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Alternatives to Extended Warranties

BY: Keith Benline
Young couple looking at extended warranty options on a tablet, located in a car dealership

No matter what kind of car you drive or your driving habits, there are many reasons to keep your vehicle in great shape. Used cars that have been well taken care of give you more years and miles of quality service and will be a lot cheaper to own in the long run. You have many options when it comes to protecting your vehicle and ensuring it is covered in the event that it needs to go into the repair facility. Taking the right steps to get the help you need can ease the financial burden of getting repairs.

For many drivers, an extended warranty is a great option for protecting a new car or used vehicle and gaining peace of mind. You may be wondering if there are other ways to get the confidence you need that your vehicle will last as long as possible. Knowing some alternatives to extended warranties can help you find the method that is right for you.

Alternatives to Extended Warranties and 5 Strategies for Protecting Your Vehicle

Aside from an extended warranty plan, you can employ a few strategies to protect your vehicle. Doing everything you can to take the best care of your vehicle is your number one defense against expensive breakdowns. The condition of your vehicle starts with how well you maintain it and how careful you are when driving. With a little bit of extra attention, you can get many more years of service out of your car.

1. Purchase a reliable car.

Whether you are in the market for a new or used vehicle, purchasing something known for being reliable will always be your best option. There are several ways to see what cars have good reputations for reliability, and doing your research before you make your purchase will help you sort through your choices. A vehicle that doesn’t break down will not require the same level of protection as one that tends to have a lot of issues. Buying a dependable vehicle can end up saving you a lot of money throughout the course of your ownership.

The things that make a vehicle reliable will change from car to car. In some cases, a car will be considered reliable if it hasn’t had any recalls from the manufacturer. In other cases, reliability is measured by how many people still own the car after a certain number of years. Using the reliability ratings from publications like Consumer Reports and RepairPal can help you decide if you are making a smart decision when buying a particular car.

2. Perform regular maintenance.

One of the best things you can do for your car is make sure that you are performing regularly-scheduled maintenance on it. If you stay on top of your vehicle’s upkeep, it will spend a lot less time in the shop with bigger, more expensive repairs. Your car’s owner’s manual should have a schedule of maintenance in it that will tell you what procedures you should be doing and when you should do them. Following this is your best bet when it comes to protecting yourself from costly breakdowns.

When you perform the scheduled maintenance for your vehicle, you are investing in its future. Cars that have been well-maintained can go hundreds of thousands of miles before they have a major issue. If all you are doing is paying for maintenance procedures like oil changes, transmission fluid changes, and brake pad replacements, you can end up saving a lot of money in the long run. With this kind of responsible upkeep, you most likely won’t have to worry about having protection for the bigger repair bills.

3. Set up an emergency fund.

Sometimes, no matter how well you take care of your car, issues that have to be taken care of can arise. When this happens, having an emergency fund set aside can be incredibly helpful. This effectively cuts out the middleman of extended coverage and ensures you can pay for a repair if it happens. When you get an estimate from the shop, you will be glad you have set aside the money for such an occasion.

In general, it is a good idea to have at least $700 per year set aside for car repair if at all possible. For most vehicles, this is going to be the amount that will make paying for the repair reasonable when compared to what the car is worth. When you parse this out over the whole year, it comes to just under $60 per month, comparable to very few protection plan prices. It should be noted that some repairs, such as a transmission replacement, will cost much more than that, so it is a good idea to set aside as much as you can.

4. Drive defensively.

As a car owner, you are responsible for driving safely whenever you are behind the wheel. This will protect you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road and help keep your vehicle in the best possible condition. Even excluding accidents, aggressive driving can cause problems with your car that could otherwise have been avoided. Driving irresponsibly can create issues with the brakes, steering equipment, and engine, which are all expensive components to repair.

When you are out on the road, always pay close attention to speed limits and traffic signals. You should also be aware of your surroundings as you drive and keep an eye on your mirrors to avoid sudden stops and swerving. The more careful you are with your car, the less likely it will be to develop issues that can result in an expensive trip to the mechanic. With good driving habits, you can protect your vehicle as well as yourself.

