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BMW extended warranty: cost, coverage and plans

It's costly coverage, but it could be worth it

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    As BMW drivers probably know, keeping your Ultimate Driving Machine on the road can be expensive. (RepairPal data indicates that BMWs cost 50% more than average to maintain and repair.) That’s why many BMW owners choose to protect their bank accounts with warranty coverage that goes beyond the four years or 50,000 miles of help you get from the factory.

    But is BMW’s extended warranty program worth the price? We’ll go over what it costs, what its plans cover and whether a third-party extended warranty could be a better option.

    Key insights

    • Considering that BMWs can require frequent and expensive repairs after their factory warranties expire, an extended warranty might make sense.
    • BMW’s extended warranties are called BMW Extended Service Contracts.
    • The price quotes we received averaged about $5,500, which is roughly double the average for an extended warranty from a major manufacturer.
    • A third-party warranty company might provide better rates and superior customer care, but it’s critical to shop around.

    BMW extended warranty coverage

    BMW calls its official extended warranties Extended Service Contracts. Like other extended warranties (also known as vehicle service contracts), BMW Extended Service Contracts only cover repairs needed due to manufacturing defects (i.e., parts that fail on their own). They don’t cover accident- or weather-related damage, damage caused by road debris, normal wear-and-tear parts (like brake pads and clutches) or any failures resulting from a lack of regular maintenance.

    You have three coverage options: Powertrain Plus, Gold and Platinum. Platinum plans are available for new, used and certified pre-owned BMWs, while Gold and Powertrain Plus plans are only available for new and used vehicles.

    You can purchase an Extended Service Contract at any point before your vehicle’s four-year/50,000-mile factory warranty expires. You can’t purchase one online, though, so you’ll have to contact a local dealer when you’re ready to buy. We strongly recommend negotiating and collecting quotes from multiple dealers when you do, since we’ve seen some dealers charge 40% more than others for the same warranty product.

    Your term options with a BMW Extended Service Contract are five, six or seven years and 75,000 or 100,000 miles. Keep in mind that these numbers start from your vehicle’s in-service date, which is the date it was purchased by the original owner. That means if you purchase a five-year/75,000-mile warranty, you’re only extending your four-year/50,000-mile factory warranty by one year/25,000 miles.

    » LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

    BMW extended warranty benefits

    Some automakers’ extended warranties come with roadside assistance, rental car assistance and even reimbursement for meals and lodging if your vehicle breaks down far from home.

    However, BMW includes just one perk with its Extended Service Contracts: 24-hour BMW Roadside Assistance, which includes jump-starts, fuel or fluid deliveries, tire changes and lockout services. In the case of a breakdown covered by warranty, you also get free towing to the nearest authorized BMW Center.

    Granted, 24/7 roadside assistance is nice to have, but know that if your BMW breaks down, you’ll almost certainly be left paying out of pocket for a rental car and even meals and lodging if it’s far from home.

    BMW’s terms and conditions do mention “Car Rental Discounts,” but the language is vague and not mentioned anywhere else in BMW’s marketing that we could find. You can ask your dealer about rental car discounts, but this mention might just be a relic of the past.

    BMW extended warranty plans

    The specifics of what your BMW Extended Service Contract will cover depend on which coverage tier you choose.

    Before we go into detail on what each plan covers, though, it’s worth explaining some terminology. BMW uses the terms “comprehensive” and “limited” in its advertising to refer to how thoroughly a plan covers the parts in a given component group. We’ll use BMW’s terminology in this article because we want to be as accurate as possible, but it might be easier for you to understand “comprehensive” as meaning that most parts are covered in the component group and “limited” as meaning that only some parts are covered.

    BMW Extended Service Contract coverage by plan

    With that said, here’s a breakdown of what each plan covers.

    Component groupPowertrain PlusGoldPlatinum
    Engine Limited Comprehensive Comprehensive
    Transmission Limited Comprehensive Comprehensive
    Final drive assembly Limited Comprehensive Comprehensive
    Transfer case (AWD only) Comprehensive Comprehensive Comprehensive
    Electrical Limited Limited Comprehensive
    Cooling system Limited Comprehensive Comprehensive
    Fuel system Limited Comprehensive Comprehensive
    Suspension system Comprehensive
    Induction system Comprehensive Comprehensive Comprehensive
    Steering Comprehensive Comprehensive
    Brakes and ABS Comprehensive Comprehensive
    Heat and air conditioning Comprehensive Comprehensive
    Infotainment system Comprehensive
    Interior and exterior Limited Limited

    Considering that BMWs are complex machines — and RepairPal data suggests they face both mechanical and electrical issues later on — Platinum coverage may be appealing, but let’s see how much it will set you back.

