Used-truck warranty evolution, coverage improvements, and what to consider when evaluating

user-gravatar Headshot
Updated Sep 21, 2022


Wade Bontrager, CEO of National Truck Protection, came to the now more than four-decade provider of used-truck warranties around the time of NTP's purchase of Premium 2000, a fellow used-warranty provider. The years since have seen a systematic improvement process at the company, which still offers both NTP and Premium 2000 warranty brands but with a close focus on transparent contracts and more customer-beneficial practices that Bontrager lays out in today's edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast.

[Related: Digging into the changing dynamics of used-truck warranties]

We dig in here, too, with Overdrive''s own News Editor Matt Cole on some of the themes unearthed in his three-part feature about the evolution of the used-truck warranty market. That feature wrapped up yesterday with the story at this link: 

We hear a lot more from Bontrager, too. His arrival at NTP in 2018 ushered in a variety of changes in the company’s product offerings that have improved owner-operators’ experience of their used-truck warranties. The changes responded to criticisms that were pretty common among the owner-operator community when it comes to used warranties. Michigan-based small fleet owner Bud Davenport was one among those who dismissed used-truck warranties as not worth the cost.

Howes logoOverdrive Radio is made possible with the support of Howes. Find out about their diesel additives, lubricants and more via HowesProducts.comYet as you'll hear in the podcast, after he leased a 2016 Cascadia that came with an NTP warranty already on the truck, it proved valuable when he quickly encountered emissions-system issues, an experience echoed by other owner-operators. Since the lease of that Cascadia, small fleet owner-operator Davenport’s been a regular customer of NTP’s with a bevy of purchased used trucks.

In short, the evolution of the used-truck warranty market generally moved toward better service, toward more complete coverage of so-called “progressive damages” and, as you’ll hear in this podcast, easier to understand, transparent contracts. Given the high cost of labor and parts in today’s world, not to mention the high cost of used equipment as well, such warranties have taken on new value for used buyers in other ways, too. Take a listen: 

[Related: Given sky-high repair costs, used-truck warranties more valuable than ever

Podcast transcript:

Wade Bontrager: Clearly as used truck sales go, our sales go as well, but we've been subject to all those tailwinds and headwinds as well. But it’s been very strong. '21 was a great year for us and '22 has been pretty strong as well.

Todd Dills: That was a voice of Wade Bontrager, CEO of National Truck Protection, the now four-decade provider of used-truck warranties to owner-operators and small fleet owners. Bontrager there was speaking to the wild headwinds, and some tailwinds, the used truck market itself has experienced over the last couple of years, and how the NTP business, also owner of the well-known Premium 2000 brand of used-equipment warranties, experiences those same pressures.

I'm Todd Dills, your host for this edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast for September 16, 2022, and we're going to dig into some of the themes unearthed by Overdrive's own news editor, Matt Cole, in a three-part feature about the evolution of the used-truck warranty market. That series wrapped up yesterday with part three at Overdriveonline.com. Navigate to the equipment section to find that story, datelined September 15th.

We're going hear a lot more from Wade Bontrager, too, as his arrival at National Truck Protection in 2018 ushered in a variety of changes in the company's product offerings that have, I think it’s safe to say, improved owner-operator's experience of their used-truck warranties. The changes responded to criticism that were pretty common among the owner-operator community when it comes to used warranties. Here's Michigan based small fleet owner Bud Davenport summing up the very bedrock of some of those points of view.

Bud Davenport: The warranty companies that I had heard about through colleagues of mine, they said, "They don't cover anything." So I’m like, "Well, that'd be a waste of money to get it."

Todd Dills: Davenport, owner of Davenport Independent Contracting services, leased a 2016 Freightliner, and it just so happened that ...

Bud Davenport: It came with the National Truck Protection warranty, so it was included in the price of the truck. So they did so good with that truck, that every truck that I bought after that, I made sure that the National Truck Protection warranty was on it.

Todd Dills: Since the lease of that Cascadia, as noted, owner-operator Davenport's been a regular customer of NTP's with a bevy of purchased trucks.