5. Pay attention to small problems.

Car problems tend to have a domino effect; they get more serious and expensive as time passes. What may have started as a small oil leak could eventually become a seized engine if it is not taken care of immediately. That is why it is so important to pay attention to small problems with your vehicle as they occur. Nipping the problem in the bud can save you thousands of dollars in car repairs.

As you drive your vehicle, be sure to pay attention to any changes that you notice. If you are hearing sounds or smelling odors that weren’t there before, it could be a sign that a problem is starting to develop. Getting those small issues fixed as soon as possible will generally be your cheapest option. By making the small repairs quickly, you can avoid needing coverage for the bigger repairs further down the line.

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Coverage

There are multiple coverage options that you can choose from if you decide that you want to protect your vehicle with some kind of coverage plan. Some of them will only be available in specific situations, and others can be purchased for almost every kind of vehicle. Knowing what choices you have and what each coverage type offers will help you decide which one is right for your particular car and situation.

Factory Warranties

When you buy a car, it will most likely come with a few different factory warranties. Usually, these will include a bumper-to-bumper warranty, a powertrain warranty, and a corrosion warranty. These are designed to protect you from repairs that come up through no fault of your own and are the result of things like design flaws and problems at the factory. Depending on the manufacturer of your vehicle and the coverage they offer, they will usually last between three years or 36,000 miles up to 10 years or 100,000 miles.

If your vehicle is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, you can get it serviced at the dealership where you bought it. The repair will be covered under the plan if the issue is not from neglect or something you did to the vehicle. Once your factory warranty runs out, you will be responsible for all the repairs. This is why it is important to know what kind of factory warranty a car has before you decide to buy it.

Certified Pre-Owned Warranties

Some auto manufacturers offer certified pre-owned vehicle programs for their cars. Certified pre-owned cars are used vehicles that have been inspected and certified at the dealer. They are generally in very good shape and will be much less of a risk than a traditional used car that you buy at a dealership or from a private party.

Every certified pre-owned warranty will be different, and the length of time it is good for will depend on the manufacturer and the number of miles already on the vehicle. Generally, though, it will include the vehicle’s most important components, such as the engine, transmission, and drive axle. In some cases, it will be even more comprehensive than that and will include some of the other components like the electrical system or the air conditioning. Knowing what the warranty includes can help you figure out if a certified pre-owned vehicle is right for you.

Manufacturer Extended Warranties

Once your factory warranty runs out, you may want to continue coverage to make sure that your vehicle is protected. Most manufacturers offer some kind of extended warranty coverage that you can purchase to cover the car for a longer period. The comprehensiveness of these warranties will vary, and they are usually offered in a few different levels of coverage. Most of the time, though, you have to purchase the extended warranty before the factory coverage runs out, so it is a good idea to do your research ahead of time.

Manufacturer extended warranties are similar to factory warranties in that you can get repairs done at the dealership when they come up. Depending on where you live, this may or may not be the most convenient option for you. Some of these plans also include extra perks like roadside assistance and trip interruption coverage. Knowing your needs and your general driving habits can help you pick the right plan for your vehicle.

Vehicle Service Contracts

You have another option if you don’t want to purchase an extended warranty from the automaker after your factory warranty runs out. You can purchase an extended warranty from a third-party provider, and the coverage is more accurately called a vehicle service contract (VSC). These are private companies that offer coverage on vehicles of all kinds and often long after the factory warranty has expired. This type of coverage has a lot of benefits, and if you are looking for coverage for a vehicle that might not otherwise be protected, they are a great option.

Vehicle service contracts usually come in many different levels of coverage, from very basic to incredibly comprehensive. They are also generally available for vehicles that have higher mileage or are unique such as sports cars or luxury vehicles. With a vehicle service contract, you also have a wider variety of choices when it comes to where you can take your car for service. You won’t be limited to the dealership, which might be more convenient for you if you live in a rural area or bought your car somewhere far from your home.

