Will my car insurance cover engine damage?

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In a nutshell...
  • Engine repairs are extremely costly, and computer-based systems control most vehicles
  • Collision coverage pays for damage to your car after an accident while comprehensive covers other things when the car is parked
  • Classic car insurance would cover damage to your engine under most circumstances

Unless you have a rider specifically added to your car insurance policy to cover engine damage, the odds are your insurance will only cover a damaged engine if the engine damage was the result of a traffic accident.

In other words, your car insurance will not cover normal breakdowns and failure from wear and tear. If you want coverage against that sort of damage, you will need to purchase an extended warranty or a repair plan.

Even when engine damage is the result of a car accident, it’s not always a given that your car insurance company will choose to fix it.

If the repairs to your engine suggest that a new engine would be a cheaper alternative, your car insurance company may total your vehicle and choose to replace it instead.

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I understand the damage from an accident, but what are these other “insured events?”

If you have a brand-new vehicle, you’ll probably notice your car insurance policy provides both collision and comprehensive coverage.

For example, the neighborhood kids might be playing baseball in the yard and end up shattering your windshield or denting your bumper with a home run ball.

If a severe storm blows up and sends your peach tree through the front of your car, any damage to the engine would most likely fall under your comprehensive coverage.

Hopefully, this is something you discussed with your local agent or the car insurance company themselves when you first purchased the policy.

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My insurance company is offering to replace my damaged engine with a used one, should I do that?

It’s not uncommon for car insurance companies to offer to replace a damaged engine with a used one in exchange for not raising your insurance premium after an accident.

Whether you should accept such an offer would generally be contingent upon your comfort level and the overall condition of your vehicle.

One thing you should be absolutely sure of before agreeing to an arrangement is that auto repair shop provides some proof of the quality of the engine.

As long as your auto repair shop finds a good quality engine with moderate to low mileage, replacing a damaged engine with a used one may not be such a bad idea.

So if they can find an engine in excellent condition with just 70k miles, it may be well worth going that route. However, if you do decide to accept the offer from your insurance company, understand you’re assuming some risk.

What do I do if my car insurance company decides to total my car?

If damages to your engine and other parts of your vehicle make it not worth fixing, your car insurance company will declare it a total loss and will issue you a check to replace it.

However, you may have two options here. The first option is that the insurance company offers you a single amount take it or leave it.

The one offer may mean more money in your pocket while the insurance company takes ownership of your vehicle. The other suggestion might be to accept a lesser settlement, but you keep your car and sell it for parts yourself.

Good examples of these types of elements include:

  • New tires
  • Chrome exhaust parts
  • Headlights and taillights on specific models
  • Interior pieces like seats and upholstery

If the difference between the high and low settlements is just a couple of thousand dollars, and a good portion of your vehicle remains intact, you might be better off accepting the smaller agreement and parting out your damaged car.

What if I own a classic car?

If you own a classic, it is probably worth a significant amount of money.

You might consider purchasing a classic car insurance policy that will cover everything from bumper to bumper. This type of insurance can be a little pricey, but when compared to the value of your classic it is well worth it.

Classic car insurance would indeed cover damage to your engine under most circumstances.

It also takes into consideration some of the things that make owning a classic car unique and often have much more broader coverage than typical auto insurance.

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