Car warranties

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What is a car warranty?

A car warranty covers the cost of labour and parts over an agreed timeframe if your vehicle needs repairing due to mechanical or electrical failure.

Warranty term lengths vary but a typical example is three years or 60,000 miles – whichever you arrive at first.

Where can I get a car warranty?

If the car you are buying is brand new, it will almost certainly come with a free warranty thrown in from the manufacturer. Often these last for three years – or up to a given mileage limit – and come with the option to extend when it runs out.

At this point it’s important to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal – more on this below.

If you are buying a nearly new car, it might still fall under the original manufacturer’s warranty. This is linked to the vehicle itself and will be transferred over to your name as the new registered owner.

Can I get a warranty for a used car?

Major car dealerships also generally offer their own ‘approved used car’ warranties – often for a period of 12 months.

Note that in this case, unlike a manufacturer’s warranty, you will need to have the car serviced at the dealership you bought it from – or a franchise – for the warranty to remain valid.

Can I buy my own car warranty?

It’s also possible to buy a car warranty yourself from a range of independent warranty providers. Sometimes these are known as aftermarket warranties.

These are great if, for example, you have a vehicle you already own, or your existing warranty is about to expire.

You may also find you can get a better deal from an independent warranty provider rather than by extending with your current manufacturer’s or car dealership’s warranty.

Terms and conditions of aftermarket warranties can vary significantly – from their duration to the cap on the cost of repairs, as well as what types of repairs are covered.

Many will also have their own specific claims procedure, which could involve paying upfront and recouping the cost from the provider.

Always be sure to shop around and check the terms and conditions of each warranty before making your choice.

How much does a car warranty cost?

The cost of a car warranty depends on a range of factors, starting with the vehicle itself. For example:

  • The value of the car (the more expensive, the more it may cost to repair)
  • The age of the car (the older it is, the more likely it may be to break down)
  • The miles on the clock and the miles you drive (the more use the car has, the more likely you may be to activate the car warranty)
  • The level of cover (some car warranty providers offer cover for more than just the engine or mechanics)

You can keep the cost of a warranty down by opting for a more basic package or a shorter warranty – but bear in mind that the less coverage the warranty offers, the more likely it is you’ll need to dip into your own pocket to pay for repairs which can be costly.

What’s usually covered by a car warranty?

Car warranties generally covers the cost of repairs to engines and transmission, fuel systems, air conditioning and cooling systems, gear boxes, steering, suspension, non-frictional clutch and brake parts and electrics.

But exactly what is covered varies between policies – so check the small print.

What’s usually not covered by a car warranty?

Some repairs will fall firmly outside most warranties, including replaceable parts such as batteries, bulbs, wheels and tyres.

Wear and tear – such as to damage of brake discs and brake pads – is also generally not included. And neither are cosmetic repairs such as to paintwork or the car’s interior.

Accidental damage and vandalism that requires repair to your vehicle or replacement of parts would also not fall under the warranty.

However, you can opt to have some repairs added onto your policy for extra cost.

What else should I be aware of when buying a car warranty?

When comparing car warranties, make sure you understand the difference between insured and uninsured products.

Insured car warranties are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They are also members of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) which will protect your policy – and therefore your vehicle – should the provider go bust.

Non-insured warranty providers may be a member of the Motor Ombudsman Body (MOB). This means it must operate under a set code of practice and adhere to minimum standards.   

All warranty providers listed on MoneySuperMarket are backed by a trusted panel of insured and non-insured products which are covered by the either the FCA or the MOB.

Could my car warranty claim be rejected?

Having bought a car warranty, you will need to take some responsibility for ensuring it remains valid. For example, you could find you are unable to claim if you:

  • use your vehicle even if a warning light has appeared on the dashboard
  • drive your vehicle in spite of a noticeable mechanical or electrical fault
  • fail to have your vehicle serviced at the intervals recommended in the agreement
  • make modifications to the vehicle, or fitting non-standard or non-manufacturer approved parts during repairs
  • fill up with the wrong fuel or fluids
  • do not follow the stated warranty claim procedure correctly

Don’t forget your car insurance

And remember that if your car insurance is due for renewal, you can also compare car insurance to see if you can save on your current deal.

How does our car warranty comparison work?

Here at MoneySuperMarket, we’ve teamed up with protectyourfamily.com, to provide you with a car warranty comparison service.

Protectyourfamily.com is a trading name of Comparison Creator Limited, a company registered in England and Wales (Registration Number 07336373). Comparison Creator Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Reference Number 832239).

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