I’ve gotten a lot of traffic by talking about the ins, and outs of extended vehicle warranties.
Pretty much the only extended warranties I endorse at this point, are first-party warranties. In this economy, there is just too much uncertainty with third-party providers. I don’t care about the credit ratings or reliability-ratings of an underwriter… because all it takes is for the warranty provider to throttle claims with fraudulent rejections of valid claims.
Being the last Pontiac man, my extended warranty of choice is the General Motors extended warranty, the General Motors Protection Plan, or GMPP. It’s actually not run by GM anymore, it’s administered by Ally, formerly GMAC.
A lot of people were concerned when GMAC was broken off into Ally that there would no longer be a strong cohesion between GM and Ally Financial regarding things like warranties and good financial terms on new cars. I suspect largely that hasn’t been an issue because the Treasury Department still owns a majority of both companies, effectively making them one joint investment (via TARPfail).
My GMPP was for 60 months and 75,000 miles on my G6, and I bought it at 34,000 miles. That is the most miles that are offered on a used car extended warranty from GM.
There are a couple of good times to buy extended warranties via GMPP, and it depends on what you want from your warranty. If you want the best bang for your buck, the best time to buy a GMPP is within the first 12,000 miles. That is when GMPPs are the cheapest. They get very expensive in the last 1500 to 2000 miles of your warranty.
You must purchase your GMPP warranty while your car is within its original bumper-to-bumper coverage. (There is one exception, and that is for used cars, I’ll explain in a bit). You can purchase a GMPP for a non-GM vehicle, but I only suggest doing this if your local dealer services both that brand and GM. That way, you have people that can work with Ally/GMPP and work with your car under one roof. GMPP can be a lot cheaper than other brand’s extended warranties.
Of course, if you buy within the first 12,000 miles, you wind up narrowing the amount of warranty you can purchase. 75,000 miles added to 12,000 miles leaves you with a maximum coverage of 87,000 miles. If you want more coverage than that, you have to purchase at the time the car leaves the dealership brand new. Then
GM Ally offers plans up to 100,000 miles for brand new cars with bumper-to-bumper coverage.
In my opinion, it’s best to wait. First, if your car gets wrecked in the first three years or 36,000 miles, you will lose a lot of money on the warranty, and pay up front for a feature you may not use. While you can get a refund on the warranty, it winds up being a raw deal.
In addition, you can save a good grand or two by comparison shopping. My original offer form the dealer was $3,500 for my GMPP. I negotiated them down to $2,500, almost at-cost. How? I got some online quotes. In the end, they knew other GMPP providers, and other dealers, would ink the deal just to meet quotas, and that I would be a happier customer.
There are only two times you have to pay for dealer markup on a GMPP. One is if you are buying a car brand new, and want the longer term coverage options that are available for new models. The other is if you are buying a used car beyond the bumper to bumper. Both can be rolled into the deal.
Remember how I said above that there was one exception to the requirement that you must buy a GMPP within the bumper-to-bumper coverage? Now’s a better time to explain. Any GM dealership can sell a GMPP on a used car on their lot. However, you have to purchase the GMPP at the time of the vehicle’s sale. You cannot buy a GMPP even a day later.
You can purchase a GMPP on a used car on the dealer’s lot up to seven years or 75,000 miles. The layout is pretty much the same, GMPP will offer plans that take the car up to around 110,000 miles. After 110,000, Ally knows that
GM all cars start to become unreliable. This is why only the shady companies tend to offer longer extended warranties, they mitigate this typically by refusing to pay on a lot of valid claims.
And you can extend a GMPP too. This is especially useful if you bought a lot of miles, but haven’t driven through them. Same as above, you have to extend your GMPP before the car hits seven years or 75,000 miles. Any GM dealer can do this, and you may be able to call Ally directly and work this out with them there too.
One final thing on GMPP in general. You must, must follow the recommended maintenance schedule for your vehicle, as proscribed in the owner’s manual. GMPP can, and will, deny your claim on a major repair if you don’t. For most vehicles, this means getting your coolant flushed by the fifth year, and changing transmission fluid. The vast majority of the maintenance schedule can be done during the complementary inspection done at your oil change. I recommend doing those at a GM dealer to be sure, but you can have the service done by any ASE-certified mechanic, just keep documentation of it.
I started this lengthy primer on GMPP saying that it’s already paying off. Within 2,000 miles of leaving bumper-to-bumper coverage on my Pontiac G6, the coolant sensors failed. GMPP paid for the $500 repair, and gave me $166 in free car rental for four days. During those four days I fell in love with the Chevy HHR (Delta I platform and all), but that’s for another article. In the first 10,000 miles of my GMPP, I’ve gotten $666 back on my $2,500 investment. At this rate, my warranty will pay for itself before it’s half used up, and before my standard powertrain coverage even expires.
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If you register a car in the State of Florida No One will discount the plan, as all of the dealers got together with the State of Florida Insurance commissioner, and the State of Florida considers the GMPP insurance, so you have to be licensed in the State of Florida as an insurance agent to sell it, NOTE! a big farce and ripoff as each dealer does not have a licensed insurance agent on premises, A Joke but nothing you can do. Try complaining to the insurance commissioner? This is one reason I went with a Ram pickup. I always have been a GM guy, no more.
