Preferred Warranties, Inc. (PWI) was started by car dealer Wayne Herring, who owned and operated an independent used car dealership near Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Due to the market demand among car dealers for reputable extended service contracts, Herring found his niche. Before long, Preferred Warranties had a growing client list consisting of dealers in three states. Just six short years later, the company was ranked #179 on the Inc. 500 list of Fastest Growing U.S. Companies. The company has also earned several milestone accolades, including a Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics from the Better Business Bureau. Today, Preferred Warranties is owned by parent company KAR Auction Services, Inc.

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The Good

Time in Business

Preferred Warranties was founded in 1992 solely as a car warranty company. Being in business for 24 years is a reputable length of time in comparison to other companies in the car warranty industry, some who were also founded in the 1990s. There are several car manufacturers (Chrysler, Lexus, etc.) who have been in business much longer; however, they did not offer warranties until after being in business for years.

The Bad

Warranty costs

The cost of Preferred Warranties Base Plan is a one-time payment of up to approximately $1,500. This fee is paid beforehand since customers online indicate this. On average, Preferred Warranties’ repair deductible is $50–$100. PWI does not appear to offer a flexible payment plan where you can make payments over time, which may be more affordable for certain customers.

Basic Warranty Features

Unlike several basic warranties (e.g. bumper-to-bumper or new-vehicle warranties) offered by many car dealerships, Preferred Warranties offers plans for used vehicles only. If you want to get coverage for a used vehicle, Preferred Warranties offers a Base Plan. The Base Plan covers a full array of components including air conditioning, brakes, steering, electrical, engine and drive axle. Some basic warranties even include tire rotations and oil changes, but Preferred Warranties does not.

Preferred Warranties also offers Premier Exclusionary Coverage, which is like new car coverage for your pre-owned vehicle. The Premier Plan covers practically all factory-installed mechanical and electrical operating parts. What it doesn’t cover is scheduled services and normal wear and tear, such as engine tune-ups, batteries, filters, fluids, A/C refrigerant, hoses and belts, wiper blades, brake pads, tires, wheels and balancing, exhaust system, catalytic converter, and manual clutch components. Car owners also do not get covered for any structural issues like bumper damage, paint, or door panels. Repairs to meet emissions standards also will not be covered.

Basic Warranty Length

Preferred Warranties Base Plan offers unspecified length. At the high end, basic warranties last up to 10 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. At the lower end, they can last only three years or 26,000 miles. The company’s warranty length for the Basic Warranty depends on the dealer and the state you reside in. Going to the dealership and/or setting up a meeting to discuss plans is mandatory. We found that other companies in this industry were more lenient with sharing their plan length and pricing details.

Powertrain Warranty

Preferred Warranties’ Powertrain coverage includes all engine internal lubricated parts and transmissions for both automatic and manual vehicles. The Powertrain Warranty lasts for a certain amount of time that is not specified. Buyers can select different features of their warranty, giving them many options to purchase only the coverage that they need. Because pricing is dependent on each individual’s choices as well as their location, etc., we cannot give specific pricing options.

Other Features

In addition to a basic warranty, powertrain warranty, and corrosion warranty, Preferred Warranties offers a total of seven plans: Base, Powertrain, Budget, PowerSports, Plus, Premier, and Extra Mile. Preferred Warranties offers 24/7 roadside assistance. Other than that, there is not much else customers can expect in terms of warranty features. Another thing to note is the limited funds available for towing. Preferred Warranties will only pay for $75 of a towing service you need. PWI also has less rental coverage than many competitors.

What Customers Are Saying

Many customers reporting their experiences with Preferred Warranties online feel that they don’t get what they paid for relating to coverage. This typically means that when they have a car issue, Preferred Warranties denies the claim, even if it falls within the parameters of the warranty plan. We found some customers who were happy with Preferred Warranties and had coverage, but the majority did not have a positive experience and ended up paying the full amount for car repairs with no reimbursement.

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The Bottom Line

Preferred Warranties holds a solid premise for used-car owners looking to save money on inevitable repairs. Although the company offers several comprehensive plans for used vehicles with 24/7 roadside assistance, there exists a sizable number of unsatisfied customers who have not received the coverage as promised. This is especially an issue due to the large deposit ($1,500) paid upfront. Also, towing and car rentals have limited coverage, which is a minus. Corrosion is covered for transmissions but is limited only to internal parts. Therefore, we cannot recommend Preferred Warranties.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does the warranty include towing? What are the limitations on towing expenses?

Before being towed, customers have to call the PWI Claims Department for a nearby shop. With all plans except Budget and Powersports, customers are covered for up to $75 of emergency assistance for a mechanical problem, dead battery and more – even flat tires or running out of gas.

Can a warranty be transferred if the car is sold?


Are there any fees involved in the transfer of the warranty to a new owner?

No, Preferred Warranties does not offer transfers.

Where can the repairs be done under warranty?

Since you can only purchase a warranty from Preferred Warranties through a participating dealer, repairs can only be done at these locations.

What hours/days can a repair be reported?

Claims for repairs can be filed with Preferred Warranties by phone Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST and on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST.

Does the warranty cover a car rental while the repair is being made?

Preferred Warranties includes car rental options during repairs which are covered by the warranty.

How many days/hours does a car rental cover?

For their basic plans, rentals are either not covered at all, or covered for up to three days. Preferred Warranties’ most comprehensive plan covers rentals for up to six days.

How long does it typically take to file and process a claim?

When a repair is covered under the warranty and the vehicle is taken to an authorized Preferred Warranties dealer, the processing time is five days.

Does the warranty cover defects which are discovered or which occur in a different state than the state of purchase?

Preferred Warranties offers coast-to-coast coverage. If a dealer or car repair shop sells Preferred Warranties, there is coverage, regardless of the State.

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    June 7th, 2016 Durham, NC

    PWI Preferred Warranties is by far, the worst company that I have ever had to deal with. They refused to honor their warranty. My vehicle has been in the shop for seven weeks with them trying to find a way not to honor their warranty. I was given 5 or 6 reasons for the problem while none make any sense. When you purchase an extended warranty, you`re hoping it is with a repulable company, but this one`s only intent is to take your money. I urge you never to count on this company.
    Sincerely, Herman.

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