    BMW extended warranty cost

    Here are the lowest quotes we could find after calling BMW dealers in four states. Extended auto warranties cost around $2,500 on average, for context.

    2023 BMW 230i Gold 6 years or 75,000 miles $3,800
    2023 BMW 230i Platinum 7 years or 100,000 miles $5,000
    2020 BMW X1 Gold 6 years or 75,000 miles $4,500
    2020 BMW X1 Platinum 7 years or 100,000 miles $5,500
    2022 BMW M4 Gold 6 years or 75,000 miles $6,000
    2022 BMW M4 Platinum 7 years or 100,000 miles $7,500
    2019 BMW X7 Platinum 7 years or 100,000 miles $7,500

    Based on these quotes, it seems like BMW Extended Service Contracts are considerably more expensive than most extended warranties, especially when you consider that a seven-year/100,000-mile Platinum warranty really only protects your car for an extra three years past the BMW factory limited warranty period.

    That said, BMWs command some expensive repairs later in life (RepairPal estimates that BMW maintenance and repairs cost 50% more than average), so even an expensive warranty might make sense.

    But before we make a final judgment call, let’s look at the details of BMW’s contracts to make sure there’s nothing more that would tip the scales one way or the other.

    BMW extended warranty terms and conditions

    The terms and conditions for BMW’s Extended Service Contracts mostly look standard for a factory extended warranty, but we’ll go over some of the important details for those who don’t know the ins and outs of vehicle service contracts before we dive into the one thing we found that gave us pause:

    • Maintenance: To keep your warranty active, you must perform all of the recommended maintenance listed in your BMW owners manual. That means getting oil changes, alignments, spark plug replacements and other services done at specified intervals. Also, keep your receipts — BMW may ask for them before approving any warranty work.
    • Preexisting conditions: BMW won’t cover “any breakdown or failure that existed prior to your purchase of this Contract.” That means if you can’t prove a breakdown happened during your extended warranty period, it won’t be covered. That’s why we strongly recommend getting a vehicle inspection report from a dealer (roughly $200) at the time you purchase the warranty.
    • Exclusions: As is typical for an extended warranty, BMW won’t cover repairs needed as a result of negligence, abuse, misuse, corrosion, improper towing, commercial use or damage caused by aftermarket parts. Owners of BMW M vehicles should note that the warranty also won’t cover any “competitive event or racing.”
    • Transfers: If you sell your BMW, you can transfer what’s left of your warranty to the new owner within 30 days of the sale by paying a $50 fee.
    • Cancellation and refunds: You can cancel your BMW Extended Service Contract within 60 days of purchase for a full refund, provided you haven’t submitted a claim. If you have submitted a claim or it’s been 60 days or longer, you’ll receive a prorated refund based on your remaining warranty amount.

    All things considered, the only potential “gotcha” we see in the terms and conditions is this statement here: “You agree to maintain, service, repair, and recondition your Vehicle with new and genuine manufacturer’s original equipment replacement parts as recommended in the Vehicle owner’s manual.”

    Basically, BMW is saying you must perform all maintenance and replace all wear-and-tear items using BMW parts only. Not only can this be extremely expensive — it’s also legally unenforceable.

    The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prohibits manufacturers from voiding customer warranties simply because they performed maintenance or repairs with aftermarket parts. They can only legally deny your claim if they can prove that the aftermarket part or labor caused the other component to fail, and the burden of proof is on the manufacturer.

    In other words, BMW can’t legally deny your claim for a faulty infotainment screen simply because you have aftermarket brake pads. But, based on the language in the contract, it sounds like the company may still try. So, if you plan to use anything other than BMW-sourced parts and labor, you may face an uphill battle getting your claims approved, even if you’re in the right.

    Is a BMW extended warranty worth it?

    As a rule of thumb, you’re more likely to find an extended warranty worth the cost if any of the following are true:

    1. Your car has a bad reputation for reliability.
    2. You can budget for a warranty, but you don’t think you can afford a surprise repair bill.
    3. The cost of the warranty is less than the cost of expected repairs.
    4. You don’t mind paying for coverage just in case — even if you never submit a claim.

    J.D. Power ranked BMW right about average in its 2023 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, with 184 problems per 100 vehicles. Consumer Reports actually ranked BMW as the No. 3 most reliable automotive brand in 2022, right behind Toyota and Lexus.

