What Is an Extended Car Warranty?

I’ve been trying to reach you regarding your car’s extended warranty. No, like, actually. This isn’t a fever dream you’re having because you get those extended car warranty spam calls so much. Now, it’s time to talk about what an extended car warranty is, and whether or not it’s worth it.

Is it worth it to take an extended warranty on a car?

A wrecked Audi with the front bumper missing
Even more extensive damage can be covered by an extended car warranty | Richard Baker via Getty Images

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Per iSeeCars, an extended warranty functions a lot like your regular insurance. Just like insurance, if something bad happens (in this case, your shit breaks), then you simply pay the deductible and the cost of repairs will be covered. You’ll also have to fork over some cash up front, just like car insurance. Obviously, the biggest benefit here is the worst-case scenario.

Should you be involved in some sort of horrible wreck, you know you’re covered. Honestly, for that alone, it’s worth taking the warranty. That, in tandem with your insurance, ensures (ha) that any damages will absolutely be covered. Plus, in the instance parts are installed incorrectly, for example, that warranty has got your back.

An extended car warranty can mean peace of mind

Mechanics conduct work on two cars with their hoods open. Work like this, done in a shop can be covered under an extended car warranty
Mechanics love a good warranty job | Guillermo Legaria via Getty Images

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With cars in general, that kind of peace of mind can be hard to come by. Obviously, most new cars do come with some level of warranty right from the factory, but how good that thing is varies wildly from brand to brand. Kia’s warranty, for example, will cover your powertrain for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Volvo, on the other hand, covers just half that.

It’s also not uncommon for costs to become a little cheaper as time goes on. Usually, things like this are accounted for as your newer car depreciates. However, these are legally binding contracts. Look through the fine print to see if that’s the case. Moreover, it’s generally the case that whatever extended car warranty you may have will start up once your factory one expires.

Warranty costs can be low

A Jeep dealership desk with a 2021 Jeep Gladiator truck in the background
You’ll probably sign up for an extended car warranty at a dealership like this | Ben Hasty Getty Images

Due to the sheer number of providers, expect the cost of things like this to vary. However, the general rule here, like most things cars, is that you get what you pay for. Don’t go getting the single-ply toilet paper of warranties, your you’ll regret it when that car toilet paper inevitably rips and leaves you with a mess to clean up. That said, iSeeCars says that consumers can expect to pay around $1,000-$3,000 up front, plus whatever the deductible might be. Regardless, the peace of mind offered here is simply unparalleled.