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Exploring Extended Car Warranty Options for Classic and Vintage Cars

BY: Chris Brown
A man driving old black classic car

Classic and vintage cars are beloved across America. Whatever the era, their iconic designs are instantly recognizable and hark back to when vehicles were just built differently. There are plenty of classic car enthusiasts out there who buy, restore, and drive older vehicles. But the older the car, the greater the chance of mechanical problems.

With the average annual cost of car ownership recently boiling over $12,000 (and potentially even higher for classic car owners), it’s a smart idea to try to keep that number to a minimum. One of the best ways to do that is with an extended warranty, which covers the unexpected car repair costs whenever they rear their head.

While it can sometimes be tough to find coverage for older vehicles, quality providers like Endurance will gladly lend a hand if the car in question is less than 20 years old. Here, we’ll take a deeper look at why coverage is so important and the options available.

What Is an Extended Warranty and What Does It Cover?

In the simplest possible terms, an extended warranty is the best way to protect yourself (and your wallet) from the cost of unexpected car repairs. But so you get the full picture, let’s go all the way back to the beginning.

No matter how old your car is, when it rolled off the production line as a new car, it came with what’s known as a factory warranty or a manufacturer warranty. This acts as a promise by the manufacturer to repair or replace any parts that fail due to fault within a predetermined number of years or miles traveled (whichever comes first). It’s a very comprehensive level of protection that’s great while it lasts. But when it expires, you, the owner, are fully responsible for any future repair bills.

If you want to keep enjoying the peace of mind an auto protection plan offers, there are a couple of options. The first is a more traditional extended warranty, which does exactly what the name implies and extends your protection beyond the expiry date. You can usually purchase this type of vehicle warranty from your dealership or your manufacturer.

While it might seem like a good deal on the surface, this coverage has a few major drawbacks. It’s more expensive, you’re tied to dealerships for auto repairs (which isn’t ideal if you break down hundreds of miles from one), and you need to purchase the coverage while your factory warranty is still active. Leave it a day late, and you’ll no longer qualify.

The universally preferred alternative to a traditional extended warranty is a vehicle service contract (VSC) from a third-party provider like Endurance. Third parties are incentivized to offer almost as comprehensive coverage at an even better price point, usually throwing in plenty of additional perks to sweeten the deal. You’re also free to have repairs carried out at any certified repair facility, and you can purchase a VSC regardless of factory warranty status — great news for classic and vintage car owners.

While we’re on the topic, it’s worth noting that an extended auto warranty and auto insurance are very different. More specifically, extended warranty plans protect you from the cost of repair bills as a result of unexpected component failure, while auto insurance protects you from the cost of repair bills as a result of a collision or other such incident. However, investing in both is always recommended for total money-saving potential.

The Unique Needs of Older Cars

Older cars aren’t just unique in appearance — they also have unique needs. Due to their age, replacement parts might be harder to come by. They might have a more demanding recommended maintenance schedule. And if they’ve been on the road for almost two decades, repairs will probably be more regular, too.

The older the car, the higher the chance these repairs fall into the major category. For example, an older head gasket could fail completely, which (according to our friends at RepairPal) will set you back somewhere between $1,915 and $2,220. Sign up for an extended warranty with the appropriate level of coverage, though, and your provider will pay for the covered repairs.

Understanding Extended Warranty Coverage for Older Cars

When it comes to the question of what extended warranties cover, they usually fall into one of three types:

  • Powertrain warranty: A powertrain warranty is the most basic level of coverage available, protecting just the most important (and expensive) components that keep your vehicle moving forward. This includes your turbo/supercharger, drive axle, brakes, power steering, air conditioning and heating, fuel system, engine cooling system, cylinder head and intake manifold gasket seals, and electrical components.
  • Inclusionary warranty: A more comprehensive option that covers everything in a powertrain warranty and then some. If it’s specifically stated on your contract, it’s covered.
  • Exclusionary warranty: The most comprehensive extended warranty that covers almost everything between your bumpers (aka like a bumper-to-bumper warranty) except those components specifically listed on your contract.

However, when it comes to older vehicles, your coverage options might be more limited. Some extended warranty providers refuse to cover older cars altogether. At Endurance, we want to help as many drivers as possible, so our Select Premier coverage plan is designed to protect vital components in cars with up to 150,000 miles on the clock that are less than 20 years old. If your vehicle qualifies, you can enjoy quality coverage for your powertrain and select electrical systems.

