Car Warranties

Its true to say that I do not trust insurance companies.

Not. At. All.

And so when I bought my used car from a main dealer one year ago this month and they threw in a motoring organisations insurance company underwritten twelve month warranty “on all parts and labour” I recall saying something like “Oh, right” and maybe “Pfft!”.

Three months later when the clutch went a bit dodgy I consulted the warranty insurance document, someone less cynical than me may have just expected that their warranty would include the replacement of a clutch, but as I read the first paragraph, the bit that said “What is excluded” and read the bit that mentioned “wear and tear” I do recall saying something like “Pfft!” and throwing the document back in the drawer – I got a local garage to replace the clutch at my expense.

And now, with two weeks to go before the warranty expires it transpires that I may need a new starter motor on the car, or maybe not, or maybe it just needs a repair, its blowing fuses and its likely to be the starter motor, but we don’t know, so it needs investigating.

And so I got the insurance-backed warranty booklet out again, and this time I read seriously all of their terms and conditions as I seriously intended to make a claim this time, what with them ringing me every night to pester me to renew the policy and everything.

What you have to do is this, and remember, this policy is a “Gold Cover” policy and is presented to you as “peace of mind” for those unexpected mechanical and electrical failures…

First of all I have to take the car to a service garage of their recommendation, from conversations I have had with their sales people on the telephone it would appear that they recommend a well-known national car spares retail outlet, you’ll have one in your town, it sells spare car bulbs, car mats, air fresheners, bicycles and camping equipment, some of them have a service bay, thats who they recommend.

I then have to pay this national car spares retail outlet to examine my car, I have to give them permission to dismantle any parts from it that they desire and I have wait until they have spoken to the motoring organisation’s warranty insurers for their decision on whether or not they are going to pay for some or all of the repairs necessary.

They might pay for the total cost of the repair, including the inspection, or they might not, its their choice, they might only pay part of the claim, in fact they go to great lengths to explain that the policy is to “contribute” to the cost of repairs and not to necessarily repair to proper working order, one of the paragraphs in their policy actually states that it is not their intention to pay to make your vehicle better than the condition it was in before the fault occurred, you will forgive me for deducing from that that in a seven year old car they will not replace a seven year old starter motor with a brand new starter motor and pay all of the costs.

In fact, the more I read this policy the less inclined I am to want to even ring them to enquire as to what they’ll do for me, in fact I’ve already made the decision that I don’t want to deal with this motoring organisations insurance backed warranty policy because all of their terms and conditions seem to have been specifically written as a Get Out Of Jail Free Without Paying A Claim card for them.

I don’t trust insurance companies.

Not. One. Bit.

The car is booked into my local garage where they’ll look at it and then make their recommendations and I’ll bet their recommendations turn out to be significantly cheaper than the motoring organisations insurance backed warranty, with or without the insurance backed warranty “contribution”.

I can’t wait for the tele-sales person to ring me back next week to get me to pay £27 a month to renew like they promised – I haven’t told them yet that they’ve also written to me and quoted in writing that the same policy will cost £19.99 a month, can’t wait to hear them explain that one.


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