Should You Buy an Extended Warranty?

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Maintaining your vehicle can be costly, especially if you’re paying for expenses out of pocket. An extended warranty, also known as a vehicle service plan, can help cover repair costs after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired, and may save you money in the long run.

Weigh the Pros and Cons

The primary benefit of buying an extended warranty is that it offers a safeguard against potentially expensive repairs. Considering even newer cars could have mechanical problems not too far down the road, an extended warranty helps you prepare for the unpredictable. If your car ends up needing a major repair or replacement, a warranty could offer you some peace of mind that those fixes are covered.

Purchasing an extended warranty, however, may have its limitations, such as a high price tag or the possibility that not all repairs are covered. In addition, some extended warranties may require an owner to provide proof that recommended guidelines have been followed. It’s therefore important to understand the fine print of any warranty before purchasing—know what’s covered and what is required of you as an owner to ensure coverage.

After weighing the pros and cons, a great way to help you decide on an extended warranty is to research the make and model of the car. Find out pertinent information about common issues other owners have had, or if there were any system or part recalls on record. Such details could ultimately inform you as to what risk level you’re willing to accept for the maintenance of your car.

Understand Any Restrictions

A standard warranty will typically cover your vehicle for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. An extended warranty will cover your vehicle for an agreed-upon mileage or period of time after the standard warranty has expired. Apart from this key restriction, it may also limit your eligibility for certain repairs or replacements. Before purchasing an extended warranty, it’s therefore important you understand any restrictions so you’re better able to make an informed decision on its value.

Decide on Coverage Options

In choosing the best warranty for your needs, you’ll likely find there are many options. For example, depending on the climate of your location, a corrosion warranty may or may not be useful. Or, if an extended warranty offers the option of roadside assistance, you may find it redundant if it’s already available to you through another service, like AAA. Before purchasing, ask what benefits are included with the different extended warranty options. Then weigh those benefits of the extended warranty versus what not having that coverage may end up costing.

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