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Ask Andy: extended warranties for vehicles

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(WMC-TV) - I have rarely supported extended warranties on cars and trucks. The point is you should research and buy a dependable car in the first place, right?

Manufacturer's warranties -- the typical 3-year, 36,000-mile ones that come with your new car purchase -- absolutely. Those are fine. But my experience is extended warranties rarely live up to their name. They often fail to extend much of the coverage you enjoy under the manufacturer's warranty, or they overlap your manufacturer's coverage.

Atlanta-based consumer advocate Clark Howard said if you consider an extended warranty on a vehicle:

* CONSIDER ONLY ONES SOLD BY THE MANUFACTURER OR BY YOUR INSURANCE AGENT. It should actually extend -- like its name implies -- your manufacturer's warranty coverage or at least add new protections beyond three years and 36,000 miles.

* NO THIRD-PARTIES. Howard said third-party warranty companies are flighty. Sometimes, they go out of business before they can pay your claim.

* PRICE IS NEGOTIABLE. Bet you didn't know that! Howard recommended getting a quote from your car's manufacturer or dealer, then get another from your insurance agent. Compare them and work them against each other.

I don't like extended warranties for used vehicles, either -- unless they are included in a dealer's "certified" used car program. Those often include warranties that are backed directly by the dealer, instead of some risky third-party. 

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