The words bumper-to-bumper get thrown around a lot among warranty companies, but is there such a thing as true bumper-to-bumper coverage? To get a better understanding of the warranty space and the options you have available to you, here are some of the things you should know before you go out shopping for an extended auto warranty.
What is a Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty?
A simple question with a simple answer, but one that needs to be addressed. Typically, a bumper-to-bumper warranty is a guarantee made by a car manufacturer that promises their vehicle will work well for as long as the warranty lasts. If anything breaks down or stops working as promised, it is repaired or replaced. These warranties usually last 3 years or 36,000 miles, but sometimes vary depending on the manufacturer. After the year and mileage cutoff has been reached, the powertrain coverage takes over for a more limited level of protection.
Comparable Extended Auto Warranties
In more recent times though, coverage of comparable levels has been offered by extended auto warranty companies. Some of these companies still refer to them as bumper-to-bumper warranties but a more accurate name for them is exclusionary coverage plans. A major problem with using the words “bumper-to-bumper” is that it makes it seem as if everything within the car is covered. Unfortunately that is not the case. Regardless of whether you have a factory warranty or an extended auto warranty with exclusionary coverage, there will always be some parts excluded.
Before going over some exclusions for warranties, it is important to understand that every company has different terms for their coverage. One company can offer bumper-to-bumper coverage for 3 years or 36,000 miles, but certain accessory parts are only covered for 24,000 miles, while another company requires a completely separate warranty to cover it.
The following are excluded from exclusionary and bumper-to-bumper warranties alike:
- Physical damage: collision, fire, theft, vandalism, riots, explosions
- Environmental damage: salt, sand, hail, windstorms, lightning
- Aftermarket parts: most won’t be covered, some could void a warranty
- Wear and tear: tires, brakes, upholstery
- Maintenance: oil changes, air filters
These are just some examples of the types of things that are commonly excluded from warranties. Make sure to read your contract in case there is something in it that is not listed above.
Complete “Bumper-to-Bumper” Coverage
When talking to anyone regarding auto warranties, beware of any promises made for full and total coverage of your vehicle. What you might think is too good to be true, actually is. Despite the fact that there is no true “bumper-to-bumper” warranty, there are plenty of good options out there that get close. With a comprehensive exclusionary coverage plan from an extended auto warranty company, you can protect your car in a similar fashion to when you first got it. That way, you can save a lot of money if covered parts were to break down. Just make sure to read your contract carefully and ask questions before signing anything!
For more tips and advice on buying a warranty, check out our Buying Guide.