Having vehicle coverage, such as an extended warranty for your new ride, regardless of how old the car was when you bought it is not so much a luxury anymore as it is a safety net. This is something that new car owners often take for granted: some form of protection from any and all possible defects in material and workmanship for its first few years of life or some that could arise over time. Unlike insurance, which covers damages that happen to a car from external forces exclusively, warranties are policies cover nearly all car components for a minimum of three years or 36K miles, whichever comes first, and even longer on specific parts (like the drive train assembly). However, new auto coverage does not cover items that require regular maintenance or replacement such as oil, filters, tires, windshield wipers, etc and the things that can cause your protection to be potentially totally voided or denied the repair or replacement of a particular part.
Information on all of this “fine print” is typically included in the documents upon purchase, but it’s called “fine print” for a reason: how many people analyze any form of paperwork for the fine details? Here is a basic FAQ/Guide to help people know what to avoid being taken by surprise when selecting a protection plan such as an extended warranty when payment will be coming out of your own pocket for who knows what.
What Constitutes a “Deal Breaker?”
Maintenance – A warranty is a contract between you and the manufacturer of a product or whatever company/agency provides a protection plan. In the case of cars, there will often be stipulations that the cost of repairing specific items will be paid for by the other party often ONLY IF the automobile has been “properly maintained.” Following the maintenance procedures recommended by the manufacturer will not only lessen the risk of internal damage & reduce the likelihood of needed repairs, it will also decrease the likelihood that claim would be denied as a result of not following recommended maintenance guidance. So check yourself before you wreck yourself...literally.
Documentation – Beyond performing recommended maintenance on your car, you should have records of any maintenance filed IN WRITING. For example: if a required repair seems to be the result of improper maintenance, you probably will be asked to produce this documentation in order to make a claim.
Protective Precautions – Remember when your parents told you to always have protection? That applies in pretty much every situation, even your ride. It is possible for a new car protection to be voided if you experience a situation requiring repair and have not taken the recommended precautionary steps to protect the car from further damage. A good example of this would be an instance where a car overheats on the freeway, as indicated by the warning light on the dashboard telling you there is a problem. If you continue to keep the car going, you won’t only experience an engine meltdown, you can also forget about making a claim under your protection coverage. When your baby tells you something is wrong (learn to read the signs) you need to listen!
Has Your Auto Warranty Expired?
Other Conditions Affecting Vehicle Warranties
While there is a long list of conditions that may void your coverage in part or in whole on a new vehicle, some of the most common ones can be easily noted:
- Having a car heavily damaged (or totaled) that was being issued a salvage title.
- Evidence of street racing or any other car racing activities (sorry Fast & Furious fans).
- Vehicle misuse, defined as anything other than normal operation (don’t abuse your ride).
- Environmental damage such as earthquake, flood or fire (certain insurance policies may cover this).
- Certain aftermarket modifications, such as racing equipment (again, sorry Fast & Furious fans).
You shouldn’t assume you are protected no matter what when having protection plan such as an extended warranty. You should care for your car the way you expect it to care for you.
Has Your Auto Warranty Expired?
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