Is an Aftermarket Car Warranty Worth It?

Stephen Kenney
by Stephen Kenney

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An aftermarket car warranty provides extra protection for your car after the factory warranty expires. Other names for an aftermarket car warranty include vehicle service contract, vehicle protection plan, or extended car warranty.

This article will dive deep into what an aftermarket warranty is, how much these contracts cost, and if this coverage is right for you. We also recommend a few of the best extended auto warranty providers to help you start your search. You can get a free quote from each company using the buttons above.

What is an Aftermarket Warranty?

An aftermarket car warranty provides protection for your vehicle’s major parts after its original manufacturer warranty expires. Aftermarket warranties are called many names, including vehicle service contracts and extended warranties, and can range from basic coverage to comprehensive protection.

What is the Best Aftermarket Car Warranty?

Each provider has its benefits and disadvantages. In the aftermarket warranty industry, untrustworthy, fly-by-night businesses are unfortunately common, so consumers must take extra consideration to seek out reputable extended car warranty companies.

The following chart compares top-rated, reliable aftermarket warranty providers to help you decide which is the best choice for you.

What It’s Known For

Longest

Term Limit

Number of Coverage Levels

Transferable Coverage

Deductible Options

#1:

Endurance

Best Coverage

200,000+ miles

6

$0, $50, $100, $200

#2:

CARCHEX

Best For Used Cars

250,000 miles

5

$0, $50, $100, $200

#3: CarShield

Best Value

300,000 miles

6

$0, $50, $100

How Much Does an Aftermarket Warranty Cost?

The average annual cost of an aftermarket warranty is around $850. Installment plans are often offered to break down the cost of coverage into monthly payments. This way, you won’t have to pay for your aftermarket car warranty in a lump sum.


Extended warranties from vehicle manufacturers tend to be more expensive than warranties from third-party providers. Some factors that influence the cost of an extended car warranty are:

  • Your location
  • The make and model of car you drive
  • The provider you purchase coverage from
  • Your vehicle’s age
  • The number of miles on your odometer

Typically, the more expensive your car is, the more expensive an extended protection plan will be. The final cost also depends on what you prioritize when you’re looking for an aftermarket car warranty. If you need your high-tech computer systems and GPS covered, your policy could be more expensive than a typical extended car warranty.

Is an Aftermarket Car Warranty Worth It?

Aftermarket car warranties are usually worth it if you meet one or more the following criteria:
  • Your car has low reliability ratings.
  • Your vehicle’s factory warranty has expired or is close to expiring.
  • You drive a luxury vehicle or other car that requires repairs to be made with genuine manufacturer parts in order to operate at peak performance.
  • The thought of a sudden, major repair bill worries you.
  • The coverage you need can be found at an affordable price from a reputable provider.

An aftermarket car warranty isn’t for you if:

  • Your vehicle has a lift kit, altered suspension, or other aftermarket accessories that would void most warranty coverage.
  • You would bet at least $450 (the average price of the most common car repairs) that your car will not break down while you own it.

Overall, purchasing an aftermarket car warranty is a good idea for most drivers. Although your coverage may never get used to its full extent, it will at least bring you peace of mind to know that you won’t be stuck with a hefty repair bill in the event of a breakdown.

Why Would I Pass on an Aftermarket Car Warranty?

At the end of the day, extended auto warranties aren’t for everyone. Reasons you might decide against purchasing an aftermarket warranty include:

  • Coverage is too expensive.
  • Your car has too many miles to qualify for coverage.
  • You drive a luxury vehicle that does not qualify for coverage from third-party providers, and your manufacturer’s warranty has already expired.

PegaSystems, Inc. released a study about consumer insights in America regarding aftermarket car warranties. The study explained that 60 percent of Americans see the value in having an extended car warranty. Moreover, nearly half of all aftermarket car warranty owners report having used their extended coverage in the past year.

The study also identified that many Americans choose to forgo extended car warranty protection for reasons including cost, lack of availability, and not thinking they need one. Unfortunately, by the time you wish you had purchased an aftermarket car warranty, it might be too late to qualify for coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions: Aftermarket Car Warranty

Let’s review some of the most common questions regarding aftermarket warranty coverage, costs, and top providers.

What is the Best Aftermarket Car Warranty?

Our research team examined every major aftermarket warranty provider in the industry, taking a look at coverage levels, costs, customer service, and more. Based on our findings, we’ve determined that Endurance offers the best aftermarket car warranty for its comprehensive coverage and benefits.

Endurance offers five coverage levels that can be customized to fit drivers’ needs:

Aftermarket Warranty Plan

Standout Feature

Type of Coverage

Supreme

Exclusionary coverage

Bumper-to-bumper coverage

Superior

Most comprehensive

component plan

Highest level of stated-component coverage

Secure Plus

Shortest waiting period

for coverage

More coverage than the Secure plan

with a 30-day, 1,000-mile waiting period

Secure

Most affordable plan

Powertrain coverage for vital vehicle parts

including the engine, transmission, and drive axle

Select Premier

Designed

for high-mileage vehicles

Co

vers most vital components on high-mileage vehicles

One benefit of choosing an aftermarket car warranty from Endurance is that it comes with a free year of enrollment in the Endurance Elite Benefits program. This program includes:

  • 24/7 roadside assistance
  • Key fob repair/replacement
  • Tire repairs and replacements
  • Total loss protection
  • Collision discount
  • Endurance mobile app

What is an Aftermarket Warranty?

