As contradictory as it might seem, drivers know some unexpected costs are to be expected. After all, flat tires, fender benders and chipped windshields happen. For many of these surprise bills, your auto insurance is standing by ready to cover the cost. But what about those things that don’t fall under your policy? Meet the vehicle service contract (VSC). This additional coverage can help you avoid some of those out-of-the-ordinary expenses

Many drivers bypass a VSC when purchasing a car due to the extra cost, not realizing the value it can provide when it comes to repairs. As is the case with most car costs, where you spend your money will depend on your own vehicle needs, driving habits and broader financial goals.

To help spell out the potential benefits of a VSC, we asked Kelly Stumpe (aka the Car Mom) to share her thoughts on vehicle service contracts. As a busy mom of two, she’s all too familiar with the challenges of weighing where to spend and where to skip. And as a car salesperson, she has a front-row seat to families making this decision every single day.

What is a vehicle service contract?

A VSC (not to be confused with a traditional vehicle warranty) is additional coverage you purchase either directly from the car dealership, manufacturer or a third-party provider. In return, a VSC helps protect you from the costs of unexpected repairs. You might be thinking, isn’t that what insurance is for?

A VSC can be purchased for new and used vehicles, so you might still have time to add this product as an additional safety net.

What are the benefits of a VSC?

A vehicle service contract can help drivers in a variety of ways. Some of the top advantages of investing in this additional cost coverage include:

Coverage for expensive parts

While your auto insurance will likely help to cover repairs from collisions, most insurance policies don’t include coverage for mechanical or electrical issues. The cost of the parts needed to replace these essential elements of your vehicle can add up quickly. Driver’s display glitching? That’ll be almost $900. Backup camera not turning on? Your bill is roughly $750. And if your keyless entry gives out it could cost you more than $600.

Considering many consumers say they can’t afford a surprise expense of more than $400, covering these costs can cause significant financial turmoil. Planning for the unexpected with a VSC can be essential to keep you ahead of these potential costs and help with the cost of repair bills that insurance does not cover.

Tip: If you have an electric vehicle, these costs could climb even faster. Repairing your EV motor can cost more than $5,000, but Ally’s vehicle service contracts have you covered.

24/7 service

Whether you’re stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire, a broken-down engine or a collision, it’s nice to know you can get the help you need quickly. Insurance often doesn’t cover roadside assistance.  A VSC, on the other hand, can ensure you’re not stranded if your car breaks down by providing the services you need to not only get your car taken care of but help protect you and your family in the process.

Peace of mind for older cars

Just because your car has a few extra (thousand) miles on it, doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of complete coverage. If you’ve had your vehicle for a while, it can feel like a second home or another member of the family. Insurance policies for older or used vehicles can be costly but adding a VSC can give you that additional safety net to avoid unexpected repair costs.  Also, a VSC can be very helpful if your car is getting older, or if you’re purchasing a used car and don’t have the vehicle history. Confidence in your ability to cover costly repairs is essential – no matter how many miles your car has behind it.

The unexpected costs down the road

No matter how well you plan ahead, you can always guarantee there will be a surprise or two. A VSC can help you cover those out-of-the-ordinary repair bills and keep you on track with your other financial goals.