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When purchasing either a new or second-hand car, a car warranty might offer cover for the expenses related to mechanical breakdowns. Explore further details on the workings of car warranties in our guide.

What is a car warranty?

A car warranty is essentially a promise or assurance given by the manufacturer or dealer, designed to cover the costs associated with fixing specific mechanical or electrical issues within your car over a predetermined period.

Generally, these warranties cater to the costs of parts and labour if your car encounters a malfunction or defect during this timeframe.

What Is A Car Warranty

The duration of a warranty can vary, but many standard warranties often span around three years, although this is contingent on the manufacturer or dealer’s policy. Some premium brands might even offer longer cover as a selling point.

It’s imperative to understand the stipulations outlined in the warranty’s terms and conditions. Regular maintenance and servicing, in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations, is usually a prerequisite for the warranty to remain valid.

Neglecting these terms might jeopardise your ability to make a claim, potentially leading to its rejection.

Warranties can be sourced in multiple ways:

Manufacturer’s Warranty

This is typically offered when purchasing a new vehicle, directly from the car manufacturer.

Retailer’s Warranty

When buying a used car from a dealership, they may provide their own warranty, separate from the original manufacturer’s warranty.

Third-party Warranty

For those who either didn’t receive a warranty upon purchase, want to augment their existing cover, or wish to have cover after their initial warranty has expired, third-party dealers or insurance providers offer alternative warranty options.

It’s worth noting that a car warranty, while beneficial, is not compulsory. Unlike mandatory car insurance policies, it’s entirely discretionary, allowing car owners to determine if the potential peace of mind and financial safeguarding it offers align with their needs and budget.

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What does a car warranty cover?

A car warranty is an agreement that typically safeguards you against the financial implications of potential mechanical or electrical malfunctions.

However, the extent of this cover largely hinges on the specific car model and its manufacturer. To be truly in the know, you should diligently check the warranty policy to discern which repairs are encompassed.

What Does A Car Warranty Cover

Common components typically encompassed within most car warranties include:

  • Engine
  • Transmission system
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Clutch
  • Brake system
  • Gearbox
  • Electrics
  • Air-conditioning system

Nonetheless, it’s crucial to remain vigilant regarding the details. Some components might have an extended warranty relative to others. For instance, while Kia generously offers a seven-year warranty on its cars, the battery, in contrast, benefits from a mere two-year cover.

What doesn’t a car warranty cover?

It’s a misconception to presume that a car warranty is an all-encompassing safety net. Quite a few instances and components aren’t covered, and these exclusions are as vital to understand as the inclusions. Generally, these might comprise:

  • Wear and tear: This pertains to the natural and inevitable deterioration of parts over time.
  • Accidental damage: This is where your car insurance comes into play, offering protection against unforeseen mishaps.
  • Vandalism: Similarly, any malicious damage should typically be covered by your car insurance policy.

Maintaining your car’s integrity is paramount. A majority of warranties mandate ‘reasonable care‘, signifying that the onus is on the owner to ensure the car is in optimal condition. Neglecting periodic services, especially if not conducted at approved garages, can render your warranty void.

What Doesn’t A Car Warranty Cover

Additionally, any aftermarket modifications, such as embellishing with a flashy spoiler or tuning the engine, can jeopardise your warranty. It’s always advisable to check with your warranty provider prior to making any significant changes to your car.

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What are the main types of car warranty?

When exploring the realm of car warranties, you’ll undoubtedly encounter several variants, each tailored to specific circumstances and vehicle types. Delving into the core types, here’s a more detailed perspective:

New Car Warranty

Every new car typically comes with a manufacturer’s warranty. This essentially guarantees that the car, fresh off the production line, will perform as intended without presenting any inherent faults for a certain period.

New Car Warranty

While the duration can fluctuate based on the manufacturer, it typically ranges from three to seven years. Some premium brands might even offer additional perks within this warranty, such as free servicing or breakdown assistance.

Used Car Warranty

For those venturing into the second-hand car market, warranties still play a pivotal role. If the car is relatively recent and the original manufacturer’s warranty hasn’t expired, the remaining period will transfer to the new owner.

Used Car Warranty

However, if the car’s original warranty has lapsed, the dealer might offer their own warranty, infusing confidence into the transaction. This dealer warranty can vary in terms of cover and duration.

Additionally, for added protection, potential buyers can opt to purchase a standalone used car warranty, which is especially important for cars with a significant number of miles under their belt.

Extended Car Warranty

As the name implies, an extended warranty is a continuation of the initial warranty cover. As your original warranty approaches its expiry date, you might be given the choice to extend the warranty period, for an additional fee, of course.

This can be particularly beneficial for those who’ve grown attached to their vehicles and wish to retain them for a more extended period without fretting over potential repair costs.

