Car insurance coverage can erase many headaches, but not all. It’s great for removing that dent from the fender, but it’s seldom helpful when the heater or air conditioner fails.
So, why won’t car insurance routinely pay for mechanical problems? To understand, we have to look at the situation from the point of view of the insurance company.
How Do Insurers Stack the Odds in Their Favor?
Car insurance policies are strategically specific about the auto issues they will cover and not cover. Insurers position themselves so there’s little likelihood they’ll ever have to pay their customers.
When companies guess correctly, they get to keep their customers’ premiums without ever having to pay car insurance claims. That’s why it’s far more common for an insurance plan to cover accidents than mechanical issues.
Consider that it’s not unusual for someone to own a vehicle for 100,000 miles without experiencing an accident. But it’s rare for someone to log that many miles without having to repair or replace a single item.
Are There Circumstances Where Insurers Have to Pay for Mechanical Issues?
The best chance of getting your insurer to pay for mechanical issues is when the failure results from something covered by your policy, such as an accident. For example, imagine that you collide with an animal crossing the road at night. The impact may damage your suspension or puncture your radiator.
A comprehensive insurance policy typically pays a garage to repair your vehicle. However, under normal circumstances, your insurer wouldn’t pick up the tab for a suspension system that failed due to age or a worn-out radiator that stopped functioning correctly.
Collision insurance, like comprehensive, will also pay for car problems if the mechanical issue results from an accident. Suppose your car meets a fire hydrant. Collision coverage would fix the mechanical damage.
Why Can’t I Buy Insurance Against Normal Wear and Tear?
Typically, there’s no car insurance that covers ordinary wear. All mechanical devices, including cars, eventually show their age and begin to operate less efficiently.
So, it wouldn’t make economic sense for an insurer to offer coverage for the inevitable. Even if a company provided that type of coverage, the cost to you, the customer, would have to be outrageous for the insurer to make a profit.
How Much Protection is a Warranty?
Even your car’s warranty is no protection from wear and tear. Warranties don’t last long enough to shield you from the effects of time on your car. Carmakers draft warranties well aware of the lifespan of the vehicle’s parts. That’s why it’s a longstanding joke that something is bound to go wrong with your car the day after the warranty expires.
Is an Extended Warranty Worthwhile?
Some people choose to protect themselves with an extended warranty. You can get an extended warranty from the same place you purchased your vehicle or an independent company.
Keep in mind that the “extended” part of the warranty refers to time, not the range of repairs it covers. On the contrary, an extended warranty simply gives you additional years or miles when certain items can be repaired or replaced under the terms of the agreement.
What is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?
If you’re genuinely concerned about your car’s major components failing when a warranty does not protect them, you might consider getting mechanical breakdown insurance, also known as car repair insurance. Mechanical repair plans offer to cover breakdowns for as long as you keep the policy.
Mechanical insurance covers far more than a warranty. And it pays for the repair regardless of the cause.
In contrast, manufacturers won’t honor their warranties unless you can prove that you didn’t do anything that made the part more likely to fail. For example, you didn’t modify it or were unable to service it on schedule.
What’s included in a car repair policy will differ from insurer to insurer with various restrictions. For example, one company may specify that your car has less than a certain number of miles. The company doesn’t want to pay the high cost of keeping an older car on the road.
Is There Any Reason I Shouldn’t Get Car Repair Insurance?
Mechanical insurance plans may appeal financially to you because your insurer may allow you to pay monthly, whereas extended warranties tend to require a lump sum payment. On the other hand, warranties are usually overall less expensive than breakdown insurance.
The restrictions imposed by some companies may be so severe that they cause you to rethink purchasing car repair insurance. For example, some insurers only accept vehicles that are quite recent with low mileage.
If your model is known for being reliable, you may not have mechanical issues until the vehicle is several years old and the odometer has turned. In that case, the mechanical insurance may be of little value.
When the car finally reaches an age and mileage where repairs and replacements are expected, that will probably be the point at which your vehicle no longer qualifies for the mechanical insurance policy. At that time, you’ll have to renew for another period if your insurer permits you to do so. The length and cost will vary, but it’s not unusual for the policy to last for seven years and 100,000 miles.
What If My Insurer Doesn’t Offer Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?
Suppose your insurer doesn’t offer a separate car repair insurance policy. In that case, it may still allow you to tack onto your existing plan some of the protections afforded by mechanical breakdown coverage.
The addition you make to a current policy is called an insurance rider. Typically, riders will increase your premiums. In the case of car repair riders, it’s sure to raise your monthly payments.
When Your Insurer Refuses to Pay for Mechanical Problems That Are Covered
In the pursuit of profit, an insurer may reject your claim even when your policy covers a particular mechanical issue. In such cases, you’ll need an experienced attorney to deal with the insurance company.
It’s wise to get us involved as soon as possible. So begin the process of repairing your vehicle’s mechanical problems by requesting a free case evaluation from our Florida Car Insurance Dispute Attorney today.