Understanding car warranties
Car warranties, otherwise known as mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) – are an insurance product protecting you from unexpected repair bills as well as wear and tear. The type of car warranty you obtain can largely depend on whether it’s a new or used car, and might even come inclusive when you purchase your vehicle.
How does a car warranty work?
If your car develops mechanical problems and you need to get it fixed, the cost of repairs at a garage can make a significant dent into your bank balance.
However, a car warranty policy can protect you.
All warranties are different, and so will cover different things. It’s crucial that you read the terms and conditions of your policy so that you know exactly what protection it offers you.
A good comprehensive warranty will cover problems that arise with the:
- Brake system parts
- Cool system
- Fuel system
- Ignition system
- Transmission system
Car warranty exclusions
However, a car warranty won’t cover everything.
For example, wear and tear is generally not included, though with some policies you can pay extra for certain wear and tear problems to be covered too.
Equally, not all policies cover the car’s air-conditioning system, while sat-navs and your radio may also be excluded.
Do I really need a car warranty?
If you’ve just bought a new motor, worrying about how to pay for any upcoming repairs is probably the last thing on your mind.
Cars today are more reliable than they have ever been, so if you’re one of the lucky ones you could go months - or even years - without running into any issues with your car.
And there’s also a good chance that a brand new car will have a manufacturer’s warranty lasting a number of years.
If you buy second hand through a dealership, you may also find that the car comes with a warranty, or you might be offered one as part of the sales process.
One consequence of the increased sophistication and complexity of modern vehicles is that there are more things that can potentially go wrong. Also, when they do, the cost of repairs can be substantial.
The whole situation only becomes more stressful if you are lumbered with a hefty repair bill and you don’t have the money to pay for it.
On top of this, if you rely on your car for work or to ferry the children to and from school, you could suffer major inconvenience and even more expense. Many of us motorists would struggle to carry on our regular lives without the use of our vehicles.
As a result, getting protection in the form car warranty insurance can make sound financial sense. The cover gives you peace of mind, the knowledge that if you need to send your car to the garage, this type of unexpected repair bill can be avoided.
How long does a car warranty last?
A car warranty can run from as little as one month to as long as five years in length, though many motorists opt for a 12-month policy which they can then renew each year in much the same way as a traditional car insurance policy.
How much does a car warranty cost?
The price you have to pay for your car warranty will vary depending on a number of factors.
These will include the make, model and age of the car, how many miles it has done, as well as your own details.
Has your car been serviced?
If you are buying a warranty on a used car, providers will generally stipulate that the vehicle needs to have been serviced within the last 12 months.
What’s more, once you have the warranty in place, you will have to adhere to the service intervals recommended by the manufacturer.
Buying a warranty from a stand-alone provider
As noted, when you buy a new car, the warranty from the manufacturer is generally included in the price. And if you are buying second hand through a dealership, this may also come with a warranty attached.
But you can also buy a car warranty at any time through a specialist warranty provider. You can attach this warranty to a used car that you have bought privately, or to improve and extend the cover offered by the existing manufacturer or dealer’s warranty.
It’s a good idea to do some research before signing up to the warranty offered by your dealer, to see whether you can get a better deal by buying directly from a specialist provider. You may find there are big savings to be had if you purchase your cover from a stand-alone car warranty provider.
Comparing car warranties
When you’re looking for car warranty insurance, we want to give you as much choice as possible, so you can find the best company for you. We can’t promise to show you every single insurer, because some don’t want to be included on comparison websites. To help give you quick and easy access to competitive warranty deals, MoneySuperMarket has teamed up with Warranty direct, Click4Warranty and Motoreasy, three of the UK’s leading providers of new and used car warranties. You can find out more about how we work here.