Ford Protect, Ford’s extended warranty arm, has a new offering for the Bronco and Bronco Sport called Ford Protect Off-Road Coverage. It extends the insurance policy offered by the existing road-focused TireCare, TireCare Plus, TripleCare, and TripleCare Plus to those times when either Bronco finds itself getting hurt on the dirt. TripleCare covers tire and wheel damage, dents, and windshield repairs. The pitch is that since a Bronco wheel can cost as much as $500 and a tire as much as $400, and it might cost $900 to replace a windshield, why not protect for the inevitable and save yourself money with a plan? We applaud Ford’s effort — Jeep doesn’t offer anything of the kind for its trail warriors. We’re just not sure who it makes sense for.
Let’s start with what the three divisions cover. The tire portion “Covers approved costs associated with the repair or replacement of a tire or wheel as a result of off-roading damage (e.g., damaged tire from rugged or uneven terrain).” The Plus plans add “cosmetic coverage of alloy, aluminum and steel wheels (e.g., scratches from trees, brush and rocks).” The dent portion handles dings and oopsies, but only those that can be fixed with paintless dent repair. And the windshield coverage is for dealing with “minor chips and cracks.”
All right so far. Turning to the exclusions, though, makes us go, “Hmmm.” The TireCARE part doesn’t cover carbon fiber or chrome wheels, only steelies and aluminum wheels, which isn’t so bad. DentCARE, however, won’t cover dings larger than four inches across. Having seen recently how far paintless dent removal technology has come, saving some Rivian R1T owners tens of thousands of dollars, four inches seems, well, stingy.
It’s a similar case with WindshieldCARE, which doesn’t cover replacement of the windshield, only the repair of “minor chips and cracks.” Worse, “minor” means less than six inches; any crack longer than six inches by the time you reach the dealer isn’t covered. We recently chipped a windshield while driving a Porsche 911 on the Autobahn. Before we reached our exit, the chip had grown longer than six inches — and this is in a small, stiff sports car on smooth German highways. If a chip in a Bronco windshield turns into a small crack while still on the trail, we don’t know how anyone could bet against that crack reaching six inches before the end of the trail. The plan doesn’t pay for replacement of the windshield, either, only that specific kind of repair.
Anyone still thinking about buying should know that the plan needs to be purchased before the Bronco or Bronco Sport is out of its initial three-year/36,000-mile warranty. On top of that, the TripleCARE plans are not available in Florida. We’re guessing it’s because state law mandates that anyone with comprehensive insurance coverage gets their deductible waived for windshield replacements. If our guess is correct, that means there’s a deductible involved in Ford Protect Off-Road Coverage. We aren’t sure of these details because the Ford Protect site advises interested shoppers to contact their dealers about plan pricing. We’ve inquired with a dealer about pricing; we’ll update the post if we get a response.