Does car insurance cover electrical problems?

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In a nutshell...
  • Auto insurance will pay for electrical repair only if it caused by a sudden, unexpected and covered issue
  • If you want to file a claim against your own policy, you must have comprehensive and collision coverage
  • If a falling object, missile, flood, fire, or live animal damages the electrical system in your car, it’s covered under comprehensive insurance
  • If you crash and a crash then causes damage to any component of your vehicle, it will be covered under collision
  • When filing a claim against your own insurance you will have to pay the applicable physical damage deductible

Unlike transmission problems and engine defects, there are hardly ever red flags to look for that would signify that your vehicle is about to suffer from an electrical breakdown. Years ago, cars didn’t have computers or fancy electrical features.

Today, a car’s electrical system is made up of the following components:

  • Battery
  • Alternator
  • Headlights
  • Computer system
  • Oxygen sensors
  • Various other parts

When your bulbs burn out or an electric motor malfunctions on your sunroof, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to pay for the bulbs, motor, and labor out of pocket.

It’s when an event causes the damage to your electrical system that your insurance may wind up paying. Compare car insurance quotes right here to find the coverage and price that are right for you.

Is the breakdown because of wear and tear?

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Since a car’s battery is what powers each and every electrical component on a vehicle, from the daytime running lights to the car stereo, the system is put through the ringer each and every time the car is operated.

It’s not unusual for a vehicle to have electrical problems as it ages. If the cause of the electrical problem happens over time, it’s classified as wear and tear.

If you file a claim for faulty or damaged electrical components in your vehicle, one of the first things your claims adjuster is going to assess is whether or not the system breakdown was caused by wear and tear.

As advanced as technology is and as durable as newly manufactured cars are, they still deteriorate over time.

Wear and Tear Exclusions

If the breakdown happened because of a worn down electrical system, the claim won’t be covered. There is a very strict and very specific exclusion built into all property and casualty policies, auto insurance policies included.

That exclusion says that claims for damage that’s a result of wear and tear won’t be covered.

If you have a full coverage insurance plan it’s frustrating to learn that common issues like these aren’t covered. That’s primarily because auto insurance designed to pay for repairs that are needed as a vehicle deteriorates over time.

It’s also not designed to pay for system defects. Your car insurance pays for damages caused by sudden and unexpected events only.

Is there a way to have wear and tear repairs covered?

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Auto insurance might not pay for your electrical wear and tear but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have any sort of protection.

If your car is still under the manufacturer’s warranty, you have purchased mechanical breakdown coverage, or you buy an extended warranty through a dealer or credit union, you may be in luck.

It’s wise to do a lot of research on the standard new car warranties and the extended offerings before you decide to buy a specific car at a specific dealership.

Today, warranties offered by the manufacturer have come a long way.

By law, all manufacturers must cover emissions control systems for eight years or 80,000 miles.

Electrical systems are covered under most standard bumper-to-bumper warranties that could last as little as 36 months or as long as ten years.

Most brands only cap the coverage for electrical components to three years, but some of the luxury brands with more solid warranties will extend the electrical coverage to four years.

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What does sudden and unexpected mean?

If you’re confused by what type of physical damage is covered by insurance, you’d have to have a deeper understanding of what sudden and unexpected means.

When you file a third-party claim for damaging someone else’s car in an accident it’s pretty straightforward because you know you collided with the other car and you’re liable to pay for the damages.

It’s more complicated when you file a claim for your own car. There are the basic claims for collisions that you can easily grasp and then there are more complicated comprehensive claims.

Accidents with cars or other objects are sudden and unexpected, but other types of damage can be as well. Insurance covers you for damages resulting from collisions and these other scenarios.

“Sudden” is a very important term used when you talking about insurance claims.

The reason sudden is used in the definition of covered losses because it clears up the fact that damage that is sustained over time isn’t covered (wear and tear).

Unexpected clears up the fact that the damage can’t be intentional and must be accidental. As long as these two conditions are met, the coverage should pay for repairs.

What type of coverage do you need to file a claim?

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The type of coverage that you need to file a legitimate claim against your own policy depends on the events that led to the damage.

No matter what happened, you’ll have to have some form of physical damage coverage for your own policy to pay benefits for electrical repairs.

These coverage options consist of the following:

  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Uninsured Motorist

When does collision pay for the repairs?

There are a few scenarios when collision would pay for repairs to the battery, alternator, or other electrical system components.

The first scenario is when you collide with a car and the car suffers damage under the hood that will affect electrical components in your car.

As long as you’re at fault for the claim, your collision insurance will pay. Coverage might also pay when you’re not at fault but the other party wasn’t insured.

If you have Uninsured Motorist Property Damage, you can file an uninsured motorist claim for repairs and you won’t have to pay any deductible.

When does comprehensive coverage pay for repairs?

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It’s much more common for vehicle owners to file comprehensive claims for their electrical breakdowns. That’s because of the types of perils that are covered under comprehensive.

If your car floods, suddenly catch on fire, or something falls on it, you can file a comprehensive claim. Damage caused by rodents and other live animals is also covered. Which is important if mice chew through your wire during winter seasons.

Your car insurance may cover electrical problems if they were caused by a covered peril. If you’ve failed to maintain your system and it breaks down, that is something you’ll have to pay for yourself.

If, however, you experience a sudden loss and you have the right coverage, you may be able to file a claim. Be sure to select the right limits and coverage types when you get your quotes online so that you have sufficient protection.

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