Vehicle Service Protection Plan Glossary

Navigating vehicle service contracts, warranties and other coverage plans can be complicated. The jargon behind these contracts can be difficult to understand. AutoCare makes it easy with a vehicle service protection plan glossary. Each term is defined and explained below to make it easier to find the protection plan that you need.

Administrator: The administrator is the company or other entity responsible for paying for – or “administering” – services or reimbursement as stated in an insurance policy, warranty policy or service contract policy.

Authorization: Authorization shows that a service company or repair shop can effectively make the repairs needed and has the correct certifications to prove it.

Claim: Reimbursement through a vehicle service plan or insurance contract can only be distributed if a claim is made. A claim is a notification to the vehicle service plan distributor that services were rendered, repairs were made and the coverage plan entitles the holder to reimbursement.

Deductible: A deductible is a minimum amount that the insurance policy holder or vehicle service plan holder pays before reimbursement. This amount is generally small compared to the complete costs of service or repairs, and is paid per visit, even if there are multiple repairs.

Drive Train Coverage: The drive train transfers power from the engine to the vehicle’s wheels. This includes different parts depending on the configuration of the vehicle. Drive train coverage protection covers the repairs that may be needed on your vehicle’s drive train components.

Emissions Coverage: Manufacturers are mandated by the federal government to provide specific warranties on vehicle parts which control or limit the discharge of hazardous materials, such as oil and exhaust. These warranties are emissions coverage warranties.

Exclusionary Coverage: Exclusionary coverage keeps most parts of your vehicle under a protection plan, with a few exceptions or exclusions. Exclusionary plans generally list what is not covered instead of what is covered, under the assumption that unlisted items are covered under the plan.

In-Service Date: The in-service date marks the start date of the original vehicle warranty. This usually begins when the first owner drives the new car off the lot.

Inspection: A total vehicle inspection can be conducted by a licensed repair shop. It generally includes a visual and mechanical review of common problem areas throughout the vehicle.

Make: The make may also be referred to as the brand or manufacturer. This refers to the company that makes the car, such as Honda, Toyota, Chrysler, Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge and many others. For example, in a Honda Civic, Honda is the make.

Manufacturer: The manufacturer is synonymous with the make of the car. The vehicle manufacturer is one in a long list of companies that design, construct and distribute vehicles, including Cadillac, Lincoln, Subaru, Jeep, Lexus and many others.

Mechanical Breakdown Insurance: A mechanical breakdown occurs from some physical failure within the vehicle not caused by a collision, negligence or normal wear and tear. Mechanical breakdown insurance reimburses you for repairs, labor or parts needed to fix these problems.

Model: The model is the particular type of vehicle made by the manufacturer. This is defined by a particular title, style, construction and other features that make the vehicle unique. For example, in a Toyota Camry, Camry is the model.

Negligence: Negligence is the absence of certain activities needed to keep up your vehicle. Not keeping fluids checked, ignoring warning lights, not conducting regular oil changes, leaving a vehicle unused for extended periods, keeping a vehicle exposed to the elements for extended periods and other activities are examples of negligence.

New Vehicle: A new vehicle has never had another owner. It has zero miles, has never been driven and has just been distributed by the manufacturer.

Odometer Miles: The miles shown on the odometer track how many miles the vehicle has driven. The number of miles driven is often an indicator of expected wear and tear.

Out of Warranty: A vehicle or vehicle part that is out of warranty means that the original vehicle warranty has expired, either by date, damage, miles or tampering.

Powertrain: The vehicle powertrain includes all parts that direct and power movement, including the engine, exhaust system, transmission, drive shaft, suspension and wheels.

Repair Facility: A repair facility is a business that is licensed and certified to make repairs to vehicles. A repair facility does not have to be a dealership, but a repair facility cannot be a family member or friend working outside a business.

Roadside Assistance: Vehicles most commonly break down when in use on the road. When this occurs, roadside assistance covers costs associated with towing or on-site roadside repairs.

Salvage or Junk Title: When a vehicle is damaged in such a way that the repairs cost more than what the vehicle is worth (either the damages are immense or the vehicle is very old), the vehicle is considered a total loss. These vehicles can still be repaired and, with the right certifications, sold. They are thereafter sold under a salvage title or junk title.

Substitute Transportation (Rental) Coverage: When your primary vehicle requires repairs, substitute transportation coverage, also known as rental coverage, offers you reimbursement for a loaner vehicle or rental car to use while your vehicle is in the repair shop.

Transferability: Transferability defines whether a coverage plan can be transferred to a different vehicle or a different owner upon sale.

Trip Interruption Service: If your vehicle breaks down while you are away from your home, this covers costs associated from the delay, which may include hotel costs and meal costs, up to a fixed amount.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN): A vehicle’s VIN is like its Social Security number. It is a unique number given to that exact vehicle to identify it. All vehicles built after 1981 have a VIN number consisting of 17 letters and numbers, which can be found in several areas around the vehicle.

Vehicle Service Contract: A vehicle service contract is designed to protect the vehicle owner from unexpected repairs. A vehicle service contract covers many costs associated with the repair, including service, labor and parts. These contracts are usually purchased by the vehicle owner to supplement a warranty that comes with the vehicle. Vehicle service contracts, depending on the coverage level purchased, will also continue to cover a consumer after a manufacturer’s warranty expires.

Wear and Tear: Wear and tear refers to the slow and unavoidable deterioration of components or vehicle parts that results from simply driving a vehicle. This includes losing tread on tires, belts slowly becoming thinner and more fragile from use, engine parts sticking from accumulation of dust and dirt, small scratches, interior scuff marks and others. This does not include damage that occurs from any collision, a faulty part or mechanical failure.