Bud Davenport: And I currently run a 2020. I got a 2020 Peterbilt 579 Epic, 2018 Kenworth T680, 2017 Kenworth T680 as well.

Todd Dills: The evolution of the used-truck warranty market has been generally toward better service, toward more complete coverage of so-called progressive damages, and as you'll hear in this podcast, easier to understand, transparent contracts.

Given the high cost of labor and parts in today's world, not to mention the high cost of used equipment as well, such warranties have taken on new value for used buyers in other ways too. On the other side of a break for a word from Overdrive Radio's sponsor, we'll pick up with Overdrive news editor Matt Cole describing the goals of his three part used truck warranty feature investigation, so stay tuned.

Ad break: What's more powerful than a hoard of Vikings? Your engine when it's treated with the best diesel additive available. Howes Diesel Defender with IDX-4 detergent is your warrior against low lubricity and harmful deposits. With Viking-like strength, it boosts your fuel economy and protects your engine like no other. Don't settle for the weak guy. Let Howes Diesel Defender go to battle for you at every fill up, and your engine will always be the champion -- guaranteed. Explore even more at howesproducts.com.

Todd Dills: OK, here's part of my conversation with Matt Cole setting things up. Along the way you'll hear more of our talk between the voices of Wade Bontrager and small-fleet owner Bud Davenport as well. Here's Cole.

Matt Cole: Just trying to get a feel for what the used-truck warranty market is today, especially in light of really high used truck prices and parts, replacement parts and labor costs skyrocketing the last couple of years. Just trying to get a feel for the pulse of that industry.

Todd Dills: And the utility for owner-operators that would use it.

Matt Cole: Yeah, absolutely.

Todd Dills: I was struck by the extent to which all the warranty providers that we talked to were pretty well aware of the old negative opinions of a lot of their businesses, and also, just everything that they've been doing to try to combat that, and to try to address some of the very valid concerns that folks have.

Matt Cole: For sure, I think it's something that those companies have probably been aware of for years and it's something that they seem to be working on to try to make it a better value for the end user, ultimately the owner-operator, small fleet owner.

Todd Dills: You spoke to Wade Bontrager. NTP, National Truck Protection, and which also owns the Premium 2000 brand, and he laid out a very systematic series of steps that the company put in place just over the past few years, I think, that really responded to a lot of the complaints they'd heard from folks and the perceptions that were out there, right?

Matt Cole: For sure. He came into NTP in 2018 when NTP bought Premium 2000 and combined the two biggest aftermarket warranty players in the game. And his goal from that point on was to fix the issues that truck owners have had.

And I think the biggest thing there that he talks about is more transparency in those contracts, making it clear to the owner what is covered, what's not covered, particularly when it comes to downstream parts. If part A breaks and part B breaks as a result of that, is part B covered? And that's something a lot of owners have had problems with in the past, and that's something that NTP, and Premium 2000, in particular have tried to address.

Todd Dills: To wit, here's NTP CEO Wade Bontrager, in conversation with Matt Cole, telling the story of his own company's recent history evolution.

Wade Bontrager: Sure, so we've got a long history, NTP, we're really the combination of two companies, NTP and Premium 2000, I'll talk about both of those, but NTP was started almost 40 years ago up in New Jersey. So by far the oldest and the original aftermarket-vehicle service contract company in the commercial trucking space. Started in New Jersey, grew up out of a diesel repair shop and grew from there.

NTP was acquired by a private equity firm, early 2000s, and then our current owner is a group called Kinderhook Industries, bought NTP in 2016, and their whole business model is buying great companies and transforming them into even greater companies. They bought NTP, immediately set their sights on acquiring Premium 2000, who at the time was the biggest provider in the space. NTP was... They were one and two, and went back and forth. So close the transaction to add Premium 2000 to the portfolio in January 2018, and they brought me on board at that point to put them together.

