Mechanical breakdown insurance for used cars helps pay for unexpected repairs that may be needed over your vehicle’s lifetime. This type of policy could be a great investment, but is it the right choice for your vehicle protection?
This article reviews the coverage offered by mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) policies. Find out more about MBI coverage and decide whether you’d be better off with mechanical breakdown insurance or an extended auto warranty, which provides similar coverage but has less strict eligibility limits.
Our review team has collected information on every major warranty provider on the market, using this data to rate and rank the best extended car warranty companies. If you’re considering an MBI policy or an extended warranty for your used car, be sure to read our recommendations and compare personalized quotes above.
What is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?
Mechanical breakdown insurance covers the cost of repairs should your car experience mechanical failure. Most MBI policies cover numerous vehicle components, with the exception of wear-and-tear items like brake pads, shock absorbers, wheels and wiper blades.
Mechanical breakdown insurance for used cars can act as a valuable safety net, ensuring that if the vehicle you purchase turns out to be unreliable, you won’t be stuck paying for repair after repair to keep it running. Specific coverage terms can vary by provider, so check your policy for a full list of exclusions.
What MBI does not cover is damage that results from an accident or collision. Liability, collision and comprehensive insurance policies are required to pay for repairs resulting from an accident.
Cost of Mechanical Breakdown Insurance for Used Cars
Like every type of car insurance, the cost of mechanical breakdown insurance for used cars will depend on your specific vehicle and provider. Most MBI policies are relatively inexpensive. According to The Wall Street Journal, the average policy costs just $75 per year.
Some providers may offer cheaper pricing. For example, Geico customers have reported paying as little as $30 per year for coverage – just $2.50 added to their monthly premium.
To find out what mechanical breakdown insurance would cost for your used car, you’ll need to reach out to different providers for your own quotes.
Should You Buy Mechanical Breakdown Insurance for Used Cars?
Mechanical breakdown insurance for used cars can be an inexpensive way to get added peace of mind on the road and finance the long-term costs of car ownership. As an insurance product, all MBI policies are subject to state insurance regulations, which provide an additional layer of consumer protection.
However, make sure to read your provider’s MBI policy thoroughly before adding the extra coverage. Contracts may be filled with exceptions that could limit how helpful an MBI policy will be in the event of a breakdown.
When deciding whether to purchase an MBI policy, consider the age and reliability of your vehicle. New, low-mileage vehicles are likely still protected by their manufacturer warranty, which will pay to repair or replace faulty parts. Factory warranties typically last for the first 3 years or 36,000 miles, but the best new car warranties can last much longer.
Pros and Cons of Mechanical Breakdown Insurance for Used Cars
Below, we’ve detailed the pros and cons of MBI to help aid in your decision making.
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Only a few major insurance providers offer mechanical breakdown insurance for used cars. The biggest companies that sell MBI policies include AAA, Allstate, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Mercury Insurance, USAA and 21st Century.
Each provider has different coverage eligibility requirements, which may limit the ability to purchase mechanical breakdown insurance for used cars. Geico MBI policies can only be purchased for vehicles less than 15 months old and with fewer than 15,000 miles. USAA MBI policies can be purchased for vehicles up 10 years old with up to 115,000 miles.
If you aren’t eligible for MBI through your current provider, it may not be worth it to switch providers just to add on mechanical breakdown insurance. Instead, consider an extended car warranty, which can give you more comprehensive coverage and flexible protection. Read on to find out more about the industry’s most reputable extended car warranty companies.
Best Extended Warranties for Used Cars
Because most insurers don’t offer mechanical breakdown insurance for used cars, and those that do can have strict coverage eligibility limits, you may have an easier time purchasing an extended car warranty. Two of our top recommended aftermarket car warranty providers are Endurance and CARCHEX.
Endurance: Best Provider
Endurance offers vehicle protection plans that extend as high as 8 years/200,000+ miles. Endurance Select Premier coverage is designed specifically for high-mileage vehicles with over 150,000 miles, so if your used car is older, it may be a great protection plan for you.
Available Endurance coverage levels include:
Supreme: Exclusionary, bumper-to-bumper extended warranty that covers most mechanical and electrical parts
Superior: Comprehensive, named-component plan that covers hundreds of listed parts, including everything in the lower-tier Secure Plus plan as well as the cooling system, suspension and fuel system
Secure Plus: Mid-level plan that everything in the lower-tier Secure plan, plus coverage for the air conditioning, brake components and steering
Secure: Basic powertrain plan that covers parts of the engine, transmission and drivetrain
Select Premier: High-mileage plan that covers most powertrain components
Get a free, personalized Endurance warranty quote below.
CARCHEX: Best for High-Mileage Cars
CARCHEX contracts extend as high as 10 years/250,000 miles, whichever comes first. The CARCHEX Silver plan protects high-mileage cars by providing coverage for most major vehicle systems.
CARCHEX plan levels include:
Titanium: Covers nearly all vehicle components and systems, excluding a short list of non-covered parts
Platinum: Covers items in the lower-tier Gold plan, plus the suspension, high-tech electronics and fuel delivery system
Gold: Covers everything in the lower-tier Silver plan, plus adds braking system components and full coverage for steering, electrical and air conditioning components
Silver: Includes powertrain coverage as well as limited electric, air conditioning and steering components
Bronze: Provides basic coverage for the engine and transmission