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Comprehensive Coverage and Engine Failure: What You Need to Know

 Engine failure is an issue that many car owners faced before, and it can be a costly repair. You may have several questions about the comprehensive car insurance coverage and what it covers. Perhaps you are asking yourself if comprehensive car insurance covers the engine failure, if that so you're in the right page to know the answer to this question. Continue reading to know more about this.

If your car's engine fails, youill want to know if your policy will cover it or not

Comprehensive coverage is an important part of auto insurance that provides protection for your vehicle from events like theft, vandalism, fire, flood, and animal collisions. However, it generally does not cover mechanical breakdowns or engine failure due to normal wear and tear. If your engine stops working, you may need to look into options like a manufacturer's warranty, extended warranty, or mechanical breakdown insurance to pay for repairs. This article will discuss when comprehensive covers engine issues, what it excludes, and alternatives for covering mechanical failures.

What comprehensive coverage includes

Comprehensive coverage is an optional add-on to an auto insurance policy that provides protection against damage from non-collision incidents. Here are some of the common hazards it protects against:

  • Theft: Comprehensive coverage will pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it is stolen. This includes theft of parts or components.

  • Vandalism: If someone intentionally damages your vehicle, comprehensive insurance will cover the repairs. This includes vandalism like broken windows, keyed paint, slashed tires, etc.

  • Fire: If your vehicle catches fire from something other than a collision, like an electrical issue or arson, comprehensive will pay for repairs or replacement.

  • Flood: Comprehensive covers flood damage, which is not included in standard policies. This includes freshwater flooding from heavy rains.

  • Falling objects: If something falls on your vehicle and causes damage, like a tree branch or construction materials, comprehensive will cover the repairs.

  • Glass damage: Comprehensive insurance pays for glass repairs and replacements like broken windshields and windows. Some policies have lower deductibles for glass claims.

Comprehensive coverage pays to repair or replace your vehicle after non-collision damage. The main benefit is that it protects your vehicle's value and condition in scenarios where you are not at fault and there is no one else to pay for repairs.

Overall, comprehensive protects against theft, vandalism, weather, fire, animals, glass damage, and falling objects. These perils can significantly impact your vehicle's value, so comprehensive is an important complement to collision coverage.

What comprehensive coverage does not include

While comprehensive coverage protects against many non-collision damages, there are important exclusions. Comprehensive auto insurance does not cover:

  • Mechanical breakdowns - When parts fail or break down due to normal wear and tear, age, or defects, comprehensive will not pay for repairs. Some examples include:

    • Failed starter motor
    • Worn out alternator
    • Broken serpentine belt
    • Leaking radiator
    • Faulty sensors
  • Manufacturer defects - Problems that stem from how the vehicle was designed or constructed are not covered. For example:

    • Defective airbag system
    • Paint peeling due to poor application
    • Leaking/cracked engine block
    • Faulty electrical wiring
  • Wear and tear - The gradual deterioration of parts over time is excluded. For instance:

    • Bald tires
    • Warped rotors
    • Corroded exhaust system
    • Sagging suspension springs
  • Improper maintenance - Damage caused by missed maintenance like oil changes is not covered.

  • Mechanical parts - Items like belts, hoses, seals, and fluids are generally excluded.

  • Upgrades - Comprehensive does not pay for performance enhancements or upgrades beyond factory specs.

In summary, comprehensive only pays for sudden and accidental damage from specific covered perils. Gradual mechanical breakdowns or failures stemming from defects, maintenance issues, and depreciation are not covered.

If you are concerned about costly mechanical repairs, you may want to consider:

  • Extended warranty - Can extend time/mileage of manufacturer's warranty
  • Vehicle service contract - Like an extended warranty from a third party
  • Mechanical breakdown insurance - Limited coverage for mechanical failures

These provide extra protection beyond your comprehensive insurance policy.

When comprehensive covers engine failure

While comprehensive insurance generally excludes mechanical breakdowns, it will pay for engine repairs or replacement if the damage stems from a covered peril. For example:

  • If your car's engine is damaged due to flood waters, comprehensive would cover the repairs.

