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When it comes to your car, engine failure and other mechanical issues can cause life to come to a screeching halt. It can also be an extremely expensive issue, one that may be difficult to cover if you’re tight on cash or are looking at significant repairs. If you’re looking for a way to cut down on the costs of expensive mechanical repairs, you may be wondering if your car insurance covers engine failure.
So, does full coverage car insurance cover engine failure? What about gap insurance? Does it cover engine failure? The answer is usually no. Car insurance is generally used to cover the cost of repairs and medical bills that occur during a covered accident or incident. However, there may be some options for coverage that can protect you and your vehicle, even when an accident does not occur.
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 may include four common insurance coverage options that will pay to repair your car if you are involved in an accident or your car is damaged due to a covered claim. None of the coverage types listed below include 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.
- Comprehensive: Pays for claims that do not fall under collision coverage, like theft, vandalism, broken windows or windshields, weather events and if you hit an animal.
- Liability coverage: Pays for the other party’s injuries or property damage when you are at fault.
- Uninsured motorist: Pays for your car repairs if you are involved in an accident with an at-fault driver who does not have enough liability coverage or has no insurance.
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 3 year/30,000 mile warranty will expire when the car is 3 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.
With Geico, mechanical breakdown insurance is offered on cars with less than 15,000 miles and that are less than 15 months old. The company allows renewal for up to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever happens first.
Most auto insurance companies do not 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 and may have different limitations that other companies.
Frequently asked questions
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.
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.
Car insurance can cover mechanical problems if the issues are a result of a covered claim. For instance, if you hit an animal, an object or are involved in an accident and have comprehensive and collision insurance, you may have coverage for mechanical problems caused by the accident. However, if your mechanical problems are not part of a covered claim, and are due to issues like normal wear and tear on the vehicle, you will probably not have coverage, unless your policy includes mechanical breakdown insurance.
If your engine fails and you lose power, it may be smart to shift into neutral, put on your emergency flashers, find a safe area to pull over at, and then pull off the road where it is safe to do so. Apply the brakes as needed. However, it can get gradually harder to steer and you may lose brake power boost. 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.