When buying a motorcycle, you’ll often have the choice of buying a motorcycle warranty too. This can be a tough decision, as it will easily add several hundred dollars to your purchase price. Several factors go into the cost of a motorcycle warranty, but the cost of the bike, and the average cost of its repairs, its durability, and the coverage level provided by the warranty are the most significant. Here are five tips on what you should know before buying a motorcycle warranty.
Who is offering and underwriting the warranty?
A motorcycle warranty will only cover your motorcycle for as long as the offering company is still in business. The dealer that you buy your bike from is usually not the company that covers the warranty, so you’ll want to know who warranty underwriter is. When you find this information out, as Web Bike World says, be sure to check the Internet for any bad reviews on the underwriter, as well as verify that they have been in business for several years, and that there isn’t any recent bad news about them. Otherwise, if you get a mortgage, underwritten by some fly-by-night, disreputable company, when the time comes that you need an expensive repair on your motorcycle, you may find yourself without warranty coverage because the underwriter is no longer in business.
What level of coverage does it provide?
Be sure to read the fine print. In most, if not all states, it doesn’t matter what the sales rep says, the coverage you’ll get is listed in the warranty. Generally, extended warranties will cover mechanical breakdown beyond the time frame or mileage specified in the manufacturer warranty, but won’t cover wear and tear, such as tire wear, paint scuffs, etc. Some warranties will only cover parts necessary for movement such as the engine, gears, etc. Others may extend to parts on the chassis, or even cover dealer purchased accessories. The cost of the motorcycle warranty typically factors in the level of coverage provided, so a really cheap warranty may not cover much other than catastrophic failure of the engine. Again though, you’ll want to check on the level of coverage before you buy, rather than be surprised that something isn’t covered when it breaks down.
Who do you take the motorcycle to for repairs?
Usually, you’ll take the motorcycle to an authorized repair facility in order for your motorcycle warranty to apply to the repair. Your warranty may provide coverage in emergencies if you are on the road and an authorized repair facility isn’t nearby, but you’ll want to make sure of this. Simply trusting that you’ll be covered anywhere you choose to take it is a bad idea, so be sure to review this information carefully. Just like with most health insurance, if you go to a facility where your coverage doesn’t apply, you’ll foot the entire repair bill.
Are there any deductibles?
When buying motorcycle warranties, many people often overlook the deductible that must be paid when having your bike repaired. Some warranties provide coverage without a deductible. Most will usually require $100 or more as a deductible, as a way of seeing that you share some of the cost of the repair. A deductible also helps the insurer guaranty that you won’t be taking the motorcycle in for very cheap repairs, as unless the repair job is more than the deductible, you either won’t bother or will have to pay for the repair yourself. Another thing to keep in mind: a cheap motorcycle warranty may require a very hefty deductible, so be sure to read the fine print.
What is your maintenance obligation under the extended warranty?
One critical factor that many people overlook when buying a motorcycle warranty is the regular maintenance that most warranty companies will require. The majority of warranties won’t cover things obviously caused by negligence or willful destruction, such as: cutting off a handlebar with an angle grinder because you thought you could customize it yourself and later saw that it was beyond your ability, your ex driving a nail through the side of your gas tank, or disassembling your motor because you wanted to see its guts. Likewise, they probably aren’t going to cover a repair to your engine if you let it go too long between regularly scheduled maintenance that is available to you in your owner’s manual. If you go 3 years and ride heavily and rack up 35k miles without ever getting an oil change – one, your mechanic is going to give you crap about how you ruined your bike, and two, the warranty company is going to tell you you’re out of luck on the repair bill. So, make sure you follow the recommended maintenance schedule.
By following these tips, you can help insure that when you buy a warranty for your motorcycle, it will be there for you when you need it, and there won’t be any unpleasant surprises.
Web Bike World. (2011). Motorcycle Extended Warranty.