By on August 23, 2011

TTAC commentator stephada writes:

Hello I drive a 2010 C4S, bought new, now with 42k miles and I am considering an Extended Warranty through a company called Protected Life, sold through the Porsche dealership. My service manager said they used to not offer this because they had trouble finding one that could cover things well enough, until they found Protected.

I’d like the Best and Brightest to weigh in on the specific example I’m facing. I’ve read the original B&B thread but it dealt with the issue philosophically and generally. I trust the B&B can help out again in my choices, as they did on the question of ”S or 4S?” [Ed: follow-up here].

The details in the agreement are numerous, but the highlights are, that in addition to (of course) not covering wear and tear like brakes, anything without a functional need is not covered, such as: upholstery, trim, paint, glass, belt, air bags, and exhaust emissions. Anything to do with a manual clutch is also not covered (but the PDK in my car would be covered).

They pay full rate for the high-dollar Porsche parts and labor. I would bring in the car and the experience would be the same as I now have under factory warranty, except with a $200 deductible.

The costs are +3 years/100k miles total for $5100, +4 years/100k miles for $6700, +5 years/100k miles for $7600.

This would include a tow service up to 25 miles (then mileage), tire repair, $75/day trip interruption expenses, and $50/day rental car.

What do you think? These aren’t cheap but neither is a new engine. If you just sneeze in the dealership service department, it’s a thousand bucks.

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38 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: Covering Your Rear (Engine Sportscar) With An Extended Warranty?...”


  • avatar
    jmo

    Do they publish a list of what an extended warranty costs by make and model? It would seem like a useful metric for determining reliability.

    It would be interested to see it broken down by market segment so you could compare an A4,328i, IS250, G25 and TL to see how the warranties price out.

    • 0 avatar

      There is no list as far as I know. I phoned the service manager who gave me a quote based on my car model, year, and miles. I asked if I could have that formula that returned those prices, but he replied that these are quotes, i.e. I inferred he was using a computer program.

      He did point out that the years covered begins at the time of purchase — so if one waits until the factory warranty is over, the price rises. So it is less now because they wouldn’t cover anything now. My next research will determine the price if I get this at mile 49k, one year from now.

      (btw the requirement is to purchase it w/ 1000 miles and 30 days left on the original factory warranty)

      stepheda

  • avatar
    protomech

    Is the 100k miles in addition to what you have now or coverage stops at 100k period?

    Assuming you put 20k miles on the car per year, you’re likely to hit the cap (if 100k actual miles) in 3 years. If the warranty covers an additional 100k miles, then the 5 year plan is a fair bit cheaper per year.

    Things to consider are if the warranty is transferable, if you anticipate continuing to put 20k miles/year on the car, if you would be comfortable continuing to regularly drive the car at ~120k miles, and how long you anticipate keeping the car.

    Edmunds claims $1700/year repair costs for the car outside the warranty period (6MT not PDK). That tracks well with the extended warranty costs, though the extended warranty does not cover some high dollar items (exhaust system, electronics).
    http://www.edmunds.com/porsche/911/2010/tco.html?style=101282425

    Maybe ask around on a dedicated porsche forum to see if their members have experience with that particular warranty company – if they pay out for repairs, if they give their customers grief, etc. The prices seem reasonable, and certainly it’s additional peace of mind on a car that you put a great many miles on.

    • 0 avatar

      The 100k miles is total miles, e.g. if I get it now, I’m getting a delta of +58k miles.

      The ‘problem’ I’m facing is that I have 42k miles on a car I’ve only had for two years. I put 17236 miles on the C4S in the first three months, touring Europe after picking it up in Zuffenhausen. Then, for a time I had to use it to commute 450 miles round-trip every weekend from near Dallas to Austin (for the cruise control and iPod interface). So since then, I’ve been trying to balance out with my 2002 Boxster. What I need are more miles.

      I plan to keep the car and not sell it and transfer the warranty (though there is a provision for that).

