Car Warranties for Seniors

Not all seniors own a motorized vehicle but for those who still do own and drive one, warranties can be invaluable towards keeping your mind at ease if something breaks and needs to be fixed. Instead of buying new cars every few years, there are often extended warranties available for purchase from the manufacturer or elsewhere – helping to reduce costs should minor or major fixes be needed “further down the road” beyond original warranty coverage. Wear and tear occurs on every vehicle on the road, so buying a longer-term warranty can be a wise investment to avoid paying thousands of dollars out of pocket. 


A typical original warranty is only valid for 36,000 miles or three years from the day you purchased your vehicle, whichever comes first. Coincidentally or not, vehicle owners often experience problems and issues once the original warranty runs out, leaving them with having to foot large bills for repairs. Extended warranties are like insurance policies for vehicles, and can help owners save lots of money, especially if recurring problems become an unfortunate reality. 


Some vehicle owners claim that if they don’t buy an extended warranty then their vehicle is headed for trouble once the original warranty ends, and some claim that if they do buy the extended warranty then somehow their vehicle never needs to be fixed. It all comes down to the amount of risk you want to subject yourself to with regards to your vehicle, and sometimes peace of mind is priceless – making extended warranties a must for many seniors today. 


We dive into more extended warranty information for vehicles below so you can get a better sense if one is ideal for your needs, or not. 

When is an Extended Warranty a Good Idea?

Being proactive to purchase an extended warranty before your original warranty expires is recommended to secure a cost-effective solution. With every mile that is added to your odometer, the cost of an extended warranty increases. Once the odometer is at or around the 100,000-mile mark, it may not be worth purchasing an extended warranty anymore, and just roll the dice and hope your car avoids major problems – most minor issues from time to time will still be cheaper to cover out of pocket versus paying for ongoing warranty coverage. 

Why is an Extended Warranty Important?

Perhaps the most important aspect about taking out an extended warranty is that if you’re on a tight budget with a vehicle that doesn’t have one, and a major repair is needed after the original warranty ends, it might mean having to take your vehicle off the road and needing to sell it at a drastically reduced price tag in its poor condition. 


In general, if your budget allows for an extended warranty for your vehicle and you plan on driving it long-term, then get it to avoid scary scenarios similar to the one just mentioned above. As your vehicle ages, it runs a higher probability that it will need more maintenance and repairs, so extended warranties are often handy to have in your back pocket. 


If you aren’t a gambler, then play it safe to keep your stress levels lower and costs more fixed on a monthly basis when it comes to your vehicle, and examine your extended warranty options. Your mental health and bank account shouldn’t be put in a bad position to keep your vehicle on the road. 

Should I Invest Into an Extended Warranty?

Costs fluctuate widely for extended warranties depending on several factors including the make and model of your vehicle, its current condition and mileage on it, your driving history, and other significant factors. 


If your vehicle’s original warranty has expired or will in the months ahead, then it’s time to take a hard look at buying an extended warranty. Factors that need to be taken into consideration include your current health status, how many more years you plan on owning the vehicle and driving it for, if your financial situation will change either in the short or long-term, and other factors that are unique to your life. Look at how many miles are currently on your vehicle, and if you want to keep driving it past the 100,000-mile threshold – if so, then an extended warranty likely makes a lot of sense from a financial perspective. 


If you have been debating in your mind on whether you want to sell your car, then you may want to hold off on buying an extended warranty until that decision becomes clearer. Extended warranties are best deployed when a vehicle owner loves what they have and want to drive it for as long as they possibly can. 

Questions to Ask Providers About Extended Warranties

Once you are at least open to the idea of purchasing an extended warranty, then you should approach providers with a few questions that really matter to you and your vehicle. The questions below are good places to start, and then add more as they come to you. Don’t commit to an extended warranty until you are completely comfortable with the decision, and at a price that fits within your financial means. 


Are there coverage limits?

You will need to know what your mileage parameters are and gain an understanding of how many miles you are currently driving on a monthly and annual basis, and if that will change any moving forward. If the mileage limitations will negatively affect how you use your vehicle and live your life, then either seek out other providers that may have more favorable numbers for you or elect not to move forward with an extended warranty and take your chances without extended coverage. 


Also be sure to have conversations with your friends and family members to see if they have dealt with extended warranty providers in the past and if they can give you any trusted recommendations. 


Is there anything else included with the warranty?

Extended warranties can carry additional value aside from covering repairs – some providers offer limited-time roadside assistance in case of vehicle malfunction, and other benefits that may be of use to you and your vehicle. Many salespeople will talk these additional perks up right from the beginning, but if you aren’t hearing much about this topic then don’t hesitate to inquire. 


Is there a deductible?

This is very important to look into in case you need to call upon an extended warranty, but first, need to pay your provider a set amount before your coverage kicks in. You will always want to have repairs kept to a minimum and your car on the road as much as possible, but when repairs are needed and out of pocket money is required to take advantage of the extended warranty – you will need a firm understanding of what to expect. If the deductible is high, even on smaller fixes, then an extended warranty may not make financial sense for you. 


Do you have to pay for repairs initially out of pocket and then get reimbursed later?

At times, paying for your vehicle repairs before you are reimbursed a few weeks later by your extended warranty provider can actually be a good thing to get nice financial or product rewards from your credit card company. Unless you have full trust in your provider though to get your money back and in a timely matter, then it’s likely best to make sure the provider works with repair shops directly to cover all costs as they happen. 


Do you have influence for where repairs are conducted?


Extended warranty providers tend to rely on a few repair shops to take care of their client’s vehicles. Look at the quality of those shops to see if you even want your vehicle to be repaired there if needed, and see where they are physically located to determine if one is close to your home. You may even want to speak to their preferred repair shops to gauge how good their relationships are – it may be an indicator of what to expect when dealing with them as a provider.

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