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Mechanical breakdown insurance covers major failures that can occur in your car, which is often excluded in basic auto insurance. Whether its bad brakes, transmission issues or electrical system or any other major vehicle system malfunctions, MBI covers the repairs to get it fixed. File an online claim like you would with any car-related issue, and the company will reimburse you for the cost of repairs. What MBI does not cover is routine tune-ups or tire issues. It will also not cover damages caused by poor maintenance on the driver’s part. Any repairs caused by a car accident or crash goes through your collision or comprehensive coverage.

Unlike better-known types of car insurance, not every company offers MBI, nor does every driver qualify. The largest company to offer MBI is GEICO, who allows customers to opt for the coverage in online quote forms. Smaller companies that offer it include Mercury Insurance. Progressive and 21st Century also market MBI plans, but both are underwritten by other companies – and are more akin to extended warranties which are discussed below.

To qualify for MBI at GEICO, your car needs to be less than 15 months old, and have less than 15,000 miles on the odometer. Mercury’s plan is a bit broader, and will accept a wider range of cars, so long as they are under warranty. Admittedly, there is a lot of overlap between MBI and your car’s warranty in terms of coverage. Many of the things that can break down with a new car will be covered by the warranty. On the other hand, MBI plans are a bit broader than a regular warranty, and may cover breakdowns that don’t match the specific descriptions laid out in a warranty. MBI plans also last longer than warranties, which are usually for three years. Unfortunately, you have to buy MBI coverage while the warranty is still in force, in anticipation of its eventual termination. GEICO’s and Mercury’s MBI plans are good for periods of six to seven years, or 100,000 miles, whatever comes first.

How Much Does Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Cost?

Compared to the cost of insuring a car, MBI is usually not too expensive. We found quotes from New York where it only cost $30 per year for a 2016 Ford Edge with a $250 deductible. A Wall Street Journal investigation found policies could be $75 a year with deductibles up to $400. Below we list the price for cars ranging in value from about $24,000 to $64,000 which were given the same pricing for MBI. Cars with greater values, like a Tesla Model S ($70,000 and up) and the Audi R8 ($160,000), may not be covered by MBI plans. When we contacted GEICO, they informed us that cars of too high a value may not qualify for MBI.

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