Extended Car Warranty

When considering any warranty, it’s imperative to scrutinise the terms, understand what’s covered, and weigh the costs against potential benefits. Having a warranty can indeed provide peace of mind, but it’s always best to ensure it aligns with your specific needs and circumstances.

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Where can I buy a car warranty?

Buying a car warranty can be a strategic move to shield yourself from unforeseen repair expenses. Here’s a closer look at your options:

  • New Car Warranty: When you buy a new car, it invariably comes accompanied by a manufacturer’s warranty. This is a token of assurance from the carmaker, attesting to the car’s quality and reliability for a predefined period.

  • Independent Warranty: Venturing into the used car market? If you’re securing a car from an independent dealer or a local garage, you have the option to buy an independent warranty. This type of warranty is available through various retailers and dedicated car warranty firms. Commonly dubbed as aftermarket or extended warranties, these are not automatically included with your purchase, leaving the decision to opt for one entirely in your hands.

  • Third-party Warranty Providers: Beyond dealers, there are specialised companies focusing solely on offering extended warranties. Such companies might provide more flexible or customised options tailored to your needs, sometimes even with added perks.

When considering an independent or third-party warranty, it’s of paramount importance to be meticulous. Dive deep into the terms and conditions, ensuring you grasp the extent of the cover on offer.

Where Can I Buy A Car Warranty

It’s not uncommon for these warranties to be less exhaustive than the original manufacturer’s warranties, so being aware of potential limitations or exclusions will prevent any future surprises. Always make an informed choice, weighing the potential benefits against the cost and cover specifics.

How much does a car warranty cost?

Calculating the cost of a car warranty involves several variables that contribute to its overall pricing. Here’s a more nuanced understanding:

  • Mileage: The number of miles your car has clocked can significantly influence the cost. A car with higher mileage may have been subjected to more wear and tear, potentially leading to a higher risk of repairs and hence, a pricier warranty.

  • Make and Model: Different car brands and models come with varying reliability records and part costs. A luxury or premium car brand might incur a higher warranty cost due to the more expensive components and potentially complex repair procedures involved.

  • Age of the Car: Naturally, older vehicles might be more susceptible to breakdowns due to age-related wear, making their warranties potentially costlier.

  • Level of Coverage: Warranty prices also pivot on the breadth of cover. Comprehensive warranties that cover a wide range of components and eventualities will likely cost more than basic ones that cater to only the essentials.

  • Duration: The length of time you wish the warranty to be active plays a part too. A warranty for a more extended period will typically command a higher price than a short-term one.

While it might be tempting to simply adopt the warranty option presented by the manufacturer or dealer, it’s pivotal to remember you’re not bound to do so. Shopping around and performing car warranty comparisons can unearth potentially better deals and more suitable covers.

How Much Does A Car Warranty Cost

Moreover, by assessing various offerings in the market, you ensure you’re making a well-informed choice that offers the best value for your investment.

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Can you get a car warranty on a used car?

Yes, warranties aren’t solely for new cars. When purchasing a used car, there’s often an opportunity to get a warranty, but the specifics can vary based on the selling platform.

Car Warranty On A Used Car

  • Official Dealers: Buying a used vehicle from an established dealer typically carries the advantage of a used car warranty bundled into the package. However, compared to the original manufacturer’s warranties, these tend to be of shorter duration, usually spanning from a few months up to a year.

  • Approved Used Car Schemes: Many franchised dealers have rolled out their own ‘approved used car‘ programmes to offer consumers added peace of mind. A hallmark of these schemes is generally a 12-month warranty. It’s worth noting that to maintain the validity of this warranty, there might be a stipulation to get the car serviced exclusively at the dealer’s facility or within their franchise network.

  • Independent Second-hand Dealers: To lure potential buyers and remain competitive, numerous independent dealers dangle the carrot of warranties, albeit for varying durations like three, six, or 12 months.

Will I have a car warranty if I buy from a private seller?

Buying a car from a private seller typically means the car won’t come with a warranty. However, this doesn’t restrict you from procuring one post-purchase. Various companies specialise in offering aftermarket, third-party used car warranties, even for cars that are up to 12 years old.

But, a word of caution: these warranties tend to come with more exclusions compared to a manufacturer’s warranty. As a car ages, the likelihood of issues arising increases, and this risk is often reflected in elevated premium costs. Before diving in, thoroughly evaluate the cover offered, exclusions, and overall cost to ensure you’re genuinely getting value for your money.

Read our advice on buying a used car.

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What else should I look for when buying a car warranty?

Navigating the world of car warranties can seem daunting, but by understanding the key terms and what they mean, you can ensure you’re making an informed decision.

