Purchasing an automotive service contract can be costly, not purchasing one can be equally or even more expensive. So what’s one to do? Only you can decide for yourself and make a decision that suits your particular needs. However if you’ve already made the decision to purchase it would behoove you to follow the guidelines listed or you’ll otherwise find your self stuck with costly repairs even after you’ve paid for that expensive contract.
As always, read the fine print, actually read it all BEFORE purchasing. Car dealers are adept and some if not most are even trained like soldiers on a battlefield to persuade you in to buying something you don’t need or mislead you in to what a contract does or does not cover. F and I managers, salesman and car dealers are quick to explain what a service contract covers but for some reason seem to forget to inform what it doesn’t cover or the stipulations and guidelines you must follow.
Although most are similar there are some differences with individual contracts in relationship to guidelines and obviously coverage’s. The information in this article is for the purpose of rules and guidelines and not individual contract coverage’s, even these guidelines are generic in nature but normally apply to most if not all contracts.
First and foremost is to have your vehicle serviced according to the maintenance schedule in the manufacturer’s owner manual. Oil changes, fluid services etc must be performed at the intervals suggested in the owner’s manual in order for your contract to be valid.
Keep records of all services performed with date and mileages. Hand written notes won’t suffice here, receipts must be kept as well. If you’re not a good record keeper then at least have your vehicle serviced at a facility where you can easily obtains copies if needed.
Any alteration of the vehicle from manufacturer standards is not permitted. Including oversize or under size wheels and/or tires.
In some cases and in most contracts using your vehicle to tow a trailer is not permitted unless it’s designed and equipped specifically by the manufacturer to do so.
Consequential damages are not covered as well. For example: If you have an over heating problem caused by a covered part (thermostat perhaps) and the over heat condition causes engine damage then the thermostat would be covered but not the engine damage. Doesn’t seem fair does it?
In most cases prior or existing conditions would not be covered. Example: If you purchased a vehicle that has been abused or not serviced properly and the oil has sludge build up that causes a problem it will not be covered. The reason is because the sludge build up was caused by the previous owners lack of maintenance
Hazardous waste disposal charges, shop supplies, storage fees, freight charges etc will not be paid for.
These of course are just a few examples of what to be concerned about when purchasing a service contract. Your individual policy guidelines may differ some what so be sure to read the entire policy and pay close attention to the area of “Exclusions From Coverage. If you don’t have a copy contact your provider, either the dealer whom sold you the vehicle or the contract provider directly.