What Does a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Cover?
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A bumper-to-bumper warranty is the most comprehensive level of car warranty coverage that promises to pay for repairs to most car parts and systems in the event of a mechanical breakdown. Ironically, bumper-to-bumper warranty plans do not include coverage for your vehicle’s bumpers—just the parts in between.
Read on to learn more about bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage and costs, and find the best extended auto warranty provider for your vehicle protection needs.
Table of contents
What is a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty?
Also called a vehicle service contract, a bumper-to-bumper warranty covers repairs to almost all parts between your vehicle’s front and rear bumpers. For example, if your transmission goes out or your air conditioning fails, you can have it fixed at no charge (unless you have a deductible). Most new cars come with bumper-to-bumper coverage from their manufacturer's warranty that lasts between three and five years.
If you want to stay protected after your factory warranty expires, you can purchase an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty. You can also purchase an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty for a used car if you want to cover it.
Typically, there are two main types of coverage offered by vehicle manufacturers and third-party aftermarket warranty providers: bumper-to-bumper and powertrain. A powertrain warranty only provides basic coverage for the parts of your vehicle that keep it moving, like the engine, transmission, and drive axles.
See some of the differences between powertrain coverage and bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage below:
Covers thousands of vehicle components, from powertrain parts to high-tech systems and electronics
Covers only powertrain components, offering
no protection for high-tech systems
Exclusionary coverage, meaning your contract will list only the parts that arenot covered under your warranty
Stated-component coverage, meaning your contract will list every part that is covered under your warranty
More expensive to purchase extended protection
Less expensive to purchase extended protection
What a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Doesn’t Cover
They may be the most comprehensive plans available, but even bumper-to-bumper warranties have exclusions. Exclusions vary from one provider to the next, but here are some parts and services that are not typically covered under a bumper-to-bumper warranty:
- Normal wear items like brake pads and shock absorbers
- Routine maintenance such as oil changes and tire rotations
- Windshield glass and windshield wiper blades
- Tires and wheels
- Interior trims, upholstery, and seat belts
- Body panels, paint, and glass parts
- Damage due to misuse, abuse, neglect, or collisions
How Much Does a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Cost?
A bumper-to-bumper warranty comes free with new vehicles, but it will only last for a certain period of time. After your factory coverage expires, you can purchase an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty, which can cost between $500 and $1,500 per year of coverage.
This range is so wide because warranty companies do not have a universal pricing model for extended warranties. The amount you’ll pay for an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty will depend heavily on your vehicle’s make, model, age, and mileage. It can also vary based on your location and the deductible you choose.
To get more clarity on the average price of a bumper-to-bumper warranty, our research team reached out to get quotes from top third-party providers. Here’s what we were quoted for each provider’s highest level of coverage for a 2017 Ford Explorer with 45,000 miles:
Price Per Month
for 18 months
for 18 months
New Car Diamond
Determined by length of coverage
for 24 months
Each of these plans has a $100 deductible and, depending on the provider, comes with benefits like roadside assistance, lockout services, fuel delivery, towing, rental car reimbursement, and trip interruption coverage.
Is a Bumper-to-Bumper Extended Warranty Worth it?
A bumper-to-bumper extended warranty can help you avoid surprise expensive repair costs, bringing you peace of mind and predictable finances. But this additional coverage does come with a significant price tag.
To determine if a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty is worth it for your vehicle, you must honestly assess your finances and the cost of warranty plans. We recommend reading reviews, researching providers, and comparing bumper-to-bumper warranty quotes to find the best plan for you.
How Long Does a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Last?
On average, manufacturer bumper-to-bumper warranties last for 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. The best new car warranties offer up to 5 years/60,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage. Extended warranties can provide coverage up to 15 years and up to 250,000 miles, depending on your provider.
Typically with long-term bumper-to-bumper warranties, you’ll be able to pay off coverage in just a few years. For example, the quote we received for an Endurance bumper-to-bumper warranty included coverage for three years or 80,000 miles, but the price was broken down into an affordable payment plan of 18 months.
Who Has the Best Bumper-to-Bumper Extended Warranty?
Endurance: Best Coverage
Endurance has the best extended warranty coverage in the business—plus it’s earned positive customer service reviews from industry experts and customers.
It can be slightly more expensive than competitors, but many drivers think the cost of an Endurance warranty is worth it because of the benefits that come with each plan. All plans come with one year free of Elite Benefits, which offers benefits including:
- 24/7 roadside assistance
- Key fob replacement
- Total loss protection
- Tire repairs or replacements
- Collision discount
- Endurance mobile app
CARCHEX: Best For Used Cars
CARCHEX has a strong reputation among experts in the extended warranty industry, partnering with well-known companies like CARFAX, Edmunds.com, and Kelley Blue Book.
The company offers five levels of vehicle protection that range from basic powertrain coverage to the CARCHEX Titanium plan, the highest level of coverage that is similar to a bumper-to-bumper warranty. Benefits that come along with every CARCHEX extended car warranty plan include:
- 24/7 roadside assistance: Includes towing, tire changes, lockout services, battery jump-starts, fuel deliveries, and winching
- Rental car reimbursement: Covers alternative transportation while your vehicle is in the shop
- Trip interruption coverage: Covers meals and lodging if your car breaks down more than 100 miles from home
- Price: Comparing providers can be difficult due to the many factors that influence cost. To determine this score, we employ a secret shopper analysis using different vehicles, mileages, warranty plans, and locations.
- Coverage: A wide variety of coverage is essential to support the differing needs of customers. We take into account the number of extended car warranty plans available, term limits, exclusions, and additional benefits.
- Customer Service: The level of customer service and care provided by an extended warranty company is an important consideration. Our review team sifts through customer reviews and complaints from reputable sources such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot. We also consider the responsiveness of each company’s customer service team based on our secret shopper analysis.
- Reputation: Good extended warranty providers consistently provide quality experiences. Our team takes into account BBB ratings and the company’s history of reliable service when giving this score.
- Transparency: Customers value a commitment to open and honest communication when it comes to vehicle service contracts. Our team of experts takes into account the availability of money-back guarantees and sample contracts.
Q & A
What is included in a bumper-to-bumper warranty?
A bumper-to-bumper warranty is the most comprehensive coverage you can buy for a car. While it includes nearly every component between them, most bumper-to-bumper warranties do not actually cover the bumpers themselves.
Does bumper-to-bumper warranty cover body damage?
Despite the name, a bumper-to-bumper warranty doesn't actually cover body panels like the bumpers themselves. These vehicle service contracts cover the internal parts of your car. However, the exterior of your vehicle can be covered under your car insurance policy.
How long does bumper-to-bumper warranty last?
How long your bumper-to-bumper warranty lasts depends on the provider and the plan you choose. Typically, coverage lasts from two to five years.
Stephen Kenney is a writer and editor who focuses on car insurance, auto financing, and vehicle shipping services. He's a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill and has experience covering categories ranging from travel to sports to environmental sustainability. In his free time, Stephen enjoys going on long-distance runs, trying out new recipes, and exploring his adopted hometown of Cincinnati.
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