What happens when your engine fails? Or your battery dies? Vehicle breakdowns are often inconvenient and a financial strain on owners. Parts may wear out. Systems may die and need replacement. This is just a consequence of using your vehicle on a daily basis.
Every once in a while, we have to shell out the money to fix the worn out parts of our cars. This may leave some drivers wondering if car insurance will pay for breakdowns.
The way car insurance covers breakdown repairs is somewhat complicated. You often have to look at the circumstances under which your car sustained damage to determine if your policy will fund repairs.
When Will Auto Insurance Cover Breakdown Repairs?
Often, to qualify for a payout for repairs, vehicle damages have to result from unintentional or unavoidable circumstances.
For example, let's say you need coverage following vehicle theft. The thief may have damaged your steering column or ignition during the crime. If you have comprehensive coverage, you policy will likely cover repairs resulting from non-accident damages.
Or, perhaps, someone rear-ends your vehicle, causing tire, trunk and bumper damage. Collision coverage often pays for damages that result from wrecks or other accidents.
If your car needs repairs because of a situation like this, you can often turn to your auto insurance for assistance. Even if you are deemed at-fault in an accident or wreck, you may still be able to claim the damage on your insurance policy.
When Will Insurance Not Cover Breakdowns?
Auto insurance may cover comprehensive and collision breakdowns. However, there are still other breakdowns that it likely won't cover.
Mechanical breakdowns can result from the normal wear and tear of your vehicle. Wear and tear is a standard part of owning a vehicle. As mechanical parts age, they often don't function as well as they once did. Vehicle owners routinely need oil changes, tire rotations, suspension alignments or other maintenance. Auto insurance policies generally won't cover these standard repairs. So, it's likely the owner's responsibility to keep the car in good working order by using their out-of-pocket funds to pay for recommended maintenance.
This is more than a financial responsibility. Neglecting maintenance may lead to costly vehicle damage you could have otherwise avoided. For example, neglecting to maintain your tires may lead to damage to the car's suspension. Failing to change your oil may damage your engine. These damages may result in thousands of dollars in costs.
Performing Uninsured Maintenance
Since standard mechanical repairs usually don't qualify for insurance coverage, vehicle owners should do everything they can to mitigate costs. Maintaining your vehicle may help you avoid preventable breakdowns.
1. Use Your Vehicle With Care
Most cars, trucks and other motor vehicles are durable. However, no vehicle is completely foolproof. Appropriate use of your vehicle can often help you avoid breakdowns.
- Make sure you consider how you will use your vehicle before you buy a car. A commuter may find the standard car a perfect fit. A driver who uses their vehicle to haul trailers loaded with hay or livestock, on the other hand, may better benefit from a truck or SUV with a stronger transmission.
- Never use your vehicle in a dangerous or reckless manner. Drivers should not race, off-road or otherwise operate vehicles not designed for those purposes. Avoiding these behaviors can help prevent additional wear and tear.
2. Always Maintain Your Vehicle
Vehicle maintenance is a key to a car's long life. By taking care of your vehicle over its lifetime, you can keep it in good working order. You can also reduce your chances of breakdowns.
Most vehicles receive maintenance every 2,000 to 5,000 miles. However, other vehicles can go up to 10,000 miles without maintenance. Regular maintenance might include:
- Oil changes and engine cleaning
- Air filter replacement
- Battery replacement
- Tire pressure checks, rotation and replacement
- Suspension balances
- Light replacement
- Regular state registration inspections
Standard maintenance usually comes at a nominal cost for most consumers. However, dealerships or auto clubs may offer service packages or warranties that further discount maintenance or even provide free services. This may help drivers afford preventative maintenance, even without insurance playing a role.
Some drivers also make modifications to their vehicles. They may install special transmissions, lighting or mufflers, among other changes. However, these may lead to maintenance risks in certain circumstances. Drivers should always have their modifications made by professionals. This reduces the risk that the installations will lead to breakdowns. Furthermore, drivers must ensure that they have insurance coverage for these modifications.
Maintenance may only seem like an inconvenience. However, it can help you avoid breakdowns to your vehicle.
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