Extended Auto Warranty – A Review on AutoAssure

Extended Auto WarrantyAuto Assure is a specific brand of specific brand of insurance that works much like an extended auto warranty. The real difference with Auto Assure and other extended auto warranty companies is that they will cover the repair bills on really old cars for up to 200,000 miles. I’ve looked at an extended auto warranty before, but only the kind that extend the manufacturers car warranty on cars that are still fairly new. Car assurance is a whole new ball game. I’ve never been much in favor of extended warranties of any kind, but a radio commercial for Auto Assure made me think twice. To explain, I’ll talk about the extended auto warranty in general; then I will discuss the specific Auto Assurance brand and how it might benefit me using my own, old, old car as an example.

Am I a Good Candidate for an Extended Auto Warranty

When you Might Consider Car Assurance

car assuranceMy old, 1997 BMW 540i has 158,000 miles on it. You might ask why I would keep such an old car, knowing that Bimmer owners are prime suspects for extremely high-cost repairs in the first place?  My dilemma is that I cannot afford to replace this old, BMW with a new car that is anywhere as close to being as satisfying to drive. The other problem is that once you start putting money into your old car, it’s hard to stop. For instance;  radiator and transmission replacement, valve covers, seals, wind-shield and the list goes on. Makes you start wondering if car assurance is for you. The right time to buy car assurance would have been three years ago when I bought the car with 143,000 miles on it. So, the answer is, yes, I am definitely a good candidate for car assurance assuming I plan on keeping the car another three years. Truthfully, I didn’t even know car assurance existed for such an old car until I heard the radio ad for Auto Assure.

Should I consider Auto Assure?

Quote on an Extended Car Warranty

What you are about to see is a real-life experience working with Auto Assure. I gave them a call to talk about my car and see what it would cost to get car assurance through them. The Auto Assure website reveals an offering of four, different service contract plans. Here are the auto assure plans from most expensive to least expensive:

  • Platinum Exclusionary
  • Gold Component
  • Powertrain Plus
  • Basic Powertrain

The basic powertrain plan, ofcourse, includes the most basic, yet most expensive things that can fail on your car: Engine, Transmission, Cooling and Axle. The Plus adds fuel system, electrical, electronics, air conditioning, seals, gaskets, transfer units. The Platinum includes anything and everything under the sun and the Gold Component only emits internet and blue tooth from the coverage. Surprisingly, when I called Auto Assure they didn’t even bother to talk to me about the different plans. They immediately went for the Gold.  A young sounding man answered the phone and asked me for the details of my car. I gave him the model and mileage and mentioned to him that I had just replaced the transmission and radiator and some of the additional work that had been done. He told me that he needed to check with his supervisor and see if he could get my car approved for Auto Assure car assurance and transferred me. I spoke with his supervisor for a few minutes who explained to me that I would I was approved and would get a $400 discount.  I was transferred back to the first agent who began using some high-pressure techniques that I didn’t particularly care for.  He explained that the $400 discount offer had to be acted upon now – that is, not today, but during the call. I told him that I don’t operate that way. I don’t make financial decisions without talking to my spouse about it; then sleeping on the idea for one night. I politely refused his offer. So, let’s see what I turned down.

How Much Does Auto Assure Cost?

Here is the breakdown of the Auto Assure offer I got for my Bimmer: $295.00 down payment (over the phone NOW) – Then 18 subsequent, monthly payments of $179.00 each. That comes to about $3,517, total cost.  Coverage lasts for 5 years. In hindsight, I would have saved about $3700 had I taken advantage of a plan like this 3 years ago. I paid over $3500 for my transmission and about $2700 in additional repairs in the last 3 years.  You can read about my transmission repair experience here: Avoid Engine and Transmission World. Here is another not-so-good experience you can read about for my radiator repair: Avoid 5601 Garage in Arvada.   I’ve had some bad luck associated with my BMW and repairs and was not about to take a risk on Auto Assure without fully checking them out. How can you know they are actually good for the money when something goes wrong? The sales agent explained to me that not only every repair of the car fully covered, but it includes towing insurance as well. This sounds good, but do they deliver the good when you need the goods? I did some Google searches for Auto Assure and car assurance companies and was not able to find much in the way of any confidence building testimonials or A+ BBB ratings. Even without the high-pressure sales tactics, it would be unlikely that I would take a chance on a company that I know so little about. Having written an article about Extended Home Warranties, I learned that the greatest cause for dissatisfaction is getting paid for the work when you need it. Extended warranties need to provide 100% confidence and peace of mid. Without that, you have no idea if you’re simply throwing your money away. Before I got off the phone with the high-pressure agent, he did give me another offer: $179.00 Down and $139.00 per month for 24 months. That still adds up to the same amount: $3,515. I told him, no thanks.

