Mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) is a type of insurance policy that covers the repairs or replacements of certain vehicle parts after they break down. Unlike standard car insurance, which covers repairs after a collision, MBI pays for parts that are damaged due to normal use, similar to a car warranty.
In this article, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of mechanical breakdown insurance, including what’s typically covered, how much a policy costs, and which insurers offer the best MBI policies. We’ll also explain the difference between MBI and extended car warranties to help you decide which coverage may be a better fit for you.
You’ll need to reach out to your insurer to see how much mechanical breakdown insurance would cost for your vehicle, but you can start comparing free, personalized quotes from the industry’s best extended auto warranty providers below.
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Table of contents
- What is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Coverage
- Cost of Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
- Who Has the Best Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance vs. Other Vehicle Coverage
- Conclusion: Is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Worth It?
- Extended Car Warranty Recommendations
What is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?
Mechanical breakdown insurance is a protection plan for your vehicle that you can purchase in addition to your standard car insurance policy. MBI policies are more similar to extended car warranties in that they protect you against having to pay for damage due to a mechanical breakdown or part failure.
MBI policies are not required by law and are only sold by select insurers.
Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Coverage
Unlike other insurance products, like liability insurance, mechanical breakdown insurance does not cover collision damage or injuries after an accident. It only covers damage from normal use, such as an engine failure or air conditioning leaks.
The specific parts covered under an MBI policy will differ depending on the insurance provider you choose. However, typical parts and systems that may be covered by mechanical breakdown insurance include:
- Drive axles
- Steering components
- Air conditioning
- Fuel system
- Engine cooling system
Mechanical breakdown insurance policies can be quite comprehensive, but like any insurance product or extended service plan, they won’t cover everything. Again, exclusions will vary by provider, but in general, MBI policies do not cover:
- Routine maintenance services like oil and filter changes
- Spark plug replacements
- Tires and tire rotations
- Brake pads, shoes, and linings
- Wear-and-tear parts like wiper blades and air filters
- Damage to the exterior trim such as scratches, dents, and paint chips
- Interior upholstery and other cosmetic items
Cost of Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
Like car warranties and other insurance policies, the cost of mechanical breakdown insurance varies for each driver. In our research, we’ve seen companies sell policies costing anywhere from $30 to $100 per year. This is significantly cheaper than a typical vehicle service contract.
The standards that companies use to determine the cost of MBI, traditional car insurance, and car warranties are somewhat similar. All three types of vehicle protection vary in cost depending largely on the following:
- Year, make, and model of your vehicle
- Vehicle age and number of miles on your odometer
- Coverage provider you choose
- Level of coverage you select
- Deductible you choose
- Length of coverage
Additionally, MBI and other insurance policy costs will depend on your driving record, age, gender, and marital status. Extended warranty companies generally do not take these factors into consideration when determining price.
Who Has the Best Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?
Only a few major insurance companies offer MBI coverage, and according to our research, GEICO has the best mechanical breakdown insurance on the market. GEICO’s MBI policy is an exclusionary plan that can cover most mechanical vehicle parts up to 7 years or 100,000 miles.
However, not all vehicles are eligible for GEICO MBI, as it can only be purchased if your vehicle is less than 15 months old and has less than 15,000 miles on the odometer. Drivers who do not qualify for GEICO MBI might find better coverage with an extended car warranty.
GEICO mechanical breakdown insurance policies are comprehensive and are backed by a reputable leading insurer. GEICO currently holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and an A++ AM Best financial strength rating, which indicates the company has great customer service and a superior ability to pay out customer claims.
If you’re a current GEICO policyholder with a new car, adding MBI may be a great way to get extended vehicle protection at a low price. However, if you aren’t already a GEICO customer or if your car is older than 15 months/15,000 miles, you may want to look elsewhere for coverage.
Mechanical Breakdown Insurance vs. Other Vehicle Coverage
Like mechanical breakdown insurance, extended car warranties cover certain vehicle parts in the event of mechanical failure. These plans are typically more comprehensive and, therefore, more expensive than MBI policies.
Here is a breakdown of key differences between mechanical breakdown insurance, car insurance, and extended car warranties:
|GEICO Mechanical Breakdown Insurance||Extended Car Warranty||Car Insurance|
|Coverage||Covers vehicle parts after a mechanical breakdown that’s a result of normal use||Covers vehicle parts after a mechanical breakdown that’s a result of normal use||Covers damage caused by a collision, theft, weather event, or other incident|
|Required By Law?||No||No||Yes, in most states|
|Average Annual Cost||$30 to $100||$450 to $1,100*||$650 to $1,450**|
|7 years or 100,000 miles||15 years or 250,000 miles||N/A|
|Deductible Options||$250 or $500||$0, $100, $250, $500||Vary depending
on the type of coverage
|Regulations||Regulated by state insurance commissioner||Varies by state||Regulated by state insurance commissioner|
*Cost per year of warranty coverage based on quotes collected by our review team for more than 20 leading warranty companies.
**Cost based on 2017 data collected by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Conclusion: Is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Worth It?
A mechanical breakdown insurance policy could be worth it for drivers who want to protect their vehicles for a few years after their factory warranties expire. However, if you want more peace of mind and don’t mind spending extra for more comprehensive, longer coverage, you should consider an extended car warranty.
While GEICO mechanical breakdown insurance may offer all the coverage you need, you could find the flexibility and benefits of an extended car warranty outweigh those offered by an MBI policy.
Extended Car Warranty Recommendations
An extended car warranty is a solid alternative to mechanical breakdown insurance if you’re looking to avoid paying for costly vehicle repairs out of pocket. We’ve done a thorough review of the auto warranty industry, ranking companies based on their coverage options, average costs, customer service reviews, and more.
You can read more about our two top-rated providers, Endurance and CARCHEX, below. Remember, it’s always smart to get quotes from multiple companies (and insurers if you’re looking for mechanical breakdown insurance) before deciding on coverage.
Endurance: 4.9 Stars
Endurance is our highest-rated provider because of its comprehensive vehicle service contracts and strong industry reputation. Here are some key facts about Endurance extended warranties:
- Endurance administers its own extended warranty plans, which cuts out the middleman and makes the quotes and claims processes more efficient.
- Based on our industry review, Endurance’s coverage is the best in the business.
- There are five coverage options to choose from, including a specialty plan for high-mileage vehicles.
- All Endurance plans come with an outstanding benefits package that includes a free year of Endurance Elite Membership enrollment.
You can learn more about this provider in our full Endurance warranty review, and reach out for a free, personalized quote right away by clicking below.
Endurance is our pick for best coverage with its comprehensive warranty options.
CARCHEX: 4.8 Stars
If you’re looking for a provider that scores highly in terms of customer satisfaction, check out CARCHEX. According to our research, CARCHEX offers the industry’s best service. Here’s what you need to know about CARCHEX warranties:
- There are five comprehensive coverage plans to choose from.
- Coverage limits can extend up to 10 years/250,000 miles.
- CARCHEX has been in business for over 20 years and is one of the most well-regarded extended car warranty providers in the industry.
- Customers have given CARCHEX thousands of positive online reviews.
If you want to learn more about whether a CARCHEX warranty could be the best fit for you, read our in-depth CARCHEX review. You can also click below to get a free, no-obligation quote from the provider.