Does Car Insurance Cover Non-Accident Repairs?


Enter your ZIP code to get started

Shield

Free. Simple. Secure.

Updated: July 6, 2024

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

Car insurance usually covers non-accident repairs if you have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive insurance will help pay for repairs for covered events, like theft, vandalism or natural disasters up to your policy limits. If you have mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI), another optional coverage, your insurance will cover repairs for your car’s mechanical or electrical parts. However, if you have liability-only insurance, you’ll be left to foot the bill yourself.

Key Takeaways

carInsurance icon

Comprehensive car insurance covers a wide range of non-accident repairs, including damages from theft, vandalism, natural disasters and more.

car icon

Mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) covers repairs for mechanical failures not caused by accidents, such as engine or transmission problems.

car2 icon

Consider your location and individual needs to determine if you need additional coverage for non-accident repairs.

When Car Insurance Covers Non-Accident Repairs

Your car insurance can cover more than just accidents. Comprehensive car insurance and mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) are designed to protect your vehicle from a variety of unexpected events. Here's a breakdown of common non-accident repairs these types of policies cover:

Non-Accident Event
Active Coverage
What It Covers

Mechanical Breakdowns

Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI)

Repairs for mechanical failures not caused by accidents, such as engine failure, transmission issues, electrical problems or air conditioning malfunctions

Theft and Vandalism

Comprehensive Coverage

Damage or loss due to theft, break-ins, vandalism or malicious mischief

Natural Disasters

Comprehensive Coverage

Damage caused by natural events like hailstorms, floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes

Falling Objects

Comprehensive Coverage

Damage from falling objects, such as tree branches, rocks or debris

Animal Collisions

Comprehensive Coverage

Repairs for accidents involving animals like deer, birds or rodents

To shield your vehicle from unexpected events, consider adding comprehensive coverage or mechanical breakdown insurance to your policy. These optional coverages offer protection beyond just accidents.

WHAT ARE NON-ACCIDENT REPAIRS?

Car repairs generally fall into two categories: accident and non-accident:

  • Accident repairs fix damage caused by collisions with other vehicles or objects, like dented bumpers or broken headlights. If another driver is at fault for the accident, their liability insurance typically covers the repairs.
  • Non-accident repairs cover everything else that can damage your car, from fixing a flat tire caused by a nail to replacing a worn-out engine. This includes damage from vandalism, weather events or mechanical breakdowns.

When Car Insurance Does Not Cover Non-Accident Events

While comprehensive car insurance may provide valuable protection for non-accident events, there are some situations where it may not cover repairs or losses. Here are some scenarios when your car insurance might not cover non-accident events:

    car icon

    Wear and Tear

    Gradual deterioration from everyday use, such as worn-out tires or faded paint, is not covered.

    pickupTruck icon

    Mechanical Breakdowns

    Unless you have a specific mechanical breakdown insurance policy or warranty, repairs for engine failures, transmission issues or other mechanical problems are typically not covered.

    carAccident icon

    Damage Caused by Negligence

    If the damage is a result of your own negligence or intentional actions, such as neglecting routine maintenance or driving under the influence, your insurer might deny coverage.

    fireworks icon

    Excluded Perils

    Some policies have specific exclusions, such as damage from nuclear hazards or war.

    wristwatch icon

    Personal Belongings

    Items inside your car, like electronics or personal belongings, are usually not covered under auto insurance policies.

    car2 icon

    Aftermarket Modifications

    Damage to or resulting from aftermarket modifications or upgrades is often not covered unless specifically added to your policy.

How to File a Claim for Non-Accident Repairs

Filing a claim for non-accident repairs is similar to filing a claim for an accident, but there are some key differences to keep in mind. Below is a list of steps to help you file a claim for non-accident-related damages.

1
Document the Damage

Take clear photos and videos of the damage from various angles. Gather any relevant documentation, such as police reports for theft or vandalism or weather reports for storm damage.

2
Contact Your Insurer Promptly

Report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible, providing all relevant details and documentation.

