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Effectively car warranties are an insurance policy, and much like house or contents insurance, the warranty should cover you when certain parts of your car fail. Make sure that you know what your warranty will cover should you develop a fault. It might be the case that the warranty covers a certain part that may need replacing but not the whole job – therefore you would potentially need to pay for some parts and labour yourself. The most important element to finding out the truth about any warranty you’re considering is to read the terms and conditions thoroughly and understand exactly what is covered.

Different Types of Car Warranties

  • Manufacturer-backed warranty when buying a new car
  • Extended warranty for when the manufacturer warranty expires

Whether you buy a car warranty direct from a dealership or online , bear in mind there are many different prices and warranties depending on your needs, budget and what you need covered. These can range from value-for-money warranties that cover a limited range of parts, to more in depth warranties that also include things like wear and tear and all mechanical and electrical parts.

Buying a New Car

When buying a brand new car you should have the peace of mind of a manufacturer’s-backed warranty. A comprehensive warranty should come as standard, usually covering the car for 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. But even with a new car, be mindful of the warranty conditions. Before signing on the dotted line and handing over thousands for your shiny new pride and joy carefully check the terms and conditions.

As the car owner, if you do something to invalidate a section of the warranty, whether that’s replacing a part with one not approved by the manufacturer or failing to get the car regularly serviced as per the manufacturers recommendations, that’s when you can run into trouble and find the car warranty cover is denied.

Important Factors to Consider

It’s vital to give time and thought to buying a car warranty or an extended warranty. Think carefully about what the warranty covers and the reasons for purchasing it:

  • Does the warranty cover a variety of parts or a limited selection that excludes the ones that tend to go wrong?
  • Is there a good choice of where you can get the repairs done? Find out if the garage where you usually have your car serviced is included.
  • Weigh up the cost of the warranty versus the age of the car. For example is the car driven a lot or just occasionally. Potentially, the more the car is used the more problems it may have.

Lastly, shop around and don’t just buy what seems like the cheapest option. Read the small print of the used car warranty and make sure it covers everything that you think it should and that there are no grey areas. Don’t feel pressured into buying anything and remember to carefully check the warranty exclusion list to find out exactly what’s not covered. When buying online make sure you read the contract before clicking ‘buy’.

Bill Weston writes on a number of subjects including in the motor industry and used car warranty markets.  For information on used car warranties please visit: