An extended car warranty is simply a continuation of this assurance after the manufacturer's car warranty period has expired. The extended warranty can either be with the manufacturer or a third party that offers extended car warranties. Rather than paying for costly repairs out of pocket, it's recommended to get an extended warranty for some peace of mind, and as an insurance policy against major damages. We want to help you find the best car warranty for your vehicle.
It’s best to keep in mind that different manufacturers offer different car warranty lengths on new cars and some are much longer than others. Remember to read the fine print, even with the dealership's car warranty because there will be terms and conditions to follow to keep the car warranty intact such as taking the car to the dealership for all repairs. Kia South Africa offers a five-year/unlimited km warranty, but VW only offers a three-year car warranty. Mercedes only offers a two-year car warranty, but Lexus offers a four years/100 0000 car warranty. Since different manufacturers have different car warranty lengths, it's best to factor in the expected time and distance that your new car is likely to travel and see what the associated costs of the best car warranty would be. If you buy a car with a short car warranty then obviously you will have to get your extended car warranty before a car that comes with a longer car warranty.
When it comes to getting the best car warranty, competition is fierce at the top end. No review can ever really definitively point to the top three options on extended motoring warranties in South Africa. For one thing, user needs vary too widely, and there are also several very good options out there. With that said, there is a definite top end in the market, with fairly regular competitors. Also, remember that all plans have clauses and limitations which need to be studied to make the correct decision to avoid disappointment later. Remember the difference between the best car warranty and the worst car warranty can be vast, especially when it comes to paying out for expensive parts.
Extended Warranties, Manufacturer vs Third-party
An extended car warranty can normally be taken out from the car manufacturer, as well as third-party companies. There are pros and cons with each and its best to weigh up the options before deciding. Generally, the extended car warranty offered by the manufacturer is more expensive than the third party and could possibly have more limitations. A manufacturer extended car warranty can also force the owner to use OEM dealerships for repairs, which can result in even more costs. The benefit of getting a manufacturer extended warranty is knowing that the car is only being repaired by fully trained professionals, who have the best tools and diagnostics to fix the car.
A third-party extended car warranty can be cheaper than their manufacturer based equivalents, and the owner generally has to stick to RMI approved repair centres instead of OEM centres. This can drastically reduce repair costs once the car is out of warranty. If the basic car warranty is over, but there is still time or mileage remaining on the maintenance or service plan, then a third party can still be taken out, but all repairs must still take place at the OEM dealership until the maintenance/service plan is over.
Bear in mind that OEM dealerships will only use original parts which contribute to the high costs. RMI approved centres might use aftermarket parts which are cheaper than the OEM parts but have varying quality. Some generic parts are better quality than the originals, and some are not even close to the originals. When going the route of using RMI service centres, it's advisable to check the parts that are being installed rather than compromising the integrity and safety of your car. The best car warranty plans should cover the cost of good quality parts.
Get a great deal on your extended warranty
Unfortunately for the smaller operators, some big corporates have publicized their offers perhaps more and better, and have come to dominate the arena in the minds of consumers. It’s unfortunate as there are many great options among smaller companies too, but consumers now expect to read about it online, on a professional website. It's possible to get one of the best car warranty plans from a smaller organisation, but it's advisable to do your homework first.
Because you still need to do your homework, if you want to know you've got the best deal on the best car warranty, a clear presentation of the policy and accompanying benefits should be available for you to peruse. Look for testimonials too online. Some bad press follows everyone and everything online, but be aware of unusually frequent complaints encountered in forums and the like, signalling a company that might disagree with you.
What are the payment options for your extended warranty?
Although a once-off purchase startles some people as it's usually several thousand rands, others value the tremendous peace of mind knowing that they have their car's future covered without further thought. There's another good reason to pay a once-off fee sometimes, but more on that below.
Direct Monthly Payments.
If you're going to pay monthly, the preferred option is to pay the warranty provider directly, i.e. you buy the extended car warranty from the warranty company, and pay the warranty company for it each month.
Pay the policy with your monthly car repayments
Adding or limping an extended car warranty’s monthly cost in with your monthly car premiums is not recommended, as you’ll end up paying a lot more over the term. Doing this might suit some buyers for various reasons on occasion, but it’s unnecessary and insensible to be paying more for a and extended car warranty simply because it wasn’t individually identified in the finance arrangements.
Extended warranty policy criteria
All companies offering the best car warranty plans will have different criteria that will need to be met to start your extended car warranty contract with them. Most will also have different categories, examples of these could be marked as Starter, Booster and Unlimited. You need to know what category your car will be in and also be aware if your category will drop as your car gets older and gains more mileage.
Listed below are popular extended warranty criteria:
1)Full-service history of your car. You will need to provide the warranty issuer with proof that your car has a full service history, this information can be obtained by either getting the information from your dealership, invoice from RMI workshops or showing them the stamps in your service book.
2) Your car's year and mileage meet the stipulated minimum. Most extended car warranties will require that your car meets the minimum defined criteria on year and mileage. An example would be that your car is less than ten years old and has travelled less than 250,000km from the date of the first registration.
3) Previous mechanical repairs were done by an approved workshop. All servicing and maintenance work on your car should have been carried out by an RMI or an approved dealership (OEM), and all suggested manufacturer's guidelines have been followed.
Pro Tip: Always ask if your category will drop as the vehicle becomes older and adds more mileage.
Extended warranty policy guidelines
Remember that you will be required to effect needed services and repairs at a Retail Motor Industry (RMI) workshop in terms of an extended car warranty, or other approved dealerships (OEM). For most, that’s never a huge inconvenience, and some even find that they have always attended an RMI-approved workshop! Above all, when taking an extended car warranty, read the fine print!
Why should you read the fine print
Under no circumstances, should you feel dumb about asking the same question over and over again until a picture forms in your mind. No matter how many times the helpdesk sighs or rolls their eyes, it's not fair nor professional to rush a client through something like a warranties terms and conditions, so take your time. If the helpdesk couldn't be bothered, that's nothing but a sample of the service you can expect if ever you need to call on them for a claim. Rather move on and take your business to an outfit that at least attempts pleasant, caring service. All the companies that provide the best car warranty plans will have the time to answer in-depth questions. The importance of reading the fine-print can’t be overstated enough. The internet is full of forums where people complain about how they got a raw deal, when in fact they weren’t covered for a certain item and didn’t read the fine print.
NOTE: While it's never good business practice to criminalise your clients, the warranty-stroke-insurance industry does suffer massive abuse on an annual basis. We're still paying for it, but the point is that many consumers feel obliged to "use up" an extended warranty before it expires. This isn't fair to the insurer, as they have kept their side of the deal, assuring that they'll be there when you need them. Rather than keep inflation on warranties steep due to fraudulent claims, a more egalitarian approach is to use the extended car warranty to the full when it's legitimate, but be happy that you never had to use it if you honestly didn't. A maintenance policy will cover you for those items, whereas the best car warranty plans are an assurance that safeguards you, not necessarily a perk to be spent.
How to evaluate an extended warranty
There are three metrics with which you can gauge any extended car warranty plans you might be considering buying for your car's longer-term well-being.
The extent of coverage.
It gets a little tricky here, as wading through lists of items covered is not only laborious, it also might not give you a crystal clear result, as different issuers use different language or format their offer differently. That said, it's a worthwhile exercise. If you're lucky, you'll find an insurance or another broker who can encapsulate all of the most popular offers for you, with pros and cons. But if not, the info is there, and will probably only take around an hour to assimilate, allowing you to form an overall understanding. If you're talking to the agent, ask things like "Is my intercooler even covered?" and other direct questions like "Is my turbo fully covered for replacement?" Typically, the higher the cost of the warranty, the more the policy covers. Don't assume that when they say that the engine or suspension is covered that they will immediately replace or repair all the parts. Rather ask specific questions like "If my engine blows, will it be repaired or replaced, and how much will the policy cover?” The best car warranty plans will cover most, if not all, of the components.
