Mechanical Breakdown Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

While mechanical breakdown insurance isn’t mandatory, it can help you pay for things like engine or electrical failure.
Written by Liz Jenson
Edited by Sarah Gray
Mechanical breakdown insurance, or MBI, is an optional type of
car insurance
that pays for trips to the mechanic when you break down, need replacement parts, or suffer other types of mechanical failure in your vehicle.

What is mechanical breakdown insurance?

Most types of car insurance
don't cover regular repairs
, so adding mechanical breakdown coverage to your auto insurance policy can be helpful if you need to pay for repairs and replacement parts not caused by an accident. MBI covers major repairs to your vehicle, such as:
  • Issues with your engine
  • An air conditioning hose puncture
  • Transmission failure
  • A blown head gasket
  • An electrical system breakdown
However, MBI won’t cover wear and tear from regular driving, routine maintenance, tune-ups, or any issues or damages caused by errors on your part. Maintenance will almost always need to be paid for out-of-pocket, as most car insurance policies do not include coverage for these types of services. It also won’t typically cover towing, which falls under the category of
roadside assistance
Keep in mind that MBI coverage won’t always be applicable for repairs, either. If your vehicle is damaged by an external force (such as a flood, fire, vandalism, or natural disaster), your
comprehensive coverage
will pay for the resulting damages. If your vehicle is damaged in a collision, on the other hand, damages are paid under
collision coverage

How does mechanical breakdown insurance work?

Making a claim under your MBI will be similar to
filing a claim
for a car accident. You’ll need to contact your insurer, provide documented evidence of the damages, and meet with an adjuster. 
For an MBI claim, you’ll also need to make sure that you get authorization from your insurer before repairs begin. Many insurers require this for MBI, and failure to do so could leave you with unexpected out-of-pocket costs following your trip to the mechanic.

Does MBI have a deductible?

A typical
for a mechanical breakdown insurance policy is $250, but some smaller insurance companies and credit unions offer MBI with no deductible at all. Some insurers may require you to pay a percentage of the cost of repairs instead, commonly referred to as a copay. Talk to your insurance company to learn more about their MBI insurance policy options.

How is MBI different from an extended warranty?

MBI pays for repairs following a mechanical breakdown. This is similar to an extended warranty, but the amount of coverage you get will differ depending on the level of protection you choose for your warranty. Here are some examples of things that might be covered under your MBI vs your extended warranty vs a full coverage insurance policy:
Vehicle issues
Extended warranty
Full coverage policy
Engine failure
Not covered
Transmission failure
Not covered
Blown head gasket
Covered under some warranties
Not covered
Brake master cylinder
Covered under some warranties
Not covered
Brake pads
Not covered
Not covered
Not covered
Oil change
Not covered
Not covered
Not covered
Tire replacement
Not covered
Not covered
Not covered (unless the damage is caused by a collision or something unexpected, like vandalism)
Damages from a collision
Not covered
Not covered
Flood damage
Not covered
Not covered
Extended warranties also last for a limited time, typically between one and 15 years, whereas you can keep MBI on your auto insurance policy for as long as you see fit.

How much does MBI cost, and which companies offer it?

Drivers can expect to pay an average of $30 to $100 per year for MBI coverage. With common repairs costing between $500 and $600, this insurance coverage is well worth it in the event of mechanical failure. 
The actual price of this add-on will depend on your insurance company of choice. Most major insurers, including
, and
, and some smaller providers, like
Mercury Auto
all offer competitive rates on MBI coverage.

When is mechanical breakdown insurance right for you?

While many drivers love MBI for the peace of mind it brings, this type of coverage won’t be worth it for everyone. Here are a couple of factors to take into account before purchasing MBI.
The value of your car
Before adding MBI to your insurance policy,
check the value of your car
to make sure it’s worth it to invest more money into your vehicle. If your vehicle isn’t very valuable, the savings on repair costs may be minimal.
What impacts the value of your car?
If you drive a used car and don’t expect your vehicle to be operating for many more years, adding more insurance coverage might be more expensive than repairing your vehicle out-of-pocket.

Your extended warranty

Depending on the type of extended car warranty you choose for your new car, you may or may not want to add MBI. There are three basic types of extended car warranties:
  • Basic: Includes minimal coverage, often just engine and transmission problems rarely experienced by new cars.
  • Mid-level: Falling between basic and premium coverage, mid-level car warranties will usually cover the major systems in the car, like the transmission, electrical system, engine, drive axles, electrical, steering, and brakes.
  • Premium: This type of warranty will cover everything, from the air conditioning to the wiper blades to your brake pads.
If you choose a premium warranty, many of the things mechanical breakdown insurance covers are superfluous. With a basic or mid-level warranty, however, MBI can bridge any gaps in your warranty coverage.
Are you overpaying for your car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees
icon4.717k Ratings
5M+Drivers Joined
7M+Cars Garaged


Is GEICO mechanical breakdown insurance worth it?

With an average cost of $15 per month, GEICO mechanical breakdown insurance may be worth it for drivers with older vehicles or a car with a tendency to need repairs.

Can you bundle car repair insurance with homeowners?

Whether or not you have car repair insurance on your policy, many insurers will allow you to
bundle your car insurance
with homeowners, renters, or other types of insurance coverage under the same company.

Will MBI cover a car accident?

No, MBI will not cover a car accident or any other repairs associated with a collision. After an accident, you’ll need to file an insurance claim via your collision insurance to cover repairs.

Will a manufacturer’s warranty cover a car accident?

A manufacturer’s warranty won’t cover damages to your vehicle that result from an accident. In fact, if your vehicle is totaled, your manufacturer warranty may be completely void.

Meet our experts

Liz Jenson
Liz Jenson is an insurance writer who specializes in general automotive and insurance topics. Liz’s mission is to produce informative and useful content to help car owners make smart choices when buying cars and car insurance. Since joining Jerry in 2021, Liz has written nearly 4,000 long- and short-form articles on topics including state-specific insurance recommendations, common car insurance questions, and deep dives into vehicle model details.
Before they came to Jerry, Liz was a full-time student at Indiana University, Bloomington working on a double major in English and French.
Sarah Gray
badge icon
Licensed Insurance Agent — Expert Insurance Writer and Editor
Sarah Gray is an insurance writer with nearly a decade of experience in publishing and writing. Sarah specializes in writing articles that educate car owners and buyers on the full scope of car ownership—from shopping for and buying a new car to scrapping one that’s breathed its last and everything in between. Sarah has authored over 1,500 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from first-time buyer programs to how to get a salvage title for a totaled car.
Prior to joining Jerry, Sarah was a full-time professor of English literature and composition with multiple academic writing publications.

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings