Cover your components
FOCUS explores the options available to those looking for aftermarket commercial vehicle warranties
No matter what vehicles a company owns, the ability to maintain them is imperative for the safety of the drivers and other road users, as well as the financial stability of the business. Yet, despite a dedicated maintenance regime, sudden breakdowns can strike.
It is this sort of unplanned, unexpected incident that can have a financially detrimental effect on a business, as it would need to pay for the repair, and, at the same time, it would lose revenue while the vehicle is in the workshop instead of on the road.
A vehicle warranty can help lessen the blow. These are available for both new and used vehicles through the vehicle original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and third-party suppliers respectively.
“As there is a diverse range of applications in the industry, and, as various road transport operations are of a specialised nature, we encourage our operators to procure the OEM’s warranties. These are generally standard with new trucks and often underpinned by the OEM’s maintenance plans,” says Kathy Bell, transport industry specialist at Standard Bank
These options are, however, not always available with older, or used, vehicles.
“Used truck dealerships will offer warranties from time to time on the specific vehicles as part of the truck finance deal,” Bell adds. “Our Fleet team follows the same approach as above for trucks with ‘back-to-back’ maintenance plans as part of the solution to operators.”
The warranties sold by used-vehicle dealers are made available by a wide range of independent suppliers, including the likes of Innovation Group, SA Warranties and Warranty Solutions.
Vehicles eligible for these warranties will be subject to certain criteria as defined by the policy, while the benefits of the policy will be dictated by the vehicle’s age and mileage.
The used-truck warranty offered by Warranty Solutions, for example, offers benefits based on four different gross vehicle mass (GVM) categories, each for a specific predetermined duration.
For example, according to the policy, a vehicle with a maximum GVM of 8 000 kg would be covered for two years or 300 000 km. Such a vehicle would fall into Benefit B of the policy and would, therefore, need to be less then seven years old and have travelled less the 500 000 km or 10 000 hours to be eligible for cover.
Arthur Tassopoulos, national marketing manager, Warranty Solutions, explains that the sector in which the vehicle is used does not generally influence the warranty policy: “There is a small degree of ‘tailoring’, but the dominant principle is one of cross subsidisation. That is, one price fits all regardless of application.”
It is imperative that operators ensure their vehicles are regularly maintained, as per the manufacturer’s specifications and prescribed intervals, to avoid claims being rejected. While this should be done at a dealer, or approved workshop, Tassopoulos notes that operators who have their own on-site workshops may be able to fulfil this requirement themselves.
“We allow operators to utilise their own workshops, subject to our inspection and approval thereof,” he says.
Components covered by the warranty include those of the drivetrain, electrical components, the cooling system, and the steering and braking systems.
In the event of a claim, Tassopoulos suggests that these can be addressed and authorised virtually immediately. “The first step of our claims process is a telephonic approval, followed by a request for a quote. Final authorisation is provided once the quote has been analysed. Therefore, the only delays could be caused by the repairer not providing the quote timeously.”
Such warranties also cater for operators whose vehicles travel cross border. Tassopoulos explains: “Our Commercial Vehicle Warranties are valid in South Africa and neighbouring states. In the event of the commercial vehicle experiencing a mechanical/electrical breakdown in one of the neighbouring states, the normal claim procedure would be followed.”
New vehicle warranty extensions are also available from aftermarket warranty suppliers.
It is a good idea for any buyer of new or used commercial vehicles to consider all the warranty options available to them. Despite the premium, the costs saved in the event of a claim will be immediately apparent, and, in the event of a major claim, could go so far as to pay for the warranty in terms of savings.