      I’m going to inquire also in the Porsche forum at f-chat — what other forums might you suggest? I am also going to get some referrals from my service manager of others who’ve used Protected.

      stepheda

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    If you live in a state with emissions testing, the cost of fixing a failure is likely quite painful. Plus the car is likely undriveable with many malfunctions. I’m afraid to ask what a cat costs to replace on that car. Thus the emissions exclusion is a concern to me.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Wow…42k in less than two years on a 911…gutsy. I guess I’m in agreement…if you intend on keeping the car beyond the warranty period (which you’ll blow through at the current pace pretty quickly) and realizing that repairs after warranty on anything with the prancing horse on it are likely to cause seizure-inducing spasms, I’d probably seriously consider adding an extended warranty.

    • 0 avatar

      Right — I bought the car to drive it, not to keep it in the garage all the time. I am considering this extended warranty in particular because I plan on big road trips to come. If I fulfill that desire, I’m blow through the 50k mile limit pretty soon.

      stepheda

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    No doubt a costly proposition but well-worth it if you can afford it, should you ever need it.

    I tried to list the names and addresses of reputable Extended Warranty providers but the editor nixed that idea unless it was one their of their accepted firms.

    Here’s a real-world example that may be helpful: when the CVT went out on an out-of-warranty vehicle the dealership refused to accept the Extended Warranty that had been sold by them at the time the vehicle was bought.

    Fortunately, another nation-wide auto-repair facility did accept it and the CVT was replaced with a ‘rebuilt’ one (1-year warranty). The cost to the owner was a $500 deductible on a $6800 final bill, including tax.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      Please elaborate.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        D-I,

        Pch101 and Mikey have objected to my elaborating too much in the past, citing my anecdotes and personal examples as irritants to them.

        In the interest of not irritating those who see themselves as the gurus of this board I have resolved to keep my comments brief, concise and to the point. Thanks for reading.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Noooo “highdesertcat” I don’t know about pch 101,but I know, I only asked you to give us a link,or quote one of your sources.

        You can elaborate all you want.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Pch101 and Mikey have objected to my elaborating too much in the past

        Er, no. What I’ve pointed out is that your “facts” are often false, based only upon your anecdotal experience which is subject to the logical fallacy of selection bias, i.e. seeing only what you want to see, and ignoring everything else that doesn’t conform to your preconceived beliefs.

        You can obviously believe what you want. But then don’t be surprised when someone calls you out on views that aren’t based upon anything factual.

        If you require a metaphor, look to the allegory of the blind man and the elephant. Focusing on the trunk does not make an elephant a hose, nor does focusing on the leg turn an elephant into a tree. Try seeing the big picture every once in a while, rather than looking for validation at every turn.

      • 0 avatar

        @highdesertcat: While I frequently agree with and admire the thinking of Pch101,

        Neither of those 2 toolboxes you cite are mods or gurus.

        If anyone here is going to tell people what they cannot write in the comments, it will be Bertel or Ed.

        Write what you want until they tell you otherwise.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Thank you, willman. But for full disclosure I have to confess that I do not read ttac (or any of the other automotive boards) for entertainment or solely to post my comments, even if rooted in personal experience or anecdotes.

        Fact is, I read it to stay current on what people think and emote because I have relatives in the new-car retail business with six retail locations in four states.

        My relatives often ask me what I think about certain strategies they wish to employ or advertising/sales tactics they want to try. I value their trust in me and I do my utmost to give them pure gold advice based on solid market-feedback info.

        There is no better place than ttac to get feedback from the masses. The way I figure it, if a person takes the time and effort to offer thoughtful comments about any topic, and by that I mean more than a cursory search on Google or Wikipedia that makes some people experts, there probably are hundreds of others who feel and believe the same way.

        Everybody who’s somebody in the auto industry reads ttac, especially the boys and girls in marketing at all the auto makers doing business in the US.

        Far be it for me to cause a stir or irritate others or get into a p i s s i n g contest with anyone over personal experiences that have shaped the perceptions of each of us.

        When I write my white papers and offer my recommendations I not only have to consider the local, regional and nationwide aspects but the global implications as well to illustrate the bigger picture to my relatives and their partners.