And my background, really, is more in insurance. I've been an insurance guy for more than a couple decades now. And we are warranties, which, technically, in our space are called vehicle-service contracts, but we'll call them warranties because that's what everybody calls them. They are... In the US warranties for commercial vehicles are not really insurance, but they're treated very much like insurance, and the companies run insurance. So the whole goal here was to take two companies that were good at what they did, and turn them into one great company. That's been what we've been doing, and what my challenge was when I got here.

Across the two companies, we had a real portfolio of different kinds of products in the warranty space. Both companies had done a nice job of servicing customers, building a good business, but both companies also had a lot of room to improve, both in terms of the product that was out there, and the service that delivered that product.

What I saw, I spent the first five or six months of my time at the company really trying to understand what is the industry perspective of my companies, or my brands, they're one company, two brands now, and then what is the industry perspective of this industry, or the vehicle-service contract space in general? And it wasn't particularly favorable. I heard a lot of people tell me, "Well we don't really like you guys, because you don't pay claims, and when you do pay claims it takes too long to get them done. So we just throw up our hands and pay for our own repair and get on the road."

So I heard that, I looked at my P&L statement and said, "Well we're paying a lot of claims. I see tens of millions of dollars of claims being paid. So why did that perception exist?" So most of my first six months, 12 months, was really trying to understand that. What are the root causes of those perceptions? And then putting a plan together to address those. What I saw the problems were with the old product was they didn't necessarily cover everything that broke. And sometimes that was intentional, sometimes that was unintentional, sometimes the language and the contract was vague so that you weren't really sure whether you had coverage or not. And companies would typically err on the side of the company, if it were vague. And I thought that was terrible.

So we decided to do a couple of things. One, let's actually build products that cover the things that break. Let's have contracts that are very transparent that show you what is covered and what's not covered, because they're not bumper-to-bumper warranties, and let's price those things according to the risk of those. And then we got into a whole service world, which I'll get into in a minute. But product wise, what we did then was roll up ... Really, there's two core programs in the Premium 2000 side -- it's a program called Elite, which we sell probably the most of, and at NTP it's called Preferred. Our more upscale program, and I'll describe the differences in a minute, at Premium 2000 it's called Supreme, and at NTP it's called Ultra 2. They're fairly similar in the components they cover, but there are some differences in how that coverage may be applied, and this really gets into when I looked at why were people unhappy with the warranty industry, and I specifically, I saw a couple of things. Everybody thinks about these warranties as, "What components do you cover?" And, clearly, that's one dimension that you should understand. What items are listed as being covered and which items are not being covered?

But I really think about this product as being three-dimensional. It's: "What components are being covered?" And then, very importantly, across this bottom grid are a set of conditions that are applied to that coverage. For instance, "Do you get progressive damage? If part A fails and takes out part B, do I have coverage for part A and part B or just part A? If there are limits of liability, what limits of liability apply?" So you really need to understand how progressive damage is applied. You need to understand, "Are there limits of liability, or no limits of liability?"

You need to understand how the company treats, or behaves, with what might be a preexisting condition. It's really easy to fall back on, "Well, you should have known about that. That's preexisting." We've taken the approach of, there's an inspection that has to be done, or the shop has to certify that the truck is ready for the road. If they've done that. If the truck fails in the first 500 miles, we're still paying the claim. As long as the shop has done what they're supposed to, because there are some things you just flat can't see. Now, if there's something that obviously should have been caught in an inspection or walk around, that may be a different issue. But our warranties start at mile one and that's when your coverage should start. So that whole bottom, second dimension, of conditions, you really got to understand what the fine print in the contract is.

And the third dimension, I really view it as tenure, or term. That seems straightforward. "I bought a two-year warranty." Well some cases you didn't. Some of the old warranties, you buy a two-year warranty and you'd have two years of coverage for some stuff, and some stuff would drop off after the first year. Turbos and injectors would drop off. So the customer bought it thinking, "I've got a two-year warranty." Turbo goes out 15 months into it, they don't have coverage for it, which is crap. You know the customer's not going to know that. So we killed all that stuff. So I always preach to people, "If you don't buy my product, that's fine, buy somebody's, but understand what's covered, what the conditions are, and what truly is the term, those three dimensions."

