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Extended Warranty

Many of you have extended warranties purchased with or after you purchased your vehicle. This article is not going to discuss whether purchasing that warranty was a good or bad thing. It is about how your service centre must deal with these warranties and what the outcome for you the owner might be when it comes to making a claim.

First off always tell your service provider that you have an extended warranty when making an appointment to have your vehicle diagnosed, serviced, maintained or repaired. When dropping off the vehicle bring your warranty contract and associated documents with the vehicle and give them to the service personnel.

If your vehicle does have a problem and it is possibly covered under warranty it is time to look at the contract to verify what may or may not be covered. Most warranties have various levels of coverage. At purchase time they were probably presented to you as silver, gold, platinum or something to that effect.

I have found that there is a lot of variation in items that are covered and not covered and getting to the bottom line so to speak can require a significant time investment.

First off if your problem requires some diagnostic time to figure out exactly what is wrong most of the warranty policies do not pay for this. Your service provider does need to know exactly what is wrong in order to estimate the final cost of repair.

A first phone call to the warranty company can initiate a claim and determine if the vehicle is still covered under the warranty without yet knowing if the actual failure will be covered.

After initiating the claim a very detailed estimate is necessary to ensure what will and will not be paid for. Some warranty companies do not pay for fluids and or gaskets. For example if your water pump fails the water pump will be paid for but the coolant that leaked out when it failed would not be paid for. From what I know no warranty policies pay for wear items such as brakes, clutches and the like. From personal experience some do not pay for a repair when the cause is carbon build up in the engine.

Once a detailed estimate is determined the negotiations begin. The phone call to the warranty company can be similar to phoning for support at your internet provider. You know the hold routine.

If the estimate is for something substantial like a blown motor the warranty company may ask for even more detail. The actual cause of the failure may need to be determined. Lack of maintenance (oil changes for example). You, the owner may have to produce service records to determine that you have been taking care of the vehicle.

You may have to authorize further disassembly before even knowing whether the warranty provider is going to pay for the repair. The warranty company may even want to send out an insurance adjuster to actually verify the problem and the cause.

As you can imagine there are more steps to a warranty claim then a regular repair. More steps means more time.

The moral of this story is do not count on an extended warranty to eliminate all the cost of taking care of your vehicle. It is just as important to take care of your vehicle and even more important to keep records of what was actually done. Be patient with your service provider as warranty claims can take more time.

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