How much does the extended warranty cost? It's easier to calculate total cost on an extended car warranty for, say, three years, that it is with car repayments. Many insurers base their price on the make, model, and mileage of the car, so their prices aren't set. Insurers may also have different levels of pricing depending on how much coverage they will provide. If you have a high-performance car, it’s pointless taking out a cheap package that will only over up to R10 000 in damage, because a blown turbo can easily cost more than double that amount. The best car warranty packages cost more because they cover more.
How long is the extended car warranty valid for? Always ensure that you know how long the car warranty is for because some increase in price as the car gets older, and some may have limitations based on the car’s age or mileage.
Marrying these three considerations allows you to steer clear of obvious rip-offs while keeping you in touch with your own needs of the policy too. Don't be fooled by mixing and matching of terms or kilometres travelled - like five years or 500,000km, whichever happens first - but extrapolate it into your daily life. You might be surprised at how quickly your extended car warranty will expire if you make a habit of long-distance travel, so figure it out at least roughly before signing up.
Extended warranty exclusions
All of that said, nuances come in where extended car warranties do or don’t cover certain items, and a few key points to look at, when you’re scrolling through the fine print for the third or fourth time, are:
Batteries that, especially on older cars, will probably die before the warranty is up. Fan belts, aircon units and even clutches can be deemed wear and tear items and might not be covered. Any accessories added after the sale that you naturally become accustomed to thinking of as part of your car, are unlikely to be covered, even by the best car warranty plans.
Brake pads and tyres are usually excluded from extended warranties too, although maintenance plans will normally cover motorists on these items. Car diagnostics and consumables aren’t covered by extended warranties either.
Doing your oil change or replacing parts can void a warranty, so be aware of such prohibitions. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of extended car warranties to accept for some is the fact that even minor things need to be affected by approved agents. No more home fiddling. A sore point for many who would like to retain the right to work on their cars themselves.
Labour - make sure your policy also covers labour and not just the parts, all the best car warranty plans do.
3 Best Extended Car Warranties for South Africans
One of the better options is represented by Hollard, as the company has made much of promoting a comprehensive or rather an easily-understood extended warranty to motorists. One of the joys with Hollard is the component of roadside assistance, although it’s not unique to the company. With Hollard, you enjoy the attention of a giant, streamlined outfit that has the capacity and protocols in place to make warranty claims painless and professional. Many consumers also enjoy having their warranties and other insurance policies issued by one company they can deal with. Some of the packages they offer are an extended car warranty, scratch and dent cover, tyre cover, fire and theft cover, comprehensive cover and third party, fire and theft cover. With so many plans, as well as payment options available, there's no reason to take a gamble that your car won't break down.
Requirements for extended warranty
· Manufacturer's maintenance warranty has expired
· The car is less than 15 years old
· The car is a passenger car
· The car is not used for racing or commercial purposes.
· The car has less than 250 000 km mileage.
Hollard has been trusted for years and offers on one of the best car warranty plans on the market.
Previously known as SA Warranties, M-sure is targeted specifically towards SA motorists and one you should look at when evaluating car warranties. For years a refined, extended car warranty provider, the onsite info is excellent, and the great thing about this company is that they leave you in no doubt as to exactly what is covered and how. The insurer lists a detailed breakdown on its homepage, itemising components covered and further details of warranties. They are also the underwriters for Liquid Capital, another great warranty outlet, and have years of experience and strong customer loyalty behind them. Some of the services they provide in addition to their mechanical breakdown warranty are ad cover, deposit cover, vehicle value protector, scratch and dent cover, and lifestyle protection cover.
