Does Car Insurance Cover Repairs?

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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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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Jul 18, 2021

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What You Should Know

  • Depending on the type of insurance you have and the cause of the damages, your policy may cover repairs only in the event of a collision, a covered incident like vandalism or fire, or not at all
  • Comprehensive auto insurance provides coverage against a specific set of non-accident incidents and will pay to fix at least a portion of the resulting damages
  • The only way to avoid out-of-pocket expenses is with an additional service contract or insurance plan

Car insurance isn’t just recommended, it’s legally required in most states to protect both yourself and the other drivers on the road. Not to mention, your car insurance provider can really help with a lot of motor vehicle issues based on your car insurance policy too!

But what about protecting your vehicle? Does car insurance cover repairs, and if so, under what circumstances?

Depending on the type of insurance you have and the cause of the damages, your policy may cover repairs only in the event of a collision, a covered incident like vandalism or fire, or not at all. 

Read on to learn more about when repairs are covered by basic auto insurance and how to protect your car (and your wallet) from the most expensive car repairs.

Are Vehicle Repairs Always Covered By Insurance?

Under most automotive insurance plans, there’s no automatic, catch-all coverage for vehicle repairs. Repairs resulting from certain situations are likely to be covered whereas other types of repairs will practically never be covered unless you have a specific insurance add-on that applies to that situation.

In the eyes of the insurance company, the details of the repair don’t matter nearly as much as the cause of damages. The cause will determine the likelihood of insurance coverage.

Does Car Insurance Cover Collision Repairs?

If your car is damaged during a collision, you have the best chance of receiving insurance reimbursements for the repairs. 

Here are the circumstances required to qualify for insurance coverage:

  • The other driver is at fault and has auto liability insurance – Auto liability insurance is required in almost all states, so the odds of this are quite high. If your car is damaged and you weren’t responsible for the crash, the at-fault driver’s liability insurance covers your bodily injuries and property damage—in this case, the property is your vehicle and its subsequent repairs.
  • You’re in an accident with an uninsured driver and you have Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) coverage – UMPD is one type of uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance, which specifically covers property damage, and most commonly, vehicular damage. This type of optional coverage applies when the at-fault driver doesn’t have auto liability insurance to pay for your damages. If the at-fault driver didn’t have the requisite insurance and you didn’t have UMPD coverage, you’d be forced to either pay out of pocket or take the driver to court to cover your expenses.1
  • Your car is damaged in a collision and you have collision coverage—whether you’re at fault or not – Collision coverage applies where your own auto liability insurance falls short; it covers damage to your vehicle even when you’re at fault. Collision insurance coverage is more comprehensive and far-reaching than auto liability in that it also covers collisions with inanimate objects like fences, telephone poles, guard rails, and so on, as well as one-car accidents where your vehicle skids off the road or flips over after hitting a massive bump, for example. 

The good news is that your car repairs are almost always covered, at least in part, when you weren’t responsible for the accident, thanks to car insurance coverage. However, to protect yourself further, you might want to add uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage and collision coverage to your insurance package.

Does Car Insurance Cover Non-Accident Repairs?

The minimum requisite auto insurance in most states—auto liability—does not cover non-accident repairs. 

However, comprehensive auto insurance provides coverage against a specific set of non-accident incidents and will pay to fix at least a portion of the resulting damages. In fact, comprehensive is usually referred to as “other than collision” coverage, and for a good reason.

Most comprehensive insurance add-ons cover either the repair or replacement of vehicles, up to the car’s actual cash value. So, the cost of your repairs is likely to be covered if you have comprehensive insurance when the damage is caused by:2

  • Fire
  • Wind
  • Hail
  • Flood
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Hitting an animal
  • Falling objects

These repairs include glass and windshield damage, as well as structural and surface-level damage like a broken tailpipe or scratched-up siding and spray paint from a vicious prank. 

Does Car Insurance Cover Routine Maintenance?

Unfortunately, basic car insurance coverage rarely covers routine maintenance, even for the cheapest cars to repair. Without specific policy add-ons, oil changes, tire rotations, brake checks, and more will almost always come out of your pocket directly. In addition, if your car breaks down unexpectedly on the side of the road or your brake lines need emergency repairs, you’ll likely be paying for these expenses, too.

The only way to avoid out-of-pocket expenses is with an additional service contract or insurance plan, which you can purchase from most major insurance providers.

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Extended Car Repair Coverage: What Are My Options?

Regular repairs can cost you a pretty penny. The older your vehicle is, the more repairs you’ll likely need for it—unfortunately, it’s usually around this point that your car’s warranty expires, if you bought a new car that included a factory warranty.

