Car warranties are not cheap to buy but, as we have said before here at The Car Expert, they are a ‘good to have’ if you’re running a reasonably new, average mileage and still valuable car that you want to keep on the road and in good condition.
Like any insurance policy, they offer peace of mind and a safety cushion to fall back on if something goes wrong with your car and you find yourself stranded and faced with a repair bill.
The difference with an extended warranty or an independent provider policy – compared with regular car insurance, or insurance on your home – is that you’re not obliged to buy it.
The law insists that you have at least third-party cover if you want to drive a car on the public road, while your bank or finance company will usually insist on fully comprehensive car insurance for any finance agreement.
But used car warranties aren’t like that. Just like roadside assistance or recovery contracts, it’s personal choice whether you want to buy one or not. And, when all the facts are considered, pondered and contemplated, it all boils down to this: is it worth it? Or, put another way; will my warranty save me money?
How likely are you to claim on the warranty?
It’s normal that you wouldn’t expect to have a major repair costs on your car every year. So most years that you’re paying for a car warranty, you probably won’t have to claim on it. That’s no different to your home insurance, car insurance, health insurance and so on.
But as a car gets older and the mileage keeps increasing, the chances of a major part breaking get ever higher. Sooner or later, you’re likely to be facing a large bill.
The value question then becomes one of judging how likely you are to have an expensive repair at some point compared to the cost of paying for a warranty each year.
If your car suffers a catastrophic problem that requires a lot of new parts and several hours of expensive labour time to fix, then chances are it will be a lot more expensive than a lifetime of warranty payments. If you car never breaks, then obviously you’re losing money by paying for a warranty that you never claim on.
Beyond whether you’re saving money with a warranty, most car owners find that it gives them peace of mind to know that at least some major expenses will be covered if their car breaks down. If you own your car long enough, it’s really more of a gamble not to have a warranty.
Costs and other options
Warranty quotes vary greatly depending on the make and model of your car, its age, mileage, the level of excess you are prepared to pay and other factors. A warranty will usually cost between £150 and £600 a year.
A full service on your car will cost less than that – perhaps £150-£250 depending on the car – and it should weed out many potential problems that could be looming in the future. So in that respect, saving money for the service might be a better bet.
Putting money aside of your own in case you need some repair work is another choice. Rather like having your own ‘warranty policy’. But there are still no ‘savings’.
For most drivers the peace of mind comes from the fact that the warranty is there to provide the repair funds, even if they’re relatively small, just when you need them. You can guarantee your car is going to break down or fail to start at the most expensive time of the month for you – maybe when you don’t really have the funds to cover a garage repair bill, and that warranty policy can suddenly become your saviour.
Is a warranty likely to save you money?
If you have read the small print before you bought it, and are confident that the part that has failed on your car is covered under the terms of the agreement, you can happily contact the provider’s claims department and arrange to have the problem fixed. That’s what warranties are about: convenience, speed, confidence, calmness. But they’re not necessarily a saving.
A ‘saving’ from inconvenience, worry and a potential shortfall in your already tight monthly budget, is what a warranty provides you.
And no money in the world can buy that. Can it?
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: