Does my auto insurance cover engine failure?

Your car insurance policy probably doesn't include engine failure, but there are a few cases when it might.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 21, 2022

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Things to remember...

  • Collision and comprehensive auto insurance policies generally cover engine failure if a collision or comprehensive loss caused it
  • Car insurance typically does not cover mechanical issues with the engine or wear and tear
  • To insure your vehicle against general engine failure, you need to purchase an extended warranty or mechanical breakdown coverage

Does insurance cover engine failure? Engine failure is one thing no car owner ever wants to deal with. Not only does it make the vehicle completely unusable for a while, but it also comes with a significant price tag. That’s why it’s reasonable to ask whether your car insurance covers engine failure.

In some cases, you may be in luck. Read on to learn which types of coverage include engine failure and how to protect your vehicle from unexpected repair costs.

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Can I file an engine failure claim on my car insurance?

If you have full coverage, your insurance policy will cover engine failure directly caused by an accident or other situations described in the policy. The basic types of coverage that may apply include:

  • Collision coverage reimburses the cost of repairing or replacing your car after you’re involved in an accident.
  • Comprehensive coverage applies to claims that are not a result of an accident, such as theft, vandalism, a broken windshield, weather events, and collisions with animals.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage reimburses the cost of repairing your car if you were involved in an accident where an at-fault driver has no (or insufficient) insurance. 

None of these coverages includes engine failure due to normal wear and tear or a mechanical problem.

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Full Coverage Insurance Covers Some Types of Engine Failure

Even if you have full coverage, engine failure may not count as a covered loss. Instead, the problem must result from a covered incident, and you’ll need the right type of coverage.

Does collision insurance cover engine failure?

Collision insurance covers damages to your vehicle from a collision with another car or an inanimate object (a tree or a lamppost, for example). If an accident causes engine damage, your collision policy should cover the repair cost. However, you might be required to prove that the engine failure was directly caused by the collision instead of a pre-existing mechanical issue.

Does comprehensive insurance cover engine failure?

Comprehensive insurance covers damages to a vehicle that is not a result of a driving accident, such as theft, falling objects, natural disasters, fire, or explosion. For example, if your engine was damaged by a branch falling on your car during a thunderstorm, it should be covered by comprehensive insurance. 

When filing a comprehensive insurance claim for engine repair, you might need additional documentation, such as regular maintenance records or recent mechanic reports, to prove that the engine was sound before the accident.

How to Insure Your Vehicle Against Engine Damage

Even though none of the coverages we discussed will insure your car in case of engine failure that’s not the result of an accident or covered event, there are ways you can protect yourself against other engine repair costs:

  • Manufacturer’s warranty. If your vehicle is relatively new (usually no more than three to five years old or with less than 36,000 to 60,000 miles), the car manufacturer should cover the cost to repair or replace the engine in case of failure.
  • Extended warranty. The extended warranty, which is backed by the manufacturer, is usually something you can buy from the car dealership. These extended warranties can cost from $1,000 up to $3,000 or more, depending on the type of the vehicle.
  • Mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI). Some insurance companies offer this type of optional coverage that will provide you with a similar level of protection as a warranty. 

Extended warranties and MBI are similar, but each has advantages and disadvantages.

With an extended warranty, you will be covered for minor repairs. It’s available for almost all types of cars and usually has a lower deductible. However, the cost of coverage is higher than for MBI, and you’ll have to pay it upfront. You’ll also likely be restricted to using a mechanic that the dealer or warranty company approves.

In comparison, MBI is cheaper and payable in monthly installments. You also have the freedom to choose your mechanic. However, the deductible is often higher than an extended warranty, and it won’t cover minor repairs. 

In addition, MBI is usually only available for new vehicles and renewable for up to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. If you’re interested in MBI, shop around since not all insurance companies offer it. 

The Bottom Line on Insurance and Engine Failure

Car engine failures are only covered by insurance policies in the case of covered incidents. For example, your collision and comprehensive policy will cover damages caused by a driving accident or extensive losses but won’t reimburse engine repairs due to a mechanical breakdown. You will need to turn to alternatives such as an extended warranty or mechanical breakdown insurance.

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