consider looking for guidance from consumer organisations such as Which?, the AA and the RAC.
What questions should I be asking to make sure I'm getting a good deal?
- Are there different levels of cover available?
- Are parts replaced on a like-for-like basis?
- Is there a limit on the hourly cost of labour?
- Is breakdown cover included?
- What about towing to a garage in the event of a breakdown?
- Is an allowance for car hire included?
- Does your company charge for betterment (when a repair increases the value of your car)?
- Are you covered for consequential failure - when a part that isn't covered fails and causes damage to a part that is covered?
- What are the mileage limits?
- Can I choose which garage carries out repairs or can I only use approved garages? If so, are the garages in a location convenient to me?
Taking out a warranty for a car you've bought in a private sale doesn't have to be complicated. As long as you do your research and know what it is you want from this type of vehicle cover, you should be able to find just the right package for you. And once you’ve got a warranty in place, you can benefit from extra peace of mind when driving your car.