Extended car warranties from the dealership or online?
When shopping for an extended car warranty, you should expect to do a lot of research. Any third party dealer is out to make a few dollars, so you should always know what your policy covers, as well as the year and mileage limit. With the exception of a manufacturing warranty, the two places to buy are either online or a dealership. While some online providers are going to have better reputations and motives than others, overall they're going to offer better deals than the average dealership.
The problem with going through a dealership for the extended warranty is that the salesperson or financial manager is trying to make a profit. Dealers make their profits on commission, and a hefty portion of that comes from extended warranties. Naturally, they want you to buy and they want you to pay as much as possible. Some dealerships will charge between 50 and 90 percent more for a policy than they paid for it. Disreputable dealers may tell you that they can't provide informative paperwork, can't make a customizable policy, and will get you a copy of the contract "after it's signed."
The upside to using a dealer is that they incorporate the extended warranty cost into your monthly vehicle payments. While that certainly is convenient, it may not be worth it for the added expense. You could buy through a dealership effectively if you did a lot of research, knew what deals you could get elsewhere, and were able to haggle with the salesperson efficiently. The process can be confusing and exhausting, though, so make sure you do your homework first.
Online extended warranties are easier to understand. Your options are laid out before you and you pick and choose accordingly. Choose a year or mileage policy and view it online before you sign. Make sure you know where your car can be fixed, whether it's paid for up front or reimbursed, and whether your policy specifies "damage" or "wear and tear." It's easy to compare these specifics from website to website, making it simple to research. It also keeps the sellers themselves more honest. Since commissions aren't involved, these third-party sites can offer warranties 40 percent less expensive than dealerships.
While passively accepting the policy offered by a dealership might seem easier, in the long run a little research can save a lot of money. Third-party websites offer cheaper deals with better overall coverage.