Why You Need A Vehicle Service Contract

By: Jeff Hatch

October 19, 2017

Contemplating a vehicle service contract, but unsure of how it works or how it differs from an automotive warranty? You’re not alone. A lot of consumers tend to get the two mixed up or fail to understand just what they cover. But seeing as how your vehicle is usually the second most important purchase you will make right after your home, it is in your best interest to do your homework and make sure that you are protected.    
 
What exactly is a vehicle service contract? 
It is an agreement to cover costs associated with repairs or services made to your vehicle. A manufacturer’s warranty, on the other hand, is a promise from the manufacturer to stand by their workmanship for a limited time after you purchase the vehicle. Once this warranty expires, a vehicle service contract becomes valid and provides you with much-needed coverage on your vehicle’s most important systems and components. 
 
Is a vehicle service contract right for you? 
Here are a few things to consider:
 
Keep in mind that the average hourly rate for a mechanic is $100 an hour. A vehicle service contract can help do away with this cost, save you money and keep you from paying any unforeseen and unexpected repair bills. 
 
If you plan on owning your car for an extended period, it’s definitely in your best interest. A vehicle service contract can keep your car running at its very best and on the road for a long time. 
 
Even if you don’t intend to keep your car for long, a service contract can increase your vehicle’s resale value once you decide to sell. But before you do, make sure that the service contract you’re purchasing is transferable.  
 
Do some research into the make and model of the vehicle you plan on purchasing. Is it likely to need repairs and, if so, what are the costs? Weigh this against the price of the service contract to determine if it is worth it to you.
 
Does the contract include extras such as discounts on hotels and restaurants, rental car benefits, locksmith services and 24-hour roadside assistance? Not only do these add to the value of the service contract, they can provide you with added peace of mind in the event that something goes wrong while you’re on the road and away from home. 
 
Take your driving habits into account. Will you be on the road a lot? Is there a lot of stop-and-go traffic? What are the road conditions like? Do you park outside where the weather is extreme? These can all have an adverse effect on your vehicle. 
 
Check the terms and conditions carefully. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting and what is covered specifically. 
 
In addition to the type of coverage, be mindful of the length of coverage, miles of coverage and deductible. 
 
Research the company providing the service contract. Are they reputable? Some guidelines to help determine this might include checking their Better Business Bureau rating to see how they work with consumers and finding out what their A.M. Best rating is to verify financial strength and stability. 
 
Have questions about a specific vehicle service contract? 
Don’t hesitate to ask your salesperson or agent for more information. Most dealerships typically provide you with a brochure or direct you to a website so you can review the plan in its entirety. Take time to make sure that you fully understand the scope of the service contract and don’t get pressured into purchasing something that makes you feel uncomfortable. With so many options currently available, you are sure to find something that is satisfactory for your budget and your vehicle’s specific requirements.
 
Visit us online to learn more about our available vehicle service contracts or call 800.833.8801 to speak with a customer service representative. We’re happy to help.

Filed Under: contract, service, vehicle, Warrantech, warranty

Sean Stapleton To Speak At Extended Warranty & Service Contract Innovations Conference

By: Jeff Hatch

September 01, 2017

The eighth annual Extended Warranty & Service Contract Innovations Conference opens September 13 at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville. Several hundred professionals from the extended warranty and service contract industry are headed to Nashville to talk about how changes in technology and regulations will impact their businesses in the years ahead.
 
Successful Partnerships 
 
On Thursday morning, Sean Stapleton, the President and CEO of AMT Warranty, will join with Kenneth J. Mac, the Director of Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac Protection at General Motors Co., to deliver a presentation on "Successful Partnerships in the OEM F&I Space."
 
GM spun off its vehicle service contract, insurance, and finance business years ago into what is now known as Ally Financial Inc., but which used to be known as the General Motors Acceptance Corp. (GMAC). Then, of course, the great recession hit, and both GM and GMAC went through bankruptcy reorganizations. Afterwards, GM decided to re-enter the VSC business under its own name, and Mac's Customer Care & Aftersales unit decided to do it in partnership with an outside insurance underwriter.
 
