Zurich: A Look at Their Auto Warranty Options
Updated: September 5, 2023
You may have come across Zurich as a company that offers various insurance services and products. It's a large business that operates globally and provides multiple services to everyone—businesses and end-consumers alike. But did you know they have a full suite of vehicle protection products, including extended auto warranties?
This review will focus on Zurich's extended car warranty services and discuss their plans' features, benefits, and limitations. We will do our best to give you enough context to help you decide whether it's the right provider for you.
Zurich Plan Overview
Zurich Insurance Group, founded in 1872, is based in Switzerland but has a North American subsidiary, Zurich North America, headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois. Zurich North America has built an excellent reputation for providing various insurance products to businesses and individual customers and has offered car insurance policies since 1914. Their offerings have grown to include extended auto warranty coverage plans or vehicle service contracts (VSCs) that may be primarily purchased at dealerships throughout the United States. Their VSCs are also sold directly from the provider or through top auto warranty brokers like CARCHEX.
Zurich North America's warranty services cover most vehicles that meet two criteria: they must be under 15 years old and have fewer than 150,000 miles. The company gives its customers the freedom to choose any mechanic or repair shop as long as it is certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) for repairs.
The Perks of Zurich Vehicle Service Plans
With so many extended warranty providers on the market, you might not know which to choose. It's a good idea to start by looking at the unique features offered by the providers you're considering. In the case of Zurich North America, those features are:
- Nationwide coverage: They sell contracts everywhere in the US, including California. However, in Florida, their contracts and claims are administered by a third-party provider, Vehicle Dealer Solutions, Inc.
- No waiting period: If you buy your VSC through a dealership, you will get coverage from day one. However, if you buy your contract after your factory warranty expires, they might require an inspection
- Transferable contracts: If you sell your car to another private owner, your coverage transfers with it. However, if you trade it in at your dealer, you would have to cancel your contract for a prorated refund
- Extensive eligibility criteria: With Zurich, you may be able to cover a vehicle with up to 150,000 miles on it, or that is up to 15 years of age. They may also cover motorcycles and powersport vehicles
- EV coverage: They have a special comprehensive plan that protects you for all your electric car repair needs, with few stated exclusions
- Purchasing flexibility: You may purchase Zurich coverage directly through them or from dealerships or warranty broker companies, which may get you a better deal because you can shop around
- Wider VSC coverage: If you choose the comprehensive plan options, you will be covered for a larger number of items than you would at many other providers. This plan includes protection for exterior coatings, interior upholstery, emissions systems, convenience tech, and much more
- Various other protection products: They offer a multitude of vehicle protection products that include cosmetic damage repair, key replacement, theft protection, maintenance coverage, total loss protection, and so on. You may get a good deal when you bundle some of these products together through your dealer, and it might give you peace of mind knowing that Zurich will cover you no matter what
Why You Might Not Choose a Zurich Contract
The distinguished reputation and history of Zurich, along with its many selling features, might entice you to buy a policy from them. However, there are some aspects that could make you reconsider, some of which are:
- Contracts are non-renewable: We were told by a Zurich rep that you would have to buy a new contract after it expires, as opposed to renew your current one. That being said, that may not always be the case, depending on your dealer
- Less transparency: They do not supply sample contracts online, as many other providers do, so you do not know all exclusions and limitations before inquiring about coverage. They also do not share contract term limits such as how long you're covered, and for how many miles
- Less VSC choices: While they have many other vehicle protection products, Zurich only advertises three warranty plans; and there is a lot of difference in parts coverage between their middle and highest plan. Customizing your coverage on a budget might be difficult
- Could be pricey: Although prices are quote-based and vary greatly, their plan costs range is a bit higher than other providers'
Zurich Vehicle Service Plan Coverage
Zurich advertises three VSC plans that offer options ranging from basic coverage to high levels of protection with benefits and perks. They allow you to go to any ASE-certified repair facility in the event of a breakdown, and come with some useful standard benefits. It is also worth noting that all plans are transferable in the event that the car's owner changes and can be canceled at any time.
