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Things to Do When Your Car Needs Repairs and You Have an Extended Warranty

BY: Andrew Giorgi
Senior man with his broken car on the side of a country road

An extended warranty can be a lifesaver when your vehicle unexpectedly breaks down. With some repairs costing hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars, an auto protection plan can save you some serious money. But in order to save that money, you need to know what’s included by your warranty company and what steps you need to take to ensure a successful claim.

To help you, we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide you can refer to whenever you need to arrange a car repair through your extended warranty. From understanding your coverage to preparing for your trip to the auto shop, keep reading for everything you need to know about avoiding expensive repairs.

Understanding Your Extended Warranty Coverage

So you think your car needs a repair, but is that repair covered by your extended warranty?

Whether or not you can claim will completely depend on the product you purchased from your auto warranty provider. While most providers offer a range of plans with different levels of coverage, they can more or less always be grouped into one of three categories:

Exclusionary Warranty

This is the most comprehensive type of plan offered by extended warranty providers. While not quite the bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage you get with a factory warranty, it can sometimes come pretty close, with almost everything under your hood protected besides the components specified on a list of exclusions. How long this list is will completely depend on your provider and the plan you’ve taken out with them, but you’ll probably find the vast majority of parts are covered to some degree.

Inclusionary or Stated Component Warranty

Where an exclusionary plan covers everything except those on a list of exclusions, an inclusionary (aka stated component plan) only covers the components specifically stated on a list of inclusions. This can be as long or as short as your warranty provider decides, but as this is considered the middle level of coverage, you should expect more than just the core engine systems to be protected.

Powertrain Warranty

A powertrain warranty is the most basic level of extended auto protection, and it’s usually reserved for those who only have the means to cover the most crucial components. More specifically, this type of warranty covers the parts of your vehicle that move it forward, including the engine, driveshaft, transmission, transfer case, and differential. If the component in question isn’t one of those, it probably isn’t something you can claim for.

Ultimately, the only way to be certain whether a component is covered by your extended warranty is by checking your coverage options. While these kinds of specifics are something you should be conscious of when choosing a contract and provider, it can be easy to forget later down the line — so make sure to keep important documentation handy in case you ever need to refer to it. If you still aren’t 100% certain, the best providers will have a customer care team on hand to answer your vehicle warranty questions. Get in touch, and they should be able to give you a definitive answer.

Initial Steps: Assessing the Repair Need

It may seem obvious, but your first step should be to assess the situation and decide whether a repair is necessary. A malfunctioning vehicle is never ideal, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a component has failed. For example, your issue could be as simple as a dead battery. In this scenario, a jumpstart might be all you need to get back on the road, with your alternator doing the rest of the work to keep it there.

There’s also the possibility that the repair is outside your warranty’s remit. Most providers don’t cover wear and tear items like tires, so your extended warranty won’t be useful if you’ve experienced any puncture or blowout.

On the bright side, these types of parts usually have their own manufacturer warranty. If they’ve failed while this is active, you should have a number to call to seek help from the manufacturer or one of their affiliates.

Filing a Claim: The Process Explained in 8 Steps

The claims process can differ between providers, but at Endurance, it couldn’t be more straightforward. Our claims process can be broken down into eight simple steps:

1. Prevent further damage.

If your new car or used vehicle has broken down, do your utmost to prevent further damage. Call roadside assistance immediately so they can help you as soon as possible. The number can be found in the Endurance app.

2. Take your vehicle to a licensed repair facility.

Endurance customers have the luxury of taking their vehicle to the licensed auto shop of their choosing. Ask roadside assistance to take you to a mechanic you trust, and provide that mechanic with a copy of your Endurance contract/your Endurance customer number before they do anything to your vehicle.

3. Service manager obtains authorization from the administrator prior to making any repairs.

Instruct the mechanic to contact us before any work is carried out. We can then give them the authorization necessary for the claim to go ahead.

4. Authorize tear-down and/or inspection.

In certain cases, you may need to authorize the mechanic to carry out a tear-down or inspection to get to the root cause of the issue.

5. Review your warranty coverage.

At this point, it’s recommended that you review with the service manager what will be considered a covered repair using your contract with us.

6. Pay any applicable deductible.

If your plan has a deductible, you are required to pay it before work can commence. It can range anywhere from $0 to $500.

7. Keep all forms of documentation during this time.

It’s unlikely you’ll need them, but it’s important that you keep all documentation safe in case there are any disputes or any funds need to be reimbursed to you after repairs have been completed.