Stapleton said AMT won the bidding after an extensive vetting process. "The relationship with GM has been truly phenomenal," he said. "We've been in business for many years now." He said they started working together in 2014, after AMT Warranty won the bid in late 2013.
 
"The program has grown tremendously since then," he said. "And it continues to grow. So I'm really proud of what AMT Warranty and GM have put together." Their joint presentation in Nashville will explain how the relationship works, how they strive for continual improvement and innovation together, and what advice they can offer to others looking to create similar partnerships for their service contract programs.
 
"It's a unique partnership in so many ways," Stapleton said. "This isn't a vendor relationship with them. We're not order-takers. It's very collaborative. We meet every Monday. We have our quarterly calls. We have update calls. We're living and breathing and looking at the same things."
 
Fear-Free Communications
 
Stapleton said he and Mac will outline some of the best practices that seem to work for them in their partnership, while acknowledging that things may be different for other partnerships. First, he said, the partners employ what he called "fear-free communications" between the two teams.
 
"We empower our teams to build these relationships amongst themselves," he said. "They fight for each other. It's almost like one organization. It doesn't feel like finger-pointing. It feels like we win or lose together."
 
The teams also are encouraged to ask a lot of questions, particularly around reasons why they're doing something a particular way. "Some of those things are hard to discuss, whether it's personal or professional, but we have that openness. And it's been really beneficial."
 
Stapleton said the partners started out in 2014 with just a handful of auto dealers selling their vehicle service contracts (most were still loyal to GMAC/Ally). Ally still had rights to the GM name. So the partners decided to sell Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet-branded VSCs, and gradually some of those dealers decided to come aboard.
 
"It was a huge challenge," Stapleton said. "But it was also a pretty exciting time -- to know that we were doing things differently, to do things that were intended to drive retention and loyalty. That's one of the biggest differentiators I think that the program has."
 
They also offered disappearing deductibles, and introduced a "white glove" level of service within the dealerships to boost loyalty and turn what could be a real negative (getting a defect repaired) into a real positive (cementing the relationship with a phenomenal experience).
 
"Issues create long-term relationships with these customers," he said. "Their alternator may have blown. And that stinks. But they had a great experience. They were put into a loaner car. And there's a disappearing deductible, so there's no money out of pocket. It makes it a whole lot easier, and it builds that level of trust. Challenges can actually result in longer-term relationships with customers."
 
GM could have done it alone, essentially remanufacturing GMAC all over again. But instead it decided to work with AMT. Stapleton said this allows the partners to share data about both the products and the risks, with each bringing their expertise to the table.
 
"We support other large OEM programs," he said. "So we know what's been successful, and we know what's been a failure." And it helps the partners to properly price the service contracts sold for not only for new GM vehicles, but also the used vehicles that dealers have on their lots. "We have a depth and breadth of understanding of this space that's hard to compete with, because this is our core."
 
Visit warrantyweek.com to read this article in its entirety and for more industry insight. 
 
And be sure to follow Warrantech on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn so you can keep up to date on company initiatives as they happen. 

Filed Under: AMT, conference, contract, extended, innovations, Sean, service, Stapleton, Warranty

Extended-Service Contracts Help Build a Comfort Zone – and Long-Term Relationships – with Customers

By: Jeff Hatch

February 21, 2017

The following is an excerpt from an article by Jeff Crider, which appeared in the 2017 Jan./Feb. issue of RVBusiness. The full article can be found at: http://bit.ly/2m9hhac
 
“The quality of RVs in general has improved, but there are more and more gadgets,” said Joe Suttera, Warrantech’s vice president of specialty products. “From a warranty standpoint, there is certainly a lot more risk than there ever has been when it comes to these units.”
 
