A YouGov poll of 1,293 car owners has revealed that little over half (53%) were aware they could extend their new car warranty when it came to an end.
Commissioned by The Motor Ombudsman, the study also found that the same proportion (53%) would be unable to name the parts of their vehicle that an extended warranty would be likely to pay out for in the event of a failure, such as an engine or radiator.
Drivers in Scotland were the most conversant with the contents of their policy, with over 45% knowing which components would most likely be eligible for repair at no cost to them in the event of a mechanical or electrical problem.
Encouragingly, of those who were aware a warranty could be extended, 79% said they were mindful of the fact that an extended warranty could be made void if they didn’t keep to the terms and conditions of the policy. Again, people living in Scotland were the most familiar with the fact that an extended warranty policy could become invalidated.
Of the car owners who knew a warranty could be contravened by not following their agreement to the letter, 82% were aware that not following the prescribed servicing intervals might prevent them from making a successful claim, with 77% also knowing that modifying a vehicle using non-manufacturer approved accessories could cause the same problem.
“As with any legal agreement, a warranty policy must be read carefully and in its entirety to ensure they are clear as to the level of cover being provided, as well as any exclusions such as wear and tear items,” Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, explained. “Both this study, and some of the cases we have worked on in relation to our New Car and Vehicle Warranty Products Codes of Practice, have highlighted an element of misunderstanding among consumers as to the availability of extended warranties, their purpose, and the protection that they provide.”
The number of new cars sold in the UK reached close to 2.7 million in 2016, an all-time high, and more than 500,000 of these vehicles were registered in March of that year. Many of these initial three-year vehicle manufacturer warranties will now be starting to expire, leaving thousands of motorists to decide how and if to continue to protect themselves against potentially costly repair bills, or risk being out of pocket.