Dealing with an engine failure or other mechanical problems with your car is no fun. Depending on the problem, it can be expensive to fix. If you are dealing with an unexpected blown engine, does having full coverage car insurance cover it? What about gap insurance, will it cover my engine failure?
Unfortunately in most cases, auto insurance does not cover engine failure or other mechanical problems. However, there are a few exceptions where insurance coverage may pay for a blown engine.
How does insurance deal with engine failure?
Typically, car insurance does not cover engine failure, even if you have full coverage. The exception is if the mechanical problem or blown engine can be directly linked to a covered claim.
An auto insurance policy may include four common insurance coverages that will pay to repair your car if you are involved in an accident or your car is damaged due to a covered claim. None of these coverages include mechanical problems or a blown engine because of normal wear and tear.
Here are the coverages and what they cover:
- Collision: Pays to repair or replace your car after being involved in an accident.
- Comprehensive: Pays for claims that do not fall under collision coverage, like theft, vandalism, broken windows or windshields, weather events and if you hit an animal.
- Liability coverage: Pays for the other party’s injuries or property damage when you are at fault.
- Uninsured motorist: Pays for your car repairs if you are involved in an accident with an at-fault driver who does not have enough liability coverage or has no insurance.
Will gap insurance cover engine failure?
No, gap insurance does not cover engine failure. Gap insurance is an optional coverage that can be included in an auto insurance policy. If you have gap insurance, it will pay the difference between the book value of your totaled car and the amount you still owe on it. Gap insurance is something drivers who finance or lease their vehicles should consider if they are worried about being “upside down” on their loan or lease if the car is totaled in an accident.
This coverage is very specific and only activates if your car is totaled in a covered claim. It does not provide coverage for engine failure, normal wear and tear or other mechanical problems with your vehicle.
Is there any coverage that does cover engine failure?
In certain instances, you can get coverage to protect your finances if your car has an engine failure or another mechanical problem requiring repair. Most often, things like engine failure will be covered by a warranty, if you have purchased one. However, you also may want to consider purchasing mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI), if your insurance company offers it.
When you purchase a car, whether it is brand new or relatively new with low miles, you will likely be offered a warranty. There are two main types of warranty coverage you may be offered:
- Bumper-to-bumper warranty: Though the name suggests coverage for the entire car, the bumpers themselves are not covered, only the parts between them. This coverage pays to repair most car parts or systems, including those that cause mechanical breakdown or engine failure. If the warranty does not exclude a part or system, it is included in a bumper-to-bumper warranty.
- Powertrain warranty: A powertrain warranty is specific to the drive axles, engine and transmission, which are the parts that make the car move. Unlike the bumper-to-bumper warranty, the powertrain warranty lists only what it covers, not what it excludes.
Both warranty options can be extended beyond the manufacturer expiration for an additional cost, which is usually based on mileage or age, whichever happens first. For example, a 3 year/30,000 mile warranty will expire when the car is 3 years old or it reaches 30,000 miles driven, whichever comes first.
Mechanical breakdown insurance
Mechanical breakdown insurance is an optional coverage offered by some car insurance companies. MBI is an alternative to an extended warranty and may have broader coverage than the extended warranty provides.
With mechanical breakdown insurance, engine failure is covered. Normal maintenance and wear and tear items, like brakes, are not covered under MBI. Like a warranty, mechanical breakdown insurance only provides coverage for a specific period of time.
With Geico, mechanical breakdown insurance is offered on cars with less than 15,000 miles and that are less than 15 months old. The company allows renewal for up to seven years or 100,000 miles, whichever happens first.
Most auto insurance companies do not offer this coverage, so if you are interested, you may have to shop around. The average cost of car insurance including MBI will vary by carrier and may have different limitations that other companies.
Frequently asked questions
Can I file a claim with my car insurance if my engine blows up?
It depends on the cause of your engine failure. If it is because of a covered claim, then you may be able to file a claim to cover the damage. The same is true if you have mechanical breakdown insurance on your policy.
How can I tell if my engine is blown?
There are a few signs your car will give you if there is an engine problem or mechanical failure. If you notice a large amount of exhaust smoke, metal shavings in the oil, a lack of power or smoke coming from under the hood, it may be a sign of engine trouble. To prevent further damage, you should not drive the car and have it looked at by a mechanic if you notice any of these signs.