Does Car Insurance Cover Non-Accident Repairs?

As a car owner, you know sometimes repairs are necessary. But not all repairs stem from accidents. Non-accident repairs are common, and understanding your car insurance coverage can help you save hundreds or thousands of dollars. Some policies cover non-accident repairs, so always be sure to check with your provider about your specific coverage.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Mar 17, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • There are several types of car insurance that cover non-accident repairs
  • Understanding the legal minimum coverage in your state is a starting point to determine the amount of insurance and types of coverage you’ll need
  • MBI covers mechanical breakdowns that are unrelated to accidents, collisions, and externally caused damage

Does Car Insurance Cover Non-Accident Repairs?

Insuring your car isn’t only a legal requirement — it can also save you thousands of dollars in medical and property damage costs from accidents. But does car insurance cover non-accident repairs? 

Car insurance is a broad term that refers to multiple types of coverage. Depending on how wide you cast your net, you can find insurance that pays for most types of repairs, including general mechanical breakdowns.

To learn more about the various types of car insurance coverage, as well as the types of insurance that will cover non-accident repairs, keep reading. 

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What Does Basic Car Insurance Cover? 

Although it varies state by state, in general, you’re legally required to pay for some amount of basic car insurance (and carry proof of it) before you fasten your seatbelt and start your engine. Basic levels of insurance are designed to protect other people and their property from your actions on the road. 

If you’re caught driving without auto insurance, you could end up paying fines, losing your license, or heading to jail — not to mention, dealing with the huge amount of financial damage from the car accident itself, particularly if you’re at fault. 

Check your state guidelines to determine what type of basic car insurance coverage you’ll need. These insurance options can include:  

  • Liability coverage. Bodily injury liability covers injuries that you cause to someone else, and property damage liability covers damage you cause to someone else’s property. Most states require a minimum level of liability insurance. 
  • Uninsured motorist. Required by some states, this insurance covers your injury and property damage if you’re hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. 
  • Personal injury protection. Personal injury protection (PIP) covers injuries to the driver and passengers of your car and is required in some states. 
  • Medical payments. MedPay, required by some states, helps cover your medical bills resulting from a car accident.
  • None. The exceptions to the rule are New Hampshire and Virginia, which don’t mandate auto insurance.

Regardless of what’s required by your state, it’s important to note that none of these types of basic insurance cover non-accident repairs. 

Types of Car Insurance That Cover Non-Accident Repairs

When you build your car insurance policy, remember the legal minimum in your state is a starting point, and its primary purpose is to protect other drivers. From this point, you can determine the amount of insurance and types of coverage you’ll need by considering: 

  • Whether you own your car outright or are making payments on it
  • What your options are for interim transportation or replacing your car if it’s damaged
  • How much you could afford to pay in a deductible if your car needs repair
  • Whether or not you want to be covered for non-accident repairs

Understanding the types of coverage available — and in particular, non-accident repair coverage — can help you narrow down your insurance search. So, let’s explore the five types of car insurance coverage that cover non-accident repairs. 

#1 — Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive insurance is designed to cover damage that’s unrelated to a collision with another auto or an object. This often includes: 

  • Animal damage. Collision with or damage from an animal, whether you hit a deer or a bird flew into your windshield.
  • Falling object damage. From a tree branch to a landslide, any damage from falling objects. 
  • Windshield damage. Repairing cracked or shattered windshields, which are often the result of rocks thrown up by other tires on the highway. 
  • Theft. From having your hubcaps stolen to a carjacking, any type of theft of your vehicle.
  • Vandalism and riot damage. Such as dents, scratches, broken glass, and slashed tires.
  • Nature at its worst. Fire, hail, storm, earthquake, and flood damage. 
  • Humans at their worst. Hopefully, you won’t have to submit an insurance claim for these, but explosions and missiles may also be covered under comprehensive.

If you opt for comprehensive car insurance, note that it may have a separate deductible. Read through the policy details to ensure you understand exactly what’s covered by the specific insurer.

#2 — Collision Insurance

Unlike property damage liability, which covers the other car, collision insurance covers damage to your car in case of a collision. A collision could be with: 

  • Another automobile
  • Telephone poles, trees, or other objects
  • Potholes resulting in damage 

Collision insurance also covers damage from a single-car incident, where the driver loses control and the car flips over. 

