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The Best Extended Car Warranty…

The 30-Second Review

The best extended car warranty will provide a straightforward claims and repair process in the case of a breakdown as well as excellent customer service. To find our top pick, we consulted auto industry experts and compared 42 providers to see which had the strongest history of financial stability and customer satisfaction. In the end, we found two picks that outperformed the rest.

Best Overall

With thorough plans for new and old cars, we like the coverage Endurance provides. Out of all the options we compared, it offered the best mixture of transparency, financial stability, and customer service — meaning you’ll get a warranty you can trust.

Another to Consider

The insurer backing its policies has a higher financial strength rating than the one backing our top pick. But strict eligibility requirements and less transparency kept it from the top spot. That said, it’s still a stable company that can offer reliable protection for new car owners.

  • February 2, 2018 – We’ve updated this page to consider new contenders and dig deeper into the terms of our top picks. Two of our top picks, Endurance and Easy Care, remain great choices, but Warranty Direct didn’t stand up to closer scrutiny of its insurer.

The Best Extended Car Warranty

While car insurance protects you from the cost of external damage, such as an accident or hail, an extended car warranty covers the cost of mechanical breakdowns — think: fixing timing belts or transmission mounts. Extended warranty providers tend to get a bad rap, thanks to fly-by-night providers and fraudsters, such as US Fidelis. But not all companies are bad news. A dependable extended car warranty provider offers coverage that can protect you from expensive repairs.

An extended car warranty is not for everyone, though. A study by Consumer Reports revealed that the average cost of these warranties is often more than what you’ll save you on the cost of repairs. But if you plan to own your car for a long time or own a used car, an extended warranty can be a worthwhile investment. Cars like these will be at a higher risk of breakdowns, and an extended car warranty offers the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t have to foot a lot of repair bills.

Our pick for the best extended car warranty provider is Endurance. Out of the 42 providers we compared, it had the most reasonable eligibility requirements while also being backed by an insurer with verifiable high financial strength ratings. That means, your claim will be paid even if Endurance goes out of business. However, with 12 years in the market and a history of customer satisfaction, Endurance and its coverage options are here to stay. Some have reported difficulty during the claims process, so you may have to work a little harder for the coverage you paid for. But this is fairly standard in the industry and Endurance is the most reliable option on the market.

With 34 years in business, Easycare is a great and reputable alternative to our top pick for new car owners. Its eligibility requirements are strict and only cars that are under 2 years old or 24,000 miles will qualify for a quote or coverage. Easy Care is also backed by an insurer with a superior financial strength rating, meaning you won’t have to worry about your repairs being paid for if the company goes under. If you qualify, it’s worth getting a comparison quote.

Our Top Pick for the Best Extended Car Warranty

EnduranceTransparent coverage and dependable customer service

Out of the 42 extended car warranty providers we compared, Endurance is the option we feel most confident recommending. The company stands out for having verifiable financial stability and easily accessible sample contracts for customers to review. If you need help understanding the coverage options, exceptional customer service representatives will also walk you through the purchasing process.

Endurance impressed us with their transparency. Unlike many of its competitors, the company’s website provides direct links to sample contracts for each of its four plans. Each of the contracts also clearly state who the insurer (Wesco Insurance) will be on the first page. Its top competitor, Easy Care, only provides sample contracts if you send them an email request, and the identity of their insurer is buried in the terms and conditions on the second to last page — we also found no mention of the insurer on their website. While you can still get access to the contracts and insurer information for Easy Care, we like that Endurance makes it easy to compare the actual ins and outs of its contracts for confident shopping.

More importantly, Endurance makes it clear that contracts will cover cars both old and new. On our call with Easy Care we learned that the company does not offer coverage for cars older than two years or over 24,000 miles. This stood in sharp contrast with Endurance, which not only provided a quote for a four year old car with 50,000 miles but also eligibility for its most thorough plan, Supreme Coverage.

The exact Endurance plan you qualify for will depend on the make, model, and mileage of your car. If your car is fairly old, or has high miles, you likely won’t qualify for the company’s top-level Supreme Coverage (a standard practice in the industry). But Endurance offers three other coverage plans with more lenient requirements, so most will be able to find a plan that suits their needs. It is important to note that these other plans won’t cover as many parts as the Supreme plan. That said, they will still cover the most vital components of your car such as the engine, transmission, and drive axle assembly — all for a cheaper price. Protection of vital parts is especially key for old and well-traveled cars which are more likely to breakdown and often excluded from any coverage at all. The good news? Endurance’s plans include protection for both new and high-mileage vehicles which means reliable coverage whether your car is new or over the hill.