So we built everything with that framework in mind. And so on our of middle of the road mainstream product, the Elite and Preferred programs, we offer very, very broad coverage. We rolled out a new suite of products back in 2020 that had these programs. We actually added about 42 components to the old programs we had that weren't covered before that are now covered, really broadened our definition of progressive damage.

If you're buying coverage for components, you're going to have coverage. It's not, "Oh no, sorry that the turbo failed and took out something else. We're not covering the something else." We're not doing any of that. What Elite and Preferred do have is they do have limits of liability.

So a $30,000 aggregate, $22,500 on an engine, that sort of thing, and a labor cap. And what that does, is allows us to keep the price for those programs a bit more manageable, and some people love that, they're happy with those limits and happy to take the slightly lower price. Other folks are like, "No, we don't want to do that, we don't want caps." And fine, that's when we pivot to Supreme and Ultra Two. Basically the same covered things are covered, slightly even broader progressive-damage treatment, but no caps. The only cap on the claim is the actual cash value of the truck. Just like an insurance, if your claim costs more than the truck then it just gets totaled at that point. So it's slightly higher price tag on the Ultra Two and Supreme, but we make those options available, and I'm happy with somebody choosing either one of those.

Todd Dills: The other, I guess a bigger, element that I get from hearing your conversation with Mr. Bontrager, was they probably thought of themselves as having a customer-centric approach to begin with, but it just really feels like they put in a series of steps that were geared toward, that were specifically driven by customer issues, that had been reported directly to them.

Wade Bontrager: The first thing we did was I told my team, "We're going to do our best to have very crystal clear contracts, so a customer will know what's covered and what's not covered. If you end up in the situation where there is something vague in the contract, we're erring on the side of the customer." I told my claims team out of the gate, I said, "I want you to imagine that your mama bought a truck, and she went out and she had your warranty, and her truck broke down, and she called you with a claim." If you can't explain to Mama why she doesn't have coverage, we're covering it. If it's vague, that's on us, it's our contract. Now we need to quickly fix the contract, but going forward we want to clear those things up. We shouldn't have vagaries in the contract." So step one was just really, really clarifying the contract, and erring on the side of the customer when it was vague.

The second thing we did, we look at Google reviews a good bit, and they stay around forever. And so when I got here, there were only a handful of reviews for NTP, and a handful use for Premium 2000, and they were all bad. People just... They're going to tell you about the bad stuff that happened. So we started asking customers, about 18 months ago, "Hey, we paid a claim for you. If you don't mind, here's a link. If you could leave a review for us to let people know what happened." And they started doing it. And in the past 18 months, about 85% of the reviews we've gotten have been four and five star reviews. You still get... And it's funny, there are no twos and threes. It's either they love you or they hate you. And I learned this a long time ago in insurance. When I was a fledgling product manager at an insurance company in the 1990s, I was offered a job to go to another insurance company. And I told my CEO I was thinking about going, he goes, "No, don't do it, don't do it."

And I thought, "Oh he loves me. He's trying to keep me." He said, "No, if you want to go, go, just don't go to another insurance company. You'll hate being in insurance for the rest of your life because people don't like you." In general, people don't like insurance companies, because either they're paying for something they're not using, they feel like they're just wasting their money, or they really do have a problem and their life's just not very good at that point. So we're not dealing with people who are in great situations, and so I know that. I've got thick skin. People are going to take issue with not getting every penny.

The one thing we do, if we get a one-star review on Google, we always respond to that customer. And usually what we find out, it's a combination of a couple things, either they just flat didn't buy coverage for... They didn't buy trans and rear, and they had a transmission problem. Well you didn't buy the transmission coverage, you had the opportunity to buy it. Or their coverage has expired, their contract's already expired. "Well they didn't pay." Well, you didn't have a contract anymore. It's usually things like that, that is the only reason we're getting these one-star reviews.