        One recent unforeseeable upheaval was caused by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that had far-reaching effects on retailers in much of the US. Several brands were affected. Had the disaster in Japan not happened the new-car retail picture would have been different.

        I don’t comment often, and on very few threads. But when I do it is only on topics where I know what I am talking about. I have no inclination of getting into drawn out discussions about the interpretation of facts. People can interpret them as they wish based on their own experiences and perceptions.

        I see no reason to elaborate on anything beyond the comments I posted. I am amazed that people even read my comments.

    • 0 avatar

      “Here’s a real-world example that may be helpful: when the CVT went out on an out-of-warranty vehicle the dealership refused to accept the Extended Warranty that had been sold by them at the time the vehicle was bought.”

      I think I should be safe with the Porsche dealership. I cannot see them being snarky like this.

      stepheda

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I simply cannot see the sense of AT BEST pre-paying for repairs. At worst, you bought the best car Porsche ever built and you get no value out of that warranty at all. I have owned a TON of high mileage European iron and not a single one of them EVER had enough go wrong that would be covered by an aftermarket warranty to be worth having purchased one. And this is usually at mileages that the warranty companies won’t cover anyway.

    I look at it as payments vs. repairs. When the car is new, you have a warranty and/or free maintenance (as the Germans like to do). Once the car is paid for, you have what you would have spent on payments to pay for repairs and maintenance. The more expensive the car, the more payment money can go towards repairs. So sure, a $75K car can hit you with the occasional $5-10K repair bill, but that is only a few months payments.

    Of course the trick is to have the thing paid for before the warranty runs out, which to my mind if you cannot do you can’t afford the car in the first place.

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    I have had several extended warranties: the factory Hyundai 100,000 mile warranty on my daughter’s car was excellent; the Mazda dealership warranty had so many escape clauses, that it was worthless. CR and Car Talk both recommend against extended warranties… mainly for the above reason (they weasel out of covering repairs)… just my two cents…

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks for your reply — but does anyone reading this HAVE one of these extended warranties from Protected for THEIR Porsche, and what have been your experiences?

      No doubt, the dealership is in the business to sell these extended warranties but I’ve had the same service manager for six years now and I guess I have a level of trust here. Maybe some places rotate through a lot of service people.

      stepheda

      • 0 avatar
        JJ

        Nope. Not me anyway.

        However, bear in mind that even for a reliable service manager it’s an easy call in favour of the extended warranty in this case (that is, as long as the warranty does what it’s supposed to when it needs to).

        If you buy the warranty, then if the car doesn’t break down you’ll be pleased with the product, if the car does break down you’re at least glad you got the warranty. You’re happy, so in time you might go for a new 991, so he’s happy.

        If you don’t buy the warranty, you’d be pleased when the car doesn’t break down, not so much if it does. A risk for your service manager right there. Might loose a customer.

        So basically, you’re not only buying yourself a warranty, but your service rep as well…You’re probably paying a bit too much for it, but the service manager can soothe his conscience by telling himself you’re better off if the engine bombs (which is true to some extent) and at least you bought some peace of mind if nothing else otherwise.

        It’s a win-win-win for him and a $x000 call option for you (pretty much).

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Find other people who have used this provider and see if they’re happy. Don’t ask the service advisor (who might get commission) but do try and find honest experiences from other customers. I bet you won’t, though.

    Truthfully, anything that isn’t OEM or OEM CPO isn’t worth it. Aftermarket warranty suppliers are like any other kind of insurance: they know the risks any given model entails and adjust the premiums accordingly so that they’ll come out ahead. You might get lucky (in a perverse sense of the word) if your car has a defect (eg, the intermediate shaft problem) and the provider doesn’t catch on and try to re-rate your premiums, but generally you’re better to pay for repairs yourself and keep a fund.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      +1

      “they used to not offer this because they had trouble finding one that could cover things well enough, until they found Protected.”

      This is what I would expect a serivice writer with some skin in the game to say.

      I recall that in past years, some of these kinds of insurers were gone by the time an insured made a claim.

