Does car insurance cover mechanical problems?

Car insurance doesn't typically cover mechanical issues unless they're related to a covered peril. Covered perils include car accidents, hitting an animal, or an object like a tree branch falling onto your vehicle. Car insurance will cover this type of damage if you carry collision and comprehensive coverage. However, mechanical breakdown insurance is a separate type of policy you can get to cover mechanical failures on your vehicle.

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Which mechanical problems does car insurance cover?

Your comprehensive and collision auto insurance covers some mechanical problems if they're related to a covered incident. Here are a few examples of common mechanical problems and whether insurance may cover them:

  • Car accident: If your vehicle was in an accident that caused damage to the engine, transmission, or other mechanical parts that keep the car running, car insurance could provide coverage. If another driver were at fault, their liability coverage would pay for the repairs. If you were at fault and have collision coverage, you'd file a car insurance claim through your auto insurance. Otherwise, you'd need to pay for the repairs out of pocket.
  • Collision with a deer: If you hit a deer and damaged mechanical parts in the front of your car, your comprehensive coverage may pay to repair the damage.
  • Car breaks down: Whether you're on a road trip or headed to work, car insurance doesn't typically cover breakdowns not related to covered accidents. However, your car warranty may provide coverage for certain parts for a set timeframe, or you can purchase more comprehensive mechanical breakdown insurance.
  • Engine trouble after a crash: If your vehicle's engine malfunctions after an accident, and your mechanic can prove that the accident caused the engine trouble, your car insurance may cover the damage.

Does "full coverage" insurance cover engine damage?

There's no official consensus on the definition of the unofficial term "full coverage." Full coverage often describes having the minimum liability coverage your state requires, plus comprehensive and collision. However, no matter how much auto insurance coverage you carry, a damaged or blown engine won't be covered if the issue isn't related to a covered incident. That's what mechanical breakdown insurance is for.

Does car insurance cover wear and tear?

Insurance doesn't usually cover wear and tear. You will need to replace certain parts of your vehicle regularly due to wear and tear: windshield wipers, filters, tires, brake pads, belts, and other parts. These aren't covered by auto insurance, mechanical breakdown insurance, or, in most cases, your manufacturer's warranty. Typical wear and tear costs are typically paid for out of pocket.

Can my vehicle warranty help?

Most vehicle warranties last 3-6 years, and some have different coverage periods for different parts; always confirm with your warranty if your repair will be covered by your warranty or not. It's also important to note that if you damage parts, fail to maintain your vehicle, modify your vehicle, or the parts are damaged by nature, your warranty will likely not cover the damage. If you modify your vehicle, the entire warranty is usually voided. Learn more about car warranties vs. car insurance.

Purchasing a vehicle protection plan or mechanical breakdown insurance may be a more affordable and comprehensive alternative to paying for an extended warranty or relying on the manufacturer's warranty your car came with.

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Please note: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of insurance. Read our editorial standards for Answers content. This information is not an insurance policy, does not refer to any specific insurance policy, and does not modify any provisions, limitations, or exclusions expressly stated in any insurance policy. Descriptions of all coverages and other features are necessarily brief; in order to fully understand the coverages and other features of a specific insurance policy, we encourage you to read the applicable policy and/or speak to an insurance representative. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. Whether an accident or other loss is covered is subject to the terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in the claim. References to average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, costs of coverages/repair, etc., are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. We are not responsible for the content of any third-party sites linked from this page.