Anyone who owns a vehicle knows that they can be very pricey possessions. Once you’ve purchased the vehicle you need to insure it against damage and accidents, tax it, get it an MOT every year and pay for fuel. These costs don’t include general maintenance and mechanical repairs which tend to appear unexpectedly. Repairs can be costly, which is why many manufacturers offer a motor warranty with their vehicles.

Motor warranties are essentially mechanical breakdown insurance policies which cover you for the costs of fixing certain electrical or mechanical faults with your vehicle for the duration of the warranty. Warranties may or may not cover both parts and labour, but the parts which are covered will vary depending on the terms and conditions of the warranty. Here’s a brief introduction to the types of motor warranties available and how to choose the best policy for you.

Manufacturer Warranties

When you buy a new vehicle, it will usually include a warranty from the manufacturer. Typically, these warranties are for 3 years or until you’ve reached a certain mileage. Aside from faults caused by wear and tear, the warranty usually covers parts like the transmission, engine, gearbox, steering or suspension. Some warranties may cover some aspects of wear and tear, but details of exclusions can be found in the small print.

When you’ve almost completed the 3 year period or reached the mileage limit, you may be given the opportunity to extend the warranty with the manufacturer for a fee. You don’t necessarily have to take the manufacturer up on this offer as there are other companies providing motor warranties which may offer better cover for a cheaper price.

If you buy a used car which is less than 3 years old or still within the mileage limit, the manufacturer’s warranty should still apply regardless of whether you bought the car new or second-hand. Many dealerships will include a short motor warranty with your vehicle which protects you for a few months which you can pay to extend. Again, you may find that there are better deals out there than what the dealership is offering, so try to do some research and compare before committing.

How to Choose a Motor Warranty

Motor warranties are not always clear about which parts of your car are protected so you’ll need to compare a few different policies and levels of cover. Remember, whichever policy you choose, it’s really important to check the small print in the terms and conditions.

When comparing motor warranty policies, there are a few key factors to consider. For example, each warranty will have different excess charges and upper claim limits. Some motor warranties will have an early claim clause which means you are not covered straight away. Other warranties may stipulate that it only covers the cost of repairs at selected garages. If you don’t live near these garages, this may be inconvenient and costly.

It can be tempting to choose the cheapest warranty, but it may not offer much protection. When you come to claim you may find that you are not covered and have been paying for very little.

Beware of policies which mention ‘betterment.’ If your repair’s value is increased because of a repair you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of parts. Some warranties include a ‘consequential loss’ section which means that if a covered part is damaged because a non-covered part failed, you won’t be covered.

Motor warranties can be a difficult topic to get your head around. However, make sure you are familiar with the options involved when you first purchase your vehicle, as this can prevent any nasty financial setbacks later on. Be sure to compare motor warranties so that you are not caught out, and familiarise yourself with jargon, too. By following the above advice, you can find the best warranty to suit your needs, ensuring you are making a worthy investment.