Does auto insurance cover transmission failure?

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In a nutshell...
  • If your transmission fails because of a mechanical defect, it may be covered under your car’s warranty
  • Transmissions that fail because they haven’t been properly maintained will not have any coverage under a warranty
  • If you’re involved in an accident and the transmission needs repairs or replacement, insurance may pay
  • If there’s a fire under your hood or your car floods, your transmission may be covered by comprehensive coverage
  • You will be obligated to pay your collision or comprehensive deductible if your transmission is covered

Car manufacturing techniques have improved dramatically over the years. Not only does it cost manufacturers less to engineer a model and then build it on the line, it also takes less time.

Even better is the fact that vehicle components have been engineered to stand the test of time if they are maintained as recommended by the manufacturer.

One vital component in any vehicle is the transmission. The engine is the what produces torque so that your car can go and your transmission is what tells your engine what gear it needs to be in.

Since the transmission is always working, it’s easy to understand that it’s one of the first major components to start failing.

If you’ve experienced transmission failure in the past, here’s what you need to know about how insurance covers transmission repair.

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How long does the average transmission last?

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How long a transmission will last depends on several factors:

  • The type of engine
  • The type of transmission
  • Your driving habits

How much you drive, the type of driving you to do, and how dedicated you are to maintaining the car are other things to consider.

Today’s modern transmissions last an average of 250,000 miles, but some well-maintained models last much longer.

Signs that Your Transmission is About to Fail

Transmissions typically don’t fail suddenly without warning. If your transmission is failing due to mileage and wear and tear, you’re going to notice the signs as long as you know what to look for.

You don’t have to be an expert mechanic to spot the signs. Here are some important signs to look for:

  • The smell of burning transmission fluid could be a sign of overheating
  • You hear odd clunking noises while the car is in neutral
  • Noises, while the car is shifting, could be a problem with gears or worse
  • If car spontaneously jumps out of gear while you’re driving your transmission could be slipping
  • If your transmission fluid is dark or it’s low it could signal a problem
  • The check engine light signals something is wrong with the transmission or its components

Auto Insurance Doesn’t Cover Wear and Tear or Mechanical Issues

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If you’re experiencing a transmission breakdown, you’re not alone. It’s one of those things you don’t want to accept when you start to see the signs, but if you ignore the issue for too long your transmission will be damaged beyond repair.

Fortunately, if you catch an issue early enough, it’s possible to keep the repair costs to a minimum.

No matter what the cost of the repairs, if you need to take your car to the shop to repair mechanical issues the work won’t be covered. Not only do you have to pay for the labor on your own, you’ll also have to pay for the parts.

Car insurance policies have a specific provision built into the contract that says mechanical failure is considered wear and tear and wear and tear is excluded. All losses have to be unexpected and sudden.

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Your Manufacturer’s Warranty May Cover Transmission Failure

All of the leading manufacturers will offer some sort of warranty on new or newer cars.

Some of these warranties cover the vehicle from bumper to bumper for as many as 100,000 miles and others will only cover certain types of mechanical issues for three years or 30,000 miles.

If you want as much protection as possible when you’re buying your vehicle, put a lot of focus on the quality of the manufacturer warranty.

Find out about what’s covered, what’s excluded, and the time and mileage restrictions. It’s especially important to find out how the transmission is protected if you’re buying a model that’s known to suffer transmission failure.

Extended Warranties and Mechanical Breakdown Insurance

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If you’re not happy with the manufacturer’s warranty, there’s also the option to buy an extended warranty through the dealer.

This extends your coverage in length. It might also expand on the coverage that you’re afforded. Only newer cars are eligible for extended warranties.

Another option would be to purchase Mechanical Breakdown Insurance through the insurer you’re with.

Not all insurers offer this supplemental form of coverage that pays for repairs after a mechanical breakdown as long as it’s not because of a failure to maintain the car.

It differs from a warranty because all parts are covered and you can get your car repaired wherever you’d like to.

How to Extend the Life of Your Transmission

There are a few practices that you should make a habit to keep your transmission running for as long as you possibly can. If you weren’t aware of what you should do in the past, there’s no better time to learn than now.

Here’s what you need to remember:

  • Check the fluid levels frequently
  • Service your car every 30,000 miles and two years
  • Add an external filter to trap more contaminants
  • Drive your car easily when it hasn’t yet warmed up
  • Use your emergency brake on an incline
  • Don’t push on gear lever while you’re driving

When will your auto insurance pay for transmission repairs?

Just because auto insurance doesn’t cover transmission problems that arise out of time doesn’t mean that the policy will absolutely never cover anything transmission related.

If you experience a covered loss and that loss damages your transmission, your insurer could be stuck footing the bill. If you’re in a collision, you need collision insurance to file a claim under your policy to collect.

Here are some examples of situations when you can file a comprehensive claim:

  • When your car is vandalized
  • When your car is stolen
  • When your car is flooded

You will still have to pay your deductible, but that’s far worse than paying for the entire repair bill.

There’s a difference between a mechanical failure claim and an insurance claim. Make sure you understand the difference between the two before calling your insurer.

If you believe that you need physical damage coverage, start seeing how much it will cost by soliciting quotes online. Use our rate comparison tool for the easiest shopping experience.

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