For some people, vehicle extended warranty programs are a no-brainer and the salesperson does not even have to explain it before they are agreeing on a purchase. For others, however, the cost of a program, over the long-haul makes the decision a little trickier.

If you are considering whether to purchase an extended warranty, here is some advice you can use to help make up your mind.

Consider Your Driving Habits

Do you drive a lot? If so, weigh the cost of the warranty versus the likelihood you will only be able to apply it for a short time. If you drive an extreme amount, then an extended warranty is not worth the cost. 

Do you turn over vehicles frequently? Another way an extended warranty is not worth the investment is if you turn over your vehicles a lot. If you are a “new vehicle every two years” guy, the extended warranty will likely never get used. 

Are you hard on your vehicle? One situation that will almost always benefit from an extended warranty is if you push the limits on your vehicle. In that case, an extended warranty is worth the investment because you likely will use it more than most people.

When is it Always Worth it?

One scenario when it is always worth making the investment into an extended warranty is if you meet the following criteria:

  • You drive a moderate amount per year.
  • You plan on having the vehicle for longer than five years.
  • You are a cautious driver.
  • You maintain the vehicle according to manufacturer recommendations.
  • Your driving record is impeccable, and you have had no accidents.

Levels of Coverage

Another mitigating factor is the level of coverage available to you. Extended vehicle providers often sell levels that meet certain driver conditions. Someone who drives a lot, for instance, would need a different warranty than someone who hardly drives at all.

To get some sense of whether the car would benefit from an extended warranty, research its consumer quality rating. A vehicle that is known for certain repair work may make an extended warranty not just a good idea but a necessary component to buying or keeping the vehicle. 

Other Considerations

Warranty Transfer: Before agreeing to any extended warranty, investigate whether you can transfer existing warranties that may exist.

Repair Requirements: Some warranties stipulate that you need to have repairs done at the dealer. Others require that maintenance be performed by the dealer as well. 

In the right circumstances, vehicle extended warranty programs are a good idea and even a godsend. The trick is knowing when to get one and what to get.