Does Car Insurance Cover Mechanical Repairs?

Last Updated on November 27, 2023

Car insurance can help cover unexpected expenses related to your vehicle – including the cost of vandalism, theft, or a collision. What about mechanical repairs? Will an ordinary car insurance policy cover mechanical repairs? Today, we’re answering that question and explaining everything you need to know about car insurance policies covering mechanical repairs.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ordinary car insurance policies typically do not cover mechanical repair costs resulting from wear and tear.
  • Mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) is a specialized policy that covers repairs related to general wear and tear on a vehicle.
  • Standard car insurance includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage but excludes wear and tear repairs.
  • MBI is often only available for new vehicles and is not offered by all insurance companies​​.

Most Car Insurance Policies Will Not Cover Mechanical Repair Costs

It’s unlikely that your ordinary car insurance policy will cover mechanical repair costs. Typically, car insurance policies will not cover the costs of repairing your vehicle – assuming the damages were caused by wear and tear and not a collision.

While car insurance policies generally exclude coverage for regular maintenance and wear-and-tear damages, specific components like suspension systems, transmissions, axles, and pistons are also typically not covered, reinforcing the need for mechanical breakdown insurance for comprehensive protection.

That means your car insurance policy will not cover brake replacement, engine tune-ups, oil changes, body repairs, or other repairs.

However, you may be able to purchase additional coverage that will cover mechanical repairs. A growing number of car insurance companies offer mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI). These policies can cover repairs that your ordinary car insurance will not cover.

An ordinary car insurance policy includes liability insurance, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage. This policy will cover damages you inflict on other drivers and property (liability insurance), damages to your own vehicle (collision coverage), and damages that occur outside of an accident (comprehensive coverage). Comprehensive coverage will cover things like storm damage, vandalism, and theft. It will not, however, cover ordinary wear and tear on your vehicle.

Unless the repairs are related to an incident specifically covered in your car insurance policy, then repairs are unlikely to be covered. That’s why some people consider buying mechanical breakdown insurance.

How Does Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Work?

Mechanical breakdown insurance, or MBI, is a unique type of car insurance policy that will cover repairs related to general wear and tear on your vehicle. These policies are also known as car repair insurance. Not all insurance companies offer these policies. The companies that do offer it, such as GEICO and Progressive, have strict restrictions on what is and isn’t covered.

Mechanical breakdown insurance is optional in all states. You’re required to have liability insurance, but you’re not required to have mechanical breakdown insurance. You can add it as an optional rider to your insurance policy. You’ll pay slightly higher premiums but your car repairs will be covered.

There’s a huge catch with mechanical breakdown insurance: most insurance companies only offer MBI on newer vehicles. If your vehicle is 3 to 4 years old or newer, for example, then you may be eligible for mechanical breakdown insurance. Older vehicles, meanwhile, are not eligible for MBI because they have a higher chance of breaking down.

Is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Worth It?

Mechanical breakdown insurance will add a small cost to your premiums. Like with most insurance policies, mechanical breakdown insurance will be “worth it” if you make a claim. If your car breaks down and requires $4,000 to repair the transmission, for example, then MBI will absolutely be worth it.

However, MBI policies are only available on newer vehicles. A newer vehicle is much less likely to break down than an older vehicle. Unless you feel your vehicle is prone to breakdowns, it’s unlikely you’ll need to make an MBI claim.

Other things to consider when adding MBI to your car insurance plan include:

  • You’ll need to pay a deductible with MBI, just like you would with other types of car insurance; typically, MBI deductibles are low at a cost of around $250 to $400
  • If you need to make a claim, then MBI can easily be worth the added cost; repairs can cost thousands of dollars, which means MBI can save you hundreds of dollars
  • As your car ages, it will no longer be eligible for MBI; your insurance company will cancel your MBI just as your vehicle becomes more likely to need repairs
  • Some car dealerships will offer an extended warranty that works in an almost identical way to an MBI; this extended warranty covers any unexpected repair costs on the new vehicle you just purchased
  • One of the main differences between MBI and a dealer’s extended warranty is the way you pay for it: you pay MBI in monthly installments, just like an ordinary car insurance policy, but you pay for the dealer’s extended warranty in a lump sum on the day you purchase your vehicle

Final Word on Insurance and Mechanical Repairs

Unfortunately, ordinary car insurance policies will not cover mechanical repairs. If your vehicle needs costly repairs, and those repairs are unrelated to an accident or other incident that would be covered under your policy, then you’ll need to pay for those repairs out of pocket.

Some car insurance companies let you purchase optional coverage called mechanical breakdown insurance, or MBI. This optional coverage will cover the costs of repairs, including repairs related to general wear and tear. However, it’s typically only available on new vehicles.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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