Some of the components covered by the M-sure extended car warranty
· Management system
· Turbo assembly
· Electrical components
These are just some of the major parts that are covered by M-sure’s extended car warranty. The following vehicles qualify for the M-sure plan.
· Passenger vehicles – Light commercial vehicles with a maximum gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 3500 kg.
· Boats, caravans, bikes, jet-skis and other leisure equipment not more than ten years old and with 100 000km mileage.
· Taxis with a gross vehicle mass of 4999kgs.
· Used trucks that are less than eight years old and have less than 800 000 km mileage
· New trucks still with a minimum of 12 months left on the warranty.
Not only do they have one of the best car warranty plans, but with so many options, your leisure equipment can also be protected.
The Automobile Association (AA) has been assisting people with their car problems for decades and have an excellent reputation worldwide. They offer several different extended car warranty plans to suit everyone's needs including the extended warranty, service and maintenance plans, classic warranty, scratch and dent cover, 4x4 breakdown cover, tire and rim warranty, as well as the leisure plan. The extended car warranty is available in a range of affordable prices so that even people with lower value cars can benefit. The entry-level plan is the Chrome, which has a benefit limit of R7000, while the top of the range plan is the Titanium, which has a benefit limit of R50 000. The components covered by these plans are the.
· Electronic and Electrical Parts
· Cooling system
· Fuel and ignition systems.
To qualify for these benefits, the vehicle has to meet the following parameters.
· Passenger vehicles used for private or business use only
· Panel vans and minibuses used for private and business use only
· 4x4’s and light commercial vehicles that are used for private and business only.
· Vehicles must be less than 12 years old and must have done less than 250 000 km.
Motorite is one of the largest independent administrators of vehicle service plans and motor warranties in southern Africa with almost 30 years of experience in the industry. Motorite provides extended car warranty solutions for some of South Africa’s largest financial service providers as well as being the preferred administrator for a host of car manufacturers - Nissan, Toyota, and VW, to name a few, qualify for Motorite’s warranty insurance products.
Motorite’s extended warranty plans remain highly popular due to the straightforward and basic coverage, and with their 3-tier Formula Range Options, that has enough alternatives to cater to your specific needs while remaining affordable. Motorite’s extended warranty plans have a high degree of flexibility and can act as a “top-up” to your existing factory warranty or can act as an extension. With Motorite’s extensive partnerships, their extended warranty plans are designed to work seamlessly along with your factory warranty which gives the reassurance of a painless claims process. Although not unique to Motorite, their extended warranty plans do come with a surprising amount of standard value-added services at no additional cost - trauma counselling, roadside and accident assistance services among several.
Motorite Formula Range Extended Warranties:
- Option 1 (Gold): R390 p/m with coverage up to R213,000
- Option 2 (Silver): R315 p/m with coverage up to R161,000
- Option 3 (Bronze): R245 p/m with coverage up to R112,000
The requirements for an extended warranty plan with Motorite, or what benefit your vehicle is qualified for is dependent on your choice of package option, and for which benefit the car qualifies at the time of application. In terms of the scope in which your car can be eligible, Motorite’s extended warranties seem to offer the most unrestrictive requirements. The requirements vary, and it would be advisable to contact Motorite directly to see what benefit your vehicle would qualify for, but generally, the conditions are;
- A maximum odometer reading of 300 000km, or for a maximum period of 36 months.
- The age of the vehicle from the date of the vehicle’s first registration is limited. Usually, the coverage is limited to 15 years but contact Motorite directly to be sure.
- Passenger vehicles - rental, taxi’s and security vehicles do not qualify.
Motorite extended warranties cover all major mechanical and electrical components as well as added coverage should an accident or breakdown occur - like towing assistance, vehicle/public transport and overnight accommodation. The scope of coverage is extensive, but to name a few;
- Major mechanical components; from the engine, transmission, and differential to the transaxle and turbocharger.
