When you purchase a car service contract, you may feel it is quite expensive. The reality is, however, that if you don’t purchase such a contract and something goes wrong with your vehicle, it will cost you a whole lot more. Obviously, only you can decide whether or not that is a risk worth taking. One key element of that, is finding out exactly what the contract is, and who offers it.
Finding Vehicle Service Contracts
You will be offered a contract by a dealer, but they actually take it out with a company such as Accelerated Service International (ASI). Hence, you cannot assume that every contract is the same, nor that it is good. Rather, you have to make sure that you personally read the terms and conditions, and that you check out the company that provides it, rather than solely the dealer. In the case of ASI, you will quickly see that it is a company that has been in business for a very long time, and is highly reputable.
What matters is that you read the different terms and conditions that are offered by the contract. This means that you understand what your rights are, but also what your responsibilities are. There are some generic guidelines, as outlined below, but you have to be responsible yourself for checking to which extent they apply to your coverage.
Your Rights and Responsibilities
- Make sure that you follow the guidelines in the maintenance schedule provided by the owner’s manual of your vehicle. This includes fluid services, oil changes, and so on. Miss a service or have it too late, and your contract won’t be valid anymore.
- Make sure you have records of every service you have had, showing mileage and date. Do not settle for a handwritten note but have the formal receipt. Do also check that the garage can provide you with copies in case you lose some of the information.
- You cannot alter the vehicle outside of the standards set by the manufacturer. This includes under- or oversized tires and/or wheels.
- You can usually not use your vehicle for towing trailers, unless it is specified that you can.
- Check whether you are covered for consequential damage or not. For instance, if one part breaks and a second part breaks because of that, you may only be covered for the first.
- Existing or prior conditions are usually not covered. For instance, if there is an oil sludge in the car you bought because it wasn’t covered in the past, then you probably won’t be covered.
- Freight charges, storage fees, shop supplies, and water disposal charges are usually not covered.
These are just some of the examples of what you can expect to see in a service contract. It is vital, therefore, that you take the time to read what your contract says, so that you can work out exactly what things will cost you should something go wrong. This will also help you to determine whether such a contract is worth it at all.