Does car insurance cover repairs?
Last updated: August 2022
Car insurance may help cover the cost of repairs if the issue is the result of a collision or another covered incident, such as theft or fire. But, repairs for routine wear and tear or mechanical breakdowns are typically not covered by an auto insurance policy. From accidents to engine failure, learn more about how and when auto insurance coverage can help.
If my car breaks down, will auto insurance cover repairs?
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners says that maintenance, such as an oil change, is typically not included in car insurance coverage. Whether it's routine maintenance, a mechanical failure or a blown engine, car insurance will most likely not cover the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle. Hopefully, your car keeps running smoothly, but plan to pay out of pocket for routine maintenance or for a mechanic if your car breaks down.
What if my car is damaged in an accident?
Collision coverage can help to pay for repairs if your car is damaged in an accident with another vehicle or an object, such as a fence or tree. This coverage also typically provides help if you are in a single-car accident — if you roll over, for example. It may also include coverage for damage that results from hitting a pothole, says the Insurance Information Institute. If your car sustains body damage or has mechanical issues due to the collision, this coverage will likely help to pay for the related repairs.
This coverage is generally optional, unless you are leasing the car or it is financed — in which case the dealership or lender may require you to have collision coverage. You can choose your deductible, which is the amount you'll pay toward a claim before your coverage kicks in. If you do not have collision coverage, though, you may be responsible for the full costs of repairs or replacing your vehicle. If your car is totaled, comprehensive coverage usually provides up to the actual cash value, which is what the car was worth at the time of the accident.
Will insurance help for non-accident repairs?
If your car is damaged outside of a collision, comprehensive insurance coverage may help with the costs of repairs. Comprehensive coverage typically provides protection for damage due to perils such as:
- Natural disasters
- Falling objects
- Animal damage
So, if you discover a tree fell onto your hood or you collide with an animal, comprehensive coverage may help pay for the costs of bodywork and mechanical repairs due to the incident. Like collision coverage, comprehensive coverage is optional. Also, keep in mind that you'll be responsible for the deductible, and that there will be coverage limits.
Will insurance cover a rental if my car breaks down?
If your car breaks down, car insurance will not cover the costs of a rental car. However, rental reimbursement coverage helps to pay for the cost of a rental car or alternate transportation after a covered claim. For example, if you need a car while yours is being fixed after an accident, this coverage helps with the costs of renting a car or paying for other transportation, such as bus or train fare. Sometimes called rental car coverage, this is an optional coverage that typically has limits.
What other options do I have to help protect my car?
If you want additional protection from expensive repairs, you may want to consider a car warranty. These warranties, which often come with new cars, are designed to help pay for certain mechanical breakdowns, according to Edmunds. A warranty will typically cover certain parts or other defects for a set amount of time or until the car reaches a certain mileage.
Another option to consider is roadside assistance. These types of programs frequently offer towing services after a breakdown, jump starts for dead batteries, flat-tire changes and other services. Roadside services are typically available through memberships, as part of your auto insurance coverage or even on an as-needed basis.
While auto insurance does not generally cover mechanical repairs and routine maintenance, it does provide protection for a wide range of scenarios — from hail damage to repairs after a car accident. Review your policy to see which coverages you have, and talk to your insurance provider if you have any questions.