Like comprehensive auto insurance, collision insurance usually has a separate deductible. Policies may differ in whether you end up paying your deductible for at-fault versus no-fault incidents, but collision coverage means the insurer pays to repair your car regardless of fault. 

In terms of covering non-accident repairs, collision will pay for repairs related to pothole damage (and for accidents that don’t involve other motor vehicles). 

#3 — GAP Insurance

Say your car is stolen or completely totaled in an accident. On top of everything else, still owing payments on a car loan can seem like the ultimate insult. GAP insurance is an option that helps pay off the loan for an unrecoverable car.

While this doesn’t involve repairs, GAP insurance can be a relief for a non-accident case of theft. 

#4 — Roadside Assistance

Regardless of how it happens — whether you run out of gas, get a flat tire, or are stopped by a smoky mystery under your hood — if you opt into roadside assistance, you can get help with a simple phone call to your insurer. They’ll send someone to your location to either fix a minor issue on-site or tow your car to the repair shop of your choice. 

Roadside assistance covers minor non-accident assistance, such as jumping your battery. It also covers the cost of towing your car to the repair shop for mechanical breakdowns or any issue that leaves it unable to be driven. 

#5 — Rental Reimbursement

When your car’s being repaired, how do you get where you need to go? One of the secondary costs of an accident is replacement transportation during the repair. If you pay for rental reimbursement as part of your policy, your insurance will spring for a rental car while your personal ride is in the shop.

However, rental reimbursement only applies to repair damage after a collision. 

What About Car Repair Insurance?

Another option these days from auto insurers is mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI). While it’s not available from most insurers, and not available for most motor vehicles, it definitely falls into the category of insurance that covers non-accident repairs. 

MBI is an option for newer, lower mileage cars that’s similar to an extended warranty. It’s designed to cover mechanical breakdowns entirely unrelated to accidents, collisions, and externally caused damage. 

What Does Car Repair Insurance or MBI Cover? 

You’ll need to review the fine print on any MBI policies, as there isn’t a universal standard for car repair insurance.

However, after a deductible, MBI policies often cover: 

  • Engine
  • Cooling systems
  • Steering
  • Air conditioning
  • Fuel systems
  • Electrical and computer systems 
  • Drivetrain, including transmission
  • Steering components
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust

What Does Car Repair Insurance or MBI Exclude? 

MBI coverage is based on both the type and the cause of the necessary repair, as well as whether it’s already covered by a different contract.

Excluded items generally include: 

  • Recall. A necessary replacement or fix based on a recall, which is covered by the auto manufacturer. 
  • Warranty. Any repair or replacement legally covered by an active warranty.
  • Standard car insurance. Damage caused by an accident or other outside force that is or can be covered by basic, collision, or comprehensive insurance, such as natural disasters, vandalism, or windshield chips and cracks. 
  • Owner damage. MBI policies generally do not pay for damage or neglect by the owner. This includes breakdowns or deterioration caused by: 
    • Improper maintenance
    • Overheating
    • Alterations to your vehicle
    • Towing excessive weight 
    • Corrosion
  • Pre-existing conditions. For instance, if you bought a used car with a cracked windshield, you’d have to pay for that repair yourself. 

Check with your provider for details on your specific coverage.

Does Car Repair Insurance or MBI Pay for Maintenance? 

For the most part, you can expect maintenance to be another category excluded from an MBI policy. Most MBIs exclude: 

  • Oil and coolant changes
  • New tires, rotation, and alignments
  • Replacement of spark plugs, brake pads and shoes, filters, and tires

However, there are some exceptions. If you’re looking for a full-service level of coverage, you can find some car repair policies that cover routine care.

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Find the Right Insurance for Your Needs With

If it’s been a while since you reviewed your coverage, or you’re shopping for your first car insurance policy, it’s time to consider what your needs are. Because car insurance has so many variables, it can be difficult to judge whether you’re choosing the right options in the right amount. 

If your car is out of its original warranty and you want that full-service peace of mind, you’re best served by comparing both MBIs from different insurers, along with extended warranty options from your auto manufacturer. Both are intended to bridge the gap of what standard and comprehensive car insurance don’t cover. 

Ready to get started? Take the first step to finding the best car insurance policy for you by comparing quotes from different auto insurance companies with our free online tool.

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