When it comes time to file a claim for repairs, Endurance allows you to take your vehicle to your dealership or any repair facility licensed by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), a professional group that certifies automotive repair mechanics and shops. Not only does this ensure your repairs will be completed by an experienced professional, but with over 300,000 ASE certified mechanics in the US and Canada, you’ll be able to perform repairs no matter where you are. Better still, every Endurance plan includes 24/7 roadside assistance and rental car benefits so you won’t be without transportation as you wait for repairs.

There’s currently a cloud over Wesco Insurance.Wesco Insurance is currently under review with A.M. Best. According to A.M. Best, they still have at least $2 billion in financial surplus which means they will be able to pay off claims. But the implications of a review are negative and their financial strength ratings may take a hit. We’re keeping a close eye on the situation and will update this review in the event of any changes.

Endurance does have a few flaws though. For one, customers have filed complaints about difficulty getting claims accepted on sites like the Better Business Bureau. While the company has many positive reviews, most only mention exceptional customer service. Common complaints include Endurance refusing to cover a part it led customers to believe was covered and using misleading advertising. Unfortunately, experiences like these are common throughout the third-party extended warranty industry — Easy Care also suffers from the same issues. Fortunately, there are also reports of Endurance customer service representatives solving such problems. In any case, we recommend thoroughly reviewing your contract on your own and with a customer service representative to make sure you understand exactly what’s covered and what isn’t.

If you’re looking for a reputable third-party extended car warranty provider, Endurance is hard to beat. It has all the makings of a great provider including transferable coverage (in the chance you get a new car while your coverage is still ongoing). With reasonable eligibility requirements, excellent customer service, and a high level of transparency, it is a dependable alternative to dealership offerings.

EasyCareReliable for new car owners but strict eligibility requirements

Like our top pick, Easy Care is a direct provider of extended car warranties that is also backed by a financially stable insurance company. But the eligibility requirements are far stricter. If your car is older than two years or over 24,000 miles, you’re out of luck.

Easy Care does have a few perks. For one, the company has been in business for 34 years, compared to Endurance’s 12 years, making it one of the more established providers in the industry. The A.M. Best financial strength rating of its insurer, Universal Underwriters Insurance Company, is also an A+ (just above Endurance’s insurer, Wesco Insurance, which has an A).

While Endurance edged out the victory with it’s broader eligibility and superior customer service during our research, if you’re a new car owner, getting a comparative quote from Easy Care is worth the time.

How to Get The Best Extended Car Warranty

Extended car warranties aren’t really warranties.

An extended car warranty is not actually a warranty as defined by federal law. The more accurate term is “vehicle service contract.” The reason has to do with timing. A service contract can be arranged at any time and costs extra while a warranty is included in the purchase price of the vehicle. The term “extended car warranty” is mostly used as a marketing gimmick — it makes the product sound like it’s an extension of the manufacturer’s coverage, when in fact it’s a vehicle service contract sold by a third party. However, it will still protect you from the cost of repair in the case of a mechanical breakdown.

So, just because you’re buying an “extended warranty” doesn’t mean you’re actually extending the coverage you got when you bought your car. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing: Extended warranties can actually be tailored to fill the gaps of a manufacturer’s warranty. For example, J.D. Power found that problems with technology like Bluetooth and GPS are the top reasons for declines in vehicle dependability — features manufacturer warranties won’t cover, but extended warranties might (Endurance covers in-car technology that was installed by the manufacturer in some of its policies, but not aftermarket items). Other benefits of an extended warranty include roadside assistance and even rental car reimbursement, both of which Endurance offers.

If you decide to go with an extended warranty, be sure to negotiate.

At most dealerships, you can not only negotiate the price of a car but also the price of an extended warranty. Extended warranties are often marked up from wholesale so that the dealer can make a profit. In order to negotiate a different price, we recommend finding cheaper quotes online and using them as leverage to get a lower price when you visit the dealer.

Experts advise finding a good estimate of the dealer’s cost of the warranty and then offering to pay $100-200 dollars over it. This will generally result in a counteroffer that is much lower than the marked up price. For more information, we advise looking at negotiating samples by professional negotiators.

Negotiating isn’t limited to dealers either. On a phone call with Endurance, our tester was given the option to negotiate a lower price with a manager (even after they were offered a discount for getting a first-time quote). We can’t vouch for every third-party provider, but trying for a lower price is always worth a shot.

If your car is new, buying an extended warranty early on can lead to lower costs.

Most new cars already come with a warranty that lasts 3 years or up to 36,000 miles. Although it seems counterintuitive to buy coverage from an extended warranty provider while you still have the dealership’s included protection, doing so often results in lower quotes and costs. Simply put, it boils down to one rule: the older your car gets, the more expensive an extended warranty will be. So if you are confident that you want an extended warranty for the added peace of mind, we recommend looking for a provider within the first year of ownership. The double-protection won’t add any benefits during the first 3 years of ownership, but if you plan to own your car for more than 4 to 5 years, buying early will lead to future savings.

The Best Extended Car Warranty: Summed Up

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