Is a Blown Engine Covered by Car Insurance?

It’s no joy dealing with an engine breakdown or other technical issues with your car. It may be costly to resolve the issue, depending on the nature of the issue. Is it true that having full coverage auto insurance covers an unexpectedly blown engine? Will my engine failure be covered by gap insurance?

Unfortunately, most auto insurance policies exclude coverage for engine failure or other technical issues.

There are a few situations, though, when insurance coverage may cover a blown engine. An issue with a car’s engine may necessitate its repair or replacement, which might result in a large repair price. But the question is, do you have to pay for it yourself, or will you be reimbursed?

The cause of engine failure

Whether or not a car insurance policy will cover the cost of a replacement engine, or repair the existing one, depends very much on the cause of the engine failure. Has the engine failed because of an accident or fire damage, or is it simply down to wear and tear?

What also matters is the type of insurance cover you have. Comprehensive, third-party, fire, and theft, and third-party only policies provide motorists with different levels of cover, so whether you may have a claim will also depend on which kind of car insurance policy you hold.

Car insurance types and engine failure

Third party only

A third-party policy will never cover the failure of your engine. It might, in certain circumstances, cover the other driver’s, such as if you cause a collision that leads to the failure of their engine.

Your vehicle is not covered by this type of insurance, so you could not claim for the failure of your own car’s engine. 

Third party, fire and theft

Third-party, fire, and theft policies would only cover engine failure if it was caused by fire, as the third-party cover does not cover your car, and it being stolen is unlikely to be something that would lead to engine failure.

Fully comprehensive

You might be able to claim for engine failure if you hold a fully comprehensive car insurance policy, but it depends on the cause. If the engine fails because of general wear and tear, such as with an older car, then you would not have any grounds to make a claim on your insurance as this is not covered.

If the engine failed as a direct result of a collision, or because of fire damage, then you may be able to claim for the cost of repairing or replacing the 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, or 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’s 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?

Engine failure is not covered by gap insurance. Gap insurance is a type of coverage that may be added to a car insurance policy as an add-on. Gap insurance will cover the difference between the book value of your totaled car and the amount you still owe on it if you have it.

Drivers who finance or lease their vehicles might consider gap insurance if they are concerned about being “upside-down” on their loan or lease if the vehicle is totaled in an accident.

This is a highly specialized coverage that only kicks in if your car is totaled in a covered claim. Engine failure, typical wear and tear, and other mechanical issues with your vehicle are not covered.

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.

Mechanical Breakdowns Are Not Covered by Car Insurance

Here are the three types of car insurance coverage typically included with your insurance policy:

  • Property damage and bodily injury liability coverage are included in liability coverage. This is the form of insurance that you must have in order to drive legally. It does not cover damage to your own car, but it does cover damage you cause to others. If you cause an at-fault collision, your liability coverage will pay for the other vehicle’s repairs, as well as the medical bills of anyone hurt and the repairs to any property you damage.
  • Accident Coverage: Collision coverage is a type of car insurance that protects your own vehicle in the event of a collision. Your collision insurance will pay for it if you get into a fender bender and your car needs $1,000 in repairs. It’s for property damage caused by an accident.
  • Comprehensive coverage covers coverage for damage that is not caused by an accident. If your automobile is stolen or vandalized, for example, your comprehensive coverage may be able to reimburse you for the cost of repairs. Hail damage, tree branch damage, and any damage to your vehicle that occurs outside of an ordinary collision are all covered under comprehensive coverage.isdamage

The three policies above are typically included in a full coverage car insurance plan. If you have full coverage auto insurance, then your blown engine is unlikely to be covered by your car insurance policy.

As you’ll notice, none of these car insurance policies include mechanical breakdown coverage. A blown engine doesn’t fall into any of the above categories.

If your car’s engine is damaged in a collision, then those repairs would be covered because the damage occurred during a collision.

Fortunately, there are two ways your blown engine could be covered, including mechanical breakdown insurance and warranty coverage.

Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI) Will Cover Blown Engines

Do you want your blown engine to be covered by car insurance? There’s an optional car insurance policy called “mechanical breakdown insurance,” or MBI. This type of insurance will cover a blown engine.

MBI covers car repairs resulting from mechanical issues with your vehicle. You can make an MBI claim for your brakes, your transmission, your engine, and other items.

If your car breaks down due to normal wear and tear, then mechanical breakdown insurance can cover the cost of repairing that damage.

There are two major conditions with mechanical breakdown insurance:

  • It’s only available for newer vehicles (like vehicles that are 1-3 years old)
  • It’s not offered by all insurance companies

Overall, mechanical breakdown insurance functions in a similar way to a warranty. Your new vehicle gets a warranty to protect against unexpected breakdowns.

You might have a 3 year, 25,000-mile warranty, for example. Your warranty will cover any mechanical breakdowns to your vehicle that occur within the first three years or 25,000 miles.

Typically, mechanical breakdown insurance is comparable to an extended warranty. Some car dealers offer an extended warranty that offers additional protection, say, for the first 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Mechanical breakdown insurance may be worth it on some vehicles – especially if you can’t afford an unexpected breakdown. A blown engine can cost thousands of dollars to repair. If you want to protect yourself against unexpected breakdowns and high repair bills, then mechanical breakdown insurance may be worth it.

Of course, it’s also unlikely you’ll ever need to use your mechanical breakdown insurance. MBI is only available on newer vehicles. Newer vehicles are unlikely to suffer a mechanical breakdown, especially something as serious as a blown engine.

It’s also possible to be over-insured: your car might already be covered by a warranty from the dealer or manufacturer for the first 3 years or 20,000 miles. In that case, mechanical breakdown insurance is an unnecessary expense.

Warranty

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’s expiration date 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. An 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 fewer 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 than 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.

Final Word

A blown engine will rarely be covered by ordinary car insurance. The only time engine damage is covered by car insurance is if your engine was damaged during an accident or through some other insurable event, like a tree falling on the hood of your vehicle and causing engine damage.

Generally, blown engines are considered mechanical breakdowns; they’re part of the normal wear and tear of your vehicle. These events are never covered by ordinary car insurance.

You can, however, purchase mechanical breakdown insurance, or MBI. Mechanical breakdown insurance is an optional insurance policy available on newer vehicles. It functions similar to an extended warranty and will cover blown engines and other mechanical breakdown issues.

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