Learn whether mechanical breakdown insurance is right for you and compare leading providers
New vehicles are protected under a manufacturer’s warranty (also known as a factory warranty) for a specific number of years or miles. A typical manufacturer’s warranty is a 3-year/36,000 mile warranty. After your car passes the manufacturer’s time or mileage threshold, you are now fully responsible for most or all repairs to your vehicle.
Used car owners often find that their vehicle’s factory warranty already expired or is expiring in the near future. Many of these car owners wish to extend the coverage provided by their factory warranty but are not sure how to do so.
In this article, our review team discusses what mechanical breakdown insurance is, what it covers, and whether mechanical breakdown insurance for used cars is offered today.
In this article:
- What Is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?
- Does My Used Car Qualify For Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?
- What Does Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Cover?
- What Does Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Cost?
- Pros & Cons Of Mechanical Breakdown Insurance For Used Cars
- Should I Purchase Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?
- Our Recommended Providers
What Is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?
As opposed to auto insurance, mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) covers repair costs due to mechanical failures in your vehicle, not accidents or natural disasters. MBI plans are offered by insurance companies as optional add-ons, also known as riders, to your auto insurance policy.
Does My Used Car Qualify For Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?
Different auto insurance providers have different mileage and age restrictions for their MBI policies, but these policies are often restricted to newer vehicles.
The table below shares a few leading insurance providers’ mileage and age restrictions for MBI plans.
As you can see, USAA, AAA, and Mercury offer the most inclusive plans for used car owners. Drivers looking for MBI for their used car would be wise to consider these providers for their auto insurance and MBI policy.
|Mechanical Breakdown Insurance for Used Cars||Policy|
Only available for new or leased cars that are less than 15 months old and with less than 15,000 miles
Only available for cars 10 years old or newer with less than 115,000 miles
Available for any mileage, any-year vehicles
Available for any vehicle up to seven years and 100,000 miles
What Does Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Cover?
MBI plans cover the same types of repairs that extended warranties do. The MBI coverage that a particular policy offers depends on your particular plan.
Repairs that MBI policies typically cover include needed repairs to major components of your vehicle, including your vehicle’s electrical and powertrain components. An MBI policy may also cover additional costly repairs that include your vehicle’s steering, suspension, cooling system, and climate control systems.
What Does Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Cost?
The cost of mechanical breakdown insurance for used cars depends on a variety of factors related to your vehicle and the provider with whom you choose to sign your contract.
Here is a list of some of the factors that will determine the cost of your MBI policy.
- Age of the vehicle
- Mileage of the vehicle
- Buying from a dealership versus a third-party provider
- Vehicle year, make, and model
- Level of coverage
- Number of high-tech components in the vehicle
- Driving habits and routine vehicle maintenance
Pros & Cons Of Mechanical Breakdown Insurance For Used Cars
There are advantages and disadvantages to owning an MBI if you are a used car owner. In many cases, it is wise to consider purchasing an extended warranty rather than mechanical breakdown insurance for a used car.
Below, we share three pros and cons of purchasing an MBI policy for a used car.
- No down payment: Extended warranty companies sometimes require a sizable down payment and MBI policies do not usually require a down payment. However, our review team found that leading extended warranty providers such as CARCHEX may be willing to waive a down payment.
- Work with your insurance provider: If you like your current auto insurance provider and they offer MBI, you can simply work with them to add mechanical breakdown coverage to your policy. This will save you time researching extended warranties, which are not sold by insurance companies.
- Regulated by government: Since MBI is sold as an insurance product, it is monitored and regulated by a used car owner’s state government. Therefore, the rates charged for these policies may be lower in some cases than the rates for an extended warranty.
- Limited choice of provider: Since MBI policies are sold as optional add-ons to your auto insurance policy, you have to purchase them from the company that provides you with auto insurance.
- Restrictions: As discussed earlier in this article, many MBI policies come with strict mileage restrictions and/or age restrictions for vehicles. Extended warranty companies typically offer plans that are more inclusive of older and higher mileage vehicles.
- High Deductibles: The deductibles on MBI plans are generally much higher than deductibles offered by extended car warranty companies. The reason for this difference might be because of greater competition among extended car warranty companies for customers’ business. For example, Geico’s deductible is $250, while the highest deductible offered to our review team when examining top extended warranty companies was $100.
Should I Purchase Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?
Whether or not you should purchase mechanical breakdown insurance depends on your individual situation.
If you like the auto insurance provider you currently have, you might consider asking them how much it would cost to add MBI to your policy.
In general, our review team believes that extended warranties are a better choice because of their lower deductibles, less restrictions, and more provider choices.
Our Recommended Providers
You can read more information about these two top providers below.
Endurance, which offers direct-to-consumer extended service plans, was named our Best Overall Provider for the following reasons:
- Covers automobiles with high mileage: Endurance offers extended warranties to automobiles with up to 200,000 miles. This mileage rate is much higher than most other providers.
- Outstanding reputation: Endurance appeared on the 2019 Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. It also received a 2019 Stevie Award as a “Great Employer” for its top-notch employee benefits and is a Gold Member of the Vehicle Protection Association.
- Strong industry partnership: Endurance holds a prestigious partnership with Andretti Motorsports, one of the most successful auto racing companies in the world.
CARCHEX has proven itself to be a leading provider for these reasons and more:
- Strong industry partnerships: CARCHEX partners with industry leaders such as Edmunds.com, Kelley Blue Book, and CARFAX. These partnerships are a strong sign that CARCHEX is a leading extended warranty provider.
- Excellent reputation: CARCHEX is an eight-time Inc. 5000 Hall of Fame honoree and was named a Top Workplace by the Baltimore Sun for seven consecutive years. The company also boasts an A+ BBB rating.
- Most affordable among leading providers: Our review team received sample quotes on a vehicle from the top providers in the industry and CARCHEX was among the most affordable extended warranty providers.
Deciding Between Endurance and CARCHEX
If you’re planning to buy an extended warranty from Endurance or CARCHEX but you’re not sure which provider to choose, we recommend that you take the steps below to help you make a decision. Good luck on your search.
- Receive a quote from each provider and compare their costs.
- Read our Endurance vs. CARCHEX article.
- Receive a sample contract from each and compare their coverage details.