When it comes to car warranty, it’s not quite as simple as it seems. There are different kinds of warranty, each offering similar cover but with some specific features.
Types of warranty
All new cars have a warranty, which is effectively a guarantee from the manufacturer that if anything breaks or develops a fault, it will be replaced or repaired. The cover normally applies for three years or 60,000 miles, although there can be variations on this.
There may be specific components or types of damage that are excluded from the warranty, so it’s important to check the small print. It can also be the case that the cover will not be valid in certain circumstances, such as if you’ve modified the car or driven it while it’s damaged.
The second type of warranty takes effect after the manufacturer’s policy has finished, normally when the car is three years old. From then on, the owner becomes responsible for the cost of identifying problems and repairing any faults. The way to avoid any unforeseen expense is to arrange an extended warranty that means the protection will continue in a similar way.
There are several thousand parts in a modern car, so a lot can go wrong and it’s more likely to happen once the car is more than three years old. So, the need for protection actually becomes greater. If you need your car for work, or you rely on it for visiting friends and family, you need to think about what you would do if it was off the road. For some drivers, the biggest risk is having no protection.
You can arrange this type of cover by shopping around. This could involve going direct to an insurance company that specialises in warranties, asking a broker to find the best deal, or using a comparison website.
If you buy a used car from a dealer and want to be protected against faults developing, the dealership will offer its own warranty. This type of cover can be more expensive and often will have limitations, so it’s worth at least getting a quote for an alternative before signing up for the dealership’s warranty.
Deciding on the cover
There are two main matters to consider before deciding how to proceed. The first is cost. While the premium must fit within your budget, it’s not simply a case of opting for the cheapest deal. You also need to take a look at the list of items that are covered and excluded. The final decision on which warranty to buy should come down to a combination of price and levels of cover.
The warranty will normally be valid for anything from three months to three years. If you opt for the shorter end of this timescale, it will be cheaper.
All warranties will cover the main parts of any car, such as the engine, gearbox and the electrics. Beyond that, the exact parts included will vary from warranty to another, so it’s important to read the small print before signing up.
It’s also worth checking out other extras, such as car hire while repairs are carried out and recovery if you break down.
It’s equally important to look closely at what’s not covered. That will include some parts, as well as points such as the paintwork or any modifications.