Disclosure: This content was produced by an independent editorial party for the purposes of educating our customers, and is not influenced by the other business operations of CARCHEX.

In the vehicle protection industry, the term “bumper-to-bumper extended warranty” has become a bit of a misunderstood term. What does it really mean and how does it affect you and your car? Understanding the different terms can be a life saver. Learn more about what these words really mean and how CARCHEX can help.

What Is a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty?

A bumper-to-bumper warranty, also called a vehicle service contract or exclusionary coverage, protects all major systems of the vehicle with the exception of several listed items. Most new cars come with a factory warranty that offers bumper-to-bumper coverage lasting between three and five years.

When your manufacturer’s warranty expires, you can purchase an extended bumper-to-bumper warranty from a manufacturer, dealership, or third-party provider. You can also buy coverage for used cars as well.

Bumper-to-Bumper vs. Powertrain Warranty

In addition to bumper-to-bumper coverage, you may also be offered a powertrain warranty when you’re looking for coverage. This extended warranty plan only provides basic coverage to the vehicle’s main components including the engine, transmission, and drive axle.

Here’s an overview of some of the differences between bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties:

Bumper-to-Bumper Extended Warranties

Powertrain Warranties

Covers thousands of vehicle components except those explicitly listed

Only covers your vehicle’s important parts such as the engine, transmission, and drive axle

More expensive to purchase than powertrain warranties

The cheapest extended car warranty plans

Normally comes with perks like roadside assistance, trip interruption benefits, or rental car reimbursement

Plans may or may not include benefits

Why “Bumper-to-Bumper” Is Misleading

For years, the words bumper-to-bumper extended warranty left consumers thinking everything between their front and back bumpers were covered. It sounded like a great deal, but it wasn’t exactly true and caused a lot of confusion. For example, some wear-and-tear issues to things like glass, fabric, and cabin surfaces may not be covered by a warranty.

The more accurate names for bumper-to-bumper coverage are basic or comprehensive warranty. What you’re getting is coverage for components not covered by a powertrain warranty. Buying the right protection for your vehicle will depend on understanding exactly what is covered in these plans.

Is a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Worth It?

In our 2022 extended warranty survey of 1,000 drivers, 51% said that they’d purchased bumper-to-bumper coverage. Additionally, 25% of those polled mentioned that they wish they’d purchased either longer or more extensive coverage than they did.

Clearly, those who’ve bought an extended warranty believe that bumper-to-bumper protection is better than more limited plans. It offers more complete coverage and adds extra peace of mind for those who own older vehicles.

Auto mechanic working in garage. Repair service.

What Does a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Cover?

While factory and extended warranties can provide great coverage and save you from paying expensive repair costs, no plan is all-inclusive. That’s why the term “comprehensive” is more accurate than “bumper-to-bumper.” These warranties are in place to protect your car against mistakes made during the manufacturing process.

Typical Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Coverage

What exactly is covered under a bumper-to-bumper or comprehensive coverage plan?

Of course, this depends on the contract and the provider. Some contracts will be more comprehensive than others. Here are a few examples of what could be covered under your vehicle warranty:

  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Fuel delivery systems
  • Heating and cooling
  • Electrical
  • Braking

CARCHEX is known to have some of the most comprehensive extended warranty contracts in the industry. You’ll receive an exceptional bumper-to-bumper coverage plan if you decide to choose the provider’s top choice.

What Does a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty Not Cover?

To get a basic understanding of a comprehensive warranty, here are some common exclusions not covered by car warranty companies:

  • Oil changes and oil filters
  • Lenses and headlights/tail lights
  • Regular wear and tear over time
  • Tires (though you can buy a warranty specifically for tire coverage)
  • Cosmetic repairs, such as paint, dings, or dents
  • Repairs on personal modifications not originally included in the vehicle
  • Wiper blades
  • Fabric and upholstery
  • Repairs due to inclement weather
  • Brake pads
  • Repairs due to accidents
  • Repairs due to neglect or lack of maintenance

Automaker vs. Third-Party Coverage

While manufacturer bumper-to-bumper extended warranties may cover repairs to paint, corrosion, and even upholstery, there are several drawbacks.

Automakers often add several coverage options and extra perks to their protection plans. For example, Chevy bumper-to-bumper extended warranties include extra coverage for components of their hybrid vehicles. The Honda extended bumper-to-bumper warranty includes Honda Care Sentinel, which also covers oil changes. Manufacturer’s warranties often include corrosion protection and emissions coverage as well.