3
Cooperate With the Claims Adjuster

Your insurer will assign a claims adjuster to assess the damage and determine coverage. Be prepared to answer their questions and provide any additional information they request.

4
Get Repair Estimates

Obtain estimates from reputable repair shops and share them with your insurer.

5
Authorize Repairs and Get Reimbursed

If your claim is approved, authorize the repairs and your insurer will typically pay the repair shop directly or reimburse you for the covered costs minus your deductible.

The claims process for non-accident repairs is similar to accident claims, but there are a few key differences. Non-accident repairs typically fall under comprehensive coverage, while collision coverage handles accidents. Also, fault doesn't need to be determined for non-accident claims, as these events are usually out of your control.

How to Get Coverage for Non-Accident Repairs

While comprehensive insurance covers a wide array of non-accident events, it doesn't cover everything. Here's a comparison of MBI, extended warranties and service contracts to help you choose the right protection for your car:

Coverage Type
Where to Get It
What It Covers
Pros and Cons

Comprehensive Car Insurance

Car Insurance Policy (Add-On)

Theft, vandalism, natural disasters (hail, flood, fire, etc.), falling objects, animal collisions and other non-accident events

Pros: Covers a wide range of non-accident events

Cons: Doesn't cover mechanical breakdowns or wear and tear, might have a separate deductible from collision coverage, could increase premiums after a claim

Mechanical Breakdown Insurance (MBI)

Car Insurance Policy (Add-On)

Repairs for mechanical failures not caused by accidents (engine, transmission, electrical, A/C, etc.)

Pros: Often more affordable than extended warranties, flexible choice of repair shop

Cons: Might not cover wear and tear or routine maintenance

Extended Warranty

Car Manufacturer

Specific parts and systems for a set period

Pros: Offered by the manufacturer, potentially longer coverage period

Cons: More expensive than MBI, might restrict repairs to dealerships

Service Contract

Third-Party Provider

Customizable coverage options

Pros: More flexibility in choosing covered components

Cons: Potentially more expensive than MBI, quality of providers vary, fine print may have exclusions and limitations

Who Needs Non-Accident Coverage

Where you live can determine how much extra protection your car needs. If your area is prone to hailstorms, flooding or even just poorly maintained roads riddled with potholes, car insurance can cover these and other non-accident incidents.

Here's who might need coverage for non-accident repairs:

    windstorm icon

    Drivers in Areas Prone to Natural Disasters

    Hailstorms, floods and other natural disasters can wreak havoc on your car. Comprehensive coverage can help protect you from the financial burden of repairs.

    mortgage icon

    Drivers in Rural Areas

    If you often drive in areas with wildlife, comprehensive coverage can protect you from costly repairs due to animal collisions.

    pickupTruck icon

    Owners of High-Value Vehicles

    Comprehensive coverage can help you recoup the value of your expensive or luxury car in case of theft or damage.

    car2 icon

    Drivers Who Park on the Street

    Parking on the street leaves your vehicle vulnerable to vandalism, theft and falling objects. Comprehensive coverage can offer protection in these situations.

    car icon

    Drivers Concerned About Unexpected Events

    Even if you don't face specific risks, comprehensive coverage provides peace of mind, knowing you have protection from unforeseen events.

FAQ About Car Insurance and Non-Accident Repairs

Have more questions about non-accident repairs and insurance? We've got you covered. Here are answers to some common questions.

What is a non-accident claim?
Can a non-accident repair claim increase insurance premiums?
Does insurance cover damages if your car is damaged in a riot?

About Mark Fitzpatrick


Mark Fitzpatrick headshot

Mark Fitzpatrick has analyzed the property and casualty insurance market for over five years, conducting original research and creating personalized content for every kind of buyer. Currently, he leads P&C insurance content production at MoneyGeek. Fitzpatrick has been quoted in several insurance-related publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Fitzpatrick earned a master’s degree in economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his knowledge of economics and insurance to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.