I have a 2009 CTS that I bought certified last year. I did buy the extended warranty at that time as I was fully covered. Any idea as to a GM plan that might still be available for me to purchase at this point ? I appreciate your feedback. Thanks.
My understanding is that the new GM Extended Protection Plan (or GMEPP), has the same restrictions as GMPP when it comes to used cars.
My understanding is both GMPP and GMEPP are only available when under the 3 year/36k bumper-to-bumper warranty.
The only exception to this is on GM Certified cars, when the warranty is bought simultaneously to the car’s purchase.
Pretty much any GM car can go through certification, provided it’s less than five model years old, and passes the certification process. It can add $1k to $2k to the purchase price.
If you want a GMEPP, this can be a good thing to bring up when negotiating on price. Some dealers will tack on GM Certified at-cost to close a sale, others will mark it up – but it may help you close a gap if you and the dealer are too far apart.
GMPP is being phased out with GMEPP as Ally is losing rights to the GMPP name, while GM Financial now runs GMEPP in-house once again.
@Sal – Depending on mileage, your best bet may be a CNA warranty. CNA is the largest player in the aftermarket-warranty industry, and they do not sell direct – only through dealers. I’d call area dealers and get a few quotes. Don’t just quote one dealer.
I’m curious about how the GMPP you bought has worked out after a few more years. You said almost 4 years ago that it covered $666. Has it expired yet or are you still covered and did you find that you got your money’s worth out of it? I’m about to close on a new GMC truck and I expect the standard sales pitch about buying the GMPP plan. It seems silly to buy a 5-year plan at the time of purchase when the first 3 years are already covered and the power train is covered for 5 years. It seems like I’d be better off waiting until month 35 to buy 5 years of protection for years 4-8 even if it cost me twice what you paid. Is that not an option or am I overlooking something?
The warranty is just about up, I only have a few miles left.
For me, it was a breakeven. I paid $2,500 and I’ve gotten back around $2,600 in warranty claims.
Now, I say “breakeven” since I probably would have made much more in compound interest via the stock market average over the past five years. I also would be in the red had I financed the 0% monthly payments onto a credit card with even 5% APR interest.
But, I’m glad I made the buy. The breakeven was a themostat that failed in the final 5,000 miles… for the second time. That’s something that today’s GM powertrain warranty doesn’t even cover!
And, I technically still have 3,000 miles left on the warranty until July. I’m nursing the remaining miles by mostly driving other cars.
Now, had something like the transmission failed, I’d be much more into the black. So, I would buy it again…
… And I did. I bought a 6 year, 54,000 mile bumper-to-bumper CNA policy on my Saturn Sky Red Line. It was much more expensive ($3,600), but in the first year it has already paid back most of the policy. The water pump failed, taking out the timing chain and balance tensioning rods on the engine in the process. Two thousand in repairs in the first year. Add in the trunk decklid torsion bars, and even after the steep deductible ($200), I’ve already recouped over 70% of the premium payments… with four years left of risk on CNA’s side.
CNA and Ally are the only aftermarket warranty provider that I recommend, aside from the auto maker’s own policies.
P.S. If you wait until month 35, or the last 3,600 miles… GMEPP and GMPP both send the prices soaring. I strongly suggest doing it with 32 months and 5,000 miles remaining on your original bumper-to-bumper. That seems to be a good rule with all the first-party extended warranties. With more than 10% time/miles remaining, the rates are more reasonable. They know if you wait until the clock runs out, you have fewer choices.
Thanks, Christopher. I picked up my new Canyon today with no extended warranty. At least for now. Coincidentally, I also own a 2008 Pontiac Solstice GXP.
Not a bad combo, tried my darndest to convince my dad to go with the Colorado, over a larger Toyota for his work truck. Enjoy the best small truck stateside!
Have you found any dealers that offer really low cost online or over the phone just to meet quotas? I’ve done this with Ford and Dodge to get an amazing low price and I need one for a Equinox.
Just to meet quotas? No.
Some dealers in my area do sell them for at-cost, but only to local people. The finance managers figured out that those customers will be much more profitable as their service department will get to do all the GMPP/GMEPP claims.
Frankly I don’t know why every dealer doesn’t do that.
Case in point (yesterday), my G6 had broken even on its GMPP. 1,500 miles left on the warranty. I paid them $25 to tear it apart a second time (yes, seriously).
They found an AC compressor hairline crack that they missed, and a leaking axle bearing. Each could have been a grand on its own. I got my $25 back, and they got hundreds in repair work to do.
Thank you for a really well-written and informative article. I have an SS with under 1000 miles on it. According your article, it’s best to wait until about 30,000 miles and/or 5 months before the bumper-to-bumper expires. I don’t suppose you have a graph/table with the pricing over time?
Congrats on the Commodore, that’s one of the cars to get GMEPP on – definitely.
