Extended auto warranties are a way to offset repair costs and provide peace of mind.
With so many providers and contract options, it’s hard to know what to look for when purchasing an extended warranty for a used car.
Read our shopping tips, then see our top six used car warranty picks, including our top choice, Endurance.
Affiliate disclosure: Automoblog and its partners may be compensated when you purchase the products below.
When you buy a used car, you may not know the whole story about its condition. An extended warranty may be your best hope for keeping repair costs low.
After comparing six of the best used car warranty companies, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of choosing the best extended car warranty for a used car so you’ll make the right decision for your wallet.
Featured Extended Warranty Companies
We reviewed the industry’s top extended auto warranty providers, and here are our featured picks.
Owners of older cars are twice as likely to spend more than $1,000 on maintenance and auto repairs, according to the NPD group. In 2017, Growing Industry Analysts, Inc. found that cars – including used cars – are lasting longer, and the global aftermarket industry is projected to grow to $1 trillion by 2022.
It’s no wonder there are so many extended auto warranty companies. It can be hard to navigate all of them, but we picked six well-known used car warranty companies and carefully examined their strengths and weaknesses.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) Rating: C (not BBB accredited)
Number of Plans: Six levels (direct provider)
Affordability: Endurance claims to save you up to 60 percent more than brokers.
Featured Plan: The EnduranceAdvantage plan is best for used vehicles and high-mileage vehicles. It can cover vehicles for over 200,000 miles.
Endurance has been in business for over 15 years and is known for being one of the only direct warranty providers in the industry. The company also has many comprehensive coverage options and many positive reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot, which is why we gave Endurance the Best Overall award in our best extended car warranty review.
Endurance currently offers six plans for drivers, which can cover 200,000 miles or more:
Supreme: This exclusionary bumper-to-bumper warranty provides maximum protection for your vehicle with only a shortlist of exclusions.
Superior: This vehicle protection plan offers the highest level of stated component coverage.
Secure Plus: This plan offers drivers premium powertrain plus protection and a short wait period.
Select Premier: This plan is designed specifically for high-mileage vehicles and protects the most essential components of the vehicle.
Secure: This most affordable vehicle service contract offers basic powertrain coverage.
EnduranceAdvantage: This plan offers extensive component and maintenance coverage.
Every Endurance auto warranty comes with roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and trip interruption coverage. Drivers will also receive one free year of Endurance Elite Benefits. Some of the program’s perks include:
Tire repair or replacement
Key fob repair or replacement
Total loss protection
Your choice of licensed repair facility
Lack of customizable plan options
Endurance takes care of all claims itself
Endurance Elite Benefits are only free for one year
Among used car warranty companies, CARCHEX has one of the best reputations in the industry. The company has an A+ rating from the BBB and is backed by several industry experts, including CARFAX, Kelley Blue Book, and Edmunds.com. CARCHEX offers five vehicle service contracts with coverage up to 250,000 miles.
Here’s an overview of the plans CARCHEX offers:
Titanium: This exclusionary plan is similar to a manufacturer’s warranty and covers all systems and components of your vehicle, except for a few parts.
Platinum: This vehicle service contract offers the highest level of stated-component coverage.
Gold: This vehicle protection plan is for vehicles over 60,000 miles and provides comprehensive powertrain coverage.
Silver: The plan offers essential coverage to major systems of your vehicle.
Bronze: This vehicle service contract provides basic powertrain coverage to your engine and transmission.
All CARCHEX plans come with 24/7 roadside assistance, towing, rental car reimbursement, and trip interruption coverage.
Coverage can last as long as 10 years
There are many different contracts to read to fully understand the terms among suppliers
Affordability with small or no down payments and $0 deductibles
Top-rated provider that protects cars up to 250,000 miles
3. CarShield: Most Affordable
Years in Business: 16
BBB Rating: F (not BBB accredited)
Number of Plans: Six coverage levels and 19 plans (including motorcycle and ATV coverage)
Affordability: Month-to-month plans and $0 deductibles available
Featured Plan: The Diamond plan is the company’s most popular because it’s comparable to a manufacturer’s warranty.
CarShield stands out from many competitors due to its low prices and comprehensive coverage. The company says it has covered more than a million vehicles and that its administrators have paid out over $1 billion in claims during its 16 years in business.
CarShield offers six comprehensive coverage plans that can be paid in month-to-month installments. Here’s an overview of each plan:
Diamond: This vehicle service contract covers everything from engine and transmission failure to starter and fuel pump breakdowns.
Platinum: This plan is designed for high-mileage vehicles and protects your vehicle’s engine, transmission, air conditioning, electrical system, starter, water pump, and fuel pump.
