Why Vehicle Service Contracts Don’t Cover Wear and Tear

In your search for extended protection on your vehicle, you may have noticed that the majority of policies out there, such as Vehicle Service Contracts and extended warranties, explicitly state that their plans do not cover repairs based on wear and tear or general wear. Wear and tear exclusions are standard in most extended coverage plans. 

Wondering why that’s the case and what you can expect a VSC to cover? This blog post will break down the wear and tear exclusions and identify what is covered. 

Why isn’t wear and tear covered in an extended coverage plan?

Vehicle protection plans, like Vehicle Service Contracts or extended warranties, are designed to cover consumers against random mechanical issues, failures, and breakdowns that their vehicles may suffer. These policies are essentially limited guarantees on the manufacturer’s workmanship. If a car part or component doesn’t perform the way it’s supposed to, then a warranty or Vehicle Service Contract will typically come in to relieve the car owner from some or all of the related expenses to fix or repair the failed part. 

However, when a car part stops functioning, not as a result of a random defect or failure, but due to things like extended and/or misguided use by the owner, then the extended protection plan is unlikely to claim responsibility. This is because the part failure can't be attributed to inept or inadequate workmanship of the manufacturer, but simply to you as the car owner. 

Another way to look at why wear and tear items are excluded in most coverage plans is to use an analogy of a young person’s body versus an old person’s body. We generally expect an able-bodied young person’s body to be fine and in good working order. For instance, the ability to walk up and down stairs without issue. On the flip side, we would generally assume it’s normal for an older person to have trouble walking up and down stairs. However, if a young person who was walking fine yesterday woke up and suddenly had trouble walking today, we’d certainly be taken aback at this random change in mobility. In these analogies, the old person having trouble walking is your car experiencing wear and tear (expected and not covered by a policy), and the young person having trouble walking is a random mechanical defect against your car (unexpected and covered by a policy). 

Vehicle Service Contract inclusions: What is covered in a standard policy? 

A Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) is an insurance product of a third-party, independent provider. The contract is an agreement between the provider and the policyholder. The provider promises to pay for some or all vehicle part-related expenses incurred by the policyholder, so long as those parts fall under the coverage of the contract in place. 

Car parts and components typically covered under a standard VSC may include: 

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Drive axle
  • Turbo/supercharger
  • Electrical system
  • Cooling system
  • Air conditioning
  • Fuel system
  • Brakes
  • Steering
  • Suspension 

Remember, the above parts are covered only insofar as they fail due to circumstances out of your control, such as poor workmanship by the manufacturer. Part failure due to your own fault, or due to general and natural wear over time, will most likely not be covered by a VSC, or any other extended protection policy on the market. 

Learn more about what’s covered in a Vehicle Service Contract.