The tables change and are internal to GM, the dealers have to use a web site to check daily for quotes – though they’re pretty stable. Honestly if you only have 1,000 miles on the odometer, it may be a good time to buy.
The two good times to buy are when there are basically no miles on it, or right before you hit 30,000 and/or 5-6 months left.
The only benefit to buying later is that you might eek out a few more months on the policy. I know Chrysler switched to in-service dates on theirs, so that doesn’t work anymore on Chrysler’s.
For me (on my Pontiac G6), I had an AC compressor crack in the last 60 days of the warranty, so signing the 72 month policy with 30,000 on the odometer made the difference. Had I bought the 84 month, 100,000 mile policy when it was new, I would have run out of miles – as my car had 110,000 on the odo when the compressor cracked.
I’m not sure if the newer GMEPP goes by in-service or policy purchase dates though, I’ve defected to Fiat Chrysler for the lifetime Mopar warranties, so I don’t have any GMEPP-elegible cars today.
I was going to purchase a USED GM suv that was turned in way over mileage for a 2 year old vehicle. To bring payments down I am paying tax, title, plus about 30% down. Then of course at the end they present the extended warranty for about $3k . This could be a deal breaker for me because I feel like I am being railroaded. I am a true skeptic because the nature of this industry is truly speculative, a bet if you will. Not sure I want to do business like this.
buying a colorado or a canyon with a diesel can’t get a straight answer out of sales person how much the waranty is and how long can a i get it
Talk to the finance department, not sales, for manufacturer extended warranties. They’re sold and drawn up by the finance manager usually. Extended warranties aren’t a commission the sales people usually make, since it’s usually offered during the financing part of the discussion, and finance always handles that sale either way.
As to the factory standard warranty, GM does not differentiate between diesel, gas, hybrid, or electric (or even LNG). They all have the same warranty. The only difference is electric-only cars (Bolt, Spark EV, etc) come with an additional eight year, 100,000 mile warranty on the battery pack.
Hi Christopher! Really informative piece! Thank you so much! I’m looking to sign on a 2015 Chevy Equinox it has 30,000 miles and 1 more month of factory bumper to bumper. It is currently certified pre owned which will add 12 more months. What is my best option for GM extended warranty? Thanks so much!
Hi buddy, thanks for the detailed info.
i am buying 2018 traverse here in ontario, canada. here gm is not offereing gmepp, they are still going with gmpp.
on new vehicles they are offering standard
2018 and below (i noticed that from 2019 the base warranty doesnt cover tires)
base warranty including tires = 3yrs/60,000KM (not miles :D)
power train component = 5yrs/160,000KM
sheet metal corrosion = 3yrs/60,000KM
sheet metal rust through = 6yrs/160,000KM
defects and performance = 3yrs/60,000KM
specified major emission component = 8yrs/130,000KM
now they are offering me GMPP total plus plan for 6yrs/100,000KM for C$2600. (full price is C$3800, they are offering C$1200 discount BAIT :D) i havent negotiated anything on GMPP yet.
by going through your article and the valuable practical experience you and others shared, i m planning to skip this offer with the purchase and will go for it when i am at 30months/50,000KM left for the base warranty of 36months/60,000KM.
am i doing a right decision here? is there anything any of you guys can guide me or inform me off?
It’s hard to compare because the Canada GMPP is totally different than the American GMPP or GMEPP plans. I don’t even know if they start after the base warranties end, or if they run concurrently.
$2,600 CAD for a 60,000 KM warranty sounds expensive. But Canada is different terrain than the United States. Failure rates could be higher. I just don’t know the market.
I do know Mopar won’t offer lifetime policies over in Canada, so it may be that Canada’s climate is harsher to vehicles and things cost more. Also GM still offers 160,000 KM powertrain coverage, in the US it’s 100,000 KM (or 60,000 miles) today.
Hello Christopher, great info and I learned so much reading your post! Question I got a new 2017 Camaro and had 2K on it and after the 2 free GM oil changes I plan on changing my oil with Mobil One oil and also change the oil filter, but since I am not a “ASE-certified mechanic” but I can keep records as to when and how and what I did, could this or will this void the GMEPP warranty if I get it with in the 12K?
I can’t find much about this and GM won’t just say if you change your own oil and there’s an engine issue like low or no oil, will that void my GMEPP warranty?
The only issue that you will have, is if any part of that engine fails – that is lubricated by oil changes – GM will be well within their rights to have you prove that you did those changes.
Now, if you can manifest sales receipts – dated showing that you bought oil and filters right around when you did the changes, and you keep meticulous records – you are probably fine.
People lose receipts. People sit on oil for a year or two because they got an insane half-off deal on it. Filters can sit on a shelf for years and be fine.
Then there’s a problem. How do you provide that filter you bought four years ago, went into the car when it was needed? And that’s assuming the receipt wasn’t lost in a hard drive crash or cloud deletion.
Bottom line – going with a GM dealer uploads the records in multiple places and is failure proof. Bring your own oil, and pay the dealer a $20 just for the record keeping. It’s not like we’re changing oil every 3,000 miles anymore.