Car Repair Insurance: Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Coverage 101

Car Repair Insurance & Mechanical Breakdown Insurance 101: Introduction

There are countless forms of auto insurance that can help cut down on your expenses if you get into a crash or if something goes wrong unexpectedly. Of course, the best kind of car insurance depends on many factors, including how you drive and the vehicle that you’re currently using. In this guide, we’re going to discuss car repair insurance, also known as mechanical breakdown insurance, or MBI coverage.

We’ll go over a range of different topics, including exactly what mechanical breakdown insurance is in the first place. We’ll also discuss the various situations that will be covered by mechanical breakdown insurance, and we’ll discuss how to buy it to ensure that you’ll get a payout for unexpected issues with your car at the  cheapest rates  possible.

What is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?

Mechanical breakdown insurance coverage is basically a protection for car repairs, it is designed to kick in when your car ends up getting damaged due to wear and tear and you need car repairs. Unlike other forms of coverage, mechanical breakdown insurance won’t protect you if your car ends up getting into an accident, and that’s why this kind of car insurance coverage is largely optional.

In fact, some auto insurance companies don’t even offer car repair and mechanical breakdown insurance in the first place. While breakdowns can often get pricey, they don’t occur frequently enough that most drivers are concerned about getting specific car insurance coverage for them. This lack of demand results in fewer companies offering it as a coverage option.

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What Does Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Cover?

Before discussing how to make a claim on car mechanical breakdown insurance, you’ll need to know what you can get it to pay for in the first place.

As its name suggests, in most cases, mechanical breakdown insurance kicks in when your vehicle experiences an unexpected breakdown. This means that you didn’t have a prior warning that the issue existed and you suddenly ran into an issue that required major repairs to your vehicle.

This type of car insurance is designed to make up for things that are typically exclusions in a typical collision or comprehensive insurance  policies, usually car repairs. For example, mechanical breakdown insurance can help you pay for car repairs for a brake replacement after your car suffers a brake failure.

Other vehicle systems that can be paid for by mechanical breakdown insurance include electrical system failures and transmission issues. In most cases, you’ll go ahead and pay for the auto repairs yourself before filing a claim with your insurance company.

After your auto insurance provider goes over your mechanical breakdown insurance claim, you’ll be reimbursed for the car repairs that you had to pay for.

That being said, there are still exceptions to what may be covered by mechanical breakdown insurance, especially in the case of neglect or older vehicles, so pay careful attention to clauses in your mechanical breakdown insurance policy.

What isn’t Covered by Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?

Keep in mind that there are a few cases in which you won’t be able to file a claim for mechanical breakdown insurance coverage. For example, if you ended up damaging your vehicle through negligence, then you won’t be able to file a claim because that will be considered an exclusion.

An example of negligence would be forgetting to add motor oil to your engine and having it seize up. Because the results of this kind of mechanical breakdown would be easily avoidable, the insurance company doesn’t see it as its responsibility to pay out for the issues and damage that was caused due to it.

Another thing to consider is whether your vehicle is even valid for the best mechanical breakdown insurance policies. Older cars will typically not be accepted by companies offering car repair insurance because of the difficulty and inherent expense of procuring the parts for them when they break down.

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Mechanical Breakdown Insurance vs. Extended Warranty

People often compare mechanical breakdown insurance to getting an extended warranty on your vehicle, and there are a few similarities between them. The most similar thing is that they will both cover you when you run into an unexpected issue with your vehicle, but there are a few crucial differences.

The main thing that differentiates MBI coverage from extended warranties is that MBI tends to be a lot more affordable. For your average three-year extended warranty, you can expect to pay over $1000. This ends up being a lot more expensive than an MBI policy, which can come out to about $500 at maximum for 3 years, cost-wise.

However, another thing to consider is the deductible that you’ll have to pay for your mechanical breakdown coverage. Compared to an extended warranty, the deductible for an MBI policy tends to be far more expensive. You’ll typically have to pay about $250 out of pocket before your MBI insurance kicks in.

On the other hand, an extended warranty should have a much more affordable deductible, rarely going higher than about $100.

Finally, consider the value of your vehicle. High-value cars may not qualify for MBI insurance, but you may still be able to get an extended warranty for them. However, extended warranties for more expensive vehicles will also tend to be pricier.

You may also want to explore the cheapest cars to insure.

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How to Buy Mechanical Breakdown Insurance

The first thing that you’ll have to consider is the provider that you get your MBI policy from. The largest mechanical breakdown insurance provider in the United States is GEICO. While its reputation among customers is diverse,  GEICO car insurance cost is among the cheapest car insurance companies you can find If you want to get MBI from Geico, you’ll need to have less than 15,000 miles driven and your car has to be newer than 15 months old.

Other companies that offer car insurance for wear and tear (AKA MBI coverage) include Mercury, Progressive, and 21st Century, though the two latter companies have them underwritten by other providers.

Most MBI plans will last longer than an extended warranty, which will typically be capped at three years long.

How Much Does Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Cost?

The good thing about MBI is that it tends to be more affordable than other policies. If you’re wondering how much you can expect to pay for your MBI insurance, take a look at the following table and find the average cost for mechanical breakdown insurance for different vehicles:

Car Yearly cost of MBI
Toyota Camry $30
Ford Edge $30
BMW M3 $30

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