An aftermarket warranty provides protection for your car after its manufacturer warranty expires. An aftermarket car warranty is also called an extended warranty, vehicle service plan, or vehicle service contract. It can protect you from paying hefty repair costs in the event of a mechanical breakdown.

Are Aftermarket Car Warranties Any Good?

Aftermarket car warranties can be a good investment if you choose a reputable provider. You can find our list of best aftermarket car warranty providers above. Some of the most reputable third-party providers are CarShield, Endurance, and CARCHEX.

How Much Are Aftermarket Car Warranties?

The annual cost of an aftermarket car warranty can be anywhere from $300 to $1,000. Many extended car warranty companies provide payment plans so you do not have to make the entire payment upfront.

Can You Negotiate Extended Car Warranty Prices?

In our experience, extended car warranties from third-party providers have a higher chance of being negotiable than extended warranties from manufacturers. If you purchase an extended car warranty from a third-party provider, you may be able to negotiate the price.

Is CarShield a Good Warranty?

We think CarShield is the best car warranty for drivers looking for comprehensive protection on a budget. Our research team found that CarShield offers the most coverage for the lowest cost compared to other reputable providers. In these ways, CarShield is a good warranty.

CarShield offers five levels of coverage for automobiles:

  • Diamond: Bumper-to-bumper coverage
  • Platinum: Comprehensive coverage for high-mileage vehicles
  • Gold: Protection for your powertrain and a few other vehicle systems
  • Silver: Most affordable powertrain coverage
  • Aluminum: Specialty coverage for electrical and computer systems

CarShield also provides coverage for motorcycles and ATVs. With most plans, customers receive benefits such as rental car reimbursement, 24/7 roadside assistance, towing, and the ability to have vehicles serviced by any mechanic certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE®).

Does AAA Offer Extended Auto Warranties?

Yes, AAA offers extended auto warranties. Benefits to purchasing AAA’s aftermarket warranty include:

  • Transferable policies
  • $0 deductible option
  • Customer’s choice of ASE-Certified® repair shops
  • Rental car reimbursement

As many know, AAA membership comes with a competitive roadside assistance benefit that includes towing, fuel delivery, flat tire, battery, and lockout services.

Should You Buy an Extended Warranty on a Used Car?

Used cars are typically older and more at-risk for breakdowns, which is why it’s worth investing in an extended warranty on a used car. An aftermarket car warranty will not cover repairs for all vehicle components, but it could help you avoid having to pay hundreds of dollars for repairs.

Should I Buy an Extended Warranty?

Weigh the pros and cons of an extended car warranty to decide if this kind of vehicle protection is right for you:

Pros of an Aftermarket Car Warranty

Cons of an Aftermarket Car Warranty

Added protection on major parts

Not every repair is covered

Customizable protection options

Coverage can be expensive

Peace of mind

C

overage may not be needed

Overall, you have to have complete confidence in your car’s reliability if you forgo an extended car warranty. To get the best rates for an aftermarket car warranty, we recommend comparing prices from our top-rated providers.

Best Car Warranty Companies

AutoGuide reviewed the top extended auto warranty companies to find the best.

Below are 4 of our featured providers.

Best Coverage Best Value Best Service Best Financing Endurance Carshield Carchex 4.6 out of 5.0 4.2 out of 5.0 4.3 out of 5.0

View Plans

View Plans

View Plans

(888) 650-5952

(888) 346-0759

(866) 254-0205

Methodology

Our review team prides itself on sharing accurate and unbiased information with consumers. We have accumulated data from dozens of extended auto warranty companies to formulate our rankings of the industry’s best providers. Companies receive a score out of 5.0 overall, as well as a rating in each of the following categories:
  • Price: Comparing providers can be difficult due to the many factors that influence cost. To determine this score, we employ a secret shopper analysis using different vehicles, mileages, warranty plans, and locations.
  • Coverage: A wide variety of coverage is essential to support the differing needs of customers. We take into account the number of extended car warranty plans available, term limits, exclusions, and additional benefits.
  • Customer Service: The level of customer service and care provided by an extended warranty company is an important consideration. Our review team sifts through customer reviews and complaints from reputable sources such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot. We also consider the responsiveness of each company’s customer service team based on our secret shopper analysis.
  • Reputation: Good extended warranty providers consistently provide quality experiences. Our team takes into account BBB ratings and the company’s history of reliable service when giving this score.
  • Transparency: Customers value a commitment to open and honest communication when it comes to vehicle service contracts. Our team of experts takes into account the availability of money-back guarantees and sample contracts.
Stephen Kenney
Stephen Kenney

Stephen Kenney is a writer and editor who focuses on car insurance, auto financing, and vehicle shipping services. He's a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and has experience covering categories ranging from travel to sports to environmental sustainability. In his free time, Stephen enjoys going on long-distance runs, trying out new recipes, and exploring his adopted hometown of Cincinnati.

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