Does Auto Repair Insurance Provide Enough Coverage for Your Car?

If you’re shopping for vehicle protection, learn more about auto repair insurance and other options like extended warranties.

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As a car owner, you want to protect your vehicle from mechanical issues or breakdowns that happen as it ages. Your regular car insurance policy generally only covers repairs if you’re in an accident. It won’t cover repairs due to normal part failures that happen over time. However, there are insurance programs specifically for non-accident car repairs, called auto repair insurance.

Auto repair insurance, much like an extended warranty, covers the breakdowns and mechanical failures that happen as a result of normal driving habits. Different car repair insurance and service contract providers offer multiple levels and types of protection for your car. Whether you want full coverage for every part on your vehicle or just want to protect yourself from a major mechanical failure, auto repair insurance may be able to help keep your car on the road.

This guide will help you determine if purchasing car repair insurance is the right choice for extending your vehicle’s life. We’ll also cover alternatives to auto repair insurance like extended warranties. CARCHEX, for example, offers extended vehicle protection plans to cover almost any repair your car may need. You can get a free quote from CARCHEX by calling (877) 225-7247 or filling out the form online.

What Is Auto Repair Insurance?

Car repair insurance is a service offered to repair minor and major mechanical failure due to normal wear on your car. Depending on your provider, there may be several different levels of coverage available. 

Quick Facts: Auto Repair Insurance

  • Who offers it? Most repair insurance is offered through insurance agencies as an add-on service to go along with your existing car insurance policy. You’re more likely to find it offered by larger insurance companies. Companies may offer repair insurance as a rider to your existing policy or as a separate plan completely. Several state branches of AAA provide car repair insurance plans, while other AAA branches offer extended warranty options instead.
  • Best use: Repair insurance is best if you’re driving a newer or low-mileage car and want to make sure an unexpected breakdown is covered.
  • Average cost: Repair insurance generally costs between $50–$1,000 a year, depending on the age of your vehicle, mileage, and level of repair insurance.
  • Deductible cost: Most deductibles are between $100–$300, so minor repairs won’t be covered.
  • Pros: Usually offered as a rider or add-on policy for your existing car insurance, so you’ll be dealing with one company.
  • Cons: Often has restrictions on mileage or age of the vehicle, making higher mileage cars more expensive to insure. Many repair insurance providers don’t offer coverage for older vehicles, meaning you’ll only have it when your vehicle is newer and less likely to need repairs.

How Does Auto Repair Insurance Work?

Car repair insurance works very similarly to an extended warranty with a few limitations. Coverage for certain parts of your vehicle will be specified by your provider and the plan you choose. When you’re faced with a breakdown or mechanical failure, you contact your repair insurance provider to file a claim.

Filing a claim is an important part of the repair insurance process because it allows you to ask for pre-authorization for your repairs. Once your claim has been approved by the insurance provider, you can go to an authorized mechanic for the repair.

Extended Auto Warranties Offer More Options

When it comes to long-term protection for your vehicle, an extended car warranty from a third-party warranty company gives you better coverage options than car repair insurance. An extended warranty is a service contract that offsets the cost of auto repairs due to regular use. It’s different than a manufacturer warranty, which normally only covers mechanical breakdowns from faulty factory parts or workmanship.

Third-party extended warranty quick facts:

  • Who offers it? Third-party extended warranty companies such as CARCHEX who specialize in vehicle protection plans and service contracts.
  • Best use: Extended warranties from third-parties are great for almost any vehicle because they offer many levels of protection. Extended warranties are especially great for older or high-mileage vehicles.
  • Average cost: Costs vary depending on your car’s age and mileage. Third-party warranty companies usually offer a range of plans and pricing options, so you may be able to set up your extended warranty to meet your budget.
  • Deductible cost: Your deductible cost varies depending on your service contract, but most are between $50–$100, with options for $0 deductible.
  • Pros: You can get a third-party extended warranty anytime in a variety of coverage options. This allows you to protect an older car or one with higher miles. Since cars with higher mileage are more likely to need repairs than brand-new ones, it makes more sense to have an older vehicle covered. On the other hand, you’re much more likely now than in the past to have a car last well over 100,000 miles and want to protect it. You also won’t be locked into using your dealership for repairs and can choose a plan that offers more protection than a dealer’s extended warranty.
  • Cons: Unlike auto repair insurance, you won’t be using one company for all of your protection needs. However, as long as your extended warranty provider is a reputable company with positive customer reviews and highly rated customer service, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Comparing Auto Repair Insurance Coverage

No matter what type of policy you choose, knowing what’s covered under your plan is a smart practice. Before you sign, you should get a sample contract from your provider that tells you exactly what is and isn’t covered for your car. 

Most car repair insurance plans cover some combination of the following:

  • Engine parts like the water pump
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust
  • Drivetrain
  • Steering
  • Heating and cooling

Extended warranties usually provide either bumper-to-bumper coverage—comprehensive coverage with a few listed exclusions—or powertrain coverage, which protects the powertrain and related components. The best extended warranty companies offer several plans of each type of coverage, as well as some in the middle. The variety ensures that you protect the vehicle systems that you would like to protect and aren’t stuck paying for unnecessary coverage.

Third-Party Extended Warranty Provider CARCHEX

CARCHEX is a reputable car warranty company that provides protection plans for almost any vehicle. Check out some of the most important benefits CARCHEX has to offer:

  • Wide range of coverage options: Five levels of coverage with up to 16 contracts available from suppliers. Some coverage options can protect your car for up to 10 years. These plans are backed by top-rated insurance companies. If you decide to cancel your coverage, CARCHEX offers a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee.
  • Top-rated customer service: With a ThoroughlyReviewed score of 10.0 and an A+ BBB rating, you know you’re getting service from a reliable company. CARCHEX promises a No-Haggle, Low-Price, Everyday Guarantee™, which means they’ll start with the lowest price available.
  • Flexible payment options: Some extended warranties make you pay up front, but CARCHEX offers payments in monthly installments. The range of plans means you can choose a contract that meets your budget and is more manageable than a costly repair bill.
  • Go to your trusted mechanic: Unlike dealer warranties and auto repair insurance, CARCHEX allows you to go to the repair shop of your choice. They’ll pay repair fees directly to the shop, so you don’t have to wait to be reimbursed.
  • Additional perks: All of the CARCHEX protection plans come with 24/7 roadside assistance, as well as towing, rental cars, gas delivery, trip interruption services, and more.

Get comprehensive coverage for your car with a vehicle protection plan from CARCHEX. Start by getting when a quote when you call (877) 225-7247 or fill out the form online.

Is Car Repair Insurance Worth It?

For some drivers with new cars, car repair insurance may be worth it. However, many of the covered repairs on a new car will already be covered under a manufacturer’s warranty. This would make your repair insurance an unnecessary expense. You can check the reliability ratings on your new car is to determine if it’s likely to need repairs in the first few years of use.

Generally, reliable cars that are new or have low miles are not good candidates for repair insurance. As these cars age, an extended warranty likely offers better coverage and more cost-effective protection. You can add the extended warranty once the manufacturer’s warranty has expired and continue protecting your vehicle for years to come.

Extended vehicle protection from CARCHEX is a good value for used or high-mileage vehicles. To get a free extended warranty quote that’s customized to your vehicle, driving habits, and budget, call the experts at CARCHEX at (877) 225-7247 or fill out the form online.

Other Alternatives to Car Repair Insurance

Auto repair insurance and extended warranties can be easily confused—not to mention, there are several other types of protection plans, as well. These other protection plans offer coverage in addition to what’s covered by your insurance policy. Take a look at some of the most popular services used to protect your wallet from inevitable car repair costs.

Manufacturer Warranty

A manufacturer warranty is a guarantee made by your car manufacturer when you purchase a new car. Manufacturer warranties usually last between three to five years or 36,000 to 100,000 miles. They only covers breakdowns and repairs made for defective parts of your vehicle.

  • Who offers it? Auto manufacturers provide warranties on new cars sold through dealerships.
  • Best use: To protect your shiny new car from unexpected damage from a faulty part or manufacturing.
  • Average cost: Manufacturer warranties are included when you purchase your new vehicle.
  • Deductible cost: Some manufacturer warranties have a deductible and some do not. Read your warranty for specific information on your vehicle. Most warranties that require a deductible are between $50–$100.
  • Pros: This is an included service when you purchase a new car that helps you repair defective parts.
  • Cons: Manufacturer warranties are usually short-lived and only cover defective or faulty parts and labor, not mechanical problems from normal wear.