  • If someone attempts to steal your car and damages the engine in the process, comprehensive would pay since theft is covered.

  • If fire from an electrical issue causes severe damage to the engine, comprehensive would cover repairs or replacement.

So while wear and tear is not covered, if the engine failure is directly caused by an approved comprehensive peril like flooding, theft, or fire, the repairs would be covered under your policy.

Options for covering engine failure

While comprehensive auto insurance does not cover mechanical breakdowns or engine failure due to wear and tear, there are some options that can provide protection:

  • Manufacturer's warranty: Covers repair or replacement of parts defective in material/workmanship. New cars come with these.

  • Extended warranty: Can extend time/mileage of manufacturer's warranty for additional cost.

  • Vehicle service contract: Like an extended warranty from a third party provider.

  • Mechanical breakdown insurance: Limited coverage offered by some insurers for mechanical failures.

These provide various degrees of protection beyond your regular car insurance policy. They can give you peace of mind if your engine or other components fail due to normal operation.

Mechanical breakdown insurance

Mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) is an optional coverage offered by some auto insurance companies that provides limited protection for mechanical failures and breakdowns. Here's an overview of how MBI works:

  • What it covers: MBI helps pay for repairs when parts like the engine, transmission, or electrical system break down from normal use. Some examples of covered repairs include:

    • Engine failure
    • Transmission problems
    • Electrical shorts
    • Air conditioner failure
    • Starter motor breakdown
  • What it does not cover: Similar to other insurance, MBI has exclusions. It does not pay for:

    • Routine maintenance like oil changes
    • Wear items like brake pads or windshield wipers
    • Damage from an accident or collision
    • Modifications, upgrades or accessories
  • Cost: MBI premiums vary by insurer but are generally a few hundred dollars per year. The cost depends on factors like your vehicle's make, model, age and mileage.

  • Duration: Policies typically run 1-2 years with mileage limitations like 100,000 total miles. Newer vehicles can get longer terms.

  • Deductible: You pay a deductible, often $100 - $250, for covered repairs before insurance kicks in.

  • Repairs process: You take your vehicle to an approved repair facility and file a claim with proof of breakdown. The shop diagnoses covered issues and performs repair work.

  • Benefits: MBI provides peace of mind in case of costly mechanical mishaps not caused by a collision. It can be cheaper than an extended warranty.

  • Drawbacks: There may be limits on total benefits paid. Pre-existing issues may not be covered. Repairs are only done at approved shops.

Overall, mechanical breakdown insurance offers limited but useful protection from expensive repairs due to normal mechanical failure. It provides coverage beyond a standard comprehensive policy but has more restrictions than an extended warranty.

Making an insurance claim

If your vehicle's engine or other components are damaged due to a comprehensive-covered peril like theft, vandalism, or fire, you'll need to file an insurance claim to get repairs covered. Here are some tips for making a smooth claim:

Contact your insurer promptly

  • Call your insurance company or agent as soon as possible after the incident occurs. Give them basic details about what happened.

  • There are usually time limits for reporting claims, so don't delay starting the process.

Take photos and document damage

  • Take clear photos showing the damage to your vehicle and engine. Capture VIN numbers if possible.

  • Note details like date/time/location and keep records like police reports, repair estimates, and inspection reports.

Provide proof of incident cause

  • Insurance will need evidence showing the damage was caused by a covered peril.

  • For vandalism or theft, provide a police report. For animal collisions, give the incident location.

Speak with the claims adjuster

  • The claims adjuster assigned to your case will investigate the incident and assess the damage to determine coverage.

  • Be responsive to their questions and requests for documentation. Communicate details clearly.

Get repair estimates

  • Your adjuster will ask you to get estimates from approved repair shops detailing the necessary work and costs.

  • Submit estimates promptly so payment can be authorized. Use shops in your insurer's network.

Pay deductible

  • For comprehensive claims, you must pay your policy deductible before repairs are covered. This ranges from $100-$1000 for most drivers.

Follow up on claim status

  • Check in periodically until repairs are complete and claim is closed. Notify adjuster of any delays, issues, or changes.