      I would pocket the 7300$ and with the deductable, you will have a reserve fund of nearly 8000$.

      p.s. at the rate you accumulate miles, I hope you can use that car as a tax deduction!

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks for the reply. A fund of $8k would cover a lot… I guess I’m worried about the major repair, like an engine.

        A few years back, the flange connecting the halves of my Boxster’s engine broke — not too long after the warranty was over. The break occurred during the course of normal maintenance. To me, it was a defect if the engine could not be gotten into without breaking the flange, and the dealership should cover the repair. But they thought otherwise, and even with a 75% discount the dealer-cost on a crate motor replacement, it was not cheap to fix. Was I done wrong? At any rate, I was not prepared to abandon my Boxster, hadn’t been screwed to-date by my service manager, so I chose to think better of my service manager.

        So some of my interest in an extended warranty comes from this past experience.

        stepheda

      • 0 avatar
        Madroc

        +2.

        There must be a difference between premium and mainline brands. At the Honda dealer they hand you an old ECU and tell you “Your car is full of computers and if one of them breaks, it costs $1500 to replace! Scary!!” At a certain level they figure you’re sophisticated enough to understand the economics of insurance, so the pitch is something along the lines that you’re getting the upper hand on a company with a bunch of professional actuaries on the payroll. I got the same pitch from the Acura dealer on a wheel warranty — “They’re about to stop offering this because the claims rate is so high.” Whatever.

        Remember, you’re paying the expected value (cost times likelihood) of all covered repairs, *plus* overhead and profit to the warranty issuer, *plus* a $500 spiff to the service or F & I manager. Possibly worth it if your finances are so marginal that some repairs are simply beyond your means, but you drive a Porsche. Put the money in the bank.

  • avatar
    Windy

    A friend who was worked in the statistics department of a major auto insurance company once told me that if you could cover your own risks out of available funds that over a lifetime of owning cars you would do better to not buy extended warrantee plans which makes sense as they are in the biz of making money out you… but if a possible loss would seriously put you in the hole than you should consider it… while I guess I am now in the latter group I continue to roll the dice and cover my own risk in this department and I also tend to drop collision coverage on a car when it passed 8 to 10 years of age I buy a car with a good track record for repair costs and then drive it for 12 or 15 years then get another 1 year old ex leased car with the manufactures ” we checked it over and ran it through our system and it is OK” program sometimes referred to as the ‘XYZ corp Assured’ program in 50 years of owning cars this way I am well ahead of the game

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      +1 Also, regarding collision, comprehensive, fire and theft coverage on old cars, understand the coverage is for the Blue Book value of your car at that age, not the replacement cost. Also understand that state laws in many states, seeking to “protect” consumers, require that insurance companies declare as total losses cars with repair costs more than, IIRC 40% or 50% of salvage value. When they do that, your car gets that stamped on its title (“salvage”) which often renders it uninsurable and unmarketable, except to someone who will part it out.

    • 0 avatar
      JJ

      +1

      In the long run warrantees have a negative expected value for the customer, otherwise the companies who issue them woudn’t make any money. Therefore as long as you don’t say, stand to loose your house or run the risk of having to draw on expensive loans to cover your short term obligations in case of a calamity, you’re better off chancing it.

      In this case, you drive a fairly young 911 so you’re probably at least fairly well off. Let’s say the worst thing that could happen is the engine grenades (although your car has the new DI engine, so it’s not a clear and present danger like it was with previous models) and your looking at a 20K rebuild…Is it the end of the world? I guess not, in which case, I see no reason to give them your money.

      Btw; I remember that S vs 4S question and I proposed the S…I’m deeply wounded you didn’t go with my advice ;). What made you choose the 4S? DAT ASS or the extra security of the AWD? Any regrets when you’ve noticed understeer or not?

