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Extended Warranties Are Usually Worthless

Jul 25, 2008
Extended warranties apply to automobiles as well as other consumer products. They are normally not worth their cost. In fact, these "Extended Warranties" are not warranties at all. They are more properly called service contracts. These agreements are usually sold by car dealers for $1,000 to $3,000 with a new vehicle. Through a service contract, you pay an independent warranty company, an administrator, up front to pay for repairs for covered problems with your car in the future.

Most car dealers will do everything they can to sell you a service contract by telling you that they can cover some large repair bills that are covered by the standard warranty. of course the reason they do this is the service contracts are very profitable. In fact, sometimes 50 percent of the money goes straight into profits on the sale. The reason they can get away with this is that the coverage is usually not what you expect.

Usually these contracts don't cover the following:

No maintenance records. you need to be able to produce records proving that you have maintained their vehicle according to the manufacturer's maintenance schedule. If you don't have proof, you don't get coverage.

What about wear and tear? Parts in your car that normally wear out, such as brake shoes, and gaskets, shock observers, and even belts are usually not covered. These are considered normal maintenance items and are expected to wear out as your vehicle is used. Usually, no coverage here.

Failure of a Non-Covered Part? Repairs which are needed to cover a part caused by the failure of a non-covered part are excluded from coverage. This means that if a wear item such as a hose or gasket fails and this causes a major engine failure, the engine repair will not be covered.

"Investigative surgery" like you leave your contract is not going to cover "exploratory surgery" on your car to find out the problem is, unless the problem turns out to be covered. This sometimes means you're going to pay part of the repair costs upfront before the garage even starts to investigate the problem.

Limited repair options. You may have a hard time getting repairs on your vehicle, because the service contract limits where you can have the repairs done. The agreements sometimes severely limit who can work on your car by restricting the repairs to a certain number of places. On top of that, some service contract providers have a bad reputation in the service center won't even honor the contract. They'll ask you to pay for the repairs, and you have to try and get reimbursed for yourself.

With all of the above hurdles, it is hard to imagine receiving any peace of mind if you actually need to use your service contract. Additionally, with the quality of today's vehicles the odds of needing a major repair during the first six years of your car's life are slim. The bottom line is to save your money. In most situations you will be farther ahead monetarily and have greater peace of mind by saving your money for a rainy day.
About the Author
Karl & his business partners cover consumer legal topics such as Warranties & Auto Issues at http://lemonlawyer.wordpress.com They specialize in California Lemon Law topics & are well known lemon law attorneys for southern California
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