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What Is a Bumper-to-Bumper Extended Warranty?

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 Does Bumper-to-Bumper Mean?

There are two fundamental types of extended warranties that you will come across when shopping for coverage: powertrain and bumper-to-bumper. A powertrain warranty covers the engine, transmission, and drive axle of the vehicle, and therefore it’s the most basic form of coverage.

A bumper-to-bumper extended warranty covers all major systems of the vehicle with the exception of several listed items. Terms are usually shorter than those of a powertrain warranty. A bumper-to-bumper extended warranty can be applied once the manufacturer’s bumper-to-bumper warranty (sometimes called the new vehicle limited warranty) expires.

While the manufacturer’s bumper-to-bumper warranty is included in the price of the vehicle, an extended car warranty is actually an optional vehicle service contract that comes at an additional price. They are available through the manufacturer, a dealer, or a third-party company.

You may also hear or see the term “exclusionary coverage.” Exclusionary plans are the same as bumper-to-bumper warranties, and the term refers to the listed exclusions included in the contract rather than a long list of covered stated components.

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.

Auto mechanic working in garage. Repair service.

What Am I Really Getting In An Extended Warranty?

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 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:

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

Manufacturers often add optional coverages 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. A third-party company like CARCHEX offers extensive coverage and perks with the added flexibility of over 30,000 network repair facilities.

To get a basic understanding of a comprehensive warranty, here are some items that usually are not covered.

What's Not Covered?

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

Of course, when considering these options it’s best to shop around. At CARCHEX, we’ve made it easy to compare auto warranty companies.

Manufacturer vs. Third-Party Comprehensive Coverage

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

  • 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.

CARCHEX Bumper-to-Bumper Coverage

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 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.


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 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 Your 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
  • Nationwide coverage
  • Transferable plans
  • Low deductibles (as low as $0 under some contracts)
  • Simple claims procedure
  • Prompt customer service and online account services
  • No required upfront payments to repair shops
  • No required vehicle inspection
  • 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.

CARCHEX Is Here To Help

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.



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-23015869

CARCHEX 118 Shawan Road, Suite 210 Baltimore, MD 21030 (FL License # E155490)

© 2018 Carchex. All rights reserved.

We proudly offer the CARCHEX No-Haggle, Lowest Price Everyday Guarantee™ for all of our auto warranty and car inspection programs.
Consistent with consumers’ understandings and expectations of the market in which CARCHEX operates, CARCHEX uses the terms “warranty”; “extended warranty”, “extended auto warranty”, “extended service protection plan” and similar terms to describe the more technical term “vehicle service contracts”. For more information, see this FTC link or learn more here or by reviewing CARCHEX’s website.
CARCHEX markets and sells extended warranties on behalf of third party extended warranty providers, and your extended warranty will be between you and the provider. This website site is intended solely for the purpose of providing general information regarding the purchase of extended warranties. Specific contract terms, rates, taxes, fees and other charges are determined upon validation of vehicle information and acceptance by the extended warranty provider, for which CARCHEX is not responsible. Extended warranties may not be sold where prohibited by law.
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