After your vehicle’s factory warranty expires, you have the option to purchase an extended warranty to cover your car in the long run. One popular option offered by dealerships and third-party providers is a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty. But what exactly does that entail?
In this article, we’ll discuss what a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty is, what it covers, and whether this type of coverage might be a good choice for your vehicle.
To make your research on warranties easier, we’ve reviewed the best extended car warranty providers on the market, and we’ll compare bumper-to-bumper plans below. We recommend getting a few free, personalized quotes so you can compare coverage.
Do You Need an Extended Warranty?
If you’re considering purchasing an extended warranty for your vehicle, there are a few factors you should keep in mind. First, take a look at your manufacturer’s warranty. How long will your factory coverage last? New vehicle limited warranties vary widely from company to company.
The longest new car warranties, offered by manufacturers such as Kia, Hyundai, Genesis and Mitsubishi, include 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage and 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper protection. The companies with the shortest warranty terms, like Toyota, Subaru, Nissan and Honda, offer just 5 years/60,000 miles of powertrain coverage and 3 years/36,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper protection. For more insight into where your vehicle’s manufacturer ranks, read our full car warranties comparison review.
Next, weigh the pros and cons. What does an extended warranty offer? Ultimately, peace of mind. Your vehicle will need more frequent – and more expensive – repairs as it ages. With a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty or powertrain extended warranty, you won’t have to worry about being able to afford emergency repair costs.
But you will need to pay for your extended coverage either up front or with a monthly payment plan. Plus, there’s no guarantee that you’ll need the coverage, as not every part of your vehicle will need to be replaced.
Bumper-to-Bumper vs. Powertrain Warranties
This is where plan options come in, as you’ll need to decide what parts of your vehicle you want covered. There are two fundamental types of extended warranties that you will come across when shopping for coverage: powertrain and bumper-to-bumper.
Powertrain warranties cover only the most important (and expensive) parts of your vehicle, including the engine, transmission and drive axle. Bumper-to-bumper, on the other hand, covers all major systems of the vehicle – with the exception of some specified parts or components.
Bumper-to-bumper warranties cover more parts of your vehicle, but term limits are usually shorter than those of a powertrain warranty, especially for new vehicles. When it comes to extended coverage, however, bumper-to-bumper warranties can last just as long, if not longer, depending on your provider.
What’s Included in a Bumper-to-Bumper Extended Warranty?
Also called “exclusionary coverage” or “comprehensive coverage,” a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty covers all major systems and components of your vehicle – with the exception of only a few listed items. As the name suggests, these plans essentially cover your vehicle from bumper to bumper.
Covered systems generally include:
- Powertrain (engine, transmission, driveline)
- Engine cooling
- Fuel injection
- Air conditioning
- Seals and gaskets
What Does a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Not Cover?
As comprehensive as bumper-to-bumper warranties are, no plan is all-inclusive. Exclusions vary, so you’ll need to read your contract thoroughly. But generally, components that are not covered under bumper-to-bumper warranties include aftermarket parts, wear-and-tear items, and regular maintenance.
Here’s a closer look at some common exclusions of bumper-to-bumper extended warranty plans:
- Aftermarket parts: Aftermarket modifications, such as outfitting your vehicle with high-performance parts like a turbo engine, may allow your provider to refuse coverage for related parts of your vehicle.
- Wear-and-tear parts: Typically, extended warranties exclude parts like brake pads, windshield wipers, tires, your battery, interior textiles and other parts that need to be replaced from what’s considered normal wear and tear.
- Regular maintenance: Oil changes, tire rotations, transmission fluid changes and the like aren’t considered “repairs” – they’re services that need to be done so your car continues to run as it should. While some providers offer maintenance coverage that you can add on to your plan, most don’t include it in base coverage. Still, regular maintenance will need to be kept up with, as improper maintenance can void warranty coverage on certain parts. For example, if your engine blows because you haven’t had your oil changed in two years, that won’t be covered.
- Repairs due to accidents or inclement weather: A warranty is not the same thing as insurance. If you’re in an accident or experience weather-related damage to your vehicle, you’ll need to go through your insurance company to get it fixed.
