Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • Liability coverage pays for damage or injury caused to another individual or his property
  • First-party coverage such as collision or comprehensive pay for damages to the insured vehicle
  • Policies will not cover maintenance costs

Car insurance pays for damage to a vehicle caused by a sudden accidental loss, such as a collision or catastrophic weather event it does not provide coverage for vehicle maintenance.

Auto insurance policies carry several types of coverage that apply to different situations, so it’s important to understand precisely what is covered by your plan.

Once you know what you’re paying for, you can make informed decisions about your vehicle’s auto coverage.

First-party coverage applies to a particular situation will depend upon the cause of the damage and the facts of the loss.

In all cases, damage can only be paid if it is sudden and accidental. Damage caused slowly over time due to wear and cannot be covered under an auto policy.

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Will my car insurance policy cover an oil change?

Because car insurance policies do not cover routine maintenance, it’s important to set money aside for these costs. For example, most car manuals suggest an oil change every three months or 3,000 miles.

If there are leaks in the oil pan that go unnoticed, the engine may run dry and drive a car without oil can lead to the destruction of the engine.

If the oil leaks out of your vehicle following a collision and you continue to drive the car, however, that subsequent damage will not be covered.

The same goes for coolant or other fluid in your vehicle. In the event of an accident, you are responsible for preventing further damage to the car.

If you drive a car that is not safe to make and it causes further damage, you may have your claim be denied by your insurance company.

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Engine Damage

In some situations, engine damage caused by lost oil may be covered by insurance.

If your vehicle is repaired due to an accident and the body shop fails to replace the oil, the body shop may be liable for subsequent damage to your car.

At that point, the insurance company and the body shop must decide who will pay for this damage.

In other cases, if you take your car to the mechanic and the oil change is done incorrectly, the company’s insurance may be liable for damage caused to your vehicle.

You may be able to file the claim on your policy, but more than likely the damage will need to be handled by the company whose negligence caused damage to your car.

Repair Programs

There are a few programs designed to assist with routine vehicle repairs.

These programs are not car insurance, but they do act similarly to an insurance plan. You pay a monthly premium and agree to a deductible, and the company pays for repairs to your vehicle.

These companies are often not a good value, but they may be worth looking into depending on your circumstance.

In most cases, however, it’s cheapest to pay for regular maintenance out of pocket rather than relying on any monthly repair club.

Otherwise, an oil change would not be covered under your auto insurance policy, nor would damage caused by low oil.

If you get into the habit of regularly setting aside money to pay for your car’s routine maintenance, you can combat these costs without breaking the bank.

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