Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Can Help Keep Cars Running
But such policies are not always needed.
In general, most auto manufacturers provide significantly comprehensive factory warranty protection, such as "bumper to bumper" warranties that will fix virtually any legitimate repair that might be needed for up to 100,000 miles when a vehicle is bought new.
In such instances, a mechanical breakdown plan is not needed.
But even the protection provided by such factory plans do have their limits, such as failing to maintain the proper amount of oil, driving a vehicle too long with too little lubricant and suffering an engine failure as a result.
Negligence never is covered by any type of insurance plan or manufacturer warranty.
But when buying a relatively new vehicle that is no more than 18 months beyond its date of manufacture, a mechanical breakdown plan could prove to be a good bargain, especially if the factory protection does not carry over to the new owner.
Mechanical breakdown insurance plans can be bought for as little as $75 per year and provide a comprehensive amount of protection against possible mechanical breakdowns, such as an alternator or starter motor suddenly going bad, a radiator failure or some other problem that might lead to bigger issues, such as a seized motor and dead engine.
In such instances, mechanical breakdown coverage would result in a very affordable repair and the return of the vehicle after paying the requisite deductible, which often times is between $200 and $400 dollars.
But even in those cases, limitations apply beyond deductibles.
General maintenance and wear and tear items, such as brake work, are not covered.
And before a vehicle is repaired, the insurer must be contacted, which will delay covered repairs for at least a day or two before being told where repair work can be done.
And if repair work begins before the insurer approved, the work likely will not be covered.
In most cases, the items being replaced will be made of aftermarket parts of lesser quality than the original manufacturer's equipment, which also is known as "OEM" and stands for "original equipment manufacturer.
" Some insurers are better at covering vehicle breakdowns and can initiate legitimate repair work in only a couple days.
But other insurers might take a week or more to get the vehicle approved for repairs and scheduled in an insurer-approved shop.
And that could mean renting or borrowing a vehicle for longer than many people would like.
Also, towing costs might not be paid by the insurance plan, leaving the vehicle's owner subject to yet more cost.
Some people also have significant vehicle repair experience or know people who do and can trust a garage or other facility to get the job done right.
And many car types have fine warranties and a well deserved reputation for not breaking down, making purchase of such policies more of a luxury than a necessity.