The continued growth of the RV industry in 2017 is good news not only for the nation’s RV manufacturers, aftermarket suppliers and retail dealers, but also for the companies selling extended-service contracts to this emerging wave of RV consumers.
 
In fact, the extended-service-contract business is booming, companies told RVBusiness, due to this sustained increase in the sales of new and used towable and motorized RVs. 
 
Indeed, the industry is currently experiencing its eighth consecutive year of growth, with wholesale shipments of new RVs expected to increase 4.4% in 2017 to 438,000 units, according to projections by Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan’s Consumer Survey Research Center.
 
That continuous flow of new- and used-vehicle sales creates huge opportunities for dealers to sell their customers extended-service contracts, the cost of which is typically added to the vehicle loan at the time of purchase. 
 
Regardless of whether their RV is new or used, consumers want to have peace of mind knowing that unexpected repair costs will be covered when their vehicle’s warranty runs out. While manufacturers provide different types of warranties to cover things that can malfunction in the mechanical and living areas of an RV, warranties only last for specific periods of time. Extended-service contracts have been designed to extend warranty protections for additional periods of time with varying levels of coverage and cost. 
 
Extended-service contracts are also available to cover things that are not typically covered by factory warranties such as roadside assistance, tire-and-wheel coverage and paint-and-fabric coverage.
 
Millennials, in particular, are in tune with the latest innovations in technology and they want it to work. 
 
Extended-service contracts can cover these items after the warranties expire to give consumers peace of mind with their RV purchases, regardless of whether they have new or used vehicles.
 
Bill Gilman, senior vice president of sales for Warrantech, an AmTrust Financial Company based in Bedford, Texas, said there were more “fit and fitness issues” with RVs back in 2007 when the RV industry was struggling through the Great Recession. The downturn forced many RV manufacturers out of business. But while the quality of today’s RVs has significantly improved from 2007, Warrantech and other extended-service contract providers see plenty of potential risks to cover.
 
“The quality of RVs in general has improved, but there are more and more gadgets,” said Joe Suttera, Warrantech’s vice president of specialty products. “Now you’re covering 50-inch flat-screen TVs, full walk-in showers. From a warranty standpoint, there is certainly a lot more risk than there ever has been when it comes to these units.”
 
As one might expect, companies that provide extended-service contracts closely monitor their claims reports so that they can price their contracts accordingly. They also monitor feedback from RV dealers and periodically either update their extended-service contracts to cover new products or develop entirely new types of extended-service contracts for dealers to sell. 
 
Extended-service contract companies offer a variety of educational programs and increasingly sophisticated electronic programs to expedite contract sales and claims processing. 
 
But the time to make the initial pitch to consumers is in the F&I process when they’re purchasing their new or used RVs. That’s when dealers have an opportunity to educate their customers so that they know the differences between warranties and extended-service contracts. 
 
Warrantech Automotive, an AmTrust Group Co.
Bedford, Texas  
Product offering: Warrantech markets exclusionary and stated extended-service contracts using the CampersEdge brand name. The company covers motorhomes valued at up to $5000,000 and with up to 100,000 miles. It also covers towable units valued at up to $150,000 and that are up to 15 years old. The company also offers specialty contracts for RV technical assistance; 24/7 roadside assistance; windshield repairs; painting and interior; tire and wheel coverage; as well as key/remote replacement coverage. Warrantech also provides Towbusters coverage with 24-hour emergency towing, roadside assistance, lost key and lockout service, map routing assistance and theft as well as hit-and-run protection. The company also offers guaranteed asset protection (GAP) coverage. 
Key contact: Bill Gilman, senior vice president of sales, (210) 788-2555 or bill.gilman@amtrustgroup.com

Filed Under: AmTrust, CampersEdge, contract, extended, RV, RVBusiness, service, Towbusters

What Is The Difference Between A Warranty And An Extended Service Plan?

