Q&A warranty special

21 May 2007

With the cost of car parts and labour rates rising, investing in a warranty could be a wise move.

Duncan McClure Fisher is managing director of warranty specialist Warranty Direct Limited, and he answers our questions on why warranties are important and what they could mean to you.

With cars becoming more reliable, why should I bother with an independent warranty once the manufacturer one has run out?
We pay out millions of pounds in car repairs every year, so we know that cars aren't getting any more reliable. The average repair bill is £330, but with labour rates and parts costs rising, and the introduction of modern electronics, you can't afford not to have your own warranty.

What's the difference between a manufacturer's warranty and an independent one?
The manufacturer's will protect a car for the first three years of its life, and covers most parts of the car, including trim and light bulbs. An independent warranty will vary according to the age and mileage of the car. The top cover will protect all mechanical and electrical parts, while other policies will protect specified parts. The aim is to get as much covered as possible at the best price, without buying a policy with unfair get-out clauses.

What's the typical cost for a warranty?
An average cost of a good warranty should be about £270 a year. Cars with smaller engines and fewer extras will cost as little as £170, while bigger and more exotic cars will be £1000 a year or more.

What's the most common warranty problem for modern cars?
This varies according to manufacturer, but the majority of failures are due to suspension faults, followed by electrical ones. These account for 60% of all claims.

What should you do before you sign any warranty contract?
Two things are a must: have your car serviced or inspected to ensure there is nothing wrong with it, and then read the policy wording very carefully. Make sure you are aware of any wear-and-tear clauses, which may result in a claim being rejected.

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