minivan mechanical breakdown insurance

What Does Mechanical Breakdown Insurance for Used Cars Cover?

Do you know what mechanical minibus insurance for used cars covers? Read our guide to find out.

One of the risks of buying a used car is that it could be a lemon. To protect yourself from unforeseen costs resulting from unexpected out0-of-pocket repairs, you may want to get mechanical breakdown insurance for used car.

Depending on the type of used vehicle you have bought, the insurance may be called mechanical breakdown minibus insurance, mechanical breakdown lorry insurance, mechanical breakdown SUV insurance, and so on.

In this article, we’ll expound the cost, coverage and eligibility of mechanical breakdown insurance, also known simply as MBI. Most insurance companies recommend this cover when you are buying a used vehicle. However, how does it compare to an extended auto warranty cover?

Read on to find out.

Overview of Mechanical Breakdown Insurance for Used Cars

As the name implies, mechanical breakdown insurance for used cars is meant to protect you against costs arising from repairs or replacements of major parts of the used vehicle you have bought. The policies are usually offered by various companies as additional cover options to your general car insurance policy.

mechanical breakdown insurance for used cars
Young professional elegant worried businessman in the suit is looking under the car hood trying to figure out the problem while leaning against the car, using smartphone.

What Does Mechanical Breakdown Insurance for Used Vehicles Cover?

Generally, an MBI policy covers the following:

  • Engine parts
  • Electrical components
  • Brakes
  • Exhaust
  • Transmission
  • Drivetrain

In addition to the above, some insurance providers also cover the fuel system, air conditioning, and steering.

What is Not Covered by Mechanical Breakdown Insurance for Used Covers

Generally, MBI doesn’t cover the following:

  • Intentional improper maintenance, corrosion, misuses or damage
  • Regular maintenance tasks, such as suspension alignment and tune-ups
  • Damages resulting from acts of nature or collisions
  • Certain parts such as spark plugs, tires, brake shoes, brake pads and linings, coolant and fluids, lubrication and filters.

Standard auto insurance does not cover regular maintenance or breakdowns. However, if you purchase MBI as an add-on to your auto insurance, some expensive repairs resulting from breakdowns may be covered.

Keep in mind that mechanical breakdown insurance is not a substitute of car insurance. Apart from drivers in New Hampshire and Virginia, you will need car insurance to meet the minimum state requirements for liability.

How Much Does MBI Cost?

According to a survey done by, the average cost of mechanical breakdown insurance policies ranges from $30 to $100. These prices are much lower than the average cost of an extended warranty. However, they come with a deductible of between $200 to $250. This deductible amount is higher than the typical extended car warranty deductible.

Deductible refers to the out of pocket expenses you will incur when you take your car to the repair shop for a covered repair.

Car on lift in a repair garage
Car on lift in a repair garage

Despite the high deductible, there is an advantage; more comprehensive coverage. MBI covers more items than an extended warranty policy.

Generally, the cost of MBI insurance policy is determined by a combination of factor, including:

  • Your car’s year of manufacture
  • Miles covered as shown on the odometer
  • The make and model of the car

If your vehicle has high mileage or is “too old”, you might have a difficult time getting an affordable MBI cover.

Which Companies Offer Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?

You can purchase MBI cover from your insurance provider, different financial institutions, and select car dealerships. In the US, the most well-known MBI provider is GEICO. Other players in the industry include:

Provider Coverage/Eligibility Requirements
USAA 10 years old or younger with less than 115,000 miles
Mercury 7 years old or younger with 100,000 miles
GEICO Available for new or leased cars 15 months old or younger
and have below 15,000 miles on the odometer
AAA Cars of any age with any number of miles

21st Century Auto and Progressive also offer MBI which are, however, underwritten by other companies. If you are looking for MBI cover, it would be better to go with any of the four providers we’ve listed above.

How is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Different from Extended Warranty?

When purchasing a car, whether used or new, you have different options at protecting yourself from unexpected costs resulting from repairs. Usually, the salesperson will pressure you into buying extended warranty protection. However, before you sign up the policy document, find out whether mechanical breakdown insurance will cover you just fine. Also, weigh the pros and cons of these two insurance covers to know what to expect.

Like is the case with extended warranty, MBI offers coverage for repairs when the original manufacturer’s warranty expires. If you are buying a used car, your car is likely not to be eligible for the original manufacturer’s warranty on various parts. Therefore, you will have to decide whether to buy MBI or go for extended car warranty.

Here are some scenarios where it makes sense to purchase MBI rather than extended warranty.

  • Sometimes, MBI may cover more parts than an extended warranty
  • MBI covers are regulated by state insurance commissioners. These commissioners ensure quality coverage an claims processing for consumers.
  • Most MBI plans last 6 to 7 years, while factory warranties typically last 3 to four years after purchase.

Carefully weighing the pros and cons of mechanical breakdown insurance and extended warranty insurance will help you decide which plan will be suitable for you.

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