- Cosmetic repairs, such as paint, dings or dents: This is akin to “normal wear and tear” for your vehicle’s exterior, so cosmetic damage isn’t covered under most bumper-to-bumper extended warranty plans.
Other Things to Look for in Extended Warranty Coverage
Depending on what manufacturer you choose, the benefits of an extended warranty can go way beyond standard coverage for your vehicle. Many manufacturers and third-party warranty providers offer valuable perks to their customers, which sometimes can be the deciding factor in choosing between two companies with comparable coverage plans.
Some additional benefits to look for in a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty plan include:
- 24/7 emergency roadside assistance
- Towing to a repair facility after a breakdown
- Rental car reimbursement
- Trip interruption that covers lodging and meals if your vehicle breaks down far from your home
- Key fob replacements
- Freedom to choose your repair shop
- Direct payments to repair facilities so you don’t have to front the money to get your vehicle fixed
- Flexible, interest-free payment plans
- A range of deductible options
How Much is a Bumper-to-Bumper Extended Warranty?
As with any vehicle service or insurance product, there’s no one-size-fits-all price for a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty. The cost of a comprehensive plan varies widely based on a number of factors, including your vehicle make and model and the deductible you choose for your bumper-to-bumper warranty.
- Your vehicle: The make, model, age and mileage of your vehicle has a lot to do with how much your warranty will cost. Luxury vehicles and older or higher-mileage cars will cost more to cover.
- Your plan: Exclusionary coverage means that all parts are covered except for a specific list that’s outlined in your vehicle service contract. Some plans have more covered parts than others. Plans that include perks like roadside assistance may also cost more. And opting for additional coverage like a maintenance plan will also drive your price up.
- Your deductible: Your deductible can be anywhere from $0 to $500, depending on your extended warranty provider. The higher your deductible, the lower your plan will cost.
- Dealer vs. third-party: Generally, purchasing a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty from a third-party provider is less expensive than going with a manufacturer’s option. Dealerships sometimes inflate the price of a plan or roll the cost into your auto loan, which means you’ll be paying interest on it.
Are Extended Bumper-to-Bumper Warranties Worth It?
Bumper-to-bumper extended warranties are worth it in that they offer the ultimate peace of mind. With comprehensive coverage, you won’t have to worry about covering costly repairs as your vehicle ages. However, bumper-to-bumper protection plans are often the most expensive coverage options.
We recommend shopping around and getting quotes from multiple providers to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Ultimately, you’ll need to consider the price and term specifications of a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty to decide whether it’s worth it for your situation and budget.
Our Top Recommendations for Extended Car Warranties
Auto manufacturers typically offer extended warranties with one or two levels of comprehensive coverage. Third-party companies often have more options, as well as add-ons that can help you tailor coverage to your particular needs.
Our review team researched every major auto warranty provider to examine plan options, pricing, customer service ratings and more. We got real quotes from each provider and evaluated the experience of working with each company’s representatives. Based on this, we’ve identified Endurance, CARCHEX and CarShield as industry leaders.
Our top providers each offer bumper-to-bumper extended warranty plans:
- The Endurance top-tier bumper-to-bumper plan is called Supreme. It has only some exclusions, like glass, light bulbs, batteries, high-tech items (unless you add this coverage) and cosmetic portions of your vehicle. All Endurance vehicle service contracts come with a free year of Endurance Elite Membership, which gives drivers access to perks like emergency roadside assistance, tire replacements and key fob replacement.
- CARCHEX offers an exclusionary plan, Titanium Coverage, that covers most parts of your vehicle, minus a short list of exclusions, for seven- to 10-year term limits. CARCHEX plans come with added benefits, including 24/7 roadside assistance, towing, rental car coverage and trip interruption service.
- The Diamond plan from CarShield is similar to your vehicle’s factory warranty coverage, give or take a few exclusions. CarShield offers month-to-month contracts that can be canceled at any time, and all plans include services such as roadside assistance, towing and rental car coverage at no additional cost.
As always, we recommend getting free quotes from more than one provider. Start comparing your options below:
The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car warranty provider to formulate rankings of the best warranty companies. Our in-depth rating system takes into account coverage, pricing, transparency, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each provider is given a weighted score in five categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend auto warranty companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best coverage.