Major electrical components including the sunroof motor, central locking system, and “keyless” electronic key system.
Suspension and braking system.
The items that won’t be covered by the Motorite extended warranty plan will mostly be “maintenance items” and damaged components that come as a result of improper servicing, maintenance or driver negligence. Additionally, any modifications made to the vehicle not approved by the manufacturer, including, but not limited to engine conversions and turbocharger units, will not be covered.
Among the items not covered by the Motorite extended warranty include;
- Replacement or repair of all service items that need changing at specific intervals such as; oil, filters, hydraulic fluid, spark plugs and consumables.
- “Maintenance items”, seals, oil leaks, cambelt replacements, V-belts, to name a few.
- Breakdowns that come as a result of; improper vehicle use, contamination by water, sand and mud, incorrect servicing and maintenance.
Other great service providers to research when looking for the best car warranty plan include Motorvaps, Innovation Group, and even MotorHappy.
These are all known as "aftermarket" extended warranties. The best providers are those that hold your hand and walk you through every detail if you're a new customer. A singular consideration when trying to find the best car warranty is the standing of the company. It's always good to keep all your options open, and also contact your local dealership and find out what offers they might have. It's often very difficult to get a better offering than that provided by the dealership (OEM). As an example, the Mastercars Warranty is known to cover almost everything on your car, with no exclusion although the car has to go in and be checked by them for faults before the cover can begin.
Don’t sign any agreements unless you are absolutely sure of what the conditions and limitations are. These are some of the common questions that should be asked when taking out an extended warranty for your car.
· Do any of your benefits decrease over time?
· Is there any excess applicable when claiming (the amount you might have to pay in first before the warranty kicks in)?
· Is there any waiting period after you join before you can claim?
· How many claims are you allowed per year and are there any limitations? If so, what exactly are those limitations?
· Be aware that especially when buying a car from a dealership, the F&I (finance & insurance) agent might very well try to press an extended warranty on you. Even when you are obliged to have a warranty in place for the deal to go through, it doesn't have to be theirs! Much like insurance - also a stipulation, especially when buying a new, financed car - you might have to have it in place, but you never lose your right as a consumer, to choose! You're entitled to your own service provider on warranties.
· What is NOT covered by the warranty?
· What practices can void the warranty?
· If there are multiple drivers, will all of them be covered?
Also, be very aware that whatever plan you purchase at the point of sale on a financed car and don't pay upfront and fully for, gets added to your monthly premiums. Unlike simple monthly premiums directly from the warranty supplier, those financed premiums attract interest. Sometimes a lot! A R5,000 motor plan can cost R10,000 after 54 months! Buy it outright if you fancy it, or get your own, but the last option should be to pay it as part of the monthly premium tied to the sale! No one is going to go out of their way to tell you this - except us of course!
If you’re unsure, be brutal about the legitimacy of a company’s offer, in terms of at least one reality that might lurk behind it. Many warranties nowadays come from service providers only tenuously linked to the distributor or manufacturer. It's completely cheeky but also possible that in the event of needed repairs a dealership might loathe complying, as they never gleaned a benefit from the initial sale of the policy.
Further to the above point, also be aware that larger and more populous dealerships are simply easier to use, as they’re all over. Convenience is going to start counting when the nearest authorised repair agent is in the next town.
One last tip for those who value online sorters - by all means, use Hippo to get extended warranty quotes to peruse. At least you'll have first-level assurance that all listed providers have met basic fiduciary and other business requirements. With that said, nothing beats an hour or two doing your homework online. It's critical to shop around for pricing and not just accept the first quote that comes through. Different companies cover different things, and it's always better to get a package to suit your individual needs.
We can’t say this enough. Read the fine print!
For more information about how to extend the life of your car, as well as buying and selling tips, visit us at Wheel Index. We can assist with VIN number checks and well as vehicle valuations to get the best deals possible.