If you are involved in a car accident, you may find your auto insurance will help to pay for the cost of any repairs, assuming the issue results from the collision or a covered incident like fire or theft.
Any repairs your vehicle requires as a result of mechanical breakdown or wear and tear are not normally covered by car insurance policies.
You should always familiarize yourself with the coverage details of your car insurance policy. This brief guide will outline some of the different scenarios for car repairs and show you whether or not you are likely to find the costs of these repairs covered by your auto insurance.
Will Car Insurance Cover Repairs If My Car Breaks Down?
Maintenance like oil changes is not normally included in auto insurance coverage.
Regardless of whether it’s routine maintenance like an oil change, mechanical failure, or even a blown engine, you will not get compensation for any maintenance through your car insurance policy.
Don’t expect your auto insurance coverage to extend to repairs of replacement when something breaks down on your vehicle. Plan to pay out-of-pocket for all maintenance-related issues.
What Should I Do If My Car Is Damaged in An Auto Accident?
If your vehicle is damaged in an accident with another vehicle, or with an object like a wall, fence, or tree, the collision coverage on your auto insurance can help to meet the cost of repairs.
Usually, collision coverage also applies when you are involved in a single-vehicle accident – rolling the car, for instance.
Sometimes, you may find collision coverage also helps if you damage your car after hitting a pothole in the road. When this impact results in your car sustaining body damage or mechanical issues, collision coverage often helps pay for related repairs.
Collision coverage is normally optional if you own your vehicle. When you lease or finance a car, by contrast, the lender or dealership often insists that you take out collision coverage.
With collision coverage, you pick your deductible. This is the amount you must pay toward a claim before the coverage kicks in.
If you are involved in a car accident and you do not have collision coverage, you could be responsible for meeting the full cost of repairs or replacement.
When the accident is so bad that your car is totaled, comprehensive coverage will normally provide you with the cash value of the car at the time of the wreck.
Will Insurance Meet the Cost of Non-Accident Repairs?
What happens if your car sustains damage outside of a collision?
In this case, you may find that comprehensive insurance coverage helps meet the costs of repairs. This coverage typically extends to damage caused by the following:
- Natural disasters
- Animal damage
- Falling objects
While returning to your car to find a tree has smashed down onto the hood or colliding with an animal on a country road is highly inconvenient, comprehensive coverage means you shouldn’t end up badly out of pocket. All you need to concern yourself with is paying the deductible, as well as accepting any policy limits in place regarding coverage.
Will Insurance Cover the Cost of a Rental If My Vehicle Breaks Down?
When your vehicle breaks down, car insurance will not stretch to the costs of a rental. That said, you can take optional rental reimbursement coverage to help defray the costs of rental cars or other forms of transportation if your car is out of commission after a covered insurance claim. If, for example, your car needs repairing after an accident, this type of coverage will help you pay for renting a car or using buses and trains. This optional coverage will normally have strict limits in place.
Other Options for Protecting My Car
Anyone requiring extra protection safeguarding against costly repairs should consider a car warranty. A warranty normally comes with a new vehicle and is designed to help meet the costs of some mechanical breakdowns. Most warranties will cover designated parts and defects for a set period, or until the car hits a certain mileage.
Roadside assistance is another option offering you peace of mind on the road, even if you know nothing about car maintenance. Most of these services will offer the following:
- Flat tire changes
- Jump starts for flat batteries
- Towing after a breakdown
Most roadside services are available on a membership basis, while some are included as part of your car insurance coverage. Some are available as-needed.
So, auto insurance does not normally cover routine maintenance or mechanical repairs, but it does provide protection for myriad accident-related scenarios. Review your policy closely, seeking guidance if necessary so you have a full understanding of what your coverage involves.