Vehicle warranties offer lifeline when you need it most

Warranty Blog

In the current economic climate consumers are becoming more demanding about the products they buy, and are looking at getting the most value from anything which costs money. David Chard, Managing Director of AA Warranties says for this reason people must do their homework before making any significant purchases, particularly those which relate to their vehicles.

“A product such as an extended warranty, for instance, offers peace-of-mind to an owner. With people in South Africa relying so heavily on their vehicles this product is a lifeline to owners and means the vehicle can be operational far quicker than if the owner first has to raise the money to get any repairs done. A major benefit is that some extended warranties are available on a pay-as-you-go basis so buyers can get them on a monthly basis if needed,” explains David.

He says, however, that owners must think carefully about any warranty product they want before signing on the dotted line.

“You should ask yourself if the vehicle you have, or one you are considering buying, is particularly expensive to repair, or if it is generally repaired at a low cost. Knowing this upfront should partly inform your decision on which product to get. And, with the AA-Kinsey Report ( it’s easy to get the right information,” David says.

He says if the vehicle’s repairs are generally expensive, a warranty product with a high total claim limit – or high limits for key parts – could be an option. An owner with a vehicle which has a generally lower repair cost could consider a policy with lower limits, and thereby save on monthly premiums.

“I also always urge people to investigate the typical mechanical failures on the specific make and model of their vehicle. They can do this by, for instance, consulting owner groups or visiting online forums of their specific vehicle. This will ensure more appropriate cover for the more common problems they’ll encounter. If, for instance, there is a specific vehicle which is known to have gearbox issues, make sure your warranty has generous cover for transmission-related claims,” David advises.

Another key fact, says David, is to think about how long you’ll be keeping the vehicle, and for how long the factory or manufacturer’s warranty is still valid. He says it’s an important consideration too few people make when buying a vehicle.

“It’s tempting to think the cover won’t expire, but it will. In the short-term you are covered, depending on the length of the manufacturer’s warranty left on the vehicle. But, if there’s only 12 or 18 months left on the warranty, and you want to keep the vehicle for five years or longer – which is the current trend in South Africa – then you have to ask yourself what happens when that cover runs out,” he says.

He says when buying a vehicle consumers should consider buying additional cover to kick-in when the manufacturer’s cover stops (known as an extended warranty), or to buy a policy which engages when the manufacturer’s warranty expires (known as used vehicle warranty). Either way, he says, a warranty is an essential risk-reducing product which should not be overlooked when buying a vehicle.

“We often see people buying cars and then failing to get additional cover when the existing warranty expires. When something happens to the vehicle and the costs estimates start to come in, they often way exceed what that owner has readily available to repair the vehicle. Those people are then left stranded, or reliant on others to get around, and it often causes great distress. Don’t get yourself caught in a tricky situation, get covered now,” concludes David.

Research conducted by the AA in 2019 indicated that more than 90 percent of South Africans are keeping their vehicles for longer due to the economy, with just over 40 percent saying they are keeping their vehicles for between five and ten years.

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