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Last updated: 13 September 2021
Use our helpful guide to find out more about car warranties and discover whether you might want to take out a policy that can protect you from the unexpected costs of fixing your vehicle.
What is a car warranty?
A car warranty, also known as mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI), will protect you from the costs of having to repair any unexpected mechanical or electrical fault with your vehicle. If you experience engine failure or a vehicle malfunction that wasn't your fault, then a car warranty can cover the financial costs.
A car warranty will cover basic engine, transmission and electrical failure at its most simplistic, but you can take out a comprehensive policy that will cover you for problems with:
- Brake System
- Cooling System
- Ignition System
- Fuel System
- General wear and tear of the vehicle, such as problems with tyres, batteries, brakes and exhausts.
Car warranty vs car insurance
Car insurance is legally required for you to be allowed on the road and depending on your policy will cover injury to you or any accidental damage to your vehicle if you have an accident on the road. A car warranty essentially covers the parts of your vehicle if they fail and it is not your fault.
Is car warranty worth it?
When you buy a new car, it will generally have seven years warranty included in the cost of purchase as standard. This may vary depending on where you buy the vehicle, so be sure to check the warranty before your purchase a new car.
You may also wish to extend the included warranty to your needs, i.e. to make it a more comprehensive policy. An extended warranty is recommended if the vehicle you are purchasing is particularly expensive, as the parts needed to repair it are likely to also be more expensive.
If you are buying a used car then it is less likely to have a warranty, though check with the dealership you are buying it from as sometimes warranty is included as part of the sales process.
Though you may feel like you may not need car warranty or may not be able to afford it, you may get a shock when presented with a expensive repair bills. A vehicle warranty can give you additional peace of mind knowing that whatever goes wrong with your car, you will be covered for any expensive repairs or labour costs.
When considering a car warranty policy remember to think about the following:
- What is the value of your vehicle and the average cost it takes to repair that vehicle?
- How frequently does or may your vehicle break down?
- Is your vehicle likely to have high repair costs?
Buying a car warranty
Whether you're buying a new car, a used car or extending the warranty on a vehicle you already own it's best to check all the details of the warranty policy. Sometimes specialist warranty providers will have better offers than the dealership from which you're buying your car. Make sure you've done your research before you commit to anything, as getting stand-alone warranty cover may be cheaper than adding it on to the purchase of a car or the extension of an old warranty policy.
Here are some useful things to remember when choosing a car warranty policy:
- The price of your policy will depend on a number of factors, such as the make, model and age of the car, the mileage, and who the main driver will be.
- Warranties can be anywhere from one month to seven years, though the most popular option is often a 12-month policy, allowing you to reassess your policy each year.
- When opting for a warranty on a used car, make sure you have had the car serviced within the last 12 months, as this will be a requirement for most providers.
- There are specialist warranty companies that may provide the cheapest deals. In the UK, these are providers such as Warranty Direct, Click4Warranty and Motoreasy.