AutoScene Interview with Warrantywise

Warrantywise is one of the UK’s leading used car warranty providers. It offers the most comprehensive extended vehicle warranties, for all makes and models of all ages. The company prides itself on providing warranties for both private owners and some of the country’s largest franchised and independent dealer groups. Cover includes unlimited repairs, car hire, onward travel, parts and labour costs, roadside assistance and recovery, all as standard.

Warrantywise is a family-run operation with senior partners who are highly embedded within the UK motor industry. It was founded in the year 2000 on over 30 years of combined automotive sector experience, to bring honesty, trust, and integrity to the aftermarket warranty sector. Celebrity TV presenter and motoring journalist Quentin Willson has been part of the Warrantywise team since 2007, helping to ensure consumers understand the principles and service that Warrantywise delivers.

We’ve been lucky enough to have been able to have a discussion with the team over at Warrantywise and the following is the discussion we had with them.

Tell us about your business offering and your target customer

Warrantywise provides used car warranties to independent car dealers and individual car owners.

Our target customer is any dealer or private car owner looking to protect a vehicle that is outside of the manufacturer’s warranty. We have certain age and mileage parameters, however, overall, to cast a broad brush, Warrantywise provides warranty cover for cars that are over three years old to vehicles that are up to fifteen years old. We even cover classic cars with warranties via dealer packages, too.

What differentiates you from others in the space?

When I stand back and look at our team and warranty packages, I feel like there are a few differentiators that sets Warrantywise apart from other used car warranty providers.

Our core business is and has always been on aftermarket car warranties. Having been in operation in the UK for over 22 years we really do pride ourselves on the depth of knowledge and experience of the teams. We’re proud to continue to grow the team, which currently sits at over 130 in the UK.

We continually review our terms and conditions to ensure they remain the best available in the market, we invest in training our teams and are always looking at ways of improving the customer experience. We are extremely proud of being voted Warranty provider of the year three years running.

This year we launched our new partner programme for used car dealers ‘Activate to Accelerate’. The aim of the programme is to provide a solid foundation for which our partners can accelerate their business growth, not only to make a profit by selling warranties but also to gain industry recognition and trust with customers. We’ve always felt that there’s such a huge opportunity for dealers in selling used car warranties to their customers. The partner programme is designed to share knowledge and reward the dealer partners that proactively drive warranty sales and raise industry standards.

In addition to the partner programme we have launched our latest incentive scheme WiseUp. This is designed to reward partners and drive incremental business. The scheme has been live for 3 months now and its making a positive difference all round.

How are you navigating the current economic climate in 2022?/ has your market materially changed during recent years?

Since we work with both business [B2B] and consumers [B2C] direct, it has meant we have been more resilient to change than some other businesses that focus either just B2B or just B2C. The pandemic [Covid-19] has seen us invest in our digital infrastructure to ensure we are able to provide always-on [digital] support to our dealers through the Warrantywise dealer portal. Covid has seen many ways of working in an office change, yet we kept our doors open for business throughout providing support to our dealer channel.

Warranty sales are much lower in independent dealerships. What would be your advice to independent dealers who are looking to increase their warranty sales?

You’re entirely correct, and our team of experts are able to help and guide independent dealerships in the way that they can use warranty sales to increase their profit, reputation and also trust with customers.

In the current market climate, used car prices remain high. Customers are paying the same money for older vehicles, so it’s never been more important to protect their investment. When a customer is taking out a finance plan to cover the cost of their -new to them? – used vehicle, consideration should be given to the affordability of fixing the car should an element fail.

Within the dealership itself, with staff, we’ve found that it’s training, training, training that gets the message and understanding across. In fact, for any dealer on the Activate to Accelerate programme, we will train every single sales and operations professional within the business to effectively sell, and harness the power of, warranties.

Though I can stand up and say that we’re the best, I urge dealers and professionals to do their research. We are confident that we can provide the highest levels of product cover and service. 

What support can you offer to dealers who may be concerned over FCA compliance?

Warrantywise provide a service and maintenance plan which sit outside of FCA regulations. We have been in business for over 22 years and our team have a wealth of knowledge and experience.

As part of our process Warrantywise checks a vehicles eligibility from the start of any plan to ensure there are no hiccups along the way.

We also operate as a VAT registered entity. This is a very important attribute in keeping our operating costs to a minimum, enabling us to reclaim the VAT on our overheads, including all service, maintenance and repair bills undertaken under contract to our customers within their plan.

Weighing up being FCA regulated and not, we’ve taken the decision to invest in areas to better the end warranty, by paying for car checks and being VAT registered to try and pass on these cost savings to our customers.

Offering warranties can not only be a great way to increase revenue but dealers also have a duty of care to their customers to make sure they are aware of their options. What is the biggest benefit of your warranties to the consumer and what key information should the dealer make sure they are telling each prospective customer for extended warranties?

When we speak to customers and hear feedback from dealers via their customers, we found that peace of mind was the largest benefit of a warranty. It may sound obvious, but when you think about a car being one of the most expensive and relied-upon purchases anyone invests in, having that cover in case of the worst or unforeseen happening, then there’s that peace of mind that they’re protected and don’t have to pay the bill to repair. Aside from peace of mind and covering repairs, our warranty covers more than just the repair of the vehicle, it includes breakdown cover, the cost of onward travel and even overnight accommodation if needed.

For those who buy a car on finance, which is becoming most of us nowadays, they could be stuck with a vehicle they are paying finance on that can’t be driven. If they don’t have the means to pay for repairs, then they are committed to paying for something they can’t use! Some people think they can self-fund and save for a rainy day, but the reality is they never really do, especially when the strain through cost of living is growing ever greater.

When you buy a used car through a Warrantywise-accredited dealer, they have the lowest prices available on the day.

EV sales have surged over the last few years and now used car dealers are seeing affordable used EVs on their lots. Do EVs need a different type of warranty and what is your offering in this market?
Indeed, you’re correct. We’re seeing more used electric vehicles on the market – from pure EV to hybrids – as more customers opt for brand new EVs. Of course, all predictions show that this is going to continue to grow, and we use the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) to predict the number of used cars that will be offered, to understand the opportunity for warranties once the new cars become used.

An electric vehicle is just that, a vehicle, and at Warrantywise we cover almost all vehicles – makes and models – including those that have electrified powertrains.

The used car market has been extremely volatile post covid with inflated prices and low stock levels. Do you believe that we will see a return to “normal” in 2023?

What is normal? It’s quite hard to call at the moment. Our team is continuing to monitor the used car market, and warranty opportunities, ensuring that we’re providing a quality warranty product at a fair price for both dealers and private individuals.

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