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Car warranty jargon explained

It’s always best to read the small print before signing on the dotted line of a used car warranty. But do you know what it all that detail means?

Car warranty advice at The Car Expert, brought to you by

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As we have advised previously here at The Car Expert, it is well worth considering a used car warranty if you have bought yourself a new (to you) car.

You wouldn’t buy a brand new model and not expect at least three years of cover against something going wrong, so why think about doing that, just because your new wheels are second hand?

There are several warranty providers offering cover for parts and labour, and each has different terms and conditions, so it’s worth taking the time to read the small print to see exactly what you are signing up for and what you can expect in the future if something does go ‘bang’.

But what is it you’re looking at? And do you understand all the terms and jargon used in a warranty document? It’s important not to assume that, just because you have paid good money for your plan, every part of the car is going to be covered. That’s not the case, and the plan providers will outline, with specific clauses what is, and what isn’t covered by your agreement.

Here are some of the main items to look for and what they mean.

Here at The Car Expert, we have some fantastic warranty offers for our readers provided by our commercial partners. If you’re interested in a used car warranty, you should check these out:

  • ALA Insurance provides used car warranties in conjunction with the RAC
  • Warrantywise is a long-established and multi-award-winning warranty provider
  • MotorEasy offers warranties and many other types of cover for car owners

Age limit

Many warranties have an age limit for cars – perhaps 10 or 12 years – so if your motor is getting on, it might not be worth insuring against breakdown.

Betterment

If a repair makes your car worth more than it was, your provider might not pay for the whole bill, leaving you to find some of the money.

Claim limit

There will be set thresholds on how much you can expect back for each component and repair. It’s also worth checking at what point you can make a first claim. That could be weeks or even months after your policy’s start.

Consequential damage

If something fails and then damages another part, the warranty might not cover both components, so it’s important to get your car into the repair shop for a look-over as soon as you suspect there’s a fault developing.

Excess

Many policies will allow you to opt to pay for some of the damage yourself with the insurer topping up the final bill. The more you pay, the smaller your premium will be, so it’s a good consideration if you’re not sure about spending big money on a warranty. Some excesses are compulsory, especially in higher mileage cars.

Labour rate

Some repairers charge an hourly rate that insurers are simply not prepared to pay. The provider will have a maximum allowed labour rate. After that, you pay the rest.

Mileage allowance

Rather like age limit, the higher your total mileage gets, the less insurable your car becomes. You might have to stay within a set mileage range to keep your warranty operating.

Ombudsman

If you’re ever unhappy about the claim settlement you are being offered, or about the way you have been treated by a warranty provider, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service. They consider all the evidence and have powers to settle claims.

Previous faults

The warranty might not cover damaged parts that were already there when you took out the warranty.

Regulated

A regulated warranty is usually more expensive than an unregulated warranty, but there are benefits to the extra cost.

Regulated warranty providers must report to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) twice a year to give an account of their solvency situation, their financial resources and accountability, so it’s worth looking for this particular form of peace of mind.

Read more: Should my used car warranty be regulated?

Service book

Insurers expect you to keep your car serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Fail to do so, and you could invalidate your warranty.

Workshop choice

You can’t always go to whatever repair shop you choose. Many warranty providers have their own ‘approved’ garages.

Warning lights

Don’t ignore warnings on your dashboard. If you do, it’s another reason why you might not be covered just when you need it.

Wear and tear

Don’t expect brake pads, tyres and clutch plates to be covered. These, and other ‘consumables’, won’t count in your cover.

Here at The Car Expert, we have some fantastic warranty offers for our readers provided by our commercial partners. If you’re interested in a used car warranty, you should check these out:

  • ALA Insurance provides used car warranties in conjunction with the RAC
  • MotorEasy offers warranties and many other types of cover for car owners
  • Warrantywise is a long-established and multi-award-winning warranty provider

More car warranty information

Used car warranty – the law and your rights

Used car warranty – the law and your rights

The top 10 car warranty claims in the UK

The top 10 car warranty claims in the UK

What’s the difference? Car warranty vs. car insurance

What’s the difference? Car warranty vs. car insurance

Understanding your warranty policy

Understanding your warranty policy

Warranty sales rise post-lockdown – but so do claims

Warranty sales rise post-lockdown – but so do claims

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Tom Johnston
Tom Johnstonhttp://johnstonmedia.com/
Tom Johnston was the first-ever reporter on national motoring magazine Auto Express. He went on to become that magazine’s News Editor and Assistant Editor, and has also been Motoring Correspondent for the Daily Star and contributor to the Daily and Sunday Express. Today, as a freelance writer, content creator and copy editor, Tom works with exciting and interesting websites and magazines on varied projects.
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