Why you can trust The Zebra

The Zebra partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed agents. Reference our data methodology and learn more about how we make money.

What is mechanical breakdown insurance coverage?

Mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) is an auto insurance coverage option that covers repairs to all mechanical parts of a new vehicle damaged in circumstances other than a collision. If a vehicle's AC compressor is damaged and it needs to be replaced, a standard insurance policy would not cover it — but mechanical breakdown coverage would.

Because MBI is optional, you should think carefully about whether or not you require this additional coverage when checking out quotes. Let’s outline pros and cons of mechanical breakdown coverage and highlight the companies that provide it.

question magnifying glass

Is car repair insurance the same as mechanical breakdown insurance?

 

Technically speaking, there is no single coverage called car repair insurance. The term car repair insurance could actually be applied to any insurance policy that offers auto repair to your vehicle. MBI is one such form of this coverage, as are collision and comprehensive coverage, as these forms cover damages to your vehicle. These forms are different, however, as mechanical problems — such as issues with the drivetrain — aren't typically covered by collision or comprehensive coverage, but are often covered by MBI.

Any covered repairs will usually be specified on your insurance policy. Policyholders should consult their car insurance company to address questions regarding covered perils or whether or not repair coverage — or a protection plan — can be added on top of the factory warranty. Ultimately, the type of insurance you choose depends on many factors, including whether you drive a new or used car as well as the scope of the service contract offered by your dealership. While not a specific type of coverage, car repair insurance can be a smart option, especially if it minimizes the hit you take at the repair shop.

tow truck

What does mechanical breakdown insurance cover?

 

Mechanical breakdown insurance covers vehicular damage occurring outside of a car collision. Much like comprehensive or collision coverage, MBI is subject to variable deductibles. In order for mechanical breakdown insurance to provide coverage, the value of repair costs needs to be greater than the policy's deductible. A typical mechanical breakdown deductible is $250.


Typically, the following parts can be covered by MBI:

  • Engine
  • Transmission
  • Exhaust
  • Air conditioning
  • Technical components, computer

What is not covered?

  • Tune-ups
  • Oil changes
  • Tire repair or rotation
  • Intentional damage
  • Damage caused by misuse

Mechanical breakdown insurance vs. extended mechanical warranty

Most new vehicles come with a car warranty lasting between one and three years. An extended warranty is exactly what it sounds like — it extends the vehicle's warranty beyond its original expiration date. While details may vary based on the dealership and the vehicle, mechanical breakdown insurance may overlap with an extended warranty.

There are a few key differences between mechanical breakdown coverage and an extended warranty. MBI allows you to choose the repair facility you'd like to use — with an extended mechanical warranty, you must use the approved repair facility in order for the warranty to cover the costs. Another difference includes the way you pay for and purchase the products. Extended warranties are often paid for with lump sum fees and can be relatively pricey up front. Mechanical breakdown insurance costs are added to insurance premiums as a monthly fee

car warranty

Like much in the insurance industry, deciding which option is best for you depends on your needs. Not every auto insurance company provides mechanical breakdown coverage. If they do, it may be offered through a third party.

Let’s break down some of the companies providing mechanical breakdown insurance coverage in some form or another.

Extended warranties are often paid for with lump sum fees, whereas mechanical breakdown insurance costs are added to insurance premiums as a monthly fee.


Which companies offer mechanical breakdown insurance?

car
GEICO mechanical breakdown coverage

GEICO is one of the biggest providers of mechanical breakdown insurance. GEICO's mechanical breakdown coverage is for new or leased vehicles with less than 15,000 miles, purchased within the past 15 months. Once you have this coverage, it may remain active for up to seven years or 100,000 miles.

Below are damages covered and not covered by GEICO’s mechanical breakdown insurance.


Covered damage:
  • Cooling systems
  • Suspension
  • Steering
  • Transmission
  • Drive axle engine
Not covered:
  • Regular maintenance services such as changing brake pads, spark plugs, air filters, tires, or tune-ups, suspension alignment, and wheel balancing.
  • Any damage that is intentionally caused or caused by misuse
GEICO mechanical breakdown cost:

The cost of MBI will depend on the value of your vehicle. As such, GEICO does not advertise standard mechanical breakdown coverage costs. Although independent sources claim GEICO's coverage is expensive, GEICO states its MBI costs “pennies per day.”


