Does Car Insurance Cover Repairs?

Does Car Insurance Cover Repairs?

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Picture it: You're in an accident, and your vehicle suffers damages, whether mechanical or cosmetic. If you have full coverage auto insurance, it can save you from major financial strain.

Today's vehicles are complex machines using high technology components, and often, repairs run into multi-thousand dollar amounts. After a collision, you might need not only a mechanic to fix any broken mechanical systems like the engine or suspension but also a bodywork specialist to smooth out dents, replace body panels, and repaint everything. 

Though a deductible applies when making a claim, an auto insurance policy is a valuable tool that protects you from unexpected costs.

But what if one morning your car won't start? Maybe it's just a bad battery. Or perhaps it's something more significant like engine damage or electrical problems? Will car insurance cover non-accident repairs? You haven't been in an accident, and nobody's at fault, per se, so calling your insurance company doesn't make sense.

If your vehicle's original warranty has expired, this is where car repair insurance, also known as mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI), saves the day by covering unforeseen repairs. 

Do you need MBI, or does traditional full coverage car insurance already offer enough coverage? Let's look at the details of the different types of car insurance and what they cover and don't cover.

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Does full coverage car insurance cover repairs?

Full coverage car insurance reimburses you for mechanical repairs and medical expenses in the event of a traffic collision or other circumstances beyond your control.

Liability insurance, however, only covers property damages and medical expenses of any other parties involved if you happen to be at fault in the case of an accident.

Typically, this means when you're in an accident, you open a claim with your auto insurance company, which then pays a mechanic to perform all needed repairs. If vehicle damage is severe, your car is considered totaled, and your car insurance company may cover your remaining payments or replace it with a new one. 

If you're injured in an accident and face mounting medical costs, traditional full coverage car insurance is there for you, paying for treatment so you can recover. 

A deductible applies to each area of coverage provided by an insurance carrier, such as $250, $500, or $1,000. Once you make a claim and pay your deductible, the auto insurance company covers the remaining amount, up to a predetermined monetary limit. 

Buying a used car has the potential to save you thousands of dollars. But where can you turn to find one in excellent shape, without mechanical issues? Shift's certified mechanics perform extensive 150-point inspections on every car and have complete vehicle history reports, so you know your used car feels as good as new.

Does car insurance cover mechanical problems?

While full coverage auto insurance offers reassuring benefits in an accident, typical mechanical problems aren't covered. 

If you're driving down the highway and your engine sputters and shuts off, full coverage car insurance won't help pay to fix it. Or if you have to make a sudden stop and your brakes malfunction, full coverage car insurance doesn't cover the cost of installing new calipers.

Full coverage auto insurance also doesn't cover normal wear and tear areas like tires, brake pads, oil changes, or spark plugs. 

While your vehicle is still under the original manufacturer's warranty (also known as bumper to bumper coverage), many mechanical fixes are covered. But once it expires, you're responsible for any necessary mechanical fixes, which can become expensive.

What is car repair insurance?

Car repair insurance (also referred to as mechanical breakdown insurance or MBI) covers the cost of routine mechanical issues and can be purchased from major insurers. Though the manufacturer's initial bumper-to-bumper warranty pays for many mechanical repairs, MBI keeps you protected once it expires. 

Unlike full coverage car insurance, state law does not require you to have MBI.  

Vehicles have many intricate parts working in concert, and occasionally issues arise. They may be due to lack of proper maintenance or driving in harsh conditions, or they may appear out of nowhere. And once problems occur, expenses can reach levels that put a severe strain on your bank account.

That's why car repair insurance can be so valuable when your vehicle runs into trouble. 

Like most warranties and car insurance policies, car repair insurance leaves the owner responsible for wear and tear parts like tires, fluids, filters, and spark plugs. But if your electrical system fails or your engine needs a new cylinder head, car repair insurance saves you from expensive repairs. 

Car repair insurance covers the engine, fuel system, steering, brakes, transmission, air conditioning, exhaust, and more. 

While car repair insurance provides valuable protection against unexpected mechanical issues, it does have exclusions. Not all insurance companies offer car repair insurance. With those that do, your vehicle's age and mileage may exclude it from coverage. 

Buying a used car from Shift, however, offers several advantages. Whether looking for a supercharged sports car or a full-size truck, you'll save money and won't have to wait on dealer inventory. But to ensure your used car purchase runs strong year after year, it makes sense to purchase an extended warranty. That's why Shift offers vehicle protection programs that guard your vehicle against mechanical issues and even help you when you're stranded. Shift even reimburses you for a rental car when your vehicle's in the shop.

2016 Lexus ES 350 (from $24,950)

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Car repair insurance versus extended warranties

Car repair insurance and extended warranties both offer coverage for mechanical repairs when your vehicle breaks down. 

Once the original manufacturer's warranty runs out, you can purchase an extended warranty to continue coverage. Like car repair insurance, extended warranties cover specific repairs for many areas. Also, similar to car repair insurance, extended warranties don't pay for wear and tear items like tires, fluids, filters, and spark plugs. 

Extended warranties are available from sellers and third parties and vary in cost and what they cover. The type of vehicle you own also comes into play in determining price.

Car repair insurance and extended warranties are similar, but different plans cover specific areas and vary in price. It pays to perform research and find out which one is best for you.

2015 Scion tC (from $11,350)

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Repairs covered by car insurance in summary

Though full coverage car insurance provides a financial safety net if you're in an accident, it doesn't pay for routine auto repair. 

With the high technology used on current vehicles, mechanical breakdowns and subsequent repairs can sometimes cost thousands upon thousands of dollars, putting a serious dent in your bank account. 

That's where car repair insurance comes in, guarding you against those times when your car needs a visit to the repair shop, whether to fix malfunctioning brakes or to install a new induction system. 

When you're on the hunt for a reliable used car, finding a reputable seller is a significant part of the equation. Not only do you want a great price, but also a vehicle that's good for year after year of trouble-free driving. Shift offers fair, no-haggle prices driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data. And with Shift's best in industry service contracts, your car will stay running strong, mile after mile.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team