Insurance Policy or Vehicle Service Contract?
Vehicles today are increasingly complex especially with all the electrical components, and Canadians are looking for more and more solutions to protect their investment. For decades we have all associated the term “bumper to bumper” with new vehicle warranty and while it remains undefined, the term suggests that everything between the bumpers is covered under warranty. In reality, you will be hard pressed to find it in writing from any of the major vehicle brands today or any insurance policy.
Extending the manufacturers’ warranty
Vehicles come with a 3 year 60,000KM or 4 year 80,000KM depending on the manufacturer, with a few 5 year 100,000 KM warranties available and are usually referred to as “New Vehicle Warranty” or “New Vehicle Limited Warranty”. When it’s time to extend the warranty, a consumer can decide between an independent insurance policy or vehicle service contracts (VSC) from the manufacturer. Be aware that a VSC is different from the original manufacturers’ warranty, it isn’t an extension of the exact same thing and they can be open to a lot of interpretation. Here are some examples of what you will be looking at:
– OBVI Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Policies
– GM Total Plus (VSC)
– BMW Certified Series (VSC)
– Mercedes Benz Certified Series (VSC)
– Toyota Extended Care Plan (VSC) (available in Silver, Gold and Platinum)
– Acura Plus Plan (VSC)
– Honda Plus Plan (VSC)
– Ford Care (VSC) (which has many different levels of coverage)
– Audi Certified Plus (VSC)
– Other third party providers of VSC and insurance
The list goes on and on. So how do you know which warranty to chose? Let’s face it, the automotive industry is a marketing giant and when it comes to the extended warranty they have great brochures often listing hundreds of components you have never heard of. But the reality is you should be most concerned with what’s NOT covered to make the decision. After all, when you need to make a claim the brochure is out the window and the small-print policy wording is called upon. It’s time for a transparent approach to extended warranty, one which provides great coverage all with easy to understand exclusions.
Does buying an extended warranty from the manufacturer provide “bumper to bumper” coverage? No.
Canadians need to read and understand the policies and beyond the coverage should be considering the following when buying an extended warranty:
– Financial stability, usually best served by an insurance policy.
– Can you transfer at a dealer? The most common way to sell your vehicle
– Are you getting warranty advice from the warranty provider?
– Where can the vehicle be repaired?
– What is the KM coverage? How many extra years does it provide?
– Who is assisting you during a claim?
To summarize; Bumper to bumper is another way of wording Extended Auto Warranty. It doesn’t literally mean that EVERYTHING is included, although it sounds like it. Always make sure you know whether you are looking at an insurance policy or a vehicle service contract, that you understand what you are reading and are happy with what is covered.