By: Jeff Hatch

September 07, 2016

This is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive and one that causes a lot of confusion among customers. Simply put, a warranty is an agreement to make any repairs or replace defective parts during a specified period of time upon purchase – a 90-day warranty, for example. It is provided by the manufacturer or dealer and included in the purchase price of a product. By contrast, a service contract/plan is a separate agreement designed to provide protection after the manufacturer’s warranty expires.  
 
Since a manufacturer’s warranty is only good for a limited time, having additional coverage for important purchases makes a lot of sense. An extended service plan (or vehicle service contract) is a popular choice among customers who want extended coverage on everything from consumer electronics, automobiles, home appliances, boats, power tools and other items they truly value or see as an important long-term investment. For instance, a cash-strapped college student who can’t afford to be without a laptop computer for schoolwork would be smart to invest in a service plan. 
 
A service contract also offers additional benefits that generally aren’t covered under the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty. If you bought a new vehicle, chances are your warranty only covers defects and issues that came about during the design and manufacturing process. With a service contract, you can get supplemental coverage for important systems like the transmission and suspension, and ancillary product protection that covers paint, dent, fabric and windshield repair. 
 
In addition to product and purchase protection, service contracts offer consumers convenience and peace of mind. There have been several articles as of late that all list this as one of the main reasons that people feel that a service contract is well worth the added expense. Should something go wrong with your purchase, you’ll receive immediate assistance. Plus, a service contract can be purchased for just a fraction of what you would normally pay for service repair or, in worst-case scenarios, an entirely new item. 
 
If you do decide that you are interested in extended protection, the best rule of thumb is to always make sure that you carefully compare the service contract with the manufacturer's warranty. Also, consider: 1) the cost of the service contract, 2) the types of coverage it offers, 3) the length of time covered, and 4) how you expect to use your purchase. And if you have any concerns regarding your service agreement or need help with a specific type of coverage, feel free to reach out to us. We’ll be more than happy to help.
 
Visit our website to view more frequently asked questions from our consumers. Or call us at 800.833.8801.

Filed Under: contract, plan, product, service, vehicle, Warrantech, warranty

Turn A Negative Into A Positive With Warrantech

By: Jeff Hatch

July 08, 2016

Product failures are inevitable. There's no way to avoid them. But when they do happen, the way in which they are handled can have a far greater impact and help turn a bad experience into a positive, long-lasting impression. 
 
Warrantech's overall philosophy regarding service contract programs is vastly different from the competition. Our belief is that service contracts are a means of building trust and loyalty with customers who have experienced a product failure, in addition to increasing profitability for our partners. We view every claim as an opportunity to turn a negative product mishap into an affirmative relationship-building event. An outstanding claim-handling experience is a micromarketing opportunity that yields macro-marketing effects with customers and their circle of influence. 
 
"When products break, customers can lose confidence in the product manufacturer and ultimately the retailer that sold it to them," says Warrantech President and CEO Sean Stapleton. "However, if a rapid and convenient resolution is provided, a higher level of trust and loyalty is often developed with the customer."
 
We understand the importance that a positive service experience can have for our partners and feel that our employees are extensions of our clients on every call and every transaction. That's why we provide our employees with the knowledge, training, skills, resources and environment needed to provide an exceptional service experience with every customer they interact with. 
 
This approach creates a customer who is not only satisfied with the outcome of the transaction, but a customer who walks away from the experience with a positive outlook on the service contract, Warrantech and, most importantly, our partners. Through continual contact center associate training and monitoring, Warrantech is able to maintain consistency in responses and a positive customer experience.
 
"We have a unique opportunity to affect customer loyalty," says Stapleton. "Customers recognize and accept that product breakdowns can happen to even the most reliable products. The customer's perception of the product issues are more often driven by our responses. I see service contracts and warranty programs as one of the most powerful loyalty solutions out there. It actually is a game changer."
 
Visit warrantech.com or give us a call at 800.833.8801 to learn more about how we can benefit you.

Filed Under: contract, customer, experience, positive, service, Warrantech

Displaying results 1-5 (of 17)
 |<  < 1 2 3 4  >  >|