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Woman's car maintenance warranty denies coverage, and it was a half-inch that made the difference

The coverage was solid. The cost was reasonable. Donna Marks felt the smart thing to do was get a warranty on her truck. What she didn't do was read every detail.

WHITSETT, N.C. — The truck was running great, but it had well over 100,000 miles on it. Donna Marks used it to get back and forth from Whitsett to Charlotte almost every day, and then to tow stuff on the weekend. Her truck didn't sit in the driveway that much. So, getting a maintenance warranty seemed like a good idea.

“The truck was running as well as it did when we bought it, but it did have a lot of miles on it,” Marks said.

The warranty Marks purchased covered the transmission, the engine and cooling system, and much more.

“It was a great warranty,” Marks said.

After making about four payments, the truck broke down. Marks had a mechanic look at it and he told them the transmission needed to be replaced. Marks immediately called the warranty company.

“They fought me for about a month,” Marks said.

The warranty company sent an inspector out and he believed the truck was being used for commercial purposes. Marks said she was finally able to provide enough paperwork to prove it was simply a truck used to drive back and forth to work but not used for work.

“He (adjuster) was convinced it was used for work,” Marks said.

The claim, which was initially denied, was reopened. An adjuster was again sent out to inspect the truck and determine what repairs were needed and if the warranty covered the repairs.

The claim was again denied, but this time for a different reason. The adjuster determined the truck had been modified, which is not allowed under the warranty.

“It was a tiny paragraph down at the very bottom,” Marks said.

With the warranty voided, Marks had to pay for the new transmission out of her own pocket. The total cost after labor was more than $5,800.

“It was a bad situation,” Marks said.

The policy does state that the vehicle cannot be modified from its original condition. The problem Marks has is that modification seemed minor. Marks purchased new tires on the truck a few months back and instead of buying 16 ½ inch tires she purchased 17-inch tires.

“The warranty was voided because of a half an inch,” Marks said.

While the policy is clear, Marks hopes sharing her story will remind others to read the rules and regulations on a maintenance warranty before signing up for one.

We reached out to the company and while it did help us understand what took place, it did not wish to provide a statement about why the claim was denied because the tires were a half-inch bigger.

It did, however, agree to refund Marks the $300 she spent on the first four months of the policy and cancel her agreement without any penalties.

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