Does my auto insurance cover breakdowns?

While there are types of auto insurance that do cover breakdowns, your typical coverage required by state laws usually does not, as basic auto insurance usually only covers damage related to some kind of accident. Therefore, to buy auto insurance that covers breakdowns, you need additional coverage. Similarly, insurance companies also do not generally cover mechanical breakdowns unless the company offers specific mechanical breakdown insurance.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Feb 1, 2022

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  • There are types of auto insurance that cover breakdowns, but a basic policy usually does not
  • Comprehensive and collision insurance protect your vehicle against certain types of breakdowns associated with a covered claim
  • Unless your insurance company sells specific mechanical breakdown insurance, companies typically do not cover general mechanical failures

There are many different types of auto insurance coverages. So does auto insurance cover breakdowns? It depends on the details of your policy, but basic insurance policies typically do not cover mechanical breakdowns.

Below, learn about the types of auto insurance that cover breakdowns, like collision and comprehensive coverage or mechanical breakdown insurance.

After learning about affordable auto insurance that covers breakdowns, enter your ZIP code into our free rate comparison tool above to receive quotes from the best companies in your region.

Does auto insurance cover breakdowns?

It’s possible to buy an auto insurance policy that covers some mechanical breakdowns. But it ultimately depends on variables like what company you use, how the damage occurred, and what levels of coverage you invest in.

Typically, you need to invest in additional coverage beyond what most states legally require.

For example, your state minimum liability coverage does not ever pay for damage to your own vehicle, even if it breaks down.

Instead, it pays for another driver’s costs resulting from an accident you cause.

But if your vehicle broke down because another driver caused the accident, you’d file a third-party claim through their liability insurance to cover the costs rather than rely on your own coverage.

In some scenarios, comprehensive or collision coverage may help pay for breakdowns.

Investing in both is often referred to as full-coverage auto insurance. So when exactly does full coverage insurance cover engine damage?

Regardless of fault, collision auto insurance pays for damage to your vehicle caused by an accident with another car or a still object, like a tree, telephone pole, or building. A deductible applies.

So if your car breaks down after colliding with a tree or another vehicle, your collision insurance helps pay for the damages.

Comprehensive auto insurance, on the other hand, protects your car from damage while parked. This includes acts of nature, but also vandalism, fires, flooding, and auto theft. A deductible also applies.

So if your vehicle breaks down because of vandalism or something falls on it and destroys the engine, then your comprehensive coverage helps pay for those costs.

Prices for these optional coverages vary depending on where you live, as well as other variables like your age, driving record, and more.

So, in the table below, compare comprehensive and collision auto insurance rates that cover breakdowns by the state.

Average Annual Collision and Comprehensive Auto Insurance Rates by State
StateAverage Annual Collision Insurance RatesAverage Annual Comprehensive Insurance Rates
District of Columbia$468.67$233.24
New Hampshire$307.42$110.77
New Jersey$381.86$131.35
New Mexico$276.98$172.57
New York$385.02$171.12
North Carolina$293.59$136.08
North Dakota$244.09$231.04
Rhode Island$411.51$132.19
South Carolina$265.07$180.94
South Dakota$208.58$258.11
West Virginia$329.67$204.28
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Nationally, the average cost of comprehensive auto insurance is about $12.33 per month or $148.04 annually.

On the other hand, collision auto insurance that covers breakdowns cost $26.88 per month or $322.61 annually on average.

Remember, the repair costs must exceed your deductible amount to file a comprehensive or collision claim.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), in 2020, the average claim severity for comprehensive insurance cost $1,995, and for collision coverage, it averaged $3,588.

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What is mechanical breakdown insurance?

Some companies offer something called mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) as a policy add-on. However, it’s possible companies may use alternative names.

Currently, MBI coverage is not very standardized, so the details of what it specifically covers depend on what company you use.

But usually, these policies are cheaper than extending a warranty on your vehicle through the dealership but cover similar scenarios, like transmission or engine issues.

For example, GEICO offers MBI coverage with a $250 deductible that covers all mechanical parts of the vehicle.

However, usually, only newer vehicles with a certain number of miles qualify for the coverage. Plus, most MBI policies stipulate that general maintenance and wear and tear do not qualify.

So, unfortunately, even if you invest in full coverage auto insurance and purchase add-ons like mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI), there may be some instances where a breakdown is still not covered by your insurance policy.

But if it fits your budget, it does protect your vehicle in far more situations than if you went without these additional coverage options.

The best mechanical breakdown insurance comes from places like Allstate, GEICO, and AAA.

To find an auto insurance company that covers breakdowns, compare quotes online and ask representatives from the companies you’re interested in if mechanical breakdown insurance is available.

When does auto insurance not cover breakdowns?

Unfortunately, there are some breakdown scenarios that auto insurance companies simply do not cover.

For example, when it comes to general maintenance and wear and tear, does insurance cover engine failure? Unfortunately, damage caused by daily use is not usually covered by insurance policies.

Similarly, annual maintenance, like oil changes, tire rotations, and suspension alignments, are generally not covered by any type of insurance.

Does auto insurance cover mechanic negligence? Usually, it only covers mechanic negligence if the poor repairs cause an accident.

If you lease or finance your vehicle, you may have guaranteed asset protection or GAP insurance. But does GAP insurance cover engine failure?

No, but it would help pay for the difference between your car’s value and the remainder of your loan if the vehicle is stolen or totaled in an accident.

The Bottom Line: Does auto insurance cover breakdowns?

Some auto insurance coverages do pay for breakdowns in specific scenarios, like collision and comprehensive insurance. But that only applies if the damage is due to a covered incident.

For people who own newer vehicles, mechanical breakdown insurance may be a solid option to provide additional coverage for your car. However, older cars and cars with many miles may not qualify for the coverage.

Plus, auto insurance policies typically do not cover any type of general maintenance or wear and tear caused by daily vehicle use.

Now that you know how to buy auto insurance that covers breakdowns, remember to enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool below to receive rates from the best companies near you.

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