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Does car insurance cover breakdown repairs?

Does car insurance cover breakdown repairs?

When buying a car insurance policy, you’ll likely need to check not just what’s included in the policy but also what’s excluded, in order to make sure you’re getting the full coverage you need. For instance, if you purchase a third party fire and theft insurance, it may cover damage to your car from an accidental fire or attempted robbery, but may not cover other incidents.

It’s often the details of the coverage that are not well understood, such as what might be covered if your policy includes roadside assistance. To ensure you don’t miss out on these aspects of your car insurance, consider checking the insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before finalising your policy.

Will car insurance cover engine damage?

Mechanical problems such as engine damage can cause your car to shut down without warning, which can be inconvenient and sometimes even dangerous. Unfortunately, such damage, which can be caused by wear and tear of different components, may not be covered even by a comprehensive car insurance policy.

Such a policy will likely cover the cost of towing the car and perhaps pay for the cab or other transport you need to hire while your car is out of action. You may be able to get the carmaker to pay for the damages if the car’s warranty is still active, but chances are you’ll have to pay for the repairs yourself.

In general, damage to your car due to long-term usage, including corrosion, mould, wearing down of tyres, belts and other parts exposed to friction, may not be covered even if you buy a comprehensive car insurance policy.

Most insurers may also ask you to consult them before making major modifications to your car, and likely also update your policy to reflect such changes. It is usually recommended that you service your vehicle for regular maintenance, and also ensure you don’t put strain on your car by overloading it or driving in unsafe conditions or when you are under the influence.

Is a car accident caused by mechanical failure covered by car insurance?

If your car breaks down while you’re driving it on a busy road, you may end up in a dangerous accident. You’ll likely think that your car insurance policy will cover your liability for any injuries and damages caused to other drivers as well as their cars.

Unfortunately, there’s a good chance your insurance provider will deny your claim, citing your car not being roadworthy as the reason. This usually means you’ll be faced with the prospect of paying thousands of dollars in repairs and compensation, which may be far more expensive than paying for the timely maintenance and tune-up of your car.

You’ll likely need to be especially careful if you drive a used car, in which case you should consider getting an expert to inspect the vehicle and deem it driveable before buying it. Even with a new car, you may want to ask someone knowledgeable about the kind of mechanical problems likely to arise with your car and how to avoid these.

Buying an insurance policy doesn’t prevent your car’s deterioration over time. Also, your policy will likely cover only the market value of your car in the event you’re involved in an accident and your car is irreparably damaged in a covered incident, but won’t cover the depreciation of the car.

Apart from mechanical failure, your insurance provider can also deny your claim if someone not listed on your insurance policy was driving, even if the damage was caused by a covered incident. Similarly, if you left the car parked in an unsafe location where floods or vandalism could occur, the damages may not be compensated by your insurer.

Consider speaking to your insurer about your car insurance responsibilities, which are usually also listed in your policy document, about the reasons why certain damage claims may not be approved.

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This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Georgia Brown before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.



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