Does car insurance cover breakdowns?

Car insurance covers breakdowns due to accidents and non-collision incidents. Car insurance does not cover repairs for mechanical breakdowns like a dead battery or seized engine. If your vehicle is still under warranty, or you qualify to purchase mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI), that car insurance does cover breakdowns. Your vehicle must have less than 15,000 miles on it to be eligible for MBI, and the coverage only applies for seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.

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D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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The Highlights

  • Breakdowns that result from an accident or non-collision incident will likely be covered by collision, comprehensive, and/or liability insurance
  • Mechanical breakdowns are not covered by standard insurance coverage
  • If your vehicle qualifies, you can purchase mechanical breakdown insurance

You can compare car insurance to find the best coverage for vehicle breakdowns, but you probably have some questions.

What repairs does car insurance cover? Does car insurance cover breakdowns? If so, in what context? Where can you get affordable car insurance for breakdowns? What is the best car insurance company for breakdowns? What are the average rates for car insurance for breakdowns?

Read this article to find out everything you need to know about car insurance and breakdowns.

Want to buy car insurance for breakdowns? Enter your ZIP code in our tool to get your first free quote today.

Will your car insurance cover repairs if your car breaks down, and if so, when?

If your vehicle breaks down due to a collision or other-than-collision damage (for example, extreme weather, fire, vandalism, etc.), your insurance coverage may help pay for the cost of repairs.

However, if you want coverage for each of these possibilities, you’ll need to purchase full coverage car insurance that includes liability, collision, and comprehensive.

Take a look at this table to find out the average rates for each coverage type.

Average U.S. Car Insurance Rates: Collision, Comprehensive, and Liability
Coverage TypeAnnual Car Insurance RateMonthly Car Insurance Rate
Liability Coverage$539$45
Comprehensive Coverage$148$12
Collision Coverage$323$27
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It’s important to note that standard car insurance coverage probably won’t cover a rental car’s cost while your vehicle is being repaired. However, you can speak to your insurance company about purchasing a rental reimbursement add-on to help with this cost.

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When does car insurance not cover breakdowns?

Does auto insurance cover breakdowns that result from something other than an accident or non-collision incident? The short answer is probably not. If your vehicle breaks down due to a dead battery, a seized engine, or another mechanical issue, your car insurance won’t apply.

As noted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Consumer’s Guide to Auto Insurance, vehicle maintenance is your responsibility, and is not typically covered by car insurance. As a result, any mechanical failures are not covered by insurance either.

Gap insurance won’t cover breakdowns that result from a mechanical breakdown or poor maintenance.

If your vehicle is still under warranty, the warranty may help cover the cost of a breakdown. Under certain circumstances, you can also purchase mechanical breakdown coverage from your car insurance company (this typically costs $100-$150 per year).

Your vehicle will need to have less than 15,000 miles on it to qualify for mechanical breakdown insurance. Additionally, the coverage typically only applies for up to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The best way to protect your vehicle is to keep maintenance up-to-date and drive defensively.

As we noted before, maintenance is your responsibility, so it is not covered by insurance, but you’ll find that the out-of-pocket cost of paying for regular maintenance will save you money in the long run.

The Bottom Line: Does car insurance cover breakdowns?

Does insurance cover breakdowns? The short answer is it depends. In general, full coverage car insurance will cover breakdowns that result from collisions, weather damage, etc. However, mechanical breakdowns are not covered by standard insurance.

Your vehicle warranty may cover the cost of mechanical breakdown repairs, and you may be able to purchase mechanical breakdown insurance if your vehicle qualifies.

If you’re ready to compare quotes for car insurance for breakdowns, use your ZIP code in the tool on this page to get your first free quote right now.

Frequently Asked Questions: Does car insurance cover breakdowns?

If you’re still wondering about how car insurance applies to vehicle breakdowns and repairs, read these frequently asked questions for more information.

#1 – Will your car insurance cover repairs if your vehicle is damaged in an accident?

If your vehicle is damaged in an accident, collision coverage will help cover the cost of repairs.

#2 – Will your car insurance cover non-accident vehicle repairs?

For damages that occur due to something other than an accident (i.e., fire, theft, natural disasters, falling objects, vandalism, animal damage, etc.), comprehensive coverage will help cover the cost of repairs.

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