Disclosure: This content was produced by an independent editorial party for the purposes of educating our customers, and is not influenced by the other business operations of CARCHEX.

After purchasing a new or used car, you’ll need to insure it to stay compliant with state insurance laws. Your insurance company might suggest you add mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI) to your policy. The insurance agent will probably explain that MBI can help repair your car if it breaks down.

There are other, more flexible options for protecting your car. An extended warranty, for example, provides similar coverage to mechanical breakdown insurance plus extra benefits. CARCHEX offers a range of Extended Vehicle Protection Plans to help you cover repair costs due to unexpected breakdowns.

What Is Mechanical Breakdown Insurance?

Most auto insurance coverage, such as comprehensive or collision coverage, only pays to repair the damage that occurred due to an accident. Mechanical breakdown insurance provides coverage for repairs not related to an accident. It pays for all or part of repairs if covered systems wear out unexpectedly.

Generally, mechanical breakdown coverage is added to your policy as an endorsement. Car insurance endorsements, sometimes called riders, are extra coverage you choose as an add-on to your policy. These endorsements cost extra and aren’t a part of a standard insurance policy.

Not all insurance providers offer mechanical breakdown insurance. Others may require you to meet certain coverage levels to qualify for MBI. For example, an insurance carrier might require that you pay for comprehensive and collision insurance in order to add MBI to your policy.

What Does MBI Cover?

Mechanical breakdown coverage generally protects your car against unexpected breakdowns. Depending on your provider, you may be able to get different levels of breakdown insurance.


  • Major engine parts such as pumps
  • Transmission parts
  • Electrical components
  • Drivetrain

It’s important to remember that mechanical breakdown coverage doesn’t usually pay for routine maintenance or tire-related issues. Your MBI isn’t going to pay for an oil change or regular alignment of your vehicle. Poor maintenance of your vehicle can cause your MBI claim to be denied. Be sure to continue regular tune-ups and maintenance service even if you have MBI coverage.

Breakdown insurance is also not used to cover repairs for damages due to accidents or collisions. These damages are usually covered by your regular insurance coverage, such as collision coverage.

How Much Does Mechanical Breakdown Insurance Cost?

The cost of mechanical breakdown coverage varies by insurance provider. Cost of coverage will also depend on the value of your car and other factors. Since MBI is added to your insurance policy, you usually pay for coverage each month as part of your insurance premium.

You’ll also be required to pay a deductible when you file an MBI claim. Like the deductible for your standard car insurance, an MBI deductible is your portion of responsibility for covered repair costs. Car insurance company GEICO, one of the few providers with mechanical insurance, requires a $250 deductible for each covered claim.

Let’s say you have GEICO breakdown insurance coverage and need to have your engine repaired. The repairs will cost $1,000 from the auto shop. You’ll pay $250 before GEICO pays the remainder, provided the repair is covered.

Can I Get MBI for a New Car?

Almost all MBI endorsements are designed for new cars. A newer vehicle is much less likely to break down unexpectedly than one that’s been on the road for years. Of the few insurance companies offering MBI coverage, most require a car to be new or nearly new for coverage.

Can I Get MBI for a Used Car?

It’s much more difficult to add mechanical coverage for a used car. As cars age, the chance of a breakdown increases. Insurance companies don’t want to provide mechanical insurance coverage to cars that might break down. As more drivers keep their cars longer, it’s important to have breakdown coverage.

Some MBI providers won’t insure a car for mechanical coverage if the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. For certain types of vehicles, this could be as little as three years. Other providers are even more restrictive. You may not be able to add MBI coverage if your vehicle is as old as 15 months old, barely more than a year.

Mileage restrictions are also included in qualifications. Your provider may not allow you to enroll a vehicle if it has as little as