Does auto insurance cover engine failure?

Even full coverage doesn’t typically cover engine failure, but mechanical breakdown insurance can help protect your engine.

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Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Written by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach Sara Routhier

Cynthia Lanctot is an insurance professional with ten years of industry experience. Cynthia is licensed in several states, and holds an associate in claims law, as well as a bachelor’s degree in English. Cynthia’s experience includes the New England and Northeast states. She currently works as a liability claims professional and an occasional online contributor.

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Reviewed by Cynthia Lanctot
Licensed Agent Cynthia Lanctot

UPDATED: May 11, 2022

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A Concise Overview

  • Engine failure must be directly linked to a covered cause in your policy for full coverage insurance to cover it
  • Most standard policies do not include mechanical issues, including engine failure
  • An extended warranty or mechanical breakdown insurance can help protect your engine from damage

The term “full coverage” gives people the impression that everything in their car is covered, but that’s unfortunately not the case. From routine car maintenance to custom parts, there’s a lot that full coverage car insurance doesn’t cover.

One such uncovered event is a blown engine. Normally, full coverage insurance does not cover engine failure because standard policies don’t include mechanical breakdowns. If you have the standard suite of products with full coverage insurance, you’ll be stuck paying for engine repairs from your pocket.

However, options are available for purchase that can help pay for your engine repairs — the most common are warranties and mechanical breakdown insurance. Both have their advantages and weaknesses, but either can give you peace of mind for your engine.

Unfortunately, not all companies sell mechanical breakdown insurance — you’ll need to shop around to find it. Read more to learn how mechanical breakdown insurance can protect your engine, then compare quotes to find the best rates possible.

Does car insurance cover engine failure?

Typically speaking, your car insurance policy will not cover engine failure. Although it might seem like something full coverage should take care of, you can understand why standard policies don’t include engine failure when examining the coverage.

  • Liability. This coverage helps pay for damages you cause to other people and their property. Most states require a minimum amount of liability insurance before you can drive.
  • Collision. If you’re involved in an accident, collision coverage will help pay for repairs to your car. Collision applies no matter who caused the accident.
  • Comprehensive. Your car can be damaged by more than an accident. Comprehensive insurance covers damage from animal contact, weather, vandalism, and theft.
  • Personal injury protection. Medical bills can get expensive quickly after an accident. If you have personal injury protection, your insurance will help pay for the medical expenses of you and your passengers.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist. Although most states have laws requiring insurance, not all drivers follow them. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you from drivers with inadequate coverage, with about half of all U.S. states requiring it..

You probably noticed that none of these policies cover mechanical failure, and the policy won’t cover engine failure even if you have full coverage.

Although standard insurance policies don’t cover engine failure, that doesn’t mean you’re without options. The two main tools people use to protect their engines are mechanical breakdown insurance and warranties.

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What is mechanical breakdown insurance?

Mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) is an add-on that some companies offer. MBI typically covers more than an extended warranty, but it can be challenging to find a company that provides it.

MBI covers engine failure and other mechanical problems you might run into, including issues with:

  • Steering
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust
  • Drivetrain
  • Cooling and heating systems
  • Transmission
  • Internal computer and GPS

Remember that MBI doesn’t cover routine maintenance or parts you need to replace over time. It won’t cover replacing your brake pads, but it does help fix brake system failures.

Another consideration to keep in mind is that MBI doesn’t last forever. Once you sign up for MBI, it’s usually only renewable for a few years. Usually, your car needs to be fairly new to be eligible. Every company is different, but most MBI offerings require that your vehicle be under 15 months old and have less than 15,000 miles.

It can be challenging to find MBI, so you’ll need to shop around if you think this is the right way to protect your engine.

What companies sell mechanical breakdown insurance?

Since there is little demand for it, few companies offer MBI. For example, GEICO insurance covers engine failure with MBI, but State Farm does not. If you’re interested in this coverage, here are some companies that offer it:

  • Allstate
  • GEICO
  • Mercury
  • AAA
  • American Family

If you already have an insurance policy, you can check with your current company to see if you can add it to your policy.

How much does mechanical breakdown insurance cost?

It is challenging to determine the price you’ll pay for insurance without a direct quote because companies use numerous factors to set rates. The cost of insurance products also varies from company to company.

Generally speaking, you can expect to pay about $100 a year for MBI, or about $8 a month. However, the type of car you want to insure will play a big part in the cost of your coverage. For example, if your car is expensive to repair, you’ll probably pay much more.

An important thing to keep in mind about MBI is that it has deductibles, just like any other type of auto insurance. MBI is notorious for high deductibles, so you’ll still have to pay some money out of your pocket for repairs.

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Can you protect your engine with a warranty?

When you buy a car, you usually have the option to purchase a warranty. Warranties offer coverage for the systems in your vehicle and will replace parts if they get broken. Warranties are active for set periods, usually a few years or a specific number of miles.

Although there are many types of warranties you find at a dealership, you’ll usually see the following:

  • Powertrain warranty. This warranty protects a select few parts of your car. Typically, it includes the engine, drive axles, and transmission. Parts do not have coverage if the warranty does not explicitly state that.
  • Bumper-to-bumper warranty. This type of warranty covers all the parts of your car that might lead to engine failure, though it doesn’t protect your bumpers. As long as the warranty doesn’t exclude the part, it’s covered.

These extended warranties offer better coverage than a manufacturer’s warranty, but they come at a higher price.

Does full coverage insurance cover engine failure after an accident?

There are a few qualifying occasions when your insurance will cover a blown engine.

Of the insurance types discussed, collision and comprehensive might cover engine damage. The source of the damage determines whether your blown engine has coverage.

Collision helps repair your engine if it gets damaged in an accident. It doesn’t matter who caused the accident or if you are the sole driver involved because you hit a tree — as long as you can link your engine damage to an accident, collision will cover it.

Comprehensive covers damage caused by sources outside of accidents. This policy will help pay for engine repairs if you hit an animal, experience massive flood damage, or are a victim of theft. Again, the damage has to be directly related to a covered source of damage to qualify.

Since the damage to your engine has to be related to a covered cause in your policy, some drivers find it tempting to falsify a claim. It is insurance fraud to report that your engine failure was from a covered cause when a mechanical breakdown was responsible.

Insurance fraud involving fake accidents will usually cause companies to deny you coverage, and you can also get fined and face prison time. If you’re worried about engine failure, it’s best to avoid insurance fraud and consider MBI or an extended warranty.

Protect Yourself From Engine Failure

Having an engine problem is never fun, but it doesn’t have to cost you your entire savings account to fix. Your regular insurance policy won’t cover an engine failure, but you can purchase a warranty or mechanical breakdown insurance to protect yourself.

If you’re interested in mechanical breakdown insurance, you’ll need to shop around to find a company that sells it. To find the best price possible on all the insurance products you want, compare quotes with multiple companies.

References:

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