Dealership Extended Warranty

If you purchase a car from a dealership, the sales team will likely offer you the chance to purchase an extended warranty. Extended warranties, or vehicle service contracts, are different from manufacturer warranties. They cover different repairs for your vehicle, including those needed due to normal wear and tear. Often, an extended warranty goes into effect after your manufacturer warranty expires.

  • Who offers it? At the time of purchase, dealerships provide an option for extended warranties. Extended warranties through dealerships may also be called vehicle protection plans and branded for your car manufacturer, such as the Chevrolet Protection Plan.
  • Best use: An extended warranty from a dealership may be a good choice for anyone looking to protect their new car after the manufacturer warranty expires. However, purchasing a protection plan directly from the dealer isn’t always the best choice for coverage.
  • Average cost: Dealers tend to mark up the cost of extended warranties. Instead of giving you the cost of your service contract, the dealer will show you your total monthly price and simply include the cost of the warranty with other fees and payments, such as financing payments. Ask for an itemized cost breakdown to get the exact cost of a dealership’s extended warranty. Most manufacturer protection plans cost between $1,000–$1,500 annually.
  • Deductible cost: Deductibles for dealer protection plans are usually between $0–$250. Zero-dollar deductibles are only available for plans with the highest pricing.
  • Pros: You’ll be able to purchase your extended warranty at the same time you buy your car and can usually roll the service contract payments into your financing payments.
  • Cons: Extended warranties from dealerships limit you in repair options. Most require that you return to the dealership for any covered repairs. This can be a challenge if you move after buying the car or can’t get an appointment when you need something fixed. Additionally, many dealer extended warranties offer less coverage than auto repair insurance.

Vehicle protection plans from third-party warranty companies offer the same or better coverage options than your dealer’s extended warranty. They also tend to be more flexible, as you can use your preferred repair shop and aren’t required to have repairs made at the dealer’s service center. In addition, a third-party extended warranty usually can be purchased at any time. This means you can wait until your car ages and is more likely to need repairs before committing to a service contract.

Mechanical Breakdown Insurance

Mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) is a type of car repair insurance that usually offers coverage for mechanical failures. Almost all mechanical breakdown insurance plans are only available for new cars and can then be renewed for up to a certain mileage.

  • Who offers it? As with most auto repair insurance, mechanical breakdown insurance is offered by insurance companies as an additional service to your regular policy. Popular insurance company GEICO offers an MBI program for policyholders.
  • Best use: You have a new car and want protection in addition to the manufacturer warranty.
  • Average cost: Mechanical breakdown insurance tends to cost less than other car repair insurance plans due to its limited coverage and low mileage requirements. Expect to pay anywhere from $50–$200 annually.
  • Deductible cost: Deductibles for mechanical breakdown insurance are similar to other repair insurance services—in the range of $100–$300.
  • Pros: Mechanical breakdown insurance is great for peace of mind when you purchase a new car and are worried a mechanical issue won’t be covered by the warranty.
  • Cons: You usually have to buy mechanical breakdown insurance when your car is new. GEICO, for example, requires your car to be less than 15 months old and have less than 15,000 miles to purchase MBI. You may also have more limitations on the types of repairs covered.

Keeping Your Car in Good Shape with Regular Maintenance

No matter what type of vehicle protection plan you choose, none of them will cover repairs for cars that aren’t maintained. This includes every type of protection—from regular insurance and mechanical breakdown insurance to manufacturer warranties and third-party extended warranties.

Take a second to look over your owner’s manual at the recommended service mileage for things like a timing belt replacement or flushing the transmission fluid. In addition to long-term maintenance responsibilities, you should follow a routine maintenance schedule. This includes checking your tires for tread wear and air pressure and changing the oil.

The Car Care Council has a simple schedule for checking the fluids and parts of your car. Following proper maintenance recommendation not only extends the life of your car but helps ensure that your claims aren’t denied due to neglect.

What’s more, ignoring your illuminated engine light and refusing to take your car to the shop to avoid a potentially expensive repair can be problematic. Continuing to drive with an existing problem can lead to worse, more costly issues. Having a protection plan like an extended warranty gives you peace of mind and eases your fear of taking your car to a mechanic. 

A CARCHEX representative can answer your questions and help you compare coverage. To get a free quote, call CARCHEX at (877) 225-7247 or fill out the form online.