When you purchase a new car from the dealer, the sales representative will likely encourage you to invest in a bumper-to-bumper warranty for your vehicle. But what does this option mean, and is a bumper-to-bumper warranty worth adding to your new car?
In this review, we’ll take a closer look at bumper-to-bumper extended warranty coverage and costs before running through the best extended car warranty companies. Remember that you can purchase extended warranties of all types and term lengths from third-party providers.
What Is A Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty?
A bumper-to-bumper warranty refers to the highest level of coverage, so it’ll take care of almost any mechanical breakdown caused by defects in materials or workmanship. All brands offer bumper-to-bumper warranties on new vehicles, though they’re often called new vehicle limited warranties as well.
Other warranties that are included under the factory warranty are the powertrain warranty, drivetrain warranty, and the corrosion and rust warranty.
The bumper-to-bumper warranty is the most significant piece of a new car’s warranty package since it includes coverage for nearly all parts and systems. Most bumper-to-bumper warranties offered by automakers cover a new vehicle for around three years.
In addition, drivers can purchase a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty from a third-party company when their factory warranty expires. Details vary by provider, but most plans cover the vehicle’s major mechanical and electrical systems except for specific “wear items” such as tires, brake pads, and windshield wipers, along with routine maintenance needs like oil changes and tire rotations.
What Does A Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Cover?
Bumper-to-bumper extended warranty coverage plans generally cover the following vehicle components:
- Audio, communication, and entertainment systems
- Heating and air conditioning
- Electrical (power seats, sunroofs, heated seats)
- Powertrain components (engine, transmission, certain driveline parts)
- Engine cooling system
- Steering system
- Fuel injection system
Despite the name, bumper-to-bumper coverage doesn’t cover every car repair or part. Exact coverage details differ based on the provider, but every bumper-to-bumper warranty comes with a brief list of car parts excluded from coverage. That’s why bumper-to-bumper extended warranty plans are more accurately referred to as “exclusionary warranties.”
What Does A Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Not Cover?
The term “bumper-to-bumper” indicates full coverage, but not all of the car’s parts are protected. When shopping around, it’s essential to take a look at the specifics of the manufacturer’s warranty. Be sure to examine term lengths, the contract’s fine print, and details about deductibles.
It’s important to note that several areas aren’t protected by most factory bumper-to-bumper warranties, which means you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for these repairs. Here are the components and services that are standard exclusions from bumper-to-bumper extended warranties:
- Normal wear-and-tear items: Brake pads, tires, rotors, drums, upholstery, seat belts, and paint
- Regular routine maintenance: Oil changes, tire rotations, wheel alignment, and scheduled services
- Automotive glass parts: Headlights, brake lights, windows, turn signals, and windshields
- Damage: Abuse, misuse, neglect, accidents or collision damage, use of improper fluids, fuels, or lubricants, acts of nature, and damage to body panels and interior trims
Many of the items not included in bumper-to-bumper extended warranty coverage can be covered by prepaid maintenance plans or by coverage provided through your car insurance company.
Bumper-To-Bumper Vs. Powertrain Warranty
In a new car’s factory warranty coverage, the powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranties work together to protect the vehicle. While these plans go hand in hand, they cover different parts, creating confusion around their key differences.
These plans often differ in term lengths and the level of coverage provided.
- Bumper-to-bumper warranty: This comprehensive, high-level coverage option protects most of your car’s parts and typically lasts for 3 years/36,000 miles.
- Powertrain warranty: A powertrain warranty protects the most vital parts of your vehicle that deliver energy from the engine to the wheels, including the engine, transmission, drive axle/drivetrain, and suspension parts. Most powertrain coverage plans last around 5 years/60,000 miles.
A bumper-to-bumper warranty is usually an exclusionary warranty. This means that the warranty lists out the parts it excludes rather than the parts it covers.
How Long Does A Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Last?
The shortest bumper-to-bumper warranties typically last for 3 years/36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Thirteen automakers offer this length, including Nissan, Ford, Chevrolet, and Buick. The longest usually last for 5 years/60,000 miles, with companies like Hyundai, Genesis, Mitsubishi, and Kia offering this length.
Here are the new car bumper-to-bumper warranty term lengths for some of the most popular manufacturers:
|Honda||3 years / 36,000 miles|
|Ford||3 years / 36,000 miles|
|Toyota||3 years / 36,000 miles|
|Nissan||3 years / 36,000 miles|
|Chevrolet||3 years / 36,000 miles|
|BMW||4 years / 50,000 miles|
|Land Rover||4 years / 50,000 miles|
|Hyundai||5 years / 60,000 miles|
|Kia||5 years / 60,000 miles|
Bumper-To-Bumper Extended Warranty Cost
Typically, bumper-to-bumper extended warranty plans cost more than powertrain warranties because of their extra coverage. However, this will vary depending on several factors. The cost of a bumper-to-bumper warranty will be determined by:
- The extended warranty provider you select
- Your chosen level of coverage
- Your vehicle’s mileage, year, make, and model
Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Cost Analysis
After performing industry research, we named Endurance and CARCHEX as the top two extended warranty providers for their impressive reputations, comprehensive coverage, and competitive prices. We reached out to both providers for quotes on the following types of vehicles:
- Standard #1: 2017 Honda CR-V with 45,000 miles
- Standard #2: 2017 Chevrolet Silverado with 50,000 miles
- High-mileage: 2013 Toyota Camry with 100,000 miles
Here were the results of our bumper-to-bumper extended warranty cost analysis for the Endurance Supreme plan and the CARCHEX Titanium plan:
|Type of Vehicle||Endurance||CARCHEX|
|Standard #1||$86.00 for 36 months||$185.20 for 18 months|
|Standard #2||$124.00 for 36 months||$215.00 for 18 months|
|High-Mileage||$103.00 for 36 months||$258.47 for 18 months|
As you can see, Endurance provided lower monthly rates but longer financing terms than CARCHEX. The total price for each plan was comparable, within a few hundred dollars. Learn more about the providers by comparing them in our Endurance vs. CARCHEX review.