So we make a real conscious effort to talk to our customers to make sure. We changed our servicing, our whole backend operation. We revamped it to run a lot more like an insurance-company claims process with good modern systems and modern portals. So, during the life of a claim, we are communicating, not just with the shop doing the repair, we're communicating, regularly, through our portals with the customer. So we're telling them what's happening, we're telling them if we're waiting for pictures from the shop, we're telling them if we're waiting for another diag, they know what's going on rather than just being left in limbo, because they just generally assume it's our fault if it's not happening.We let them know what we've approved and what we've paid. Throughout, we're constantly communicating with the customer so they know what's going on with their repair, which avoids those big surprises.

The other thing we've done is we created a preferred-repair partner network. We do repairs with about 5,400 shops across US and Canada, but we've got close to 500 shops that are in our preferred-repair program. And if you're in our preferred-repair program, you've agreed to certain service standards for our customers, certain price points, discounts, those sort of things. The beauty of our pricing is, let's say the customer has some warranty work being done, but there's other work that has to be done as well, that's not covered by the warranty, they get our pricing for that work as well.

So we are doing everything we can to help the customer. Look, my mission is, I've told the team, "Our mission is to keep trucking businesses in business." That's what we're here for. We love our dealership partners, we love working with them, helping them grow and make money as well, but my customer is the end user, is the truck driver. And our goal is to keep them on the road. We introduced programs. Couple of things we did, we introduced a program called Rapid-Repair Guarantee, which if your claim takes beyond a certain amount of time, we'll actually assist in your truck payment. We introduced a rental-truck program, so if you need to get back on the road, we can help you get into a rental truck and cover the cost of that, and get you back on the road. Just a lot of things like that, that we've added. They're not traditional coverage in a warranty. That's all geared around keeping the truck driver in business. That's our goal. Rental is an add on, the rapid-repair guarantee comes standard.

Todd Dills: You also spoke to Bud Davenport.

Matt Cole): Yes.

Todd Dills: And he is a small-fleet owner. His experiences sounded like they were within the last couple years, since a lot of the changes that were put in place, and he's, generally, he's had a very positive experience at this point, and has basically a used warranty on all four of the trucks that he's got, five, maybe at this point, I think.

Matt Cole: His story was pretty interesting. He, like many owner-operators, had heard the negativity about extended warranties, and had generally stayed away from him throughout his owner-operator career. He's been a truck driver since the late eighties, but he's owned his own truck since 2007, I believe. And he'd always heard that they were a waste of money, they don't pay claims, all this kind of stuff. He leased a truck from a company that had a warranty on it when he leased it, and something happened to the truck, and he was able to see firsthand that it did work out in his favor.

Bud Davenport: The name of my company is Davenport Independent Contracting Services. We do dry van regularly. Just dry van general freight, we're in all 48 states. I'm a fleet owner in a couple different fleets. I have a total of five trucks, and all of them, with the exception of one, had the NTP warranty. And I first got onto National Truck Protection with a six month warranty I got on a lease truck I got through OTR Leasing.

And I had some issues with that truck's DEF system. And I took it to the shop, it was covered under the NTP warranty. No problem. They did such a good job on it, I extended the warranty on that truck to two years. And that truck didn't give me many issues, but then I had some Kenworth T-680s, 2016s, 2017s, and I was catching all kind of issues with those trucks. And I was just going to tell you, that National Truck Protection, they saved me probably $100,000.

I had one DEF system went out on my truck. They had to do the tanks, the doser valves, and they had to clean everything. And I know NTP spent about $14,000 on that repair. That's the kind of money that'll save your business.

And then this year, on another Kenworth, I had a turbo manifold that went out on the truck, of course, at the dealership. And it turned out to be a $13,000 job that National Truck Protection covered, and they covered it hands down. So, like I said, I would say over the last, I would say... I've been with them since 2020, since 2020, 2019, somewhere around there, I've saved probably about a $100,000 in repairs.