 

insurance policy
Mercury mechanical breakdown coverage

Mercury Insurance offers its own MBI plan, called Mercury Mechanical Protection. This operates like an extended warranty, with a few tiers of coverage. Mercury's platinum plan has the highest level of coverage, covering nearly all mechanical and electrical claims. Below is what is included in each tier.

Coverage Option Gold Silver Copper
Engine failure Yes Yes Yes
Transmission and transfer case Yes   Yes
Drive axle Yes   Yes
Steering Yes Yes  
Brake Yes Yes Yes
Suspension Yes Yes  
Electrical Yes Yes Yes
Fuel system Yes Yes  
Air conditioning Yes Yes Yes
Audio center Yes    
Hardware Yes    

The platinum eliminates any exclusions from the gold, silver, and cooper plans. In addition to the coverage above, Mercury also offers the following coverage options:

  • 24/7 roadside assistance
  • Rental vehicle assistance
  • Tire protection
  • Trip interruption coverage
  • Auto deductible reimbursement (platinum only)

 

car keys
USAA mechanical breakdown insurance

Managed and serviced by Assurant Solutions, USAA’s option for MBI is called Extended Vehicle Protection. While less specific about its coverage option than GEICO, USAA’s MBI program applies to the failure of a covered fault under normal and usage of the vehicle. There are three main qualifications your vehicle must meet:

  • The vehicle needs to be younger than 10 years old
  • Less than 250,000 miles
  • Be covered under its original dealership warranty

Although they do not specifically state what is and is not covered, Assurant and USAA program offers additional coverage such as roadside assistance, car rental services, and overnight expenses. This is in addition to their mechanical breakdown coverage options.

Once your vehicle’s original dealership warranty expires, you will no longer be eligible for USAA’s MBI coverage. Because it is managed by Assurant rather than USAA, you will be dealing with their customer service and claims team. Assurant does not state how much this coverage will cost.


Is mechanical breakdown insurance worth it?

That is up to you. If you want additional peace of mind MBI could be worth the cost.

Consider the following before purchasing a mechanical breakdown policy:

  • How much does this coverage cost compared to the out-of-pocket cost?
  • Will filing an MBI claim increase my premium?
  • Does my company offer this or is it through a third party?
  • Is my existing warranty sufficient?

The best way to answer these questions is to contact an insurance agent. Do your research to learn if this optional policy is one you should consider. If you’re looking for further information related to optional coverages and car insurance, see below.

If you want to see quotes from different companies based on your driving profile, enter your ZIP code below!

online insurance quote

Find affordable auto insurance today!

or
Location pin icon
No junk mail. No spam calls. Free quotes.

RECENT QUESTIONS

How will my rate be impacted by opening a comprehensive claim? How is fault decided?

If it is considered comprehensive, there would be no fault on the claim so you can take that out of the equation. Comprehensive claims are best summed up as your responsibility but not your fault.
Jan 15, 2020 Seattle, WA

Are my seats covered from damage caused by a rat?

When there is an animal-involved incident, your comprehensive coverage would pay for the damages to your car. The insurance company will have to pay to repair the damage that was done to the car.
Sep 7, 2018 Cortlandt Manor, NY

If I have comprehensive and collision insurance through my dealership, am I still legal?

Even though car insurance is required by the state and also by your lender, the state and your lender require two different types of coverage. Your lender wants you to have insurance to make sure the vehicle will be fixed or paid for if it is damaged or totaled while you're paying off the auto loan; this is called comprehensive and collision coverage.
Jul 17, 2017 Warren, MI

Does State Farm cover rodent damage to my car's electrical wiring through comprehensive coverage?

While I can't speak specifically for State Farm, most companies will cover damage caused by a rodent under comprehensive coverage. For specifics about your State Farm policy, you will want to contact them directly.
Jun 11, 2019 Brewster, NY

Ava Lynch photo
Ava LynchSenior Analyst

Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior analyst, providing insights and data analysis as one of The Zebra's property and casualty insurance experts.

Ava’s insurance career began as an agent with Farmers Insurance. Over the years, she has become an authority in all things property and casualty insurance, helping her to write informative guides for shoppers.

Ava’s work has been cited in publications such as InvestopediaThe BalanceMoney.comLiberty Mutual, U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, Car and Driver and Yahoo! Finance.

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.