Conclusions about Auto Assure and Car Assurance

Despite the relatively negative review on Auto Assure, I have nothing against an extended car warranty for an old car that I plan on keeping. I can see where a program like this would be very beneficial for people who love their old cars and want to continue driving and enjoying them for a very long time.  The key is to do your research and home work and choose an extended auto warranty company with credentials, positive reviews and a track record of happy customers. Auto Assure was not that company.

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Extended Car Warranties

Are Extended Car Warranties Worth it?

Extended Car Warranties
Extended Car Warranty?

One of the most attractive benefits of leasing or buying a new car is the peace of mind you get from knowing you’ll have no car repairs for 3-5 years. Most of the brand new car makers provide a warranty for the first 36-60 months of the car or 12,000 miles per year; whichever comes first. Obviously, one huge benefit of leasing a new car every 36 months is that you will spend very little of your time and money in the shop for repairs or maintenance. Most cars will last three years without needing brakes or tires. The most you will need to do is change the oil 2 or 3 times a year. So, what if you want to keep your car longer than its 3 or 5-year warranty period? Should you consider an extended warranty?

What Do Extended Car Warranties Cover?

  • What brakes on a car after 3 years? Not much.
  • What brakes on a car after 5 years? Not much.
  • Will you need new brakes and tires? Very likely.

Will extended car warranties cover new brakes and tires? Not at all. A few years ago, when I was finalizing the paperwork on the 4-year lease of my Pontiac G6, I was presented with an assortment of extended car warranties. The car dealer explained to me that since my warranty would expire after 3 years, I would be left with a 3-year old car that was not covered by a warranty in my 4th year of leasing it. Oh, the horror! The cost of extending my warranty ranged from around $30 to $60 a month, depending on the size of deductible, coverage options and benefits. Benefits include things like hazard and road-size assistance. I was not impressed, nor even slightly inclined to pay for warranty coverage on a car that would be only 3 years old and have less than 40,000 miles of use. My previous experience with cars that I kept longer than 4 years was a 1996 Infiniti G20 and a 2000 Chevrolet Venture Mini Van. Getting an extended warranty would do me no good. The Infiniti G20 required a $680 alternator and belts repair/ replacement after 5 years. In years 5-7, the Mini Van required 3 trips to the repair shops for new Starter, Door Mechanical and fuel problems totaling about $1,200. These are things that most likely would be covered by extended car warranties. The new brakes, tires and battery replacements would not be covered. Assuming I had purchased a 36 month extended warranty for the Chevy Venture and assuming I was able to get those $1,200 of repairs covered by the very cheapest, $30 per month plan, would I have saved any money? Not really. $30 per month x 36 = $1,080. Add $300 in deductibles over that 3 year span and and warranty would have cost me $1,380; $180 more than what I would have paid with no warranty at all. This, of course is assuming these repairs would be covered in the first place. In the case of the Infinity G20, a warranty premium would have doubled the cost of my actual repairs.

The benefit of these extended warranties is mostly a mindset. Budget minded individuals liked to know where the money is going each and every month. Not everyone is disciplined enough to put money aside in the bank on a regular basis and don’t want to experience the pain and sticker shock of unexpected house or car repairs. This is the same reason people lease cars. In return for a regular payment, you get piece of mind, insurance and certainty. Another reason you might consider an extended warranty is if you are a high mileage driver. The more use you get out of your car, the more you stand to lose in repairs. Most extended car warranties offer additional, warranty coverage options that include a certain amount of wear and tear at an increased premium. However, is paying a monthly premium and deductible really anymore expensive than the proper maintenance required to keep your car running year around? This doesn’t appear to be the case. Back in 2007, Consumer Reports reviewed over 8,000 extended car warranties owners from 2001 and 2002. After five years, the feedback was less than favorable for extended automobile warranties. In fact, only 38% of those owning cars with poor reliability ratings thought the extended warranty was of any benefit. Still, if you’re obsessively worried about the unlikely possibility that something terribly wrong could happen to the mechanics of your car, an extended car warranty may be right for you.

A Better Option for a trouble-free Car

Each and every year, JD Powers reports the reliability ratings on every car sold in America. Even cars which are rated very low on the list are more reliable than they were 20, 30 and 40 years ago.  If you want to maximize your chances of a trouble-free car, choose one that is near the top of the Car Reliability Ratings, listed here. The best warranty is only equal to a good, reliable car.  The best insurance policy is to lease a new car every 2-4 years.