Todd Dills: And I know from the wider story that you did, there is a lot of thinking going into raising some of the mileage limitations on the trucks that these companies will cover given that the OEM new truck market build rates have been so slow in the last couple of years, and that people are going to be holding on to these longer. And as more used trucks come in the market, they're going to be a higher mileage than usual. From what heard from Wade Bontrager at NTP it sounds like they'll just be able to do that, but it'll be priced in.

Matt Cole: Yes, basically.

Todd Dills: It'll be more expensive, higher mileage, but what did you hear from some of the other companies out there on that?

Matt Cole: Very similar. They understand that with larger fleets having to hold onto their equipment longer, that those trucks are going to be hitting the used truck lots with higher mileage than you typically see. So they know it's something that they are preparing for and you're seeing them instead of capping out at a million miles, going up to a million and a half or two million maybe. It's just the nature of the industry at this point.

Wade Bontrager: So typically it's 10 model years and up to a million miles, but we absolutely have programs. We've got programs that go back 20-plus years or, for certain customers, certain programs, we want to do some underwriting on that fleet to understand, or that business, to see what it looks like.

So the out-of-the-box program is 10 years, a million miles, but we've got a lot of flexibility to do other things. The nice thing about where we are, we've been around a long time, we're big, we have more data than anybody, because we're, by far, the biggest out there. It allows us to customize things for certain groups. For instance, we've done some programs with some truck equipment manufacturers that do boom trucks, and bucket trucks, and lift trucks, we're actually covering the backend of those things, not just the power train. So we're covering the hydraulics, and the cylinders, and electronics on the backend as well.

So don't assume if you have that kind of equipment that you can't get that kind of coverage, that can be available as well. We wrote out a car-haul program about 18 months ago, probably, 12 to 18 months ago. That covers the back end of the car haul as well.

Todd Dills: And with more miles and more age, a product like this is a simply more expensive endeavor no matter how you look at it, right?

Matt Cole: Yeah. I think Wade said this, but while it's not insurance, it's treated like insurance. So the higher the risk for the warranty companies, the more you're going to have to pay for it.

Todd Dills: Small-fleet owner Bud Davenport detailed some of the terms of his warranties and the covered items included with a special emphasis on those persnickety emission systems. His trucks are all well within the basic 10 years and million miles limitations of their principal products, as NTP's Wade Bontrager noted them.

Bud Davenport: Well, they don't cover as much on DEF as they did when I first got the policy, got the warranties. I think they had a $12,000 max or $14,000 max. And then now I think it's only up to $8,000. Bu, even with that you can't beat it. Unfortunately, that's the only issues we're having with these trucks nowadays is the DEF systems. The engines they run forever, but like I said, I had that one turbo, that's the only non-DEF issues I've had since I've been operating. And, like I said, NTP stepped up and they covered it.

Todd Dills: Davenport's changed calculus when it comes to warranting his used equipment he ties directly to -- what else? The high cost of repairs. Along the way, Davenport offered up recommendations for assessing what's available when considering a used warranty.

Bud Davenport: When I started driving, labor was $50 an hour, and now we're up to 200 bucks, $220 an hour, and it is just the sophisticated equipment that we're operating. There's too many sensors, and these tech shops, they're charging us. I mean it's four or $500 just to go in and find out what's wrong with your truck. So, it is definitely worth getting if you're buying used equipment. So I would definitely recommend it.

Like I said, NTP is the first warranty company that I've ever dealt with. I would say that they need to speak to other owner-ops out here to see, do some research online. We live in an age of information, do some research online on different companies, much like what you guys are doing, and try to read these articles. You can find a lot of stuff on YouTube in terms of researching aftermarket warranty companies. And once you do it, you have to be thorough in the packages that you choose for your truck. Don't try to be cheap in terms of, "I can only afford this much," but then you’re leaving out critical components and you're leaving out, "Well that shouldn't break." But there's these critical things, the rear end, your transmission, and when you say critical components, you're talking about your turbos and your water pumps, these type of things that may or may not go.

