When Should You Purchase A Vehicle Service Agreement?

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If you've recently purchased a new-to-you vehicle, you may be wondering whether an aftermarket vehicle service agreement (VSA) is worth the extra cost on top of taxes, insurance, and other fees. While these agreements can help cover the cost of any major (or minor) repairs your vehicle needs during the coverage term, you may find yourself feeling like your money was wasted if your vehicle requires no special maintenance during the warranty period. When is a VSA worth the cost? Read on for several questions you should ask yourself before purchasing a VSA.

What are your driving habits?

Most VSAs will cover certain repairs for the shorter of a specified period of time or number of miles driven. If you put a significantly higher than average number of miles on your vehicle each year, you could find that your VSA expires before you've had the opportunity to take advantage of it. On the other hand, if you're in no danger of going over the number of miles before you hit the end of the warranty period, you'll be able to get the most use out of your VSA.

A VSA can also be a good investment if you tend to be hard on your vehicles. While they won't cover wear items (like brakes and tires) they can help pay for repairs like a new clutch or manual transmission if yours meets an early demise.

Can you afford an emergency repair? Can you afford not to have a repair performed?

If you're not handy at performing repairs yourself and are worried about your ability to afford a big-ticket expense while still paying off your auto loan, a VSA can provide the peace of mind you need. You'll also want to consider the cost of potentially being stranded and unable to drive to work or school. If you're employed at a job that could terminate you for a single day missed without notice, having a VSA to protect you against repairs (and provide you with a rental or loaner car while yours is in the shop) could be the best choice. 

What are the consumer reports on your vehicle make and model?

While advances in technology have allowed all vehicle manufacturers to design and produce vehicles that can travel for hundreds of thousands of miles, certain makes and models are more prone to specific repairs. If you look up reviews on your new vehicle and find that a disproportionate number of consumers have had to replace fuel pumps or air conditioner compressors, purchasing a VSA may come in handy.