Unfortunately, while manufacturer extended warranties have comprehensive coverage and additional perks, the customer is limited to the dealership when it comes to repairs or replacements. An independent option is almost always cheaper than one from an automaker as well.

Benefits of a Third-Party Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty

Independent extended auto warranties often come with some upsides not found with plans from automakers. Below are some issues you could face with a manufacturer plan that get avoided if you choose coverage from CARCHEX:

  • You won’t be able to negotiate prices against other competitors the way that you would with a third-party broker.
  • You won’t be able to choose the mechanic closest to you, as you will be limited to repairs at dealerships or a select few repair facilities.
  • Though manufacturer warranties guarantee original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, on the opposite side of the coin, you will be limited to more expensive OEM parts.
  • If the manufacturer’s extended warranty is added to the financing of your vehicle, you may end up paying interest on your vehicle service contract. With a third-party company like CARCHEX, you will only pay the stated price of your service contract and any necessary deductibles.
  • Finally, third-party companies like CARCHEX offer plans that are quite similar to the manufacturer’s warranty, so you are unlikely to miss out on coverage for major repairs.

Will a CARCHEX Extended Warranty Save Money?

No matter which coverage plan you choose, you’ll avoid having to pay for the costly car repairs that seem to inevitably pop up at the worst times. Below are price estimates for some common issues with used cars:

CARCHEX Extended Warranty Plans

CARCHEX offers several comprehensive coverage plans, with the most coverage offered by our Titanium, Platinum, and Gold plans. While only one (Titanium) is technically a bumper-to-bumper extended warranty, all three tiers provide broad coverage at competitive prices.

Terms range between five and 10 years of coverage, or up to 125,000 miles.

CARCHEX Titanium Coverage

CARCHEX Titanium plans offer the highest level of protection. As a true exclusionary plan, each contract lists only a short number of excluded items. Though this is the priciest coverage level, CARCHEX ensures competitive prices by shopping and negotiating around the market.

CARCHEX Platinum Coverage

Platinum plans are the highest level of stated-component coverage. Contracts list hundreds of covered components. CARCHEX Platinum plan highlights include coverage for enhanced electrical systems, including hybrid and electric vehicle components, seat warmers, mirror motors, sunroof motors, horns, and more.

CARCHEX Gold Coverage

CARCHEX Gold coverage is best for customers who want good coverage for the best value. This affordable protection level is geared toward vehicles with more than 60,000 miles, and it is available for both new and used vehicles.

Why Choose CARCHEX for Bumper-to-Bumper Coverage?

There are many extended warranty providers in the market, but CARCHEX consistently rates highest in Better Business Bureau ratings and customer ratings. We have a 99.9% customer satisfaction rating, and we’ve twice been nominated by the BBB for Marketplace Excellence. That means customers are getting the coverage they’re promised and the service they deserve.

As a CARCHEX Customer, You'll Benefit From:

  • 24/7 roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, towing service coverage, and trip interruption services
  • Low deductibles (as low as $0 under some contracts)
  • No required upfront payments to repair shops
  • Nationwide coverage
  • Simple claims procedure
  • No required vehicle inspection
  • Transferable plans
  • Prompt customer service and online account services
  • Affordable monthly payment plans

CARCHEX guarantees satisfactory service or your money back. A 30-Day Money Back Guarantee is available for all vehicle service contracts.

How To Get a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty From CARCHEX

If buying extended bumper-to-bumper coverage is the right choice for you, talk to one of our CARCHEX protection specialists today. Our approach to extended auto warranty coverage is to find you the best possible plan at a price you can afford. That way, you have total peace of mind the next time a car repair comes your way.

Getting a quote online is free, fast, and easy. Contact a CARCHEX representative directly — call us toll-free at 866-261-3457.

Bumper-to-Bumper Extended Warranty: FAQ


USA.gov: https://www.usa.gov/car-repair#item-35377

Auto Trader: http://www.autotrader.com/car-shopping/powertrain-warranty-vs-bumper-to-bumper-whats-the-difference-239994

ASA.org: https://asashop.org/wp-content/uploads/ASA_ConsumerESPGuide.pdf

Better Business Bureau: bbb.org/greater-maryland/business-reviews/extended-warranty-contract-service-companies/carchex-in-hunt-valley-md-2301586