Forgot to mention, in general, service contracts are not a good deal for most people. The largest percentage of the premium goes to pay commissions to the person who sold it to you. That doesn't leave much to pay for the insurance. The next problem is there is almost always a rather high deductible so you'll still end up spending money of repairs. Third, at the very nice family-owned dealership I used to work for, when you had a contract from an aftermarket company, I overheard way too many times, "what you need isn't covered". In particular, when they say "internally-lubricated engine parts are covered, that takes care of the rare serious internal engine damage. Timing belts are not "internally-lubricated", and the resulting valve damage, while they are internally-lubricated, is not covered because the damage was caused by something that is not covered. They will look for any possible way to avoid paying a claim.
When you do have a legitimate claim, the companies require all kinds of proof and documentation. They will deny a claim if you can't prove the oil was changed at the proper intervals. Engine problems often require a detailed analysis of the oil which is a major headache, and is way beyond what any manufacturer requires when their cars are under warranty.
Many repair shops are fed up with trying to collect from some of these companies for "approved" repairs. Instead, they make you responsible for the bill, then let you get reimbursed from the insurance company. Those companies are more responsive to policy holders than to shops. If you don't have the money available, your car will sit there until the bill is paid. That contract isn't worth much if they take a month to send you a check.
I'd recommend putting that 1700 bucks in the bank rather than prepaying for an expensive repair that may never be needed. It will be available if you have a sudden unexpected repair. If you do buy a service contract, (it's not really a warranty), be sure it covers any electrical problems. With all the unnecessary, unreliable computers on all cars today, electrical problems are WAY more common than engine and transmission problems, and they can get to be expensive. You should also know that if you get stuck with a big bill they refuse to cover, you can request a refund of the remaining amount of the contract, then put that money toward the repair.
At the mileages you listed, the Toyota is due for a new timing belt so factor that into the cost of the car unless someone can produce written documentation it has already been done. Regular maintenance isn't covered under any service contract. Honda used to recommend replacement of the timing belt every 75,000 miles, ... And they typically broke at 65,000 miles. The insurance companies will also want proof that you followed the maintenance schedules in the owner's manual. Even if they do cover timing belts and the resulting damage, they will deny the claim if you missed the specified mileage it was supposed to be replaced at.
Be aware too that most owner's manuals list a "severe use" schedule and a "normal" schedule. Those trick owners because the "normal" schedule is designed to make that model appear to cost less for normal maintenance than their competitors' cars. We used to joke about those normal schedules that they don't apply if you drive in the city, or if you drive on the highway, or you drive in cold weather, or you drive in hot weather, or you drive in the rain, (or you make too many left turns)! Only that last one was sarcasm, but you get my point. It is almost impossible to not have to go by the severe service recommendations, so don't get caught by that loophole.
Thursday, November 29th, 2012 AT 2:03 AM