Your car warranty is designed to work in tandem with your car insurance. In essence, while the warranty covers premature or unexpected failure of parts and relates to the everyday functioning of your vehicle, your insurance covers accidental damage, loss or theft.
There are of course varying levels of vehicle insurance, but the majority of drivers opt for what's called fully comprehensive car insurance and this means that any accidental damage to the vehicle (or other vehicles or property involved in an accident) are covered.
What kind of damage comes under car insurance?
Examples of the type of accidental damage that wouldn't be covered by a car warranty, but would usually be covered by car insurance, might be:
- any damage to a part of the car caused by a collision with another vehicle
- external damage to bodywork as a result of contact with a stationary object (like a gate post, traffic bollard or tree)
- damage caused by extreme weather like a flood or a tree falling on your car in high winds
- damage caused by another person, either accidentally or maliciously
So what does the warranty cover?
Basically, a manufacturer's warranty (when you've bought a new car), an extended warranty (when you buy a pre-owned car), or an after sales extended warranty (when your existing manufacturer's warranty runs out and you want to extend your warranty protection) all cover you for specific vehicle malfunctions. This is usually when a car part ceases to work and needs repair or replacement, and is not the result of any external force acting on the car.
A manufacturer’s car warranty, often known as a 'bumper-to-bumper' warranty, will include the majority of components in your car should they break down earlier than expected in your vehicle’s life. There are exclusions though, and a manufacturer’s car warranty doesn’t cover ‘wear and tear’ items like tyres or batteries.
An extended warranty will offer similar cover but, depending on the age and mileage of your car, there may be more parts that are excluded from the warranty cover. The details of what is covered and what is excluded will form part of your warranty agreement and it always pays to check these details carefully. Provided your warranty is clearly detailed, easy to understand and transparent, you should know exactly what is and isn't covered.
Is any accidental damage covered?
So, if you're wondering ‘does my car warranty cover accidental damage?’, the answer is no. For accidental damage, you will need to make a claim on your car insurance policy. Your vehicle warranty is designed to provide protection for specified mechanical and electrical faults, and it is not intended to cover damage caused by accidents.
The distinction between warranty cover and insurance cover is, reassuringly, usually very clear and doing your homework to make sure you have the best cover for both means should there ever be a problem, you're covered whatever has happened.
Do your research, and know what to expect
The important thing is that you do your research when looking for a car warranty and car insurance. Make sure you know what you want from these respective forms of cover, and find agreements that fit your requirements. You should be able to find cover that matches your precise needs if you shop around - and this will also help to ensure that you get the best possible value for money.
Read your warranty documents and insurance policy carefully too. This will ensure you know exactly what to expect in the event that your car develops a fault or you’re involved in an accident.