    • 0 avatar

      “A friend who was worked in the statistics department of a major auto insurance company once told me that if you could cover your own risks out of available funds that over a lifetime of owning cars you would do better to not buy extended warrantee plans […]”

      As an engineer I know you are right, and, I probably do accumulate enough to cover things by myself. I’m also influenced by the high-dollar parts I pay for my 2002 Boxster, such as a recent alternator replacement. I have to get my rational head to dissuade my emotional head that still has some mindset of the poor student where a $1000 bill for anything is an impossible sum.

      stepheda

  • avatar
    DanDotDan

    stephada: If you haven’t been to the Rennlist Discussion Forums, you should pay them a visit.

    http://forums.rennlist.com/

  • avatar
    65corvair

    “Google” the warranty company. See if they are good or not. A lot of extended warantees aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. Sales people often make more on the warranty than the car. If you were buying a Ford Focus, I would say no.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Personally, I would never buy extended warranties. Mainly because I know I am one of the people least motivated to futz around with warranty claims and such.

    In addition to transferring wealth from the many who have no problems, to the few who does (basic insurance theory), warranties also, in practice, transfer wealth to those willing to really fight for it, and away from those who aren’t.

    If you are of the former kind, and your financial position is such that insurance appeals to you, you may conclude differently.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    There was a guy here a week or so ago who took his 6 year old 55K Porsche to the track and proceeded to blow up his engine. Perhaps it would have been a good deal for him?

    • 0 avatar
      Madroc

      Not if, like every warranty I’ve ever seen, racing or “abuse” voids the warranty. They might no find out, of course, but they might.

      • 0 avatar

        But what defines racing or abuse? Hmm. This is where having a service manager whom you believe is in your corner, comes into play.

        Still (I’m the OP) I guess I am leaning toward building a repair fund starting with what would have been the extended warranty price. With an extended warranty, on the average the odds are that one will pay out more than benefit received. Like odds at a casino. Porsche may be the Roulette of cars to have an extended warranty on, but it’s still Roulette.

        stepheda

  • avatar
    segfault

    I would never, ever buy an extended warranty from someone other than the vehicle’s manufacturer. Too many things to go wrong if it’s from someone else. Also, the company that issues the aftermarket warranty could go out of business, like Warranty Gold (which used to advertise very heavily on Edmunds) and countless others.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    I’ve had bad luck with extended warranties on a variety of purchases, and in almost all cases I now skip them. You will be amazed with all the loopholes they’re able to exploit. Many of these warranty companies also go under, leaving you with nothing.

    My wife bought an extended warranty that the Lexus dealership offered, and they weasled their way out of a minor repair (window regulator) with the fine print.

    I’ve also heard stories where repairs will take MUCH longer because they have to process requests and get “permission” to make the repairs.

    Over your lifetime, whatever money you would spend on extended warranties, invest that money wisely and I guarantee you will come out FAR ahead.

  • avatar
    bigmiles70

    You buy a Porsche 911 new and you’re worring about maintenance costs?…interesting to say the least.

  • avatar
    mallthus

    As others have noted…the extended warranty will, more than likely, wind up costing you more than just paying for service. The difference is that your outlay is predictable…important if, for instance, your cash flow fluctuates over the course of the year. My guess is that, given your garage choices, money (in absolute terms) isn’t a HUGE concern.

    Back in the “old days”, if you could find a legitimate extended warranty (i.e. GMPP), if made sense to hold out your decision point until the purchase cut-off window because there was often wide variations between particular cars’ reliability (i.e. My parents and grandparents both had 1972 Buick LeSabres, my grandparent’s car was bulletproof. My parent’s car was so badly built that it had the V6 radiator with the V8 engine.). The thinking then was that if you knew your car was crap, you bought the warranty.

    Today, even a 911 is more reliable than, say, a 1990 Camry, so the issue comes back to one of predictability. If you’re confident that, should the transmission or some other big part fail completely, you COULD pay cash for the repairs, then I think that ought to be your plan. If you might need to use a credit card to handle such a large expenditure, then the warranty might be a better bet.

    Just my 2¢ of course. I’ve actually got extended warranties on both my cars (a Subaru and a Nissan). I got the one on the Nissan because I’d heard horror stories about the CVT (only later to get a letter from Nissan extending their coverage of the CVT to 125K miles). The one on the Subaru covers tires and wiper blades, so it was easy to just role it into the loan and keep our expenses constant.


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