Gold: This vehicle protection plan covers major and minor vehicle parts, including your engine, transmission, water pump, alternator, and starter.
Silver: This affordable plan option provides powertrain coverage to your vehicle.
Aluminum: This vehicle service contract is geared toward covering most electrical and computer-related problems.
Motorcycle & ATV: This plan is designed to provide protection for specialty vehicles.
CarShield plans come with 24-hour roadside assistance, courtesy towing for breakdowns, and rental car reimbursement.
Month-to-month contracts allow flexibility
Catalytic converters aren’t covered
One plan is specifically for covering electrical and high-tech features, which can be expensive to repair
Our research found this provider to be the most affordable. Plus, it offers monthly plans.
4. Protect My Car: Best Maintenance Benefits
Years in Business: 16
BBB Rating: A+ (not BBB accredited)
Number of Plans: Three plans, as well as the Ambassador Maintenance Plan
Affordability: Flexible payment terms make monthly payments affordable, and deductibles are $100.
Featured Plan: The Supreme vehicle service contract is the most comprehensive, offering optional coverage for navigation systems.
Protect My Car is unique amongst used car warranty companies because it offers traditional warranty coverage and maintenance plans. The company has been in business for 16 years and offers extended warranties in every state except Alaska, California, Hawaii, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Washington.
Protect My Car offers three vehicle service contracts that can protect your vehicle up to 125,000 miles. Here’s a breakdown of the plans:
Supreme: This vehicle protection plan is similar to a manufacturer’s warranty and covers most major components of the vehicle.
Select: This policy was designed specifically for vehicles with over 50,000 miles and covers most of the same components as the Supreme plan, excluding the turbocharger and navigation systems.
Driveline: This plan provides protection for vehicles that are 4 to 10 years of age with more than 80,000 miles.
The vehicle service provider also offers three maintenance plans: Ambassador Elite, Ambassador Pro, and Ambassador Platinum. These contracts cover most vehicles, regardless of age or mileage.
All Protect My Car plans come with free oil changes and tire rotations that last for the duration of the contract.
A provider that offers maintenance and warranty plans to fit your needs
5. autopom!: Best Customer Service
Years in Business: 11
BBB Rating: A+ (BBB accredited)
Number of Plans: Four coverage levels with 19 plans available
Affordability: After your initial down payment, you have up to two years to pay the remaining balance.
Featured Plans: Exclusionary Plans are comparable to manufacturers’ original warranties. Some of these warranty options are technically mechanical breakdown insurance for customers in Idaho, Oregon, and California.
autopom! differentiates itself from other extended car warranty companies by working with A-rated insurers and administrators. The company works with third parties to provide extended warranty plans in all 50 states.
autopom! offers 19 vehicle service contracts that can be classified into four levels. Coverage is offered up to a maximum of seven years or 150,000 miles. Here’s what’s covered under each plan level:
Exclusionary: Exclusionary plans offer bumper to bumper protection for your vehicle. There are currently six contracts to choose from within this level of coverage.
High-Level: These stated component plans provide coverage for a vehicle’s major vehicle systems, including the engine, transmission, and drivetrain. There are five contracts available within this coverage level.
Mid-level: These plans provide comprehensive powertrain coverage in addition to the braking suspension and cooling systems. There are three contracts to choose from in this coverage level.
Powertrain Plus Plan: These plans cover your vehicle’s powertrain, including the engine, transmission, and drive axle. There are three contracts available.
In addition to these plan options, autopom! also offers several benefits to drivers who purchase a plan. These include trip interruption reimbursement, rental car assistance, and 24-hour roadside assistance.
Variety of plan options
No coverage for luxury brands and only limited coverage for Audi, BMW, and Mercedes vehicles
Customer service advocates with a variety of plans for your vehicle
6. Liberty Bell Auto Protect: Best Military Discount
Years in Business: 11
BBB Rating: F (not BBB accredited)
Number of Plans: Three coverage levels
Affordability: Affordable but comes with possible down payment
Featured Plan: Platinum Prime is the most comprehensive, including coverage for high-tech electronics and turbo/superchargers.
Liberty Bell Auto Protect is known in the industry for its military discounts and high customer review ratings. The company has a 3.6-star rating out of 5.0 on the BBB and a 4.0-star rating on Trustpilot.
Liberty Bell Auto Protect offers three vehicle service contracts for drivers that can last up to 140,000 miles:
Platinum Prime: This exclusionary vehicle service contract includes full bumper-to-bumper coverage with very few stated exceptions.