    That said, data from RepairPal and anecdotal evidence from consumer reviews paint a different picture of BMW ownership. RepairPal shows that BMWs cost 50% more than average to maintain and repair every year, and it rates BMW’s overall reliability at 2.5 out of 5, placing it 30th out of 32 carmakers.

    Since 2021, the vast majority of BMW reviews published on ConsumerAffairs have been 1-star reviews, with owners reporting major breakdowns within 10,000 miles, long delays in repairs and difficulty getting warranty claims approved. Two reviewers even reported that their BMW SUVs burned down.

    “I have a 2020 BMW M4 Convertible. My vehicle has 8,000 miles on it and the brakes are warped and shuttering,” wrote Michael, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from South Carolina.

    “My horrible BMW dealership won't cover it because there is a white paper out on it. They said since I don't beat the car up, this will happen to the brakes. They said the M4 is meant to be raced and beat up … so not an everyday driver. I pushed thing up to BMW, and after promising to check on helping out and get back to me in 5 days. I gave them 3 weeks and still no call back, so I called them and found out they will not cover either.”

    I don't trust BMW quality and certainly not the value of the warranty.”
    Albert, Massachusetts

    Another common theme among reviews on our site was owners experiencing failures that cost them more than $1,000 well within the warranty period. Despite allegedly keeping up with maintenance, they reportedly had their claims denied by BMW.

    “I recently bought a 2022 BMW X5. It currently has 9,000 miles and I have owned it less than a year,” wrote Rene, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Colorado.

    “My car started showing a ‘Passenger Restraint Problem’ notification and indicated I should take it to the dealer. The Dealership has told me that water damage leaked through the console and damaged the sensor that will activate the airbags, and that this would not be covered under warranty and it resulted from water damage and the repair cost is $2,500. I have taken impeccable care of this car. Other than a minor spill that would have been wiped up immediately, there has been no water damage to the vehicle. I live in Colorado, an incredibly dry climate.”

    Albert, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Massachusetts, told us: “Bought my BMW 2020 430i for checkup and found that a strut was bent. There was no way that driving the car over typical bumps could have cause that strut failure. The car was 2 year old and was driven only 15,000 [miles]. The dealership … and BMW refused to cover it under warranty despite that fact that I hardly drove the car and never drove over a significant bump. The cost was $1,879 out of my pocket. I don't trust BMW quality and certainly not the value of the warranty.”

    While we acknowledge that happy customers are generally less likely to leave positive reviews, BMW has attracted a higher percentage of overwhelmingly negative reviews than other automakers since 2021.

    Besides the potential for combustion, most concerning to us are the multiple reports of BMW allegedly denying claims for reasons that leave customers baffled. From Rene’s “water damage” to Michael’s brakes failing because the “M4 is meant to be raced” (which, ironically, would void a BMW extended warranty), multiple consumer reviews seem to indicate that a BMW-sourced warranty may not provide the financial protection you might expect.

    » MORE: Pros and cons of extended auto warranties

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      BMW extended warranty alternatives

      BMW Extended Service Contracts are pretty expensive, and the reports that we’ve seen regarding how BMW honors warranty claims — even within the factory warranty period — have been mixed.

      To see if some third-party warranty companies could do better, we compared the quotes we received from BMW to quotes from olive and Endurance. All quotes are for a seven-year/100,000-mile Platinum plan or an equivalent amount of added coverage.

      2023 230i $5,000 $6,820 $3,282
      2021 X1 $5,500 $6,820 $3,282
      2022 M4 $7,500 Not offered $5,905
      2019 X7 $7,500 Not offered $3,282

      These quotes taught us two interesting things:

      1. Like BMW itself, third-party warranty companies tend to price out BMW warranties by class and not by vehicle (e.g., the 230i and X1 are in the same class/price bracket).
      2. Endurance offered surprisingly affordable plans for these BMWs, especially the X7. Endurance’s warranty for our sample X7 was priced at less than half of what BMW quoted us.

      In the end, getting multiple quotes for extended warranties is almost always a good idea, and we wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up choosing a third party to protect your BMW.

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      ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
      1. RepairPal, “BMW Repair & Maintenance Costs.” Accessed March 2, 2023.
      2. J.D. Power, “Vehicle Dependability Improves Despite Continued Problems with Technology, J.D. Power Finds.” Accessed March 2, 2023.
      3. Consumer Reports, “Who Makes the Most Reliable New Cars?” Accessed March 2, 2023.
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