Extended warranty?


Does anyone have experience with extended warranty coverage? My son owns a 2004 Passat with 50k that just needed an expensive clutch repair. We’re thinking of a US Fidelis plan. Just wondering if these plans are similar to a manufacturer’s warranty. Any input would be appreciated.

A clutch is considered a wear item and usually isn’t covered under a warranty. These extended warranties are just insurance policies and you will probably come out ahead by insuring yourself and skipping such plans. Warranties just give you a right to fight.

My brother owns a 2003 Cadillac for which he is the second owner. The car had the manufacturer’s extended warranty which was transferred to him and cost him nothing. He hasn’t paid a dime in repair expenses, but he didn’t pay for the warranty.

I would take a pass on this warranty plan. It wouldn’t have covered the clutch anyway.

Aftermarket plans can very difficult to collect on for you the consumer and your poor mechanic who needs the repair “approved”.

I would recommend avoiding anything aftermarket. I will say NO warranty would cover a clutch repair aftermarket or factory except the initial 1yr/12,000.

These warranties seldom pay off for the consumer. I have found it cheaper to pay as you go for repairs after the intiial new car warranty period. There is no doubt that the warranty company comes out ahead on the majority of these transactions.

Double check the warranty language: I think it is doubtful that a wear item like the new clutch would have been covered under the warranty.

The average person will collect about half of what they pay. That’s pretty expensive insurance.

See if you can find the recent Car & Driver, it has a very critical article on these, US Fidelis included. I would only buy a manufacturer-backed one, not one of these, they are often nightmares. (but I don’t buy them at all, they are very expensive for what you get)

These plans are similar to a car manufacturer’s own extended warranty only in that they both use the word “warranty”.

US Fidelis is one of the MANY fly-by-night private auto warranty companies that have sprung up in recent years. No matter what type of claim you submit, they will either refuse to pay anything or will give you an insultingly small pittance (like…perhaps $24 on an $800 claim), and they will always cite some kind of technicality for their refusal to pay. And, these companies have a disturbing tendency to go out of business after a few years, taking your money with them.

While VW’s own warranty would indeed be far preferable to one from any of these rip-off private warranty companies, you have to realize that clutches and brakes are never covered under anyone’s extended warranty, simply because owner abuse can quickly ruin either of these wear items. That being said, while extended warranties are rarely worth the cost, if I had a VW, I would strongly consider one, given their propensity for a high incidence of problems as they age.

Just do a google search for “US Fidelis car warranties”. You find lots of hits with many of the describing the scam habits of US Fidelis.

The high pressure warranty companies that call you, advertise on TV or in print, are well known to collect premiums from lots of customers and then close down the business (opening right away under a new name).

Those that don’t close down have their warranty contracts worded in a way that makes sure they won’t be making big payouts to you.

Save your money.

And as Triedag noted, clutches are wear items (like brakes, tires, etc). Warranties won’t cover them.

You might find the following information, from the Better Business Bureau’s website, to be interesting:

BBB Rating
Based on BBB files, this business has a BBB Rating of F on a scale from A+ to F.
Reasons for this rating include:
?1245 complaints filed against business
?Government action(s) against business.
?Advertising issue(s) found by BBB.
?Length of time business has taken to resolve complaint(s).
?Business has failed to resolve underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints.

The BBB has received numerous complaints regarding this extended vehicle service contract broker. Complainants primarily allege difficulty cancelling policies and obtaining refunds, misleading advertisements, misleading, high pressure or improper sales tactics, poor customer service, failure to pay for vehicle repairs, difficulty contacting the company, misrepresentation of coverage, harassing phone calls and failure to remove names from mailing lists. These complaint patterns are reflected in the complaint statistics below.

Business Contact and Profile
Name: U S Fidelis Inc
Phone: (800) 649-1856
Fax: (636) 639-1640
Address: 100 Mall Pkwy
(Main address)
Wentzville, MO 63385-4816

Website: www.usfidelis.com

Original Business Start Date: February 2003
Principal: Darain Atkinson, President
Customer Contact: Michelle Skidmore, Legal Aid
Type of Business: Auto Service Contract Companies

BBB Accreditation: This company is not a BBB Accredited business.

Additional DBA Names: U S Fidelis Administration Services Inc
Dealer Services
National Auto Warranty Services Inc
Dealer Warranty Division

Thanks for all the input. The car he purchased looks great and the engine sounds fine. I’m just worried about some of the stuff I hear about VW’s. Hopefully it will end up being cheaper than if he had bought a new car! We obviously haven’t started out very well.

Tell your son that he can institute his own warranty of sorts.

He should put at least $100 per month into a special bank account dedicated just to the care and feeding of this car, and hopefully that will help relieve some of the sticker shock for repairs over the next few years. What you have heard about VWs is true, so he needs to be financially prepared for the probable high repair costs over time.

I would make that at least $150 and probably more like $200 per month set aside as the “Passat Maintenance & Repair Fund”. These cars are expensive to own and well heeled customers like driving them but they all complain about the upkeep.

Definitely not the car for someone starting out in life.

“The BBB has received numerous complaints regarding this extended vehicle service contract broker.”

But how can that be?! Rusty Wallace just loves them! Or at least the great goo gobs of money they pay him to be their shill.

Are there any companies out there that are worth looking at? Or are they all just a waste of money?

If you purchase an extended warranty and it saves you money, you will be in a very small group of people. Those warranties are creatively written in ways that allow the manufacturer to deny many repair claims.

The companies are in business to make a profit. The odds are greatly against you that you’ll come out financially ahead.

It’s like “investing” money in the slots or tables at Las Vegas. Some people do make money. Most do not.

Well any car can have major expensive repairs.

The profit to the salesman and company is usually over 50%. So for every $1,000 you spend the insurance company has less than $500 to pay for repairs or they will loose money, something insurance companies do not do. Some peop;le will get nothing back and some will get a lot more than they pay.  Most will get far less. In addition you need to keep in mind that the insurer has worded it to eliminate as many expensive things as they can.

Remember that the seller is out to make money and they get to write the rules and set the price.  They are not going to sell them at a loss so one way or another they are going to have you pay more than they will pay out.  

Would you gamble with a car dealer who gets to set all the rules and knows all the odds?   

Your decision has to do with the value of the piece of mind it gives you. If that is worth the cost then buy it. Don't expect it to cover everything however, most are written to keep cost down and exempt what they know will cost them money. 

Good Luck

Like I said, the only ones I would trust to fulfill the warranty are the manufacturers. Too many horror stories about the aftermarketers. Might one of them be legit? Maybe, but why risk that huge slug of money? Put it in a savings account, bet somoe of it’ll still be there when the Passat’s gone.

Google US Fidelis and what you’ll read isn’t pretty. Try to get a plan through Volkswagen if you can. Aside from that, bank money for repairs instead of using an outside party for insurance.

One way to avoid expensive clutch repairs is Don’t Dump the Clutch. I’m just speaking from experience. I was a young man once, and I just loved thrashing the transmission.