Buying guides


Worried the warranty you're getting isn't very good? Then buy your own...

Most drivers assume that to enjoy any kind of a warranty they have to buy a car – new or used – from a dealer. Not so; there's a bunch of companies out there that'll sell you a warranty on your car, even if you've owned it for a while. What these companies offer is effectively an insurance policy, separate from your regular car insurance, that pays up in the event of some major part failing.

Unlike the insurance you must have to remain legal, the price of this cover isn't affected by your age, driving history, where you live or anything like that. But the premium you pay will be dictated by what sort of car you drive and how many miles it's done, so while it might save you a fortune, it might not.

The UK's biggest provider of aftermarket warranties is Warranty Direct. As with its rivals, there are limits on what Warranty Direct can cover. So while you can claim as many times as you like, up to the value of your car, your vehicle must be less than 12 years old and can't have covered more than 120,000 miles.

When you're shopping for an aftermarket warranty, also look at whether you can claim for a hire car or overnight accommodation in the event of your own vehicle breaking down. Finally, check if wear and tear is covered, if there's a maximum labour rate at any garage that's called in to put things right and also if the policy is transferable if you change your car.