Many people either own or are aware of the extended warranties associated with cars, but not everyone is aware that they’re also available for boats. While to some degree auto warranties have a shaky rap (though this should be seen on a case by case basis), it’s worth seeing if an extended warranty for a boat is a sound investment.
Very similar to used car warranties
To a degree, extended warranties for boats and cars are quite similar. First, the general principles are the same. When something breaks, if it’s covered by your specific policy it will be covered to the extent of the terms of your contract. In some cases this will come with a deductible, but again, this is dependent upon your specific contract.
Another similarity between a service contract for a used car is that of overlapping coverage. With third party warranty providers the coverage begins from the time you sign the contract. So whether you’ve got a car or a boat, you’ll want to have as little overlap as possible with your manufacturer’s warranty otherwise you’ll be paying for duplicate coverage. So, for example, if you buy a boat with two years left on the original warranty but get an additional service contract for five years from the dealer, the first two years of the contract will overlap and you’ll only end up with three years of coverage.
Another interesting similarity with third party warranty providers is that their markups tend to be unregulated. So, much like an official extended service contract provider for GM has a limitation on their ability to mark up the price, the same goes for Evinrude.
One other similarity is the network for repairs. Much like car warranties, boat service contracts will often specify both the pre-approval of repairs and who is allowed to perform the work. Depending on where you travel with your boat or car, this can be a very important factor in choosing which warranty to go with.
A big difference
A huge difference with warranties between boats and cars is that they can be fragmented. Whereas Ford’s factory warranty covers the engine (which they manufacture), boats are often outfitted with a variety of engines from different manufacturers that carry their own warranties.
In the end it’s worth doing your homework on the provider of your service contract, regardless of whether it’s for your car or your boat. Check into the provider themselves via sources like the Better Business Bureau and available online reviews. Also, look into the fine print very carefully to learn about your deductible and the minutiae of what is and isn’t covered. With a good understanding of what’s covered, see how well it matches up with your anecdotal understanding of common issues with your boat or car as well as online reports for frequent repairs. If you have questions about boat loans or boat insurance, The Marine Web provides information about both and can help answer you determine what may best suit your needs.