Why Purchase A Bumper-To-Bumper Extended Warranty?
Are extended warranties worth it? In the long run, an extended warranty can cover expensive repairs that could be hard to pay for on your own. Many drivers can’t cover $1,000 or more for an unexpected repair. This is when an extended warranty can be helpful.
Many extended warranties also include additional coverage perks such as 24/7 roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, and towing discounts. If your vehicle’s make and model has been known to require costly fixes as it ages, an extended car warranty could lessen the financial blow of hefty repairs.
You can get an extended warranty from manufacturers, dealerships, and independent third-party companies.
Where Should I Buy An Extended Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty?
There are pros and cons of every extended warranty provider, but when it comes down to it, third-party extended warranty companies can be more affordable and flexible than manufacturer or dealer options.
Third-party extended warranties rarely have the marked-up prices of dealership options, and you may have more room to negotiate. Also, extended warranties from the dealership have the potential to be wrapped into the auto loan on your new car, meaning that you’ll pay interest on them.
Look For Flexibility
When we say that third-party extended warranties are more flexible, we mean in both coverage and eligibility.
Endurance, for example, has six tiers of coverage ranging from bumper-to-bumper to powertrain protection. Within each tier, there are several contract options that are customizable to your vehicle. While most independent extended warranty providers have similar options, that’s not true of plans from most dealerships.
Most cars are eligible for an extended warranty through a third-party provider. In general, these companies protect new and used cars, even if your car is well past 100,000 miles.
Oftentimes at the dealership, you can only purchase an extended warranty if the car is still under its bumper-to-bumper warranty. As we explained, this may only last for your first three years of ownership.
Look For Warranty Benefits
When considering an extended warranty plan, check that the plan is transferable and look out for the following benefits:
- 24/7 roadside assistance
- Rental car reimbursement
- Towing coverage
- Trip interruption service or reimbursement
- Choice of deductible
- Monthly payment plan
It’s also a good idea to research a company’s industry standing. Some providers, like Toco, are known for their transparent business practices and reputation for paying out claims.
Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty: Conclusion
Most new vehicles come with a bumper-to-bumper warranty that lasts for 3 years/36,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, drivers also have the option to purchase a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty from a third-party manufacturer. These are typically more costly than powertrain warranties as they cover almost all vehicle parts.
To determine your best option, look at each provider’s sample contracts and compare quotes. We’ve already done some of the work for you in our best extended car warranty company review, comparing providers’ coverage, costs, and customer service.
Best Bumper-To-Bumper Warranties
While auto brands tend to offer comprehensive extended warranties with one or two levels of coverage, third-party warranty providers usually offer variations that let you tailor the level of coverage to your particular needs. Examine all the plans offered by a provider, and then check which level and length of coverage makes the most sense.
Endurance: Best Coverage
Endurance offers a top-level exclusionary plan called Supreme. All Endurance plans come with Endurance Elite Benefits, which include perks like 24/7 roadside assistance and one year of key fob replacement coverage. In addition, the membership covers up to two tire repairs or replacements per year.
Read more: Endurance warranty review
CARCHEX: Best For Used Cars
CARCHEX offers several comprehensive plans, including top-of-line Titanium coverage. The Titanium plan is a true exclusionary extended warranty, similar to a bumper-to-bumper plan. This means that it covers everything on the vehicle minus a short list of excluded parts. You also get benefits like roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement.
Read more: CARCHEX review
CarShield: Best Monthly Payments
CarShield offers Diamond coverage that essentially duplicates what a new vehicle warranty offers. The popular provider is known for its low rates and benefits like roadside assistance and trip interruption coverage. It’s generally easy for drivers to pick up affordable prices from CarShield, which is one of the reasons why it’s so popular among consumers.
Read more: CarShield review
Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty: FAQ
Below are frequently asked questions about bumper-to-bumper warranties.
In an effort to provide accurate and unbiased information to consumers, our expert review team collects data from dozens of extended auto warranty companies to formulate rankings of the best providers. Companies receive a score in each of the following categories, as well as an overall weighted score out of 5.0 stars.
- Industry Standing: Warranty providers with a history of strong business practices and endorsements from experts receive the highest scores in this category.
- Coverage: This rating is based on types of extended warranty plans available, coverage terms, and added benefits like roadside assistance.
- Cost: Our research team reviews sample quotes for a variety of plans and vehicles. Companies with lower prices per year of coverage receive the best scores.
- Transparency: This score takes into account contract transparency and the availability of a money-back guarantee.
- Customer Service: We comb through customer reviews and perform our own shopper analysis to get a sense of the responsiveness and helpfulness of each warranty company.