Filing an accurate claim helps ensure you get your vehicle fixed properly without unnecessary costs or delays. Work closely with your insurer and supply requested details to facilitate smooth processing.

Avoiding insurance fraud

When filing a comprehensive claim for engine or other damage, it is important to avoid insurance fraud. Fraud occurs when someone deceives or misleads an insurance company to collect an improper payment. Here are some tips:

Be truthful about damage causes

  • Never exaggerate or falsify how the damage occurred. For example, don't claim vandalism if it was a mechanical failure.

Disclose pre-existing damage

  • If there was previous wear, defects, or damage, make sure to point this out to the claims adjuster.

Provide accurate repair estimates

  • Do not inflate repair costs or charge for unnecessary work. Stick to the estimated scope from mechanics.

Use approved vendors

  • Have qualified, reputable shops perform repairs within insurance company guidelines. Avoid questionable vendors.

Avoid staged incidents

  • Never purposely damage your own vehicle or work with others to fraudulently stage damage.

Double check claim details

  • Review the claim information you submit for accuracy. Correct any mistakes immediately.

Keep personal documentation

  • Hold onto relevant records, photos, reports, receipts, etc. to justify claim details if questioned.

Cooperate fully with claims process

  • Respond to the adjuster's inquiries promptly and provide complete information.

Be wary of claim Mills

  • Avoid body shops that push unnecessary work or those flagged for suspicious claims.

The best approach is being transparent through the claims process. Only report and claim verifiable damage directly caused by a covered peril. Keep thorough records and work cooperatively with your insurer. This helps prove the validity of your claim.

Insurance fraud often leads to denied claims, canceled policies, and even lawsuits or criminal charges. It raises rates for all customers. Protect yourself by ensuring every part of your claim is truthful and accurate.

Getting quotes for comprehensive coverage

When shopping for car insurance, get quotes that include comprehensive coverage to protect your vehicle from non-collision damage. Here are some tips:

Compare quotes from multiple insurers

  • Rates for the same driver vary between insurance companies, so compare quotes to find the best deal. Get at least three quotes.

  • Use online tools or work with independent agents who can provide quotes from multiple carriers.

Look at both premiums and deductibles

  • Focus on total out-of-pocket costs - deductibles as well as premiums. A higher deductible may lower your premium.

Consider extras like glass coverage

  • See if adding glass coverage reduces your comprehensive deductible for glass claims. This provides additional savings.

Review policy limitations

  • Make sure the quote includes comprehensive coverage details like dollar limits and exclusions. Avoid gaps in protection.

Inquire about discounts

  • Ask each insurer about discounts you may qualify for, like multi-policy, safe driver, anti-theft devices, etc. Discounts lower premiums.

Check insurer ratings

  • Verify the financial strength of insurers you are considering with rating firms like A.M. Best. Choose highly rated providers.

Compare coverage amounts

  • Make sure quotes offer adequate coverage limits for the value of your vehicle. Check guidelines for your state.

Review comprehensive loss history

  • Insurers may ask about past comprehensive claims. Multiple claims can increase your premium.

Getting quotes from multiple top-rated insurers and comparing all costs ensures you get the best comprehensive auto insurance rate for your situation. Check that the policy meets your needs before purchasing.


In summary, comprehensive coverage is an important add-on to auto insurance policies, providing protection for damage from non-collision perils like theft, vandalism, weather, and fire. However, it does not cover mechanical breakdowns or engine failure that occur naturally over time.

If you experience a major engine repair cost due to normal wear and tear, options like manufacturer warranties, extended warranties, and mechanical breakdown insurance can help pay for repairs. These provide protection beyond your standard comprehensive policy limits.

Overall, comprehensive is essential for shielding your vehicle investment against many hazards outside of your control. By combining it with additional mechanical coverage, you can more fully protect against both collision and non-collision car damages. Discuss options with your insurance provider to ensure you have adequate, cost-effective protection.

Other readers were also interested in the following posts:

How does comprehensive coverage differ from liability coverage or collision coverage?

Does My Comprehensive Car Insurance Cover Me to Drive Another Car?  

Comprehensive Insurance vs Collision: Which One is Right for You?

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