The world is confusing enough as it is… you don’t need complicated insurance jargon to make things harder!

That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to help you decipher the differences between car maintenance plans, service plans, and car warranties. And if you ever get confused, you can just read it again!

The key differences

Simply put, a car warranty, a car service plan, and a maintenance plan are different types of cover for various vehicle functions and parts that make the car operate.

  • Manufacturer/Extended warranty plans: Designed to cover unexpected failure or breakage of car parts as well as electrical components. This can be provided by the manufacturer or a third-party.
  • Service/Maintenance plans: These generally cover elements guaranteed to become worn through normal wear and tear and vehicle use. Maintenance plans are usually more robust and come with a more comprehensive covered parts list.

More about manufacturer warranty

All new cars come with a manufacturer warranty, which is a promise from the manufacturer that the car is of good quality and the parts won’t fail and if they should the manufacturer will repair or replace them. However, as the car gets older, parts get weaker or worn down and present a higher risk of failure, so manufacturers limit the time or kilometres that their warranty is valid for. Different manufacturers will have different warranty limits, so this is where you’ll see, for example, a 5-year/150,000km warranty limit on mechanical parts or specific warranty limits on the paint, body, or battery.

Once these limits are exceeded, the components are no longer covered. At this point, the driver may choose to extend their motor warranty through the manufacturer or through a third-party extended motor warranty provider, like

Service and maintenance plans explained

A service plan is a separate policy to the manufacturer’s warranty or extended warranty. This plan pays the full cost of a scheduled motor service which maintains elements that are guaranteed to wear down during normal use. It generally includes things like spark plugs, tyre rotations, filters, and fluid changes. Like a warranty plan, manufacturers limit their service plans to a length of time or kilometres driven.

A maintenance plan covers everything a service plan covers but is more comprehensive in nature. It also covers parts not covered by a service plan, for example brake pads or wiper blades.

So, what does this mean for my insurance?

Good question! The first thing to know is that a warranty or service/maintenance plan complements car insurance and definitely isn’t intended as a replacement for car insurance.

You can think of it as cover for internal vs. external risks – while a warranty or service/maintenance plan covers the car’s internal mechanics, car insurance will cover external risks like accidental damage, theft, fire and/or third-party liability.

To ensure your car is fully covered, you want to have both comprehensive car insurance and a maintenance or warranty plan that keeps your car in top condition. Through a combination of these cover types, your car (and bank balance) will remain protected, especially if the unexpected mishap occurs.

For an obligation-free car or extended warranty quote, visit today.