8. Sit back and relax while your car is getting repaired.

Your mechanic should have you back on the road in no time, or if things take a little longer than expected, your rental car reimbursement perk will ensure you aren’t left without a ride.

Selecting Authorized Repair Facilities

If your extended warranty was purchased via your vehicle’s dealership or manufacturer, you’ll most likely be restricted to authorized dealerships for repairs. A list of these should be available online or in the documentation provided with your contract. Unfortunately, you might find that your closest one isn’t all that close, but taking your vehicle elsewhere will result in repairs that don’t comply with your coverage.

Any ASE Certified auto repair shop will do for vehicle service contracts from third-party providers. What we consider a licensed repair facility is a for-profit entity recognized by the state in the business of repairing motor vehicles. Go somewhere you know and trust, or if you’re far from home, check online reviews to find a quality mechanic nearby. Just make sure to show them a copy of your Endurance contract before they do anything to your vehicle.

Preparing for the Repair: Documentation and Procedures

Your extended warranty contract or customer number is usually all you need to initiate a covered repair. The auto shop will then contact your provider to confirm your plan and follow any additional required steps. It’s recommended that you keep a copy of your contract in your glove compartment for emergencies, or if you’re an Endurance customer, you can find all of the most important documentation in the Endurance Mobile app. Make sure it’s downloaded on your device, sign yourself in, and you’ll have everything you could possibly need at your fingertips.

Understanding Warranty Claim Approvals and Denials

Whoever you get it from, there will be a number of stipulations in your warranty contract that determine whether claims are approved or denied. For example, almost every warranty provider will require you to follow your manufacturer’s recommended routine maintenance plan for oil changes and more for your coverage to remain valid. This is because neglected components are more likely to fail prematurely, and they’ll put extra strain on surrounding components, which can also fail prematurely as a result.

By far, the most common reason for claim denials, however, is that the component a driver is trying to claim isn’t covered by their contract. Because of this, it’s crucially important that you’re fully aware of what is and isn’t included in your warranty and to read the fine print before you purchase it. Likewise, double-check your contract before making a claim on your next mechanical breakdown, or you could be in for some bad news.

Managing Out-of-Pocket Expenses and Reimbursements

The better providers out there will do their utmost to ensure no money ever leaves your wallet, but there might be some circumstances where you need to pay for a service to be reimbursed later. For example, if you need to hire a rental car while yours is at the auto shop, you’ll usually need to pay upfront for this and then claim the cost back later.

Reimbursement can only happen if you keep all your receipts and other such documentation from these transactions, so make sure not to throw them out. Having them nearby when you put in your claim will make the whole process smoother, meaning the money will be back in your account much sooner.

Post-Repair: Warranty Updates and Future Considerations

Once you’re back on the road, it’s worth thinking briefly about your vehicle and warranty. If you found out that the failed component wasn’t covered by your contract, you might want to chat with your provider to see if you can add it to your plan for next time. If it was covered, you should be able to predict which components are at risk of failing next. Check your contract to see if these are covered, and see if you can have them added if they aren’t.

America’s Most Trusted Third-Party Warranty Provider

With the annual cost of car ownership recently boiling over $12,000, there’s no denying the money-saving potential of an extended warranty. But without a provider, you can truly rely on, even the most comprehensive contract isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Thankfully, you’re in the right place — because Endurance is the most trusted name in the industry.

We set up our HQ in Northbrook, IL, almost two decades ago now, helping thousands of drivers to protect their vehicles since then. Our range of plans is one of the widest around, with options that can be customized for everyday commuters, rideshare drivers, luxury car owners, and pretty much everyone in between. We pride ourselves on our unrivaled eligibility, affordability, and flexibility, so if our base plans don’t quite suit your individual needs and budget, our award-winning customer service team will be more than happy to create a customized plan.

As well as quality coverage, we offer some of the best added benefits. 24/7 roadside assistance, towing, fuel delivery, trip interruption costs, and replacement travel reimbursement (aka rental car coverage) are standard with every Endurance plan. Every new customer also gets a year of Endurance Elite Benefits, unlocking access to extra perks such as tire repair, key fob replacement, total loss protection, and more. Just pay a small activation fee, and you’re all set.

All over the web, experts rate us as the best vehicle service contract money can buy, but if you need a little more convincing, we have thousands of five-star reviews from happy customers on sites like Trustpilot and Google, too. Once you’ve checked us out, call (800) 253-8203 to request a FREE quote.

You can also shop online to see your price now! Or, head over to our extended warranty blog if you’d like to review more FAQs, warranty provider comparisons with CARCHEX and CarShield, information about mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) for California residents, and more.

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