Does car insurance pay for maintenance?

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Things to know...
  • Car insurance policies are very specific; you will not receive coverage for anything that is not in your policy, including repairs
  • Your typical car insurance policy — liability coverage, personal injury protection (PIP), comprehensive and collision coverage — doesn’t cover maintenance or regular repairs
  • To get coverage for regular maintenance and repairs, you’ll have to add that specific coverage (auto repair maintenance insurance) to your policy at an extra cost
  • Alternatively, you can buy an extended warranty for your new — or used — car from the auto manufacturer or a third party

A typical car insurance policy covers you and your vehicle in the event of an accident. Coverage options such as auto liability insurance, personal injury protection (PIP), as well as collision and comprehensive coverage will cover the cost of any bodily injuries or damages to your vehicle up to a certain limit. If your transmission goes out or engine breaks down, your regular auto insurance policy can’t help you with that or any other major car repairs.

However, you can add an auto repair insurance coverage (also known as a mechanical breakdown coverage) to your policy to cover regular maintenance and car repair costs. This type of coverage can save you from having to bear the costs of major repairs such as a blown transmission or engine by yourself. Several major providers offer auto repair insurance coverage. Make sure you aren’t overpaying for coverage with our free comparison tool above! 

If you wish to add this coverage to your policy, go online and compare quotes from different providers. Choose the coverage that best fits your auto insurance needs. Carefully read through your policy documents to find out what type of repairs are covered. Better still, you can call the provider and ask the representative all the questions you might have regarding the policy.

How does auto repair insurance coverage work?

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Car repair insurance pays for major mechanical issues such as a blown engine or transmission after your auto manufacturer’s warranty expires. When you have this type of coverage, you will be able to go to an authorized get your car fixed at no cost. You will first notify your insurance provider upon noticing that your car needs a major repair and file the claim.

The auto insurance company will then give you a list of authorized repair shops where you can take your vehicle. You are, however, required to meet a deductible, which is usually around $100-$250, so you can’t file a claim for minor repairs. The insurance provider will cover any other costs above the deductible.

Are there any limitations to the policy?

First of all, this type of coverage isn’t offered by many providers. When available, the policy comes with certain restrictions. For instance, you must purchase coverage when your car is still quite new. Many auto insurance companies offering this product will decline coverage if the vehicle is more than 15 months old or has a mileage higher than 15,000.

On top of that, your rates will increase as the car ages, and you will be required to drop coverage after 100,000 miles (7 years). By then, the car will be older thus a higher likelihood of breaking down. Prices and restrictions vary from one provider to the next. Therefore, if you take your time to compare quotes from different providers, you might just get yourself better coverage at a lower price.

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Is auto repair insurance worth it?

Buying a new car is a big investment, and you want to protect it at all costs. An auto repair insurance coverage on top of your regular car insurance policy provides a decent level of protection. This coverage may be a worthwhile investment for you if your knowledge in cars, car repair, maintenance, and parts, is limited and don’t like haggling over associated costs.

However, an auto repair insurance policy is not a good investment for some drivers. The coverage simply doesn’t make financial sense to them, and they have some good reasons to support their argument.

For instance, vehicles of today tend to come with a very high level of reliability in their first years of use. Unless the car has been neglected, cases of engine or transmission failure are quite rare in the first seven or so years.

Additionally, you will not benefit from the extra coverage the auto manufacturer’s warranty expires. For the first few years, you will be paying premiums — since coverage must commence when the vehicle is relatively new and your warranty is still valid — and not getting anything in return, which is a waste of money.

You will also be are required to drop coverage when the car gets older, and that’s when you need the auto repair insurance the most.

If you think that auto insurance repair coverage is right for you, go for it. Just be sure to compare quotes from different providers before you settle for a particular policy. Comparison shopping helps you obtain the right type of coverage at a reasonable price. You are only limited by the number of quotes you are willing to get!

What are my other options?

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If you find auto repair insurance to be too restrictive, there are a couple of options you can explore. An extended warranty or service contract is a good alternative to auto repair insurance. Extended warranties are offered by both car manufacturers and third party providers.

An extended warranty also referred to as a service contract or an extended service agreement, is basically an insurance policy — and a rather expensive one for that matter.

The average cost of an extended warranty is $1,200. According to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), an extended warranty is an auto insurance appendage that’s not worth the price. With an extended warranty, you will continue to get repairs for your car even after your auto manufacturer’s warranty runs out.

Expenses such as damages to the lamps/headlights, car interior, running costs (brake pads, windshield wipers, tires, etc.) are commonly excluded from an extended warranty. Auto repair insurance and extended warranties cover the same things, maintenance, and repairs. These products are not included in a regular auto insurance policy; they are purchased separately. Make sure you compare prices with our free comparison tool below! 

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