Extended car warranty: should you get a used car warranty?

Is it worth taking out an extended car warranty? See our full guide and prices

BuyaCar team
Apr 13, 2018

Buying a used car that's been through inspections, tests and background checks provides plenty of reassurance that you're getting a high-quality vehicle.

But even meticulous preparation can’t guarantee that your car will be faultless for years to come. This is where an extended used car warranty can provide further peace-of-mind.

If your vehicle is already covered by a comprehensive warranty, including manufacturer's cover, then an aftermarket warranty will take over when they expire.

The best products cover all electrical and mechanical parts, plus items such as the air conditioning system and airbags. Realistic labour repair costs are included in top policies too, along with breakdown cover.

In the unlikely event that your car suffers a major fault, then a comprehensive policy could be a godsend, with engine and gearbox faults often costing £3,000 or more.

Scroll down for more information on whether buying an extended warranty is the right decision for you.

 

Is an extended used car warranty worth it?

Like most insurance policies, you pay for an extended warranty and hope that you’re never in a position where your car lets you down and you have to make a claim.

For many owners, the peace of mind alone is worth the price, even for the most reliable models. And if things do go wrong, then a single claim could be worth more than the entire premium.

Honda is rated as the most dependable manufacturer, according to one provider, Warrantywise. But on the odd occasion that something goes wrong, the company says that the average repair cost is £535.

Other brands rated high for reliability include Toyota, with an average repair cost of £592 and Suzuki at £424.

Prices are generally higher for more premium brands: Mercedes vehicles are rated by Warrantywise as having average reliability, with a £751 repair cost. Audi cars have a similar reliability score and a £620 repair cost.

  

What does an extended used car warranty cover?

Extended car warranty: inside bonnet

The best policies will pay for repair or replacement to all mechanical and electrical components that suddenly and unexpectedly fail. This includes the most expensive parts, such as the engine, gearbox, suspension and the car’s computer (known as the ECU).

Other potentially costly parts such as the air conditioning system, dashboard screens and airbags are also partly covered by the most comprehensive warranties.

Ideally, these parts will be repaired or replaced at full cost to the warranty provider - apart from any excess that’s agreed at the start of the policy.

Watch out for some companies that apply betterment, which may require you to pay a proportion of the cost in situations where a new part is thought to improve your car’s condition or value.

Parts excluded from extended warranties

Several parts are not normally covered, including frequently damaged items, such as windscreens, wheels, tyres and the car’s bodywork: your warranty won’t cover you if someone scrapes your door in a car park, for example.

Worn out components, aren’t covered either: extended warranties aren’t designed to cover old and well-used parts, which have come to the end of their working lives. This includes parts such as gearboxes, clutches and braking components, which are covered if they fail in other circumstances.

The expensive batteries in hybrid and electric cars may not be covered by an extended warranty. Manufacturer battery cover is usually extensive, lasting for five or more years, but if this has expired, then you may require a specialist policy - potentially from the manufacturer.

You’ll need to ensure that your car is serviced on time and that you report issues, such as strange noises or dashboard warning lights, immediately or the warranty company may refuse to pay out.

Warrantywise Cover

BuyaCar has partnered with Warrantywise to offer extended cover with every used car.

The Platinum Plus policy either begins immediately, or at the end of any remaining new car warranty, and is the most comprehensive level of cover offered by Warrantywise.

It comes with breakdown cover, plus car hire and hotel expenses if you are left stranded. All mechanical and electrical parts are included, as well as additional items including the airbag system, air conditioning, multi-media systems and labour rates of up to £200 an hour. MoT failures are also covered and betterment is not used.

There are some exclusions. For example, worn out parts are not included; sudden and unexpected failures due to wear and tear are only covered on vehicles that are less than ten years old, with less than 100,000 miles on the clock. A full list of exclusions, terms and conditions is in the policy booklet, which you can request.

 

Extended car warranty quotes

At the time of publication, Warrantywise Platinum Plus cover was available for one year at £299, or two years at £499 for cars with an engine size of up to two litres. The cost can be spread across several years by adding it to any car finance repayments.

The price is higher for cars with engines that are larger than two litres; you can request a quote when you reserve your vehicle.

 

How do you claim on an extended car warranty?

Mechanic inspecting car with extended warranty

Warranty companies typically have an emergency phone line to report problems or breakdowns and there’s normally an out of hours service.

Call centre staff should arrange for your car to be repaired or recovered at the roadside, if needed, and will also be able to advise on the company’s car hire and hotel expenses policies.

Repairs or inspections need to be agreed in advance. Your warranty company will usually pay for these directly if they are carried out by a repair firm that’s approved by them.

You may have the option of choosing your own repair company. If this is the case, then you’re likely to have to pay for the work yourself and then claim it back later - but you’ll still need to get it authorised first.

 

Extended car warranty: age limits

As vehicles get older and increasing numbers of components wear out, it gets more difficult and more expensive to take out warranty cover.

In many cases, policies will also offer less protection. For example, Warrantywise will only offer protection against sudden and unexpected failure due to wear and tear on vehicles that are less than ten years old, and with under 100,000 miles on the clock.

Once your car has reached 15 years old, or has covered 150,000 miles, then it no longer offers any warranty protection.

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