But it just gives you that peace of mind on the road that you'll be covered, as opposed to having to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs, because if you try to cover it out of pocket, these trucks will break you. These trucks will break you. And I'm just thankful for the opportunity, through OTR, to have that experience with dealing with NTP, because I probably would have never considered it, because I always just look at it like... I tell all my friends when they say they want to buy a truck, I say, "Well people are coming to get you, because they think you have money." You buy a truck, it is immediately. They're coming to get you with tires, insurance, maintenance, everything. So if I would've heard of NTP without having to actually experience it, without having an upfront cost to me, I probably would've declined, because, "This is just somebody else out to get me." But, because they were... And down to the letter, if it's in your warranty, they cover it. They cover it. If it's in your warranty, they don't look for a reason not to cover it. And I was in shock. I was shocked, and shocked to a point where every truck, and I'm talking I bought four trucks since, every truck was covered under that warranty.

Todd Dills: NTP's Wade Bontrager, too, offered these recommendations on questions to ask, and all the fine print to consider when evaluating a warranty contract.

Wade Bontrager: Look at the components being covered. You can compare those across different companies and make sure you're getting the broadest possible coverage for the things that actually break. There are examples in old contracts of things where a certain manufacturer's fuel pump was problematic, so the company wrote those fuel pumps out of the contract. Well people didn't see that. They bought the warranty, they go, "Oh I've got fuel pump." Except for you have this one, you don't get coverage on it. So, check those things, make sure there's no hidden language around that.

Check those conditions I talked about. Make sure that progressive damage really does apply. In some contracts I've seen there's pretty squirrely language around, "If you don't get pictures to us within X number of days, your claim's not valid." Look for that kind of stuff. Look for things that look like a company's loophole to give them a reason to say "no" to the claim, because that happens. I think the industry's getting better, not just us. I think, in general, it is, but some of that stuff still exists. Some products are better than others.

So I'd look for those things. I'd try to understand what other tools is the company providing, like our portals. Can I track a claim? That's a big deal to a customer. They need to know what's happening with their repair. And in some situations they don't get to know that, but understand those things. What other benefits do they offer? What other things like rapid-repair guarantee or rental truck. We've got a program called the Comfort Package, which is, it covers a lot of stuff that traditional warranties don't, like the HVAC, and the radiator, and the radio and things that you'd normally see more on a new-truck warranty. We're trying to add that package as well. That's an optional package that you can buy as well.

So look for all those things as well. It's amazing to me the attachment rate in our industry, and I came out of the car insurance world and worked for GMAC for a while, and you see a much higher attachment rate of our kind of product in that space than we do here. It's getting better in the truck space, but a lot of it is just not presented. So customers should ask for it. "I want a warranty on this truck, and then I want to know who you're offering. How long have they been in business, how much business have you done with them." That sort of thing.

Ask about financing options, for instance. Usually, when a customer's buying a warranty when they're buying a truck, the warranty's financed with the truck price and that's what happens most of the time and that's great. There are financing options and situations where that doesn't happen that we can provide as well. So if the lender on the truck says, "Nope, not going to do it." Don't stop at that point there, ask about options to get it financed as well.

Todd Dills: Plenty to think about there on the used-truck warranty front, no doubt. And there's plenty more with firsthand experiences of owner-operators like Kenyette Godhigh-Bell -- there's a picture of her and her Cascadia on this podcast edition's cover image. Eduardo Sustaita, too, like Godhigh-Bell with a Premium 2000 warranty that has worked out for him, as it has for both of them to varying degrees.

Several other providers from TruckMaster, to True North Global, to engine OEMs like Cummins and their Encore program, warranting engine rebuilds and more, you can find too in that full three part series authored by our own Matt Cole. Part one in the series is titled, "Given Sky-High Repair Costs, Used Truck Warranties More Valuable Than Ever." And here's a big thanks to Wade Bontrager, small-fleet owner Bud Davenport, also pictured on the cover image for this podcast, and our own Matt Cole for all the work put into this one.

The Business Manual for Owner-Operators
Overdrive editors and ATBS present the industry’s best manual for prospective and committed owner-operators. You’ll find exceptional depth on many issues in the 2022 edition of Partners in Business.
Download
Partners in Business Issue Cover