Auto Warranty Companies and Coverage Comparison
Need help comparing auto warranty companies? Okay, you were born at night, but not last night. You are interested in the “Premier” warranty package boldly advertised on what appears to be a national, reputable website. The list of covered systems (15 in all) is comprehensive. It includes the engine, transmission, drive axle, differential, electrical, air conditioning, brakes, steering, etc... at an outstandingly low price. You’re amazed – everything appears to be covered!
But, savvy shopper that you are, you refuse to purchase the extended warranty until you’ve seen the actual contract. No “fine print” surprises for you! The salesperson agrees to email a copy of the contract to you. You study it and compare the details to the website ad. They appear to match. Yippee….you found a bargain.
Not so fast…One of the most common ploys on the internet today is boiler-plate contracts. That means that the company uses one contract for all its’ plans. The only sample contract that exists lists everything that could possibly be covered. Unfortunately, you won’t be getting that plan at a discount. No, the contract that you will actually receive via snail mail, (the one you are expected to sign and return) will look the same, but upon scrutiny will contain some very different information. You’ll only notice it if you go to the trouble to read the contract again.
Here’s how it works. It’s kind of like a checklist, only not nearly as simple. Somewhere in the contract will be a vague sort of reference to a “Registration Page”. It says the registration page must be completed for the contract to be valid. That makes sense. You’re not sure exactly what it means, but seems sensible. If there is a registration page – naturally it should be completed. Why even have one if it’s not filled out? Right?
Keep reading. About three quarters through the contract, where coverage is detailed, you will find this statement: (Again, an actual sample….)
“Comprehensive Coverage Includes Covered Components
1 through 4 Listed for Premier Coverage…”
What does that mean? What it really means is you’ve been had. You did not purchase the advertised coverage of 15 automotive systems. What you purchased is a very high-priced powertrain plan. It only covers the first 4 systems on the list. Those are the bare-bones basics. You will not be covered for electrical, air conditioning, brakes, steering, suspension, computer, sensors or seals and gaskets as well as other important components.
How To Compare Auto Warranty Companies and Protect Yourself
• Beware of boiler-plate warranty contracts and avoid brokers. They are money movers; they want to move money from your pocket to theirs. Brokers are not worried about you after your contract is signed. You will be someone else's problem.
• Next, ask any company you are considering for a physical location and phone number. That way you can check on their reliability with outside organizations like the BBB and other consumer agencies.
• Do business direct with a full-service warranty company. These are the people who will actually be paying your claims. You can again use outside agencies to check their claims paying history. You can’t check up on Brokers because they don’t pay claims. They just sell.
• Common sense tells you that you will receive much better customer service when your contact for claims is the same contact that sold you the coverage. Remember, the average consumer buys many cars during a lifetime and reputable companies depend of happy consumers purchasing repeatedly. They also depend on their customers to refer friends and other family members.
• Lastly, be diligent throughout the whole process. Actually read the contract that arrives in the mail before you sign it.
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