How to File an Auto Warranty Claim: A Quick Guide
Published: June 6th, 2023
Have you ever wondered how to file an auto warranty claim? It can be a daunting process, but fear not! We have put together a useful guide to everything you need to know about filing an auto warranty claim. From understanding what auto warranties are, to common steps and mistakes to avoid when filing a claim, we've got you covered. We'll also take a look at the specific processes at top auto warranty companies like Endurance, CARCHEX, Olive, and CarShield.
The Basics of Auto Warranty Claims
Filing an auto warranty claim is not fun, but we think we can help you navigate the process smoothly. To begin with, gather all necessary information, such as the warranty or vehicle service contract and vehicle details, before contacting your warranty provider’s claims administrator. This should help them initiate the claim process faster and give you more personalized support.
Make sure that you follow their instructions carefully and provide them or the service center with any necessary documentation, such as receipts, the service contract, and maintenance records, along with your claim form. Also, be aware of any possible exclusions or deductibles before starting the repair work in order to avoid any unexpected costs later on. Lastly, maintain records of all communication and documentation related to your claim for future reference.
What is an auto warranty claim?
An auto warranty claim is a request by a vehicle owner to the manufacturer or warranty provider for the repair or replacement of a covered component that has failed or malfunctioned. The claim must meet the terms and conditions outlined in the warranty contract. Transparency is key when it comes to filing a claim, so always be ready to supply the required information and documentation, all of which you would also maintain in your records for future reference. We know from typical customer reviews that filing a claim can be a big, thankless hassle, but it doesn't have to be!
What information would I need to have ready for a claim?
To file an auto warranty claim, you will need to provide some or all of the following information:
- Your personal information: You will be asked to provide your name, address, phone number, and email address to identify you and contact you about your claim
- Your policy number: The contract number, as it's also known, is the quickest way for the administrator to locate your individual policy
- Your vehicle identification number (VIN): The VIN is a unique identifier for your vehicle. It is used to look up your vehicle's warranty information
- The date of the breakdown: This information is used to determine if your claim is covered by your warranty
- A description of the problem: This information is used to assess the severity of the problem and determine if it is covered by your warranty
- Repair facility information: You may need to give the name and address of your service center
- Documentation of the problem: This documentation could include a repair estimate, a diagnostic report, and a copy of your warranty contract. Official physical or electronic proof documents may be required to be provided with your claim
Once you have gathered this information, you can begin to file your claim with your warranty provider. The process for filing a claim will vary depending on the provider, but it will typically involve filling out a claim form and providing the required documentation.
Common Steps to File a Claim
When filing a claim for your auto warranty, make sure to review the terms and conditions of your contract carefully. An inspection by a licensed mechanic might be required before getting approved for coverage under an extended car warranty or manufacturer’s warranty. Repairs may be fully covered by the policy, but check if there are any out-of-pocket expenses other than deductibles that you might have to pay first. Filing a claim can actually be easy when you understand the processes of most dealerships or warranty providers.
Although there may be some minor differences in procedure depending on the policy provider, you will generally do the following when you need maintenance or experience an issue with your vehicle:
- Ask: Can I identify the problem? When your car experiences a breakdown, is it an easy fix like changing a tire or does it require expert service or repairs? If you have experienced this type of issue before, consult your contract to make sure it is covered.
- Take your vehicle to a licensed service center ASAP. Time is of the essence when you want to make sure your claim is covered, and most providers will deny you after 30–60 days of the breakdown date. You can often go to a repair center of your choice, but check your contract to see if a certain center or network is required by your provider.
- Gather important documents and information. Collect all necessary documents, as discussed above, before contacting the dealership or warranty provider. It will save you time if you have to personally submit the required information.
- Go online or call the provider to begin your claim process, and fill out all the necessary information based on what you gathered. You may often find a number or form to fill out on your provider's website where you can begin this process. Alternatively, your policy contract will have the link or number under a "How to File a Claim" section, along with instructions. Depending on what your provider requires, it might be the repair center that has to initiate this process.
- Have the repair center diagnose the issue, and communicate it to the provider's claims department.
- If the claims department gives authorization, permission can be given to the repair facility to make the necessary repairs. Keep in mind that this could take some time, depending on the issue and how much documentation is necessary to ensure coverage qualification.
- Pay your deductible, as well as any extra expenses for repairs not covered, as your policy stipulates.
- Pick up your vehicle after repairs are completed.
Mistakes to avoid when filing a claim
If you want to file an auto warranty claim without running into issues, here are some common mistakes that you should try to avoid. First and foremost, ensure that you have read and understood the terms of your warranty coverage beforehand. Not only are you looking for what's covered and what's not, but you also want to know the order in which to take certain steps. Do you call your warranty provider first or take your car to a mechanic before? And what kind of proof or documentation will they need to approve your claim?
