How to claim on your car warranty

If your car breaks down or needs replacement parts, your warranty insurance may be able to cover the cost. Here is what you need to know about claiming on your car warranty.

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Woman on phone after car breakdown

Check you are covered

You can usually claim for the cost of repairs to your:

  • Engine and transmission

  • Fuel and ignition systems

  • Air conditioning

  • Electrics

  • Gearbox

  • Steering and suspension

  • Clutch and brakes

However, your warranty documents includes a list of things not covered by your policy. Make sure the problem with your car is covered before you make a claim.

Here is a list of things you will not be able to claim for

How to report your claim

If you have a problem with your car, contact your insurer immediately to report the issue and set up a claim. You may not be covered if you wait longer than 7 days.

In order for your claim to be paid, you must follow the procedure set out in your policy documents and:

  • Call your insurer's claims number, which will be on your policy documents. You will not be covered for repair work carried out before you report your claim.

  • Give details of the problem. Your insurer should tell you where to find your nearest authorised garage. If you use a different repairer, your insurer may not pay out.

  • Contact the garage to book your car in for repairs. You will need to take a copy of your warranty policy documents, proof of servicing and an up to date MOT certificate.

The garage will then work out the cause of the breakdown and check the parts that need repairing or replacing are covered by your warranty.

Any repairs carried out without your insurer's approval may not be covered by your policy, so make sure your garage gets permission before they start repair work.

What about emergency repairs?

You may still be able to claim if you are unable to contact your insurer and your car needs urgent repairs, for example if you have broken down.

Ask for a receipt from the repairer which includes:

  • Details of your vehicle

  • Details of the repair, including the cost of parts and labour

  • The time and date the repairs were carried out

You should also keep any parts that have been removed from your car, in case your insurer asks to have them inspected.

Whether emergency repairs are covered depends on your policy, so check your documents for full details.

How will your claim be paid?

If your claim is accepted, your insurer will either pay the cost of repairs directly to the garage or reimburse you once you have paid for the work.

Your policy excess will be deducted from your claim, e.g. £50. You will need to pay its value to the garage if your insurer settles your claim with them directly.

Will the full cost of repairs be covered?

It depends on whether your policy comes with:

  • A claims limit: If the cost of repairs is more than your claims limit, usually the value of your car, your insurer will cap how much they pay you.

  • A limit on labour costs: If your insurer has a maximum hourly rate for labour, you may not get the full cost of repairs back.

Check your policy documents for information about claims limits, so you understand exactly what you can claim for before your car needs repairing.

What if your claim is refused?

If your insurer will not pay the cost of your repairs, you can still take things further:

  • Check your policy documents: Look for the list of conditions and exclusions in your policy wording. If the cause of damage is not listed as an exclusion in your documents, it will be easier to argue your case.

  • Contact your provider: Have your policy documents to hand, so you can quote the parts that state the repairs are covered. If your claim is still refused, ask for a full explanation in writing.

  • Complain in writing: Send an email or a letter of complaint to your provider. If your warranty is provided by an insurance company, they will have 8 weeks to respond to your complaint.

  • Escalate your complaint: If your warranty is provided by an insurer, you can refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). If you bought your warranty from a dealership, check if they are a member of a trade association.

The Citizens Advice website has more information about how to find out if your car dealership is a member of a motor trade association.