For many people, handling the claims process with auto warranty companies is like pulling teeth. It can seem like a long and grueling process that leads to being told that you aren’t covered. Some perfectly legitimate car warranty businesses have been accused of being scams, frauds or cheats for no other reason than the customer was not familiar with their contract or properly prepared for the claims process. These 10 pointers should keep you up to speed and on track with your next car warranty and filing a claim.

1. Read and Comprehend the Warranty Policy Before Buying

Before you commit to the warranty policy, you MUST know and understand what it is. If the warranty company you are negotiating with refuses to show the contract, you refuse to pay.

2. Learn How the Warranty Company Pays Out Claims

If the warranty company pays the claims to the shop directly, they are definitely one of the better companies. If they do not pay this way, it probably means that you will get stuck with the bill until they reimburse you.

3. Signs of Reputable Extended Warranty Programs

Though everyone wants to save extra on extended warranty coverage, always look for providers that allow you to see the full contract before you buy so that all the details are upfront.

4. Familiarize Yourself with Your Deductible

If your deductible is a per-repair payment, you may have to shell out more of your own money if a visit to the shop reveals that you have several problems.  Shoot for per-visit deductibles.

5. Keep Up With Your Routine Car Maintenance

The need to make a warranty claim is less likely to arise if you keep up with routine car maintenance. It will also go a long way to prevent your claim from being denied.

6. Aim for Warranties Allowing Repairs at Any SAE Certified Shops

Some warranty mills will try to restrict your repairs to specifically chosen shops. If your warranty allows any certified shop to work on your car, you can save a lot of hassle and expense.

7. Make Sure You Know How Canceling Your Policy Works

In case you need to change warranties in the first few months, you need to follow the cancellation policy. Knowing how and when to cancel your policy can mean getting all or at least some of your money back versus getting nothing.

8. Know How the Expiration Mileage Works

Expiration Mileages on auto warranties are calculated in two different ways. One is calculated according to when your odometer hits the expiration mileage, the other adds the expiration mileage to your current odometer reading. Bumper-to-bumper warranties tend to expire according to your odometer reading, and some powertrain and component policies are calculated X amount of miles after your odometer reading when the policy was created.

9. Can You Transfer the Warranty?

When you sell your car, having a transferable warranty will sweeten the deal in your favor. Making a transfer will usually involve a fee from $25 to $50.

In short, make yourself intimately familiar with these points in your warranty. Having to “wing it” when you have to change or use your warranty can cause you a lot of undue stress and confusion, and increases your chance of claims denial.  There is one more thing you need to know:

10. Put a Copy of Your Warranty in Your Glovebox

Few things can be more frustrating than breaking down by the side of the road and not being able to contact your warranty company or your roadside assistance. To make matters worse, if you do not actually call the warranty company when you break down, there is a good chance your claim can be denied. Even the best car warranties are useless if you cannot contact them.

Following these guidelines can save you a lot of stress and ensure that the reputable auto warranty companies will honor your claim.