It is generally in your best interest to provide all the necessary documents during the process for smooth processing of claims. Don't rush things and give as little information as possible to speed repairs along— it will backfire on you! Instead, be as detailed as possible, especially when describing the problem. The more information you can provide, the easier it will be for the warranty provider to assess your claim. And be patient, because your provider might take some time to process your claim.
We actually suggest you keep copies of all documentation related to the problem even after the fact. This includes repair estimates, diagnostic reports, and any other correspondence with the warranty provider or service facility because you will need them should you have a dispute with the provider, such as being denied coverage for an included part or repair.
Additionally, try not to perform any unauthorized repairs or modifications on your car prior to filing a claim since it could nullify your warranty agreement. Lastly, don’t hesitate to reach out to customer service for help if, at any point in time, you feel the need for assistance or guidance during the claims process. Don't deny yourself peace of mind and good service because you don't have enough information.
Top Auto Warranty Providers’ Claims Procedures
Although the steps we detailed above are the general procedure you would follow to file a claim, you should familiarize yourself with your provider's specific requirements. They might have a preferred way to contact them, for example, by phone, web form, or app. You also have to know if they require you or the service center to initiate the claim process. Any deviation from any number of these specifics might invalidate your claim, or at the very least make it take a lot longer than it should.
We discuss the specific procedures of some car warranty companies below. Make sure to check your contract for the full specifics, especially if your warranty company isn't touched on below.
Endurance stresses immediate action after a breakdown, and they spell out their procedure in the contract, which is essentially the same as with a maintenance claim. You are to take your car to your repair facility, and they suggest you call roadside assistance if necessary, which you may do through their app or by phone. You are to have your vehicle taken to your preferred, certified repair shop, and once there, you are to give them your contract number and instruct the service manager to contact Endurance to authorize the repair claim. You may have to authorize the mechanic to do a "tear-down and inspection" if the issue cannot be easily diagnosed, knowing that you might foot the bill if the issue is not covered.
After the shop's service manager finishes communicating with Endurance's claim administrator, you will be shown what will be covered and for how much. Then you would pay the deductible and any noncovered costs. In an emergency where the administrator's office is closed, you would pay the entire amount to be reimbursed later by the provider. In such a case, it would be up to you to call within five (5) business days of the repair.
CARCHEX & Carshield:
These two providers give you the option to file the claim yourself by contacting your administrator, which you can find on your contract. Alternatively, you may present your contract to the repair facility and have them call to report the breakdown. In either case, CARCHEX or Carshield must first approve repairs, and you must submit a written repair estimate to them along with your name, contract number, VIN, breakdown date, mileage, mechanic's diagnosis, and an itemized list of repairs and costs. They may even ask for your maintenance records. As with Endurance, they may ask for a teardown to properly diagnose the breakdown issue, and then, taking all the information into account, decide whether you're covered and for how much, and issue you a claim number.
At that point, you would pay the deductible and the fees of any noncovered or unauthorized repairs, and in some cases, the full amount, to be reimbursed later. In the case of an emergency, you have five business days to submit the claim for reimbursement, although there may be a limit of $500 per occurrence.
Olive does not provide any sample contracts on their website, so we recommend you contact them if you need claim filing specifics. However, their procedure is similar to that of Endurance. They have you visit an ASE-certified center in the case of a breakdown or when needing maintenance, although they recommend you visit RepairPal to book such an appointment. At the facility, you would inform them to call Olive's claims office once they have a diagnosis and estimate to get approval. Alternatively, you may call them yourself to file a claim.
As with other providers, once approval for covered repairs is given and repairs are completed, you would pay your deductible and any noncovered fees.
Filing an auto warranty claim can seem daunting, but it makes a world of difference once you understand the process to ensure you get the coverage you deserve and have paid for. Make sure you familiarize yourself with your warranty or service contract and the steps involved in filing a claim that you will find there.
We find that transparency is key when filing a claim, so be sure to have all required documentation when asked for it and to maintain all repair and maintenance records and receipts. Should you be denied a claim due to an error, such as the repair facility wrongly stating the issue is "wear and tear"-related or overcharging for a certain part, those records will serve you when filing an appeal claim.
After filing, expect timelines to vary for processing claims, and you might need to be patient. However, do follow up with your provider if there are any unexpected delays in the process. Some providers may require more information or documentation, which could further lengthen processing times. So, it is helpful to have all documentation ready at all times. Ultimately, we think that being prepared will make this process go more smoothly for everyone involved!