Buying A Car Warranty

Here’s a breakdown of the essential factors and phrases to consider:

Betterment

On occasions, a malfunctioning part may be replaced with a newer or better-quality one. If this occurs, you might find yourself being asked to foot the bill for the upgrade, or at least contribute towards the cost difference.

Consequential Damage

It’s essential to understand the cascading effect of parts. If an insured part fails due to the malfunctioning of another uninsured part, this is termed as consequential damage. Securing a warranty that covers such scenarios is beneficial, or you may end up shouldering the replacement costs.

Approved Garages

Some warranty providers maintain a roster of ‘approved garages‘. Using a facility outside this list could mean you’ll have to chip in for some of the labour charges. It’s imperative to know where you can get your car serviced without incurring extra expenses.

Labour Rate

Garages have set hourly rates for their services. It’s crucial to discern how much of this labour cost your warranty covers.

Excess

Just like other insurance policies, a car warranty might come with an excess. This is the initial sum you’ll need to disburse when making a claim, with the warranty provider taking care of the remaining expenses.

Insured vs Uninsured Warranties

An essential distinction to be aware of:

Insured Car Warranties

These are overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Their affiliation offers a layer of protection. If your warranty provider goes under, your warranty remains intact, ensuring your car is still safeguarded.

Financial Conduct Authority (Fca)

Uninsured Car Warranties

These aren’t regulated by the FCA or protected by the FSCS, potentially making them a riskier choice. Ensure you’re confident in the provider’s stability before opting for such a warranty.

Before sealing any deal, take the time to peruse the fine print thoroughly. Recognising the nuances of your warranty can save you from unexpected costs and provide clarity on what you’re genuinely receiving in exchange for your investment.

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Can my car warranty claim be rejected?

Certainly, not all warranty claims are guaranteed to be approved. Several factors can lead to the rejection of a car warranty claim.

Car Warranty Claim Rejected

Here are some scenarios to be aware of:

  • Negligence: A fundamental requirement of most warranties is the proper maintenance and servicing of the car. If there’s proof that you’ve overlooked regular maintenance, haven’t kept up with scheduled services, or even missed its MOT, it could breach the warranty’s conditions, rendering it void. Additionally, simple mistakes like filling up with the incorrect fuel type or persistently driving despite a warning light or recognised fault can jeopardise your warranty claim.

  • Improper Usage: Using your car in ways it wasn’t designed for can be grounds for claim rejection. For instance, taking a standard city car for off-road adventures when it isn’t built for rugged terrains might exclude you from warranty benefits.

  • Exclusions in Coverage: It’s pivotal to understand what parts or situations your warranty covers. Not all warranties are created equal. While manufacturer’s warranties often provide comprehensive protection, some aftermarket warranties, especially from used-car dealers, might have more exclusions. Always review your warranty’s terms to know what’s covered and what isn’t.

  • Car Modifications: Any alterations or modifications made to the car post the warranty initiation can be a potential red flag. If the claim issue arises from a modification you’ve implemented, there’s a high chance your claim might be declined.

  • Natural Disasters: Warranty claims related to damages stemming from unforeseen natural events, such as floods, earthquakes or severe storms, usually fall outside the purview of standard car warranties. These incidents are typically covered by comprehensive car insurance policies.

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Is it worth having a car warranty?

The decision to invest in a car warranty largely hinges on one’s personal circumstances and preferences. Here are some aspects to ponder upon:

  • Peace of Mind: A prominent advantage of warranties is the reassurance they offer. Knowing that potential hefty repair bills might be covered can alleviate stress, especially if you’re reliant on your car daily.

  • Exclusions vs. Coverage: Not all warranties are created equal. Some economical options might seem enticing, but they often come with a plethora of exclusions that might render them less useful. Conversely, a comprehensive warranty will offer wider cover but could carry a steeper price tag.

  • Added Benefits: Some warranties go beyond just repair cover. Extras such as breakdown cover can add value to your warranty package, providing additional support in times of unexpected vehicle issues. If you’re considering other services like breakdown cover separately, it’s worthwhile to check if it’s included in your warranty.

  • Cost Analysis: It’s crucial to perform a financial assessment before committing. Analyse the warranty’s cost versus potential repair expenses. Sometimes, depending on the car’s reliability and age, it might be more economical in the long run to cover repair costs out of pocket, as opposed to investing in a warranty.

  • Car Age and Condition: Newer cars, especially from reputed brands known for reliability, might have a lower likelihood of frequent breakdowns. In contrast, older vehicles or those with a history of issues could benefit more from a warranty.

  • Flexibility and Terms: Some warranties offer flexibility in terms of where you can get repairs done, while others might restrict you to certain garages or service centres. It’s worth looking into these terms, especially if you have a trusted mechanic or service centre in mind.