Platinum Plus: This plan covers most of the same components as the Platinum Prime plan, excluding the air conditioning, fuel system, brakes, suspension, turbo charge, seals, gaskets, and GPS navigation.
Platinum: This vehicle protection plan covers the most important systems of the vehicle, including the engine, transmission, and drive axle.
Each plan comes with benefits including roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and trip interruption coverage.
Liberty Bell Auto Protect Pros
Liberty Bell Auto Protect Cons
Plans are transferable
Platinum Plus only covers one more system than Platinum (steering)
ASE certified master technicians are available to assist in the claims process
A solid provider that offers a price match guarantee
How Much Does an Extended Warranty Cost?
Based on our research, the average price of an exclusionary auto warranty is around $2,400. That could range to about $100 to $200 per month, depending on your payment plan and if the provider requires a down payment.
Our research team obtained quotes from each warranty company for a 2018 Toyota Camry with 30,000 miles. Here are the prices we saw:
Car Warranty Provider
Extended Car Warranty Cost
5 years/100,000 miles
5 years/100,000 miles
5 years/100,000 miles
Protect My Car
4 years/100,000 miles
5 years/51,000 miles
Liberty Bell Auto Protect
4 years/60,000 miles
All of the warranties we obtained quotes for had deductibles of $100.
We found that Liberty Bell Auto Protect was the cheapest option, but it also required customers to pay for the entire warranty upfront. Endurance proved to be the most expensive of the bunch, although it had the lowest monthly payment at about $76 for 36 months.
In our own warranty survey, we polled 1,000 consumers who have either bought an extended auto warranty or considered buying one. Out of those respondents, we found that most paid between $1,500 and $2,500 for their extended coverage.
What Factors Affect Warranty Costs?
Pricing of extended auto warranties varies from customer to customer for a variety of reasons. Here are some things warranty providers consider when crafting a warranty quote:
The vehicle make and model
The condition of the vehicle
The level of coverage
The deductible amount
Your location (some warranties are not available in every state)
Finding the Best Used Car Warranty Company
There are three types of car warranties you’ll come across in your search.
The worst-case scenario when buying a used car is that it doesn’t even make it through the drive home. One of the most basic types of car warranties is the one provided by the dealership. These plans usually cover limited repairs, and coverage ends within a few months of the purchase or at a certain mileage.
A manufacturer’s warranty or factory warranty comes at no additional cost with the purchase of a new car. This car warranty covers auto repairs and replacements due to faulty factory materials or workmanship. Many of these warranties are transferable to a subsequent owner.
On the other hand, an extended manufacturer’s warranty or service contract offers continued coverage at an extra cost. Be aware that while the levels of coverage are comprehensive, these warranties tend to be more expensive than warranties from third parties.
This type of extended auto warranty can be administered by a broker or a company that directly handles car repairs. A broker is an intermediary that will help you choose a service plan normally backed by an auto insurance company.
Because independent extended used car warranty companies are not highly regulated, their reliability varies. Some third-party providers have the financial responsibility to meet claims and others do not, according to the South Carolina Bar, so you should check the BBB for ratings and customer complaints.
Used Car Warranty Coverage Options
Before you decide on a car warranty plan for your used vehicle, you should have a local repair shop do a health check. You’ll learn about any warning signs or weaknesses that could leave you stranded on the side of the road in the future. Plus, you’ll gain better insight into the level of coverage you need.
There are several types of vehicle service contracts, but most companies focus on these:
Powertrain/drivetrain warranty: This warranty covers the engine, transmission, and related components. Powertrain warranties are normally less expensive, as they don’t include electrical systems, braking systems, heating/cooling, etc. They tend to last five years or 60,000 miles on average.
Powertrain Plus warranty: This common type of plan includes powertrain coverage and additional components, such as air conditioning, electrical systems, and fuel delivery systems. It’s still a step below full coverage.
Bumper-to-bumper warranty: Sometimes called exclusionary plans, you’ll get a short list of components that are not covered rather than a list of items that are covered. Bumper-to-bumper coverage is closest to the comprehensive coverage offered by many manufacturers. Though more expensive, this protection can be the difference between a small deductible and a costly repair.
Always read the fine print in a contract before making a decision so you don’t fall victim to certain limitations. Vehicle service contracts often have the following exclusions and limitations:
Limited choices for local repair shops
Items such as brake pads, tires, wiper blades, etc.
Ineligibility for car owners who fail to perform routine maintenance
Repairs due to normal wear and tear (covers only a mechanical breakdown) or pre-existing conditions
How to Choose an Extended Auto Warranty
If you believe buying an extended auto warranty will help you breathe a bit easier, then you should know the criteria for a good coverage plan.
