3 Tips to Get the Most from Your Extended Car Warranty

An extended warranty is an option available to most car buyers to prolong warranty coverage outside of the typical manufacturer-provided warranty. These warranties, sometimes known as aftermarket service plans, can save you from expensive repairs when your new car warranty runs out. However, the cost of this coverage means that most buyers will want to get the most value possible from it.

If you want to ensure your extended warranty pays off in the long run, follow these three tips to get the most out of your coverage.

1. Understand Stated Coverage

Warranty plans aren't all the same, but many extended warranties fall into the category of "stated coverage" warranties. This technical-sounding term is relatively easy to understand. With a stated coverage warranty, you'll receive a list of items your service company will cover. Your plan applies to anything on this list, but nothing else.

Make sure you carefully read your contract and understand which repairs your service company covers. This information will help you decide which repairs to prioritize. If you know your car has a problem that's likely to be covered by your warranty, you can focus on fixing these issues first so that you can save money and spend more time preparing for repairs that it may not cover.

2. Keep Up With Maintenance

Like new car warranties, extended warranties often have terms requiring you to keep up with routine maintenance. You should carefully read your contract to understand the maintenance requirements for your plan. For example, you may need to change your oil following a specific interval or use certain repair shops for these maintenance jobs.

Even if your service plan doesn't have a maintenance requirement, you should still keep up with these routine jobs. Keeping your vehicle well-maintained will help you avoid problems that may result from deferred maintenance, decreasing the odds that your service provider may deny future warranty claims.

3. Develop a Relationship With Your Mechanic

Extended warranty plans typically require you to take your car to shops in their network, just as health coverage often has a network for doctors. Perform some research to find a trusted shop in your area and build a relationship with them. Your mechanic for extended warranty cars doesn't just take care of your car, but they're also typically the ones who put in claims with your warranty company.

By developing a long-term relationship with a trusted mechanic, you'll have a reliable place to take your car when something fails. More importantly, your mechanic will have experience working with your extended warranty service company, giving you the best odds of getting your claims approved and reducing your vehicle repair costs.