So, what are your options? Where will car insurance cover repairs from regular wear and tear?

  • Auto warranty – Your car’s factory warranty may cover certain repairs and maintenance requirements. The exact length of the warranty differs depending on the manufacturer but is often between three and five years. Be sure to review the fine print of the warranty to see which types of repairs are covered and under what circumstances.
  • Vehicle service contract – Also known as extended warranty, a vehicle service contract is purchased through a dealership or third-party provider. It usually begins once the vehicle’s factory warranty wears off and often lasts for up to seven years after purchase. The contract will likely cover general repairs but not necessarily routine maintenance like oil changes and new tires.
  • Roadside assistance – Most auto insurance companies offer roadside assistance add-ons, which cover emergency repairs and breakdowns. These plans will cover services like towing, flat tire changes, on-site repairs, and lockout services.
  • Car repair coverage – Also called mechanical breakdown insurance, car repair insurance applies to a broad spectrum of standard repair services. This includes work done on cooling, heating, and electrical systems plus the engine, exhaust, steering, transmission, and more.3 It often requires a deductible to make a repair claim but is still one of the best ways to cover your average car repair costs.

Different Types of Auto Insurance: A Full Breakdown

In most states, there are six common kinds of automotive insurance. Some are mandatory—usually, auto liability coverage, which pays for bodily injury and property damage after an accident—while others are optional. 

To better understand all of the ins and outs of your current automotive insurance, we’ll go over each of the six types and when (or if) repairs are covered:4

  • Auto liability coverage – As mentioned, this often mandatory insurance covers bodily injury and property damage, specifically to other people, not yourself. If you’re deemed at fault in an accident, your insurance will cover the other driver’s car repairs, but not your own. However, the reverse applies if you’re not at fault—the other driver’s auto liability coverage will likely pay for necessary repairs to your vehicle.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage – Sometimes mandatory and sometimes optional, this type of insurance protects you if you’re in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. If you’re in an accident with an uninsured motorist, this coverage type will usually cover your medical bills and sometimes your vehicle repairs, as well.
  • Comprehensive coverage – This type of insurance is almost always optional but one of the more popular automotive add-ons. It usually pays for repairs in certain covered incidents, like fire, theft, severe weather, and vandalism. However, comprehensive coverage has a deductible, which means you’ll pay a small portion of the total cost before your insurance kicks in to cover the rest, and it only pays to repair or replace your vehicle up to its cash value.
  • Collision coverage – Another optional insurance add-on, collision coverage will pay for repairs resulting from collisions, again up to your car’s cash value and with a deductible. If the car is totaled, it’ll cover a replacement rather than repair. The collision in question could be with another vehicle, with an inanimate object, or a one-car accident like a roll-over or skidding off the highway.
  • Medical payments coverage – This type of optional coverage has no bearing on car repairs. Instead, it pays for hospital visits, requisite tests, and medical treatment for individuals injured while in your vehicle. This applies to you and your passengers and will cover medical costs from at-fault accidents or additional costs not covered by the other driver’s auto liability insurance if they were at fault.
  • Personal injury protection – Once again, this optional insurance is unrelated to vehicle repairs. Similar to medical payments coverage, it pays for post-accident medical expenses as well as related financial losses such as missed wages or emergency childcare costs while you’re in the hospital, for example.

4AutoInsuranceQuote: The Right Coverage For You

Optional insurance types like mechanical breakdown, comprehensive, collision, and roadside assistance are all matters of individual choice. But there’s still the issue of basic auto liability insurance to worry about, even if it won’t get you out of a bind with a last-minute brake repair. 

To find the best coverage for your vehicle, use 4AutoInsuranceQuote to compare quotes.

Check customer ratings, financial strength, and even market shares to decide which plan is right for you in your current situation. Even when you’re not in an emergency, your auto insurance matters—4AutoInsuranceQuote can ensure you get the best for yourself.

References:

  1. Geico. Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage. https://www.geico.com/information/aboutinsurance/auto/uninsured-underinsured-motorist/.
  2. State Farm. State Farm® comprehensive coverage.https://www.statefarm.com/insurance/auto/coverage-options/comprehensive-coverage
  3. Forbes. Is Car Repair Insurance Worth It? https://www.forbes.com/advisor/car-insurance/car-repair-insurance/
  4. Allstate. Typical Components Of An Auto Insurance Policy. https://www.allstate.com/tr/car-insurance/components-auto-insurance.aspx

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