FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

When was the last time you thought about your vehicle’s battery?  If you are like most people, you do not worry about your car’s battery unless the engine won’t start.  The question begs: does auto insurance pay for the cost of charging or replacing a battery? In some cases, auto insurers will pay for a battery change.  However, in the majority of situations, auto insurance will not pay for a battery replacement.

Why Auto Insurers Rarely Pay for Battery-Related Services

car insurance battery changeBatteries typically fall under the umbrella of routine maintenance.  In most cases, routine maintenance is not covered through auto insurance.  Vehicle batteries tend to be fairly affordable to replace. Therefore, paying an auto insurance deductible to have your battery replaced usually does not make financial sense.  Car batteries have the potential to cost upwards of $300 or more. However, there are some situations in which drivers are stranded in rural areas, far away from businesses that sell auto batteries, when it makes sense to ask for assistance.  If your auto insurer offers a battery charging/replacement service and that service is applicable to your unique scenario, it might make sense to ask for assistance at that point in time.

Replacing a Battery Damaged in an Accident

If you are involved in an auto accident in which your battery is damaged, you might be able to successfully file a claim with your auto insurance provider.  The insurance company’s representative will examine your vehicle during the claims process. Once the extent of your vehicle’s damage has been gauged, the cost of battery replacement and additional repair/replacement work will be calculated.  It is quite possible the vehicle battery will be a component of damages based on the nuances of the accident in question. If this is the case, the auto insurance provider will have to pay to replace the damaged battery. However, you will have to pay the deductible in order for the damaged battery to be replaced.  It is quite possible this deductible will be $500 or more. If your deductible is particularly high, it might be better to pay out-of-pocket for a new battery rather than file a claim with your auto insurance company that will inevitably hike your monthly premium.

Battery Problems Qualify as “Wear and Tear”

Battery wear and the need for subsequent replacement is a natural component of the anticipated wear and tear of auto ownership.  Therefore, battery-related services tend to be outside of the scope of the typical auto insurance policy. For the most part, replacing a battery is typically considered to be a component of the routine maintenance of a vehicle.  If your vehicle’s battery dies during the normal course of driving as opposed to an accident that ruins the battery, the replacement cost will likely be up to you, the owner, as opposed to the auto insurer. Though it is awfully tempting to file a minor claim for a battery-related event, doing so has the potential to backfire.  Each claim you file against your auto insurance policy is likely to increase your risk level and hike your monthly auto insurance premiums that much more.

What About Roadside Assistance Programs?

If your auto insurer has a roadside assistance program as a part of your policy or if you have a roadside assistance program outside of your auto insurance, you might have coverage for a compromised battery.  If you are enrolled in a roadside assistance program, reach out to the provider for assistance with your dead battery as soon as you realize it is the problem. Even if the roadside assistance program does not cover the cost of an entirely new battery, it will likely cover the cost of jump-starting your vehicle or towing your vehicle to a local auto shop for a new battery.  However, the cost of the new battery will likely end up coming out of your pocket rather than being covered by your auto insurance policy.

Consider the Cost of a Roadside Assistance Program vs. That of a New Battery

Roadside assistance programs are not priced the same.  Furthermore, each roadside assistance program has unique coverage to boot.  Purchase roadside assistance through your insurance provider and you will rest easy knowing you will have assistance in case your car battery dies.  Roadside assistance provided through an auto insurance company will likely tack on $30 or so to your annual auto insurance coverage cost. Opt for a roadside assistance program from a third-party provider and you might end up paying upwards of $300 or more per year for this emergency service.  However, no roadside assistance program will cover the entire cost of battery replacement. Most of these services will jump-start your vehicle if your battery is out of juice yet you will still have to pay for the cost of a new battery on your own.