Dealers can also recommend specific suppliers of warranties, rather than organising the cover themselves. There are, however, many good providers accessible online, so even if you buy a pre-owned car from a dealer who isn't offering a warranty, it's not difficult to purchase cover from any of the many standalone warranty providers currently trading.
What are my rights if I don't buy a warranty?
A warranty, like a car insurance policy, offers additional protection. You have to have insurance to drive legally, but a warranty is not a legal requirement. You are, however, protected by basic consumer rights when purchasing a car. You're covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which means you can return the car if it is not as described or is faulty. The Road Traffic Act of 1988 also states that it is an "offence for a trader to sell an unroadworthy vehicle". Both of these laws give you a limited degree of cover, but do not protect you from unforeseen faults or breakdowns, which is where a warranty policy would come in.
If you are buying a pre-owned car that's less than three years old, it should still be covered by the manufacturer's warranty. It's likely that this fact will be one of the selling points of the vehicle, particularly on 'nearly new' low-mileage vehicles. There are, in fact, a growing number of car brands offering 'bumper-to-bumper' new car warranties that last longer than the standard three years. For example, Kia offer an impressive seven year warranty on some of its models, while BMW also offers longer-lasting warranty cover. When you purchase the car, the remaining time on time on the warranty will pass to you as the new owner. The only condition here is that you have the car serviced at regular intervals as stated by the terms of the warranty.
Do dealers give a warranty on used cars? Yes, most reputable car dealerships do offer warranty cover. This is usually through a trusted provider and your dealer may have been able to secure a competitive deal, although it's always advisable to check this by contacting the warranty provider directly to see what they can offer. Your warranty details will depend on the car, its age and mileage, and on what level of cover you want. Basic warranty deals can be found for as little as £150 for three years of limited cover, while at the premium end of the market, more comprehensive cover will cost considerably more.
Buying my own warranty
If you're not offered a dealership warranty and are going it alone, then you might do well to follow the basic advice below regarding the best way to secure a good warranty deal:
- Make use of an online car warranty comparison
- Take advantage of free advice from organisations like The RAC, The AA and Which when comparing products, and look at the 'extras' like breakdown cover and car hire allowances
- Look very carefully at what is and isn't covered, taking particular care with words like 'betterment' ( when you're charged if any repair work increases the value of your car) and 'consequential damage ( when the failure of a part which isn't covered on your warranty results in the failure of a part which is)'
- Read plenty of customer reviews, and not just the ones on the company's own website
A warranty can provide peace of mind, help with budgeting, and enable you to enjoy stress-free motoring, free from the risks of unexpected repair bills.