Car insurance pays for some things, like damage to your car from an accident, and considers other things your responsibility, like paying for gas. How can you know whether or not something like an oil change would be covered by your car insurance?
Routine maintenance, including oil changes, tire rotation, and other basic services, is not covered by car insurance. A good rule of thumb is that car insurance covers damage that’s “sudden and accidental,” like if an icy tree branch crashes through your windshield — but your regular oil change isn’t sudden or an accident, it’s just a normal part of owning a car.
Does car insurance cover oil changes?
No, car insurance does not cover oil changes. Changing your oil is considered part of routine vehicle maintenance, none of which is covered under your auto insurance. That means that tire rotation, replacing burnt out lights, replacing the battery, and other types of regular care are also not covered.
Even though insurance doesn’t pay for the cost, it is vital to get your oil changed regularly. Going too long without changing the oil in your car can cause significant problems in your engine, like overheating and blown gaskets.
Insurance doesn’t cover repairing this type of damage, either, which means not changing your oil can leave you responsible for hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of repairs to your car.
What is usually covered by car insurance?
The kind of policy that’s referred to as full coverage car insurance is typically made up of three parts:
Liability: Liability insurance covers damage you cause to other people and their property, up to the limits of your policy
Collision: Collision coverage pays for damage to your own vehicle that is caused when you collide with something else, including other cars, fence posts, light poles, etc.
Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage pays to repair or replace your car due to non-collision damage, including damage from fire, theft, bad weather, vandalism, falling rocks, etc.
There are other types of coverage that can be added to your policy for an additional fee, such as roadside assistance, gap coverage, and rental car reimbursement. However, none of these types of coverage will pay for routine maintenance.
Do car warranties cover an oil change?
If insurance doesn’t pay for an oil change, what about a car warranty? Almost all new cars come with a manufacturer warranty, which is a guarantee from the car’s maker that certain issues will be covered within the first months or years of owning your car.
Unfortunately, oil changes aren’t covered by a car warranty, either. Car warranties cover certain mechanical repairs and repairs or replacement parts due to a mechanical defect, neither of which cover the cost of an oil change.
When it comes to regular upkeep like an oil change, you are responsible for paying that cost out-of-pocket.
Does car insurance cover an oil leak?
Typically, an oil change is not covered by your car insurance. An oil leak would also be considered part of the routine maintenance of owning a vehicle.
However, if the oil leak was caused by an accident or covered peril you would likely have the cost of repairing the leak covered as part of the overall claim, like if your oil pan was damaged in a collision.
What should I do if my car is leaking oil?
A serious leak can significantly damage your vehicle, so if you notice an oil leak you should immediately stop driving your car. You should reach out to a mechanic to have the oil leak repaired as soon as possible.
What other options do I have to protect my car?
After buying car insurance, the most important thing you can do to protect your car is to keep up with routine maintenance, including:
Change the oil according to the schedule in your car’s manual
Keep your tires properly inflated
Keep your filters clean
Inspect your shocks and struts
Regularly top up/change out fluids (coolant, transmission fluid, etc.)
Generally keep your car in good working order
It’s important to have car insurance in place, but deciding how much insurance you need may not be so simple. Your state’s minimum required liability levels are likely too low to fully protect you in an accident, and not having comprehensive and collision coverage could leave you responsible for paying to replace your car out-of-pocket if it is damaged or stolen. Make sure to have enough insurance that you are fully protected in an accident.
Beyond those basic steps, you can protect your car by buying anti-theft devices, car repair insurance, or service contracts for your car, but these additions may or may not be helpful to you. Do your research carefully before purchasing these products for your car.