Mechanical Breakdown Insurance

Mechanical breakdown insurance is very similar to a vehicle service contract in that it covers vehicle repairs after the factory warranty has run out. The big difference, though, is that mechanical breakdown insurance is regulated by the state’s insurance department where it is offered. This is why mechanical breakdown insurance is an excellent alternative in California, where vehicle service contracts are not allowed.

MBI generally offers the same kind of coverage as a vehicle service contract and will usually come in a few different levels. While you can purchase MBI through an insurance company, you can also get it through a third-party provider. With a third-party company, you may receive extra perks and benefits like roadside assistance, which can come in handy if you have a breakdown on the side of the road.

Extended Warranty Providers and Reviews

A vehicle service contract can be your best bet if you want the most comprehensive coverage for your car. Several VSC providers are on the market, and choosing the right one is crucial. Knowing what some of the leading warranty providers offer can help you make the best decision for your car and your needs.


CarShield has been in business since 2005, and they are one of the largest VSC providers in the United States. They offer different levels of coverage, such as Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Aluminum plans, which include a wide range of components. Depending on how much protection you want, one of these will be the most suitable for your car. They also offer plans for motorcycles and electric cars as well as a specialized plan that includes a wide range of benefits like keyfob protection and windshield protection.

Select Auto Protect

Select Auto Protect is one of the older VSC providers on the market. For over 30 years, they have offered drivers coverage in a few different tiers. Their plans include the Select Platinum, Select Gold, and Select Silver plans, which protect components ranging from the engine and transmission all the way up to the air conditioning. They also allow their customers to bring their cars to any ASE Certified repair shop and offer a 24/7 claims process.

Omega Auto Care

Omega is a coverage provider that protects both your home and your car. Based in Florida, they have been in business for two decades and offer a fairly wide range of protection plans. They have tiers ranging from an exclusionary plan that will cover nearly every component of your vehicle to a basic powertrain plan that covers the engine and transmission. Depending on your budget and your needs, you can find a level of coverage that works for your vehicle.


CARCHEX is a well-known provider of vehicle service contracts in the U.S. They offer a few different plans with different levels of coverage, including a comprehensive bumper-to-bumper coverage plan. One of the downsides of CARCHEX is the fact that they are not a direct provider of coverage. They are a reseller, which can cause problems with the claims process as well as customer service.

Endurance Warranty Services

Endurance is one of the leading VSC providers in the nation and offers some of the most comprehensive coverage on the market. Endurance has a large number of options for coverage, including Secure, Secure Plus, Supreme, Supreme for Highline, Advantage (with routine maintenance), Superior, Select, and Select Premier – you can also customize your plan to fit your needs and budget. These plans are all specialized for different situations, including high-mileage vehicles, older cars, and vehicles that wouldn’t otherwise be covered by another provider. This includes cars with rebuilt or salvage titles, Canadian Gray Market cars, and cars used for commercial purposes like rideshare or delivery. Plus, starting at just a $99 monthly payment, there is an Endurance plan for nearly every budget.

Give Your Vehicle Ultimate Protection With Endurance

If you want to make sure that your vehicle has the best protection available, it is essential that you know your options. While there are a lot of things you can do to prevent repairs and keep your car in great shape,  you can easily gain peace of mind with a vehicle protection plan. Having the very best coverage for your car with Endurance will help you feel confident whenever you hit the road. You’ll know you can get the auto repairs you need when a problem arises.

In addition to the best coverage on the market, every Endurance auto protection plan also comes with a wide variety of perks, including 24/7 roadside assistance, towing services, trip interruption coverage, and rental car reimbursement if you experience an unexpected breakdown while on your next trip. New customers can also get one year of Elite Benefits for a small activation fee, including up to two tire repairs or replacements, key fob replacement, and more.

Contact us to claim your FREE quote and take advantage of a 30-day money-back guarantee. Call (800) 253-8203 today or shop online to see your price.

Visit the Endurance blog for more informative and helpful articles on common repair issues, ways to avoid warranty scams, automotive FAQs, vehicle buying guides, and expert auto tips.

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