Frequently Asked Questions
United Automotive Services is your “One Stop Shop” for determining the best Service contract coverage for your vehicle. We have hand selected the nation’s top Vehicle Service Contract Providers and put them all together so you can see the very best coverages available specific to your car.
A Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) is commonly referred to as an “Extended Warranty”. The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is the only entity that can really provide a “warranty” based on their workmanship. The OEM’s all offer “Extended” Warranty coverage through their Dealerships at the point-of sale that provide additional time and miles of coverage.
VSC are technically “Service” contracts where an Administrator creates a product that will provide the “Service” of paying for your mechanical repairs, without being considered “Insurance”. VSC are licensed on a state by state basis, so United Automotive Services needs to know your state of residence to select the correct plans that are available in your state. We have chosen only the finest VSC providers for you based on their A.M. Best rating (A-) or better AND their claims handling experience to insure you actually get your claim paid for quickly and that they are financially stable!
There are two types of VSC coverages.
Exclusionary: This is an “ALL” risk contract. Everything on the car is considered to be covered EXCEPT the items specifically excluded. Typically this includes 4 major sections:
- Routine Maintenance: Lube/Oil/Filter changes
- Factory Scheduled Maintenance: Timing Belts, Transmission Flushing, fuel filters
- Physical Damage: Any physical damage from accidents etc…is not covered.
- Modifications: Changing factory items like rims, lift kits, snow-plows, turbos etc…
Other than those 4 categories everything else is assumed to be covered for breakdowns.
Component: All plans that are not “Exclusionary” are considered to be named component coverages. This means the plan specifically lists all the component groups, and all the parts that ARE covered. If a part or component is not listed then it is NOT covered. Most VSC plans are “Named Component”
Cause/Effect Coverage: All VSC plans have language that tell you how they handle claims where a CAUSE/EFFECT relationship is involved. For example a covered component may fail and cause damage to another covered component that may or may not have failed. Additionally a covered component may fail, causing damage to a normally not covered item, like a water hose, or wires.
This is a major consideration when comparing two different companies. Paying for this is expensive and believe it or not many claims have this causal relationship. If one provider appears cheaper and they DON’T cover Cause and Effect then it is NOT a better value. Here are the possible situations:
- Covered Parts damage other Covered Parts: YES
- Covered Parts damage other NON-Covered Parts: YES, but some don’t…check for yourself
- NON- Covered Parts damage other Covered Parts: NO, providers don’t pay for this typically
Administrator: This is the name of the VSC plan provider. They design the Plan, Coverage levels, Deductibles and manage the claim center that handles the phone calls from repair facilities to pay for your repairs. They then contract with an (A) rated insurer to handle the premium and fund the claims as they are paid out to the repairer.
Provider: This is the same as the Administrator.
Deductible: This is the amount stated on the front of your VSC contract that you must pay out of pocket for each repair. They usually range from $0 to $100 per repair. This keeps customers from filing small frivolous claims for only very small items. If your repair is more than the deductible, the Administrator pays the repair facility the excess amount based on the approved repairs only.
Be aware, that some cheaper Administrators will charge you a deductible per part repaired, not per repair visit. This is another way to make their plan less expensive, yet it is not the proper way to assess a deductible. Our plans always apply the deductible to the entire repair tickets, so any/all parts that need repair are covered over and above your one deductible payment.
Coverage Terms: The coverage term is the time for which your VSC contract pays for your covered repairs. It is sometimes stated in Months or Years. The actual term start date is stated in one of two ways, and you need to be VERY cautious in understanding what you are actually getting. Many VSC administrators make their programs appear less expensive by playing games with the contract start date. There are only two ways to start a service contract.
- In-Service-Date: This is the actual date your car was delivered as a NEW car. This date refers to the date your car went into “Service” and the Factory Warranty starts. Some plans always use the I-S-D as the beginning point, even if you buy their coverage 2-3 years into ownership. So a 5 year plan that looks really inexpensive may be 2-3 years used up based on your I-S-D. If you have owned your car for 3 years, then this plan is only giving you another 2 years of protection. Be careful!
- Sale Date: This is the more appropriate date that top quality providers typically use. So, if you buy a 4 year plan today with a SALE date provision you are actually getting 4 more years from TODAY…or the day you commence the VSC purchase. Even some of the best companies have a 30-Day waiting period for filing claims, but do not be alarmed this is just so that customers cannot buy a plan for a known problem and file a claim the very next day.
- If comparing two companies, divide the total price by the ACTUAL number of years of coverage you are getting. So, if you are looking at a 5 year/75,000 mile plan that has the I-S-D provision it is only 2 more years, if your car is 3 years old already.
- $2,000 sale price divided by 2 years of coverage, NOT 5 yrs. = $1000 per year.
- If considering what appears to be a more expensive 4 year plan that is actually a SALE DATE plan, you divide the price by the years of coverage.
- $2,200 sale price divided by 4 years = $550 per year…almost 50% less per year!
Coverage Miles: Again, when you are considering a VSC plan’s true cost to you on a per year basis AND for the miles you are actually getting. There are two ways mileage is stated and you need to be VERY cautious in understanding what you are actually getting. Many VSC administrators make their programs appear less expensive by playing games with the mileage start date. There are two ways to cover mileage.
- Zero-Miles: This is the mileage of a car at delivery as a NEW car. This refers to the odometer basically reading 0 miles when your car went into “Service” and the Factory Warranty starts. Some plans always use zero miles as the beginning point, even if you buy their coverage 2-3 years into ownership. So a 75,000 mile plan that looks really inexpensive may be 30-40,000 miles used up based on your odometer reading at the time of VSC purchase. If you have driven your car for 30,000 miles, then this plan is only giving you another 45,000 miles of protection. Be careful!
- Add-On Miles: This is the more appropriate way that top quality providers typically state mileage coverage. So, if you buy a 48,000 miles of coverage, you ACTUALLY get 48,000 miles ADDED to your current odometer reading at the time of VSC purchase. Even some of the best companies have a 1,000 Mile waiting period for filing initial claims, but do not be alarmed this is just so that customers cannot buy a plan for a known problem and file a claim the very next day. You are required to go 1,000 miles before you can file a claim.
- When comparing two companies, divide the total price by the ACTUAL number of years miles you are getting.
- $2,000 sale price divided (75,000 minus 30,000 on your cars is only 45,000 miles or ($2,000/45,000 = 4.4 cents per mile)
- $2,200 sale price divided by 48,000 miles ($2,000/48,000 = 4.1 cents per mile)