You’re driving along, happy go-lucky, maybe even whistling a little tune. Then you hear a bang. Huh, you think, contemporary music producers are really pulling inspiration from a variety of different sounds these days. Then you realize your car is slowing down in the middle of the road, and no matter how hard you step on the gas, it just doesn’t speed up. As you’re sitting in your car, other drivers honking, you wonder – will this be covered by my car insurance?
Unfortunately for this imaginary you, probably not. Most types of car insurance – including the types states require like liability insurance, personal injury protection, and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance – don’t cover regular repairs. On top of that, not every car insurance company offers a product that would cover random mechanical failures.
Car insurance is not designed to cover the regular wear and tear that happens to a car during normal use. It’s meant to cover big accidents and medical bills. Generally, it’s expected that part of owning a car means being able to pay for things like gas and regular repairs.
However, there are some types of car insurance that may help you cover repairs that result from activities that aren’t full car accidents, per se. Collision and comprehensive insurance are popular car insurance products that protect you from two additional scenarios:
Collision protects you if your car collides with something other than another moving vehicle. Collision insurance will cover damages to your car and to the property you hit. For example, if you lost control of your car while fiddling with the radio and hit a traffic pole, collision insurance would cover the accident.
Comprehensive insurance covers some damage not relating to a collision, such as damage from falling objects, fire, some natural disasters, and vandalism. It also covers theft, glass damage, and damage from hitting an animal. For example, let’s say a cougar falls from a cliff and onto your car. Comprehensive has to cover it because a) you hit an animal and b) there’s damage from a falling object.
Some car insurance companies offer a type of insurance called Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (the specific name may vary from company to company, but the details stay pretty much the same). Mechanical Breakdown Insurance extends and complements your car’s warranty, and can help you manage the costs of random out-of-pocket expenses, like whatever’s happening to imaginary you back in the first paragraph.
You may also be surprised on just how much is covered by your car’s warranty. My dad recently found out that his Honda Civic Hybrid’s electric battery was still covered under warranty – nine years after he bought the car. You can also purchase an extended warranty if you intend on keeping the car until the end of its life. If you’re buying a new car, talk to the dealership about your warranty options.
Image: Robert Couse-Baker