Christie's Car Keys

 
There are third party companies that may solicit your business by offering extended automobile warranties. In most cases these companies purchase vehicle registration information and when the vehicle's original factory warranty is about to expire will send offers to the owner urging them to "act now" to ensure they continue to have warranty coverage.  

But buyer beware of these offers. They are not affiliated with the factory or the dealership, even though it may appear that way. Often they have vague terms and coverage, and are frequently overpriced for the limited coverage they offer. For example, there may be limitations as to where the vehicle can be serviced, large deductibles that must be met before coverage begins, or the coverage itself might be limited. 

Since these companies have become quite adept at making their communications look like legitimate factory or dealer offers, it can be easy to be taken in on the surface. So if you receive a communication like this, be sure to check it out carefully and do your research. 

  • Confirm that the company is solvent and able to provide coverage if you should need it
  • Be sure you know exactly what is covered and what isn't
  • Determine where you can have your vehicle serviced
  • Ask if there is a deductible
  • Review all terms and conditions 

Extended factory warranties are offered for varying periods of time or mileage, usually up to 6 years/100,000 miles. And they can be purchased for powertrain or bumper to bumper coverage. Coverage will begin from the date the car was originally purchased.

One of the benefits of a factory warranty is that you know you can have your vehicle serviced at any dealership so you won't have to worry about getting caught away from home. And your coverage is fully spelled out up front.  

An extended warranty can give you peace of mind. Just be sure that you know what you're getting. You might want to consider checking with your dealership to see what they have to offer. This will give you the opportunity to compare prices and coverage. But regardless, if you are uncertain whether a company is legitimate, you should probably steer clear.

Christie Walin is Director of Marketing for Modern Automotive. You can reach her with questions or comments at askchristie@modernauto.com.
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