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Is It Worth Having A Car Warranty

While a car warranty can offer valuable protection against unexpected repair bills, it’s crucial to assess its actual worth to you. Weighing the warranty’s cost and benefits against potential out-of-pocket repair expenses will help you make an informed decision tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

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What other protection do I have if my car is faulty?

When purchasing a vehicle, be it brand new or second-hand, from a legitimate dealer in the UK, you are not solely reliant on the warranty for protection. The UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides essential safeguards to ensure your investment is secure. Here’s an in-depth look at these protections:

  • Duration of Coverage: The Act offers protection for the first six months following the purchase of a car, independent of any provided warranty.

  • Key Provisions: Under the Act, any vehicle you purchase must meet certain criteria:

    • Satisfactory Quality: The car should not have any defects or issues that aren’t expected, considering its age, model, and price.
    • Fit for Purpose: The car should be fit for any specific purpose you’ve been assured of, whether it’s general driving or more specialised needs.
    • As Described: The vehicle’s description, whether verbal or in an advertisement, should accurately represent the product you receive.
  • Initial 30 Days: During the first 30 days after purchase, if the car exhibits any faults, you are entitled to a full refund, repair, or replacement. This period offers the most robust protection.

  • From 30 Days to Six Months: If a defect or issue becomes apparent after the first 30 days but within six months of purchase, you can still demand a repair, replacement, or even a partial refund. However, the dealer has the right to choose the most appropriate solution.

  • Post Six Months: After the six-month mark, the onus shifts to the buyer. If you encounter any problems, it becomes your responsibility to demonstrate that the fault existed at the time of purchase, which can be a more challenging endeavour.

  • Long-term Recourse: Notably, for up to six years (or five years in Scotland) after the transaction, you have the option to pursue legal action if you believe there have been breaches concerning the Consumer Rights Act. This timeframe gives you a significant period to take action. However, always evaluate the potential costs and benefits before embarking on legal proceedings.

The UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 offers buyers substantial safeguards against faulty vehicles, ensuring a fair and transparent purchasing process and bolstering consumer confidence. Always keep yourself informed about your rights, as it can empower you during any disputes or negotiations.

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How can I find the best car warranty?

When on the hunt for the ideal car warranty, it’s essential to consider not only your needs but also the diverse range of options available in the market.

Best Car Warranty

Here’s a step-by-step approach to finding the best fit:

  • Define Your Needs: Begin by understanding what ‘best’ means for you. The optimal warranty for one person might revolve around affordability, while for another, it could be about comprehensive cover.

  • Coverage Level: Determine the level of cover you’re seeking. Do you need a policy that covers only the major components like engine and transmission, or are you looking for something more comprehensive that includes smaller parts and electronics?

  • Budget: Decide on your budget. While everyone wants the most extensive cover, it’s crucial to assess what you can realistically afford without straining your finances.

  • Duration: Think about how long you want the warranty to last. Are you looking for short-term cover, or do you want protection that spans several years?

  • Reputation: Investigate the reputation of the warranty provider. Check customer reviews, ratings, and any feedback available online. This will give you an insight into the experiences of others and the potential reliability of the provider.

  • Exclusions: Always read the fine print. Understand what is not covered under the warranty. Some warranties might seem comprehensive at first glance but may have numerous exclusions.

  • Additional Benefits: Some warranties come with added perks like breakdown cover, free towing, rental car provisions, or even hotel accommodations if you’re stranded far from home.

  • Claim Process: Evaluate the simplicity and efficiency of the claim process. A warranty is only as good as its ability to honour claims swiftly and without unnecessary red tape.

  • Flexibility: See if the warranty allows you to visit any garage or if it restricts you to specific ‘approved garages.’ A flexible warranty can be particularly useful if you travel frequently.

  • Transferability: If you plan to sell your car in the future, check if the warranty can be transferred to the new owner. This could enhance the resale value of your vehicle.

Finding the best car warranty requires a blend of thorough research, self-awareness, and a keen understanding of what’s available. With diligent exploration and by considering the above factors, you’ll be well-placed to make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and budget.

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Do I need car insurance if I have a car warranty?

Yes. In the UK, if you’re planning to drive on public roads, it’s a legal requirement to have car insurance, regardless of the warranty you possess. While a warranty primarily covers you against mechanical defects and issues that might arise with your car, car insurance provides a broader range of cover.

This might include protection against theft, accidental damage, third-party liabilities, and other unexpected events, contingent on the specifics of the policy you select.

Comparing car insurance quotes with us is a straightforward process that can be completed in just a short span of time. By doing so, you have the potential to save as much as £504 on your car insurance premium. It’s always advisable to shop around and ensure you’re getting the best deal for your needs.

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