Getting car insurance can feel strange since you’re buying it hoping you’ll never have to use it. And having car insurance definitely gives you peace of mind in case you do get into a car accident.
The types of coverages you come across while shopping for car insurance mostly protect your car from damage caused by an accident.
But what happens to your car if it breaks down? It’s something that could happen to anyone at any time. You’re driving along and then all of a sudden you’re stuck on the side of the road and it doesn’t look like your car is going to get up and running again any time soon.
With the monthly premium you’re paying, is your car covered in these kinds of situations? You might want to consider adding mechanical breakdown insurance to your policy.
So what is it and what does it cover?
What is mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI)?
Mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) is a type of car insurance that helps pay for car repairs for damage that happened in situations other than a collision.
Let’s say your car’s AC compressor is damaged and needs to be replaced. A standard insurance policy wouldn’t cover it, but mechanical breakdown insurance would.
You should know that MBI policies come with a deductible. So only after you pay the deductible does MBI cover the cost of fixing your car if it breaks down or needs a repair.
You can’t buy MBI from all insurance companies, but many do offer it. Just ask your insurance rep about adding it onto your policy as extra coverage.
An MBI policy from one insurance company isn’t the same across the board. They vary by insurers in what they cover, so read the fine print or ask an insurance agent about what exactly the policy covers.
If I get MBI, what does it cover?
Typically, MBI covers the following parts:
- Engine parts
- Electrical components
Some MBI policies also cover:
- Air conditioning
- Fuel system
Is there anything MBI doesn’t cover?
Mechanical breakdown insurance doesn’t cover regular maintenance, such as:
- Oil changes
- Wheel balancing
- New tires and tire rotations
- Windshield wiper replacements
- Spark plugs
- Coolant and fluids
- Brake pads and linings
- Suspension alignments
How much does adding MBI cost?
You can expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $100 for mechanical breakdown insurance. And it usually comes with a $250 or $500 deductible.
Can anyone get MBI?
Typically, you can only get MBI if you have either a:
- New car
- Car below a certain number of miles on the odometer
Sadly, you’re out of luck if you’re trying to buy coverage for an old car on its way out.
Because of this, depending on the insurance company, MBI plans are only good for maybe six to seven years, or 100,000 miles. It all depends on whichever comes first.
MBI sounds like extended warranty. Are they the same?
You’re often offered an option for an extended warranty when you buy a new car from the dealership. And while it’s similar to MBI, there are some key differences that will help you decide if you want one or the other.
What kind of extended coverage are you looking for? MBI usually covers a broader range of repairs compared to extended warranties.
How’s your budget and what’s your preference for a payment plan? MBI policies don’t require a huge up-front payment. You pay at regular intervals alongside your car insurance. MBI usually costs a lot less than extended warranties, too. But the deductible for extended warranties is usually a smaller number, maybe around $50-$100.
Is it a priority to you where you get your car repaired? If so, you can consider MBI. You can choose where you’d like repairs done on your car. For extended warranties, you’re often required to bring your car to a dealer to get it fixed.
What about my regular car insurance? Doesn’t it cover repairs?
Your standard car insurance will only cover repairs in the event of an accident.
You just need collision insurance. If you get into a multi-car accident, if you hit a pole or damage your car going over potholes, collision insurance comes in handy.
But if an electrical component just happens to fail on you while you’re commuting to work, you’d need MBI for coverage.
Is mechanical breakdown insurance worth it for me?
Like other types of coverage, whether or not it’s worth it is completely up to your situation.
If your engine fails and it’s going to be a pricey repair, maybe you should consider MBI so it’s less of a strain on your wallet paying out of pocket.
And if you want more coverage than springing for your dealer’s extended warranty coverage, it could be a good idea to go with MBI. It costs less and is more comprehensive.
If you still can’t decide, you can always ask an insurance rep about whether or not its worth it for you. They can give you the details and how the coverage can work for you.
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