When you purchase a new car from a dealer, it’s likely that the sales representative will encourage you to invest in an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty for your vehicle. What does it mean, and what’s the difference between a bumper-to-bumper warranty and a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty?
To make a smart decision for your car’s extended warranty, you need to understand what a bumper-to-bumper warranty is and what it covers. Keep in mind that you can purchase extended warranties of all types and term lengths from third-party companies. We’ve researched some of the best extended car warranty providers and recommend looking into their bumper-to-bumper warranty options.
What Is A Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty?
A bumper-to-bumper warranty is a type of comprehensive coverage that covers almost any mechanical breakdown due to defects in materials or workmanship. All brands offer bumper-to-bumper warranties on new vehicles, though they can be called new vehicle limited warranties as well.
Other warranties that are included under the factory warranty are a powertrain warranty, drivetrain warranty, corrosion/rust warranty, and roadside assistance warranty.
The bumper-to-bumper warranty is the biggest piece of a new car’s warranty package, so to speak, as it includes what is often referenced as comprehensive coverage for all parts and systems of the vehicle. Most manufacturer’s bumper-to-bumper warranty cover a new vehicle for three years. Exceptions include specific “wear items” such as tires, brake pads, and windshield wipers, and routine maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations.
How Long Does A Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Last?
The shortest bumper-to-bumper warranty in the industry lasts 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Thirteen automakers offer this length, including Nissan, Ford, Chevrolet, and Buick. The longest lats 5 years or 60,000 miles. Only Hyundai, Genesis, Mitsubishi, Kia, and Jaguar offer this length.
The length of a new car’s bumper-to-bumper protection plan can be loosely associated with the manufacturer’s reliability ratings. This makes sense, as the more reliable the vehicle, the more willing the manufacturer will be to stand behind the product for longer.
Here are the new car bumper-to-bumper warranty term lengths for some of the most popular manufacturers:
What An Extended Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty Does And Doesn’t Cover
The term bumper-to-bumper indicates full coverage, but not all of the car’s parts are protected, whether it’s a factory warranty or an extended warranty. When shopping around, it’s important to take a look at the specifics of the manufacturer’s warranty. Be sure to examine term lengths, 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 usually aren’t included in an extended bumper-to-bumper car warranty:
- Windshield and wiper blades
- Brake pads
- Body panels
- Interior trims
- Turn signals
- Brake lights
- Certain emissions components
- Regular maintenance
- Accidental or collision damage
- Normal wear and tear
Powertrain Vs Bumper-To-Bumper Warranties
In a new car’s factory warranty coverage, the powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranties work together to protect the vehicle. A powertrain warranty covers the engine, transmission, and drivetrain, whereas a bumper-to-bumper warranty includes all major systems like electrical, steering, air conditioning, and more.
A bumper-to-bumper warranty is usually an exclusionary warranty. This means the warranty lists all the parts that it excludes rather than the parts it covers. A powertrain warranty is the opposite. It lists every covered component because there are fewer of them.
A factory bumper-to-bumper warranty typically expires much sooner than the powertrain warranty. Bumper-to-bumper warranties last three to five years, whereas powertrain warranties can last anywhere from four to ten years.
So, where does an extended car warranty fit into this picture? They mimic the coverage of factory powertrain and bumper-to-bumper warranties and cover repair costs once these warranties expire.
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 may be hard to pay on your own. Many drivers don’t have the ability to pay $1,000 or more on an unexpected repair. This is when an extended warranty can be helpful.
Many extended warranties also come with additional coverage perks that add to their appeal, such as 24/7 roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, towing discounts, and more. If your vehicle’s make and model has been known to require costly fixes as it ages, an extended car warranty will 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 warranty costs don’t have the marked-up price the dealership options may have, and you may have more room to negotiate your price. Also, extended warranties from the dealership have the potential to be wrapped into the auto loan for your new car, which means you’ll be paying interest on it. Warranty companies like Toco offer comprehensive plans for an affordable monthly price.
Look For Flexibility
When we say 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. Many other extended warranty companies have similar options.
Some dealerships do have multiple levels of extended protection, but not many. You’ll likely choose from one or two plans only.
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 over 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 your first three years of ownership.
What’s The Best Third-Party Bumper-To-Bumper Warranty?
We researched the most reputable extended car warranty companies and came up with several providers we’d recommend, including Endurance, CARCHEX, Protect My Car, and CarShield. All of these companies offer some sort of bumper-to-bumper warranty.
To determine your best option, take a look at their sample contracts and compare quotes. We’ve already done some of the work for you in our best extended car warranty company review, comparing these providers’ coverage, cost, customer service, and other key factors.
The best bumper-to-bumper warranty providers will let you set up a monthly payment plan as well as let you choose your own repair shop.
FAQ 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.