The most comprehensive vehicle protection plan is referred to as a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty because it protects most car parts and systems between the front and rear bumpers. Such warranties cover costly repairs or replacements needed for parts and systems after an unforeseeable mechanical breakdown. They are especially worth considering for car owners who have purchased older or used cars and want to be protect from the cost of repairs.
In this review, we take a closer look at bumper-to-bumper extended warranty coverage, cost, and the best bumper-to-bumper warranty providers to give you a better idea of which exclusionary coverage plan is right for you.
To ensure peace of mind, we recommend comparing the cost of bumper-to-bumper plans offered by the dealer to those of third-party providers to find one that best suits your vehicle protection needs and budget.
In this article:
- What Is A Bumper-To-Bumper Extended Warranty?
- Bumper-To-Bumper Vs. Powertrain Extended Warranty
- Bumper-To-Bumper Extended Warranty Cost
- Which Bumper-To-Bumper Extended Warranty Is Best For You?
- FAQ About Bumper-To-Bumper Extended Warranties
What Is A Bumper-To-Bumper Extended Warranty?
A bumper-to-bumper extended warranty refers to the most comprehensive, highest level of coverage that an extended car warranty provider offers. Coverage details vary by provider, but most cover the vehicle's major mechanical and electrical systems with the exception of a short list of items excluded from coverage.
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 does not cover every car repair or part. Exact coverage details differ depending on the provider, but every bumper-to-bumper warranty comes with a brief list of car parts that are excluded from coverage, including the bumpers. That’s why bumper-to-bumper extended warranty plans are more accurately referred to as “exclusionary warranties.”
What's Not Covered By A Bumper-To-Bumper Extended Warranty?
Common exclusions to a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty are as follows:
- Wear-and-tear items: Brake pads, rotors, drums, upholstery, seat belts, and more
- Routine maintenance: Oil changes, tire rotations, wheel alignment, and scheduled service as recommended by the manufacturer-recommended service schedule
- Automotive glass parts: Headlights, brake lights, windows, and windshields
- Damage: Abuse, misuse, neglect, collisions, use of improper fluids, fuels, or lubricants, acts of nature, and more
Most of the items not included in bumper-to-bumper extended warranty coverage are covered by other plans such as a pre-paid maintenance plan from your car's manufacturer's warranty or coverage provided through your car insurance company.
Bumper-To-Bumper Vs. Powertrain Extended Warranty
There may be some confusion around the difference between the two main types of vehicle service contracts: bumper-to-bumper extended warranties and powertrain extended warranties. These plans often differ in term lengths and always differ in the level of coverage provided.
- Bumper-to-bumper extended warranty: This comprehensive, high-level coverage protects most of your car's parts and electronic systems and typically lasts for 3 years/36,000 miles.
- Powertrain extended warranty:Powertrain warranties protect the most vital parts of your vehicle that deliver energy from the engine to the wheels, including the engine, transmission, drive axle, and suspensions parts. Most powertrain coverage plans last around 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 the heightened level of 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
- The level of coverage you choose
- Your vehicle's mileage, year, make, and model
Bumper-To-Bumper Plan Cost Analysis
After performing extensive industry research, we named Endurance and CARCHEX the top two extended warranty providers for their impressive reputations, comprehensive coverage, and competitive plan prices. We reached out to both providers for quotes for 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 Endurance's Supreme plan and CARCHEX's Titanium plan:
|Type of Vehicle||Endurance||CARCHEX|
$86.00 for 36 months
$185.20 for 18 months
$124.00 for 36 months
$215.00 for 18 months
$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 in our complete Endurance warranty review and CARCHEX review. You can also compare them in more detail in our review of Endurance vs. CARCHEX.
Which Bumper-To-Bumper Extended Warranty Is Best For You?
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 a provider offers, and then see which level of coverage and length of coverage makes the most sense for the price.
Here's a closer look at what you can get with Endurance and CARCHEX, as well as our pick for Best Value, CarShield.
- Endurance offers a top-level exclusionary plan called Supreme. All Endurance plans include Endurance Elite Membership, which includes perks like 24/7 roadside assistance and one year of key fob replacement coverage. (On many new vehicles, these sophisticated items can cost several hundred dollars to replace.) In addition, the membership covers up to two tire repairs or replacements per year.
- CARCHEX offers several comprehensive plans, including the top-of-line Titanium. The Titanium plan is a true exclusionary extended warranty, similar to a bumper-to-bumper plan. This means it covers everything on the vehicle minus a short list of excluded parts. You also get benefits like roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement.
- 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. Learn more about plans and benefits in our full CarShield review.
Look For These Must-Have Warranty Benefits
When considering an extended warranty plan, whether from the dealership or a car warranty company, make sure the plan is transferable if you sell the vehicle (most are), and look 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 customer claims.
Compare Bumper-To-Bumper Extended Warranty Quotes
The cost of an aftermarket auto warranty will vary depending on the provider and plan you choose. We recommend reaching out to multiple sources so you can compare coverage and pricing side by side.
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.
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