Car problems can inspire some massive headaches. Trust us; we’ve been there.

And the kinds of issues that require a mechanic’s expertise can be irritating, if not downright debilitating. Besides the unexpected expense—which can often be exorbitant—being without your car can throw a major wrench in your daily routine.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have car insurance that functions the way health insurance does? The peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’re protected in case the worst happens is part of why insurance exists. But a car breakdown or other kind of mechanical problem isn’t typically covered in your standard auto insurance policy. To protect yourself from unanticipated car trouble, you’ll need something called mechanical breakdown insurance, or MBI.

Is mechanical breakdown insurance worth it?
While MBI might sound like an attempt for insurance companies to bilk you out of more money, it’s a legitimate service that can come in handy for some people.

MBI covers a lot of the same issues that an extended warranty does, but often with less hassle. If you’re shopping around for a new car, it may make more financial sense for you to forgo the extended warranty and set up MBI coverage instead. This is because you’ll need to pay either an additional lump sum upfront at the time of your car purchase or apply it to your auto loan. Depending on your loan’s interest rate, you may find that paying your monthly insurance premium is less costly than paying off a big loan.

Unlike an extended car warranty, MBI also gives you the freedom to choose where you have your vehicle serviced.

So…what does mechanical breakdown insurance cover?
One major caveat of mechanical breakdown insurance is that it doesn’t cover routine maintenance. This includes oil changes, tune-ups, brake pads, air conditioning, alignment, and air filter changes.

It also doesn’t cover any issues related to normal wear and tear, or intentional car damages. (Your regular auto insurance policy will step in for things like vandalism.) Instead, MBI is intended to reduce some of the sticker shock of surprise car trouble, including problems relating the transmission, steering mechanisms, cooling system, and other costly repairs. Some higher-end MBI policies also cover things like stereo or entertainment malfunctions and even hardware damage. Some policies even include rental car coverage, ensuring you get back on the road as quickly as possible. Looking for more perks? Your MBI policy not only covers damage—it might even provide roadside assistance and towing, too.

Which insurance companies offer mechanical breakdown insurance?
MBI coverage isn’t as common as other types of insurance coverage, so finding a company that offers it can be tricky. Many of the large, well-known companies don’t offer MBI, with the exception of GEICO. Other companies, such as Progressive, do offer MBI but underwrite it via a third party. Mercury Insurance, 21st Century, and The Hartford are a few of the smaller companies that offer this service.

Keep in mind that most companies have fairly stringent guidelines for issuing coverage. GEICO, for example, requires that your car be less than 15 months old and have fewer than 15,000 miles on it when you apply for an MBI policy. Most companies have similar rules in place.

lets you compare quotes from top national and regional providers, whether or not you’re looking for mechanical breakdown coverage. Once you’ve gotten your quote list, use our Tailored Features and Reviews tab within each bindable quote listing. Research or contact the insurance provider with the best deal to see if they’ll provide MBI in addition to your new, ready-to-buy policy quote.

How much does mechanical breakdown insurance cost?
Insurance companies can be a bit cagey about publishing their MBI rates, especially since they can fluctuate quite a bit based on the kind of car you drive and your driving record. Insurers typically advertise MBI plans as add-ons to your auto insurance policy, as well as a cheaper alternative to an extended warranty.

Typically, mechanical breakdown insurance has a fairly low deductible—often around $250 or so. As a refresher, a car insurance deductible is a maximum amount you’ll need to pay for out of pocket.

Do you need mechanical breakdown insurance?
Unlike auto insurance, it’s not legally required to carry mechanical breakdown insurance. Only you can decide if this type of insurance policy is appropriate for you. If you’ve ever been burned by an unpleasant surprise at the mechanic, you can likely understand the value that an MBI policy might offer you.

On the other hand, if you’ve got a lot of disposable income or won’t be financially derailed by car repairs, you can probably safely skip this type of coverage. Ultimately, the choice to get mechanical breakdown insurance is entirely yours!

And don’t forget to use Our Site to get a free quote on car insurance. Heck, get anywhere from six to 20 quotes, and start comparing and saving on your own terms. We’re giving them out for free, after all!

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