Non-Traditional Warranty Options

It’s common knowledge that new cars come with a warranty, but many buyers don’t realize that new RVs, boats and ATVs are also offered with similar protection. If the manufacturer's warranty does not provide sufficient protection, extended warranties may be available from dealerships and third-party vendors.

The Different Warranty Types

There are several different warranty types available for the purpose of protecting boats, ATVs and RVs.

Here’s an outline of the most common options:

The Manufacturer Warranty - This is the most common type of protection offered with these vehicles. As with a car or truck, this warranty comes standard and at no cost with a new-vehicle purchase.

The Dealership Warranty - Usually offered for sale by the dealership at the time of purchase, an extended warranty lengthens the period of the term and may include additional coverages not included in the manufacturer's warranty. This warranty can be purchased at the time of sale or prior to the expiration of the manufacturer's warranty.

Third-Party Protection - A third party warranty is an aftermarket policy available through a company unrelated to manufacturer or dealership. Think of it like buying an insurance policy for your car. The agreement protects the vehicle for a specified period of time and can be added to vehicles with or without a current manufacturer’s warranty.

Part Specific Warranties - With boats and other recreational vehicles, specialized warranties often supply coverage for components not traditionally protected by the manufacturer's warranty. For instance, a boat's engine might be warranteed by the engine manufacturer, while the hull may be covered by the company that built the boat's shell.

Any or all of these warranties may be structured as non-transferrable, meaning the protections only extend to the original owner of the vehicle. This is not problematic until the original owner decides to sell. A transferrable warranty is a great selling point for a vehicle and helps to keep the resale value high.

Limitations of Extended Warranties

Extended warranties are nice to have, but they can also be quite limited. It’s important to know about nature of a policy's restrictions before purchase.

These limitations may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Repair location - Many extended warranties, regardless of provider, will only cover repairs done by a limited set of facilities. This could be a major inconvenience if you live far from one of the approved repair locations.

Factory certified parts - Most warranties also demand the strict use of factory certified parts for all repairs. If there are any co-pay requirements associated with the warranty, this requirement can inflate out of pocket expenses as factory parts are significantly more expensive than aftermarket. The requirement can also cause added wait times when repair locations don’t have the required parts in stock.

Original warranty must be active - There is usually a requirement that the original manufacturer’s warranty still be active to obtain an extended warranty through a dealership or manufacturer.

The Benefits of a Third Party Extended Warranty

While many choose to buy a warranty from their dealership or the vehicle manufacturer, others rely on third-party vendors. These agreements often come with added features not found in more traditional warranties.

More choices - There are dozens of different companies that offer third-party warranty protection and with competition comes competitive pricing, ideal for the budget conscious.

Repairs aren’t location specific - With third-party warranties, repairs can usually be performed anywhere. There is more freedom in how work is done, and sometimes allowances are made for the use of aftermarket parts.

More affordable - Third party policies are usually more affordable, helping you save money on the purchase.

As with cars and trucks, warranties are useful for boats, RVs and ATVs as well. Do your research so that you can take full advantage of them economically, no matter what type of vehicle you are purchasing.