- Powertrain plan: This is the most basic plan, and it only covers parts and components of the engine, transmission, transfer case, and drive axle
- Standard plan: This is their intermediate plan that covers the parts and components of the Powertrain plan, as well as some components of the suspension, steering, heating and air conditioning, brakes, and electrical system
- Comprehensive plan: This is their highest-tier, bumper-to-bumper coverage, and it is an exclusionary policy that will cover everything except what is specifically excluded in the contract. Some of the parts that are not included in this plan are the exhaust components, brake drums and rotors, catalytic converter, shocks, and throttle body assembly
- EV Service Contract (EVSC): They offer this specialized plan for electric vehicles, and it is also an exclusionary plan. Like the Comprehensive plan, the Zurich contract for this plan will also detail what is excluded as opposed what is included. That being said, you can expect to have the EV drive system, computer control systems, drive axle, suspension, steering, brakes, air conditioning, electrical cooling, convenience and tech system, as well as some interior and exterior components covered
A deductible may apply with each of these plans, and is negotiable based on many factors. The company does not offer sample contracts online that spell out all components covered and not covered, but you will see more detail in the vehicle service contract page on Zurich’s website.
All plans come with additional benefits, which are:
- Rental car reimbursement: They will pay some limited rental vehicle costs while await repairs
- Emergency roadside assistance: This service includes changing a flat tire, towing, delivering fluids, battery jump starts, and opening a locked car
- Trip interruption coverage: If you awaiting a covered repair more than 100 miles from home, this service will reimburse lodging and food costs for three days and up to a certain dollar amount
Zurich makes mention of VSCs for motorcycles and powersports vehicles in their website FAQs, but does not share any further information on what those plans might cover. Those contracts may not be sold directly, but through dealerships or warranty broker companies. If you're interested in covering such a vehicle, we recommend contacting Zurich's customer inquiry department.
Other Zurich vehicle protection plans
Unlike other warranty providers that only sell vehicle service plans, Zurich offers plans that cover other aspects of vehicle ownership. Some of these will also include roadside assistance benefits. These options are:
- Road Hazard Tire & Wheel Protection: This will cover you for damage tires and wheels due to certain hazards on the road
- Environmental Protection Plans: These are four plans that protect you against damage to exterior and interior paint, rust, and windshield damage
- Paintless Dent Repair: This will protect against minor ding and dents
- Key Replacement: If your key or fob is damaged or lost, they will replace it
- Prepaid Maintenance Plan: Because your typical warranty plan will require maintenance but not cover it, you can purchase this plan to take care of it
- Select Protection: This coverage can be used to combine some of the previous plans' protections, including those of cosmetic damage repair, alloy wheel repair, windshield repair, tire and wheel protection, and key replacements
- Select Care: This will take care of parts not included in a manufacturer's warranty, such as batteries, belts and hoses, brake pads, headlamps, wheel alignments, windshield wiper blades, and otherwise excluded electrical components
- Universal Security Guard: This will reimburse you should your car be stolen
- Lease Wear & Use: This plan covers you if you want to protect your leased car from wear and tear repairs
- GAP: In the event your vehicle is deemed a total loss, this plan will provide certain financial protections
Zurich Auto Warranty Costs
As with most such providers, Zurich North America does not list their prices online. You will need to reach out to a dealer or contact Zurich online or by phone, then provide some necessary information to get a quote that is personalized to your unique case. Your costs will differ based on your location and your car's make, model, year, condition, and the type and length of coverage you want.
In our research, we have seen total contract costs range between $2,000 and $4,500, presumably without other protection products bundled with them. Your quote may be higher or lower depending on your criteria. Zurich may offer some plans with $0 deductibles, but those are flexible and could be up to $200 per repair. There is no information on their website regarding which plan has what deductible, so you'll have to inquire about that with the provider or dealer.
Who Could Benefit From Zurich Auto Warranties?
