Does Car Insurance Cover Repairs?

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Your basic car insurance won’t cover repairs for normal wear and tear, but it should cover repairs due to accidents if you have coverage. There are optional policies you can purchase that will cover some regular tune-ups—more on this later.
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What repairs does car insurance cover?

Usually, car insurance covers repairs due to accidents and collisions. It does not normally cover wear and tear repairs. To be certain, check your specific policies.
Here’s an explanation of what different car insurance policies will cover when it comes to repairs.
Liability coverage is the basic required car insurance. It will cover repairs to other people’s vehicles and property, as well as any medical bills, as a result of your at-fault accident. However, it does not cover damage to your own vehicle or property.
Comprehensive coverage and collision coverage are optional, but you will need these policies to cover repair costs for your own vehicle and property.
In all situations, the repair process starts with your deductible (out-of-pocket costs) and continues up to your policy limit. Every state has a minimum amount of required coverage—check yours here.
Key Takeaway Liability coverage is required in every state except New Hampshire, while collision and comprehensive policies are optional.

Collision coverage and repairs

Collision coverage will pay for damage related to a collision, no matter who was at fault. It will cover repairs to your own vehicle as well as the other party’s vehicle. For example, it could cover body repairs to your vehicle if you got rear-ended—or if you rear-ended someone else.

Comprehensive coverage and repairs

Comprehensive coverage will cover repairs to your vehicle due to non-collision incidents. For example, it could cover damage to your vehicle from a hailstorm, vandalism, or theft.

What does car insurance NOT cover?

Your basic liability, comprehensive, and collision policies will not cover any of your vehicle’s normal maintenance needs.
Oil changes, scratches, tire replacement or rotations, brake pad replacements, and tune-ups are all considered normal maintenance. Activities related to regular wear and tear are your responsibility and will not be covered by car insurance.
There is an exception where your car insurance may cover the cost of a maintenance activity. This is only true if the damage was caused by something specifically in your policy, such as vandalism or inclement weather.
Key Takeaway Car insurance does not cover repairs needed due to normal wear and tear.

What is mechanical breakdown insurance?

Mechanical breakdown insurance, or MBI, is an optional add-on policy that covers some repairs. Sometimes it is called “car repair insurance,” and it may cover the following repair costs:
  • Brakes
  • Transmission
  • Engine
  • Drivetrain
  • Power system
  • Steering
  • Fuel system
  • Exhaust
  • Air conditioning
However, not all companies offer MBI.
Older cars, high-mileage vehicles, and high-end cars are not usually eligible. Most companies will drop your MBI coverage once the vehicle ages out or passes a mileage threshold.
You should be aware that many companies will reject normal wear and tear claims for MBI. It’s mostly intended to cover repairs to damaged parts and electrical systems as a result of a freak breakdown.
See if MBI is available as a rider to your current policy. Adding it will bump up the price of your premium. If you’re interested, try using Jerry to look for cheap car insurance that includes MBI.
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MBI vs. extended warranty

If you purchased an extended warranty, then you may already be covered for some repairs that MBI would also cover.
An extended warranty is usually included when you buy a new car off the lot. Sometimes a warranty is transferable if you are buying a used car from a dealership or private seller. There are also third-party warranties.
Here are a few key differences between MBI and an extended warranty.
Warranties can be less expensive than MBI, although they do require an upfront bulk payment. MBI could be as low as $30 per year, depending on your state and the company.
Warranties offer less scope for coverage. For example, a warranty won’t cover regular wear and tear, such as brake pad replacement or oil changes due to normal use.
Get quotes for both MBI and the extended warranty to see if the benefits are worth the price.
Key Takeaway Extended warranties usually require an up-front bulk payment, but MBI does not.

MBI has its limits

MBI does not include regular maintenance so it will not cover things like rebalancing wheels or refilling coolant, for instance.
Another limitation is that, with MBI, some repairs may be covered but you will still need to pay a deductible. But for a serious fix like a blown transmission, MBI could still save you hundreds of dollars even after paying the deductible.
MBI also requires that you take your vehicle to an approved repair shop to get the cost covered.

Finding the right policy for you

Car insurance is personal. You need to choose a coverage level you feel comfortable with, that provides the protection you need at a price you can afford.
Paying for repairs is a normal part of being a car owner.
The good news is that you can prepare for the unexpected by working with a broker like Jerry to find the right insurance package for you.
It’s as simple as telling Jerry your desired coverage level. Then, the app will compare policies from top-rated companies to find you the cheapest possible rate. It only takes 45 seconds and the average user saves $879 per year. Plus, Jerry handles canceling and re-registering if you decide to switch providers.
“Jerry made everything accessible, finding the best insurance for me at a low rate.” - Satisfied Jerry User
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