Cost Considerations for Extended Warranties on Older Cars

No two cars are exactly the same, so no two warranties will cost the same amount. Whatever the vehicle, when you ask a provider for a quote, there are several factors they need to take into account. This includes things like the make and model of the vehicle, how old it is, how many miles it has traveled, and the reasons you drive it (e.g., commercial purposes).

While an older used vehicle with more mileage is almost guaranteed to be more expensive to acquire a vehicle protection plan, don’t forget just how expensive repairs can be. An extended warranty might cost you a lot of money in the short term, but the long-term savings can’t be denied. With a solid contract from a trustworthy provider, you could save hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars on trips to the auto shop.

Tips for Choosing the Right Warranty

Choosing the right warranty can be tough, whether it’s your first or fifth time. There are so many factors you need to consider. Especially if your vehicle is older or has more miles on the clock. For an easier start, compile a list of the most respected providers in your area and immediately filter out the ones that don’t cover older cars. You can quickly filter out even more if they don’t cover specific components you’d like to protect or if the purposes for which you’ll be using the car don’t qualify.

Once you have your shortlist, it’s time to compare and contrast. Weigh up things like price vs. level of coverage, and make sure to go through any prospective contracts with a fine-tooth comb. Getting to grips with what’s included and what’s excluded is important. The number one reason providers ever reject repair claims is that the person’s policy doesn’t cover the component in question. So make sure you’re fully familiar with what you’re getting before you put pen to paper.

The Benefits of Endurance Warranty for Older Cars

Not only is Endurance one of the few providers in America that covers older used cars, but we’re also one of the most reputable. Our Select Premier plan is designed with older car owners in mind, giving owners of cars with up to 150,000 miles on the clock that are up to 20 years old the opportunity to protect their pride and joy. More than just a powertrain plan, Select Premier has a relatively small exclusion list, covering your:

  • Cooling systems
  • Air conditioners
  • Drive axles
  • Engine
  • Transfer units
  • Fuel systems
  • Transmissions
  • Heating
  • Electrical components
  • Some luxury electrical components
  • Seals and gaskets

But an Endurance contract gets you so much more than just coverage. You’ll also benefit from a whole suite of added perks that come standard for every customer. This includes 24/7 roadside assistance if you break down, trip interruption coverage to keep inconvenience to a minimum, and rental car reimbursement if your car is stuck in the repair shop for a while. We offer varying deductibles from $0 to $500 and a 30-day free look period. New Endurance customers also get a year of Elite Benefits for a nominal activation fee, which adds even more value for money.

Shop for the Best Extended Car Warranty

Having an extended warranty can be a lifesaver when it comes to potential breakdowns. Component failure has a nasty habit of happening at the worst possible moment, leaving you stranded by the roadside hundreds of miles from home. You need a top-quality auto protection plan to ensure that doesn’t happen to you. And Endurance is America’s most trusted provider!

Our HQ in Northbrook, Illinois, opened its doors way back in 2006. Almost two decades since then, we’ve helped thousands of drivers save serious money on the cost of car ownership. Our eligibility is unrivaled, we offer low monthly payments, and we have a wide range of plans designed for an even wider range of drivers.

From casual commuters to select luxury car owners and even high-mileage cars, we have something to suit almost any situation. And if our base plans aren’t quite right for your individual needs and budget, our award-winning service team will customize the perfect plan for you.

Better yet, we also offer some of the best added benefits in the business. All Endurance customers can access 24/7 roadside assistance (with towing and lockout services), rental car coverage, and trip interruption costs as standard with every contract. On top of that, new customers also get a year of our Elite Benefits package, adding up to four tire repairs or replacements annually, key fob replacement, up to $500 in collision discounts, and up to $1,000 in total loss protection. All you need to do to enjoy them is pay a small activation fee.

Experts across the web recommend us as the country’s best vehicle service contract provider, and we have thousands of five-star reviews from happy customers. We offer a 30-day free look period, so give us a try! Call (800) 253-8203 to request a FREE quote. You can also shop online to see your price now!

If you’d like to do a little more reading, our extended warranty blog has many more helpful articles. Read comparisons of other car warranty companies like CarShield and CARCHEX, frequently asked questions (FAQs) about warranty costs, and auto expert tips for everyday drivers.

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