Your standard car insurance policy typically won't cover your maintenance needs unless the damage was caused by a collision. However, you may be able to purchase additional coverage that will cover the wear and tear on your vehicle. We've all gotten calls from companies claiming to offer "extended warranties." These types of coverages can benefit some, but they may not be right for you. Before you buy more auto insurance coverage, you should understand what you have and what you're shopping for.
Car insurance protects you when you’ve gotten into an accident or when your car is damaged by a sudden, unexpected event like a break-in or a hailstorm, but one thing it doesn’t cover is repairs for normal wear and tear on your vehicle. In other words, it won’t cover the cost of new brakes or an oil change unless it was caused by a certain peril covered by your car insurance policy.
What Does a Standard Auto Insurance Policy Cover?
In every state besides New Hampshire, minimum car insurance is required by the state. Typically, this includes liability insurance to cover the other party's injuries if you're at fault, and in some cases, uninsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection (PIP) and/or medical payments coverage. If you want extra protection or if your vehicle is financed, you may also need collision insurance and comprehensive coverage. These cover your vehicle and protect you from expensive repairs outlined below.
Collision coverage: This policy covers damage to your car from an at-fault accident with another car or object. Additionally, rollover single-car accidents are covered by the collision portion of your car insurance policy.
Comprehensive coverage: This policy covers a variety of different situations that your vehicle might be damaged in, besides a collision. These could include theft, vandalism, fire, natural disasters like windstorms or hail, and also if you hit an animal while driving. Essentially, it protects your car in situations you can't control.
Is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Right for You?
It's possible to get a car insurance policy that helps cover the cost of some repairs called mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI). Please note not every insurance company offers this type of coverage, and you may face extra requirements before you go to the repair shop. Like any other policy, a mechanical breakdown policy will lay out exactly what's included. Are tire rotation and other routine maintenance items included, or is it just meant to cover you if your engine or transmission fails unexpectedly? In many cases, even if they offer more comprehensive coverage, they may have a clause for breakdown caused by neglect. In this type of instance, keeping maintenance records on hand is essential.
Mechanical breakdown insurance is not a part of your standard collision or liability coverage and is an additional cost. Your vehicle either must be new or under a certain mileage.
From insurance companies that offer it, mechanical breakdown insurance can be added as an endorsement to your auto policy. This policy helps cover the costs of repairs for things such as new brake pads, internal components, or engine parts. It also may pay to fix the transmission or replace the alternator. Your original warranty would still be your first source if the repairs are covered. Depending on the policy, it may or may not cover normal wear and tear.
Mechanical breakdown coverage doesn't cover routine maintenance or damage from a car accident. You're also usually restricted to certain approved licensed repair shops chosen by your insurance provider.
Like a traditional insurance policy, with a MBI coverage, you’ll have to pay a monthly premium and there is a deductible you will have to pay before coverage kicks in.
What Does an Extended Warranty Program Offer?
An extended warranty policy is a service offered after your original factory warranty or manufacturer's warranty has expired. You must purchase this before your first warranty is up. With this policy, unlike MBI, you don't need to file a claim but you will most likely have to pay the price up-front rather than making payments over time.
If you have a car, you've probably gotten calls about "extended warranty" programs. Always do your research to find out if the company is legitimate. Also, compare it to the mechanical breakdown coverage offered by your regular car insurance company.
Mechanical warranty is limited to issues only caused by design or manufacture defects. Anything related to normal wear and tear or an accident isn't covered. There are two types of mechanical warranties, one offered by your car manufacturer (like Toyota or Ford) and warranties offered by third-party vendors. The cost of an extended warranty can vary based on the make, model, and age of your car as well as the mileage.
What Type of Auto Mechanical Coverage Should You Choose?
Your standard car insurance policy won't cover your everyday, ordinary repairs. If you're looking for some financial assistance or additional coverage in repairing your vehicle's wear and tear, you should weigh out the options to see if MBI or mechanical warranty is the right choice for you.
If you do need to go to an auto body shop for repairs, make sure to watch out for any potential scams, especially if you live in one of the 10 worst states for auto-related fraud.
If you’re in the market for new car insurance, take a look at which insurance companies other drivers have rated as the best auto insurance. If you’re looking to get car insurance quotes, use our free tool below.
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