What should you look for in the best used car warranties?
Read industry reviews: Search a company’s BBB rating to gauge trustworthiness or see common customer reviews.
Review the benefits: Roadside assistance and related services are included in most extended warranty plans. Make sure these perks are part of your contract.
See who pays first: Find a service contract that pays repair bills upfront rather than reimbursing you later. Reimbursement could take months in some cases.
Where you can get covered repairs: Some extended car warranty companies do not allow you to choose your own repair facility. Companies that offer more flexibility are a better option.
Low deductibles: If a deductible is required for each repair, your repair should cost more than the deductible.
Limitations: Is there a mileage limit or waiting period on the contract? Some companies provide coverage for high-mileage vehicles – protection your used vehicle probably requires.
Who backs the company: Service contracts underwritten by insurance companies are more reliable, so stick to those. Insurance regulations require companies to maintain enough financial reserves to pay your claim.
These are all important factors to consider during your research. Don’t allow price to be your only driving factor when buying an extended auto warranty.
What to Avoid When Buying an Extended Warranty for Your Used Car
Just as there are many features to look for in a service contract, there are also red flags to avoid. It can be costly to succumb to the pressure of buying a used car extended warranty right away.
Avoid these warning signs and drawbacks:
Sample contracts that aren’t readily available
Pressure to buy coverage immediately over the phone
Contracts that don’t explicitly explain the claim process
Providers that seem like a scam and do not have online reviews
No choice of repair facility or extreme limits when away from home
Contracts that don’t allow cancellations or a typical 30-day money-back guarantee
Lack of roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, trip interruption service, or towing reimbursement benefits
Deceitful coverage (e.g. something that says the plan covers the engine yet excludes most of the engine’s internally lubricated items)
Remember, the most important thing you can do is read the entire contract.
The Best Used Car Warranty Companies:
#1 Endurance: Best Overall
#2 CARCHEX: Best for Used Cars
#3 CarShield: Most Affordable
#4 Protect My Car: Best Maintenance Benefits
#5 autopom!: Best Customer Service
#6 Liberty Bell Auto Protect: Best Military Discount
While Endurance is our choice for best coverage, we encourage you to consider the other car warranty providers and to get quotes so you can easily compare them. Some providers may be able to provide better coverage at a better price, depending on the age, make, and model of your car. For some helpful info, check out our Endurance vs. CARCHEX, CARCHEX vs. CarShield, and CarShield vs. Endurance warranty reviews.
What are the top-rated extended auto warranty companies?
Our research team named companies such as Endurance, CARCHEX, CarShield, and autopom! as some of the best auto warranty providers. These companies earned that distinction based on their service, industry reputations, and cost.
Is it worth getting an extended warranty on a used car?
Cars become more prone to mechanical breakdowns as they age, which means more time in the repair shop. An extended warranty on an older vehicle can help offset those out-of-pocket costs, but there’s no guarantee a protection plan will cover every repair.
How much is an extended warranty on a used car?
An extended car warranty on a used car can cost as lost as a few hundred dollars to as much as several thousand dollars. It depends on the car, plan provider, length and amount of coverage, deductible, and other factors.
Will my extended warranty coverage start right away?
Most extended warranties do not start until after 30 days or a certain number of miles (usually 1,000 or 3,000).
What is an aftermarket warranty?
An aftermarket warranty is from a third-party company. These warranties do not always use Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts. This shouldn’t have any serious effects, but it isn’t always ideal to have parts that are not specifically made for your car.
Is AA Auto Protection part of AAA?
No. They are separate companies that offer different vehicle services.
Can you buy an extended warranty on a used car?
You can buy an extended warranty on a used car from a wide variety of sources. Some car manufacturers offer their own extended warranties, but you can also buy coverage from one of many reputable used car warranty companies on almost any vehicle.
Is there a 30-day warranty on used cars?
Some states, such as California, do have laws that require a certain category of car dealerships to have a 30-day warranty on used cars that they sell. However, the vast majority of states and used car dealers do not fall under these laws.
Can you take a car under warranty to any dealership for repairs?
If you have a manufacturer’s warranty, you will most likely need to take your car to the dealership for repairs. However, with most third-party used car warranty companies, you can take your vehicle to any certified repair facility you choose.
Do car warranties transfer?
In most cases car warranties transfer when the vehicle changes ownership. A used car warranty is attached to the vehicle’s vehicle identification number (VIN) and will cover repairs for the duration of the warranty period, as long as the premiums are paid for.