Typically, car insurance—including gap insurance—doesn’t cover engine failure unless it results directly from an accident or another incident covered by your insurance. However, there may be some options for coverage that can protect your finances even when an accident does not occur. For example, there are specific forms of coverage, like mechanical breakdown insurance, that cater specifically to situations not typically covered. Also, if you’ve recently bought a car or have purchased an extended warranty it’s more likely that a mechanical breakdown will be covered, though not by your auto insurance. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team gives you all the information you need to understand when and how the cost of an engine failure might be covered.

How does insurance deal with engine failure?

Typically, car insurance does not cover engine failure, even if you have full coverage. The exception is if the mechanical problem or blown engine can be directly linked to a covered claim.

An auto insurance policy with full coverage includes two coverage options that will usually pay to repair your engine if it is damaged due to a covered claim. These coverage types would not cover mechanical problems or a blown engine because of normal wear and tear.

Here are the coverage types and what they cover:

  • Collision: Pays to repair or replace your car after being involved in an accident or collision of some kind.
  • Comprehensive: Pays for claims that do not fall under collision coverage, like theft, vandalism, fire, broken windows or windshields, weather events and if you hit an animal.

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Will gap insurance cover engine failure?

No, gap insurance does not cover engine failure. Gap insurance is an optional coverage that can be included in an auto insurance policy. If you have gap insurance, it will pay the difference between the book value of your totaled car and the amount you still owe on it. Gap insurance is something drivers who finance or lease their vehicles should consider if they are worried about being “upside down” on their loan or lease if the car is totaled in an accident.

This coverage is very specific and only activates if your car is totaled in a covered claim and you owe more than what the car is worth. It does not provide coverage for engine failure, normal wear and tear or other mechanical problems with your vehicle.

Is there any coverage that does cover engine failure?

In certain instances, you can get coverage to protect your finances if your car has an engine failure or another mechanical problem requiring repair. Most often, things like engine failure will be covered by a warranty, if you have purchased one. However, you also may want to consider purchasing mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI), if your car insurance company offers it.


When you purchase a car, whether it is brand new or relatively new with low miles, you will likely be offered a car warranty. There are two main types of warranty coverage you may be offered:

  • Bumper-to-bumper warranty: Though the name suggests coverage for the entire car, the bumpers themselves are not covered, only the parts between them. This coverage pays to repair most car parts or systems, including those that cause mechanical breakdown or engine failure. If the warranty does not exclude a part or system, it is included in a bumper-to-bumper warranty.
  • Powertrain warranty: A powertrain warranty is specific to the drive axles, engine and transmission, which are the parts that make the car move. Unlike the bumper-to-bumper warranty, the powertrain warranty lists only what it covers, not what it excludes.

Both warranty options can be extended beyond the manufacturer expiration for an additional cost, which is usually based on mileage or age, whichever happens first. For example, a three- year/30,000 mile warranty will expire when the car is three years old or it reaches 30,000 miles driven, whichever comes first.

Mechanical breakdown insurance

Mechanical breakdown insurance is an optional coverage offered by some car insurance companies. MBI is an alternative to an extended warranty and may have broader coverage than the extended warranty provides.

With mechanical breakdown insurance, engine failure is covered. Normal maintenance and wear and tear items, like brakes, are not covered under MBI. Like a warranty, mechanical breakdown insurance only provides coverage for a specific period of time and is often based on how many miles are on your vehicle.

Not all auto insurance companies offer this coverage, so if you are interested, you may have to shop around. The average cost of car insurance, including MBI, will vary by carrier; the best way to determine how much this coverage will cost for you is to contact insurance companies that offer it and request a quote.

Frequently asked questions

    • Since car insurance premiums are determined by a number of specific factors, all of which are weighted differently by different companies, the cheapest car insurance company will be different for everyone. The best way to determine the cheapest car insurance for you is to identify several companies you are interested in and request quotes to compare.
    • If your engine blows up, you may be able to file a claim with your car insurance company. The reason for the engine failure and the types of coverage included in your policy will determine whether this type of claim will be approved. If you are involved in an accident that causes the blown engine, you could have coverage under your own policy or another party’s policy if they are responsible for the accident. Unless you have mechanical breakdown insurance on your policy, you will likely not have coverage if your engine blows up due to mechanical failure.
    • There are a few signs your car will give you if there is an engine problem or mechanical failure. If you notice a large amount of exhaust smoke, metal shavings in the oil, a lack of power or smoke coming from under the hood, it may be a sign of engine trouble. To prevent further damage, you should not drive the car and have it looked at by a mechanic if you notice any of these signs.
    • If your engine fails and you lose power, it may be smart to shift into neutral, put on your emergency flashers and find a safe place to pull over. It can get gradually harder to steer and you may lose brake power boost, so you’ll want to proceed with caution if your engine starts to act up while you are driving. Once you are safely out of the driving lanes, call for help. If you have roadside assistance as part of your car insurance policy, you can typically call the emergency road service number to get help.