This provider's service contracts may appeal to a large number of potential customers looking for extended vehicle coverage. Could you be one of those? You might be if you fit into one of these categories:
- Buying a pre-owned vehicle: If you're looking to buy a used car at a dealership but want it to have the same coverage as a new car, then you might opt for a comprehensive Zurich plan. With that, you'd probably pay much less overall, but have the same level of protection on the road
- Need all-encompassing protection: Not only will you be able to cover more parts with their comprehensive plans, but Zurich offers you many other products you can purchase that cover key fobs, environmental damage, tires, dings and dents, and so on. Bundle those together and you might not have to worry about any unexpected costs
- Have an EV: If you have an electric vehicle with an expiring factory warranty, you may want to extend its coverage with a Zurich comprehensive EV plan
- Live in California: Due to stricter state laws, few companies sell auto warranty coverage in California. As a large company that sells through approved dealerships, Zurich does offer it's plans to California residents desiring more peace of mind on the road
What Are They Saying About Zurich Auto Warranties?
Zurich North America has a solid industry reputation, garnering an A+ rating at Better Business Bureau (BBB), as well as BBB accreditation. However, that listing is for all of Zurich's insurance-affiliated services and not specifically their vehicle protection plan coverages. That being said, while they do not get as many specific complaints or reviews about those extended warranty plans on BBB as other similarly large providers, their review score there is a poor 1.82/5. On Trustpilot, their review score is 1.2/5, although they get relatively few reviews there and most of them have to do with their insurance products.
Most of the negative feedback surrounding the company's auto warranties have to do with denied or only partially paid claims. For example, one customer assumed that comprehensive coverage meant everything will be covered, and was surprised to be denied for a key fob repair. Some customers were surprised to be denied coverage to a part or service listed in their contract. Others said that Zurich had excuses for partial or denied coverage, like lack of proper car maintenance, that those customers found unwarranted. There were a few complaints about long, frustrating cancelation experiences as well.
Zurich replies diligently to all complaints. However, their responses are very short and mostly refer the customer to privately-shared messages. Therefore, we can't comment on the quality of their replies or problem resolutions.
While there are fewer positive reviews than critical ones, some customers do praise Zurich for quick service and satisfactory claims handling, saying that it takes very little effort from them to initiate service. Many were happy with their repair cost savings, as well.
What does this customer feedback tell us?
We do think that all feedback is significant and should be analyzed critically. While this is a large company with relatively few complaints, the fact that claim denial issues, specifically, appear as much as they do warrants a closer look. Based on our research, some customers were denied coverage to a part category they thought was covered because the specific malfunctioning component was actually excluded in their contract. One customer that said they were denied because of improper oil changes, even though they have proof of regular service visits, may not have been putting the right type and amounts as stipulated by the manufacturer; and even admits that inspections show the oil to be "sludge". Another who complained about a slow claim that might cost him more than the deductible amount was not aware that the provider sometimes requires an inspection before repairs.
We understand that those reviewers felt wronged or misled about their coverage, which is why it is important to carefully read your contract and ask your representative lots of pointed questions before purchasing coverage or initiating a claim. That being said, we hope that Zurich was able to reach satisfactory resolutions with those customers.
Zurich North America's vehicle protection customer service line can be reached at 888-835-5063, or by their online inquiry form. You would contact them through these methods if you want to buy a VSC or to inquire about the nearest authorized dealer.
Zurich North America has a long history of providing vehicle insurance and protection products in this part of the world. While they mostly sell their policies through dealerships, they also sell them directly or through other warranty providers. It is really easy to get coverage, and you can protect many more aspects of your car by adding on their other protection products.
With that in mind, Zurich might not be your best coverage option, because other providers may have a better reputation for fulfilling claims and additional benefits. Also, their protection eligibility details, such as accepted vehicle mileages, plan exclusions, and term limits, are not made clear online. You would have to speak to a dealer about your options, which means you have to deal with sales pressure.
As always, we recommend you compare between this company and other providers for features, costs, and benefits. And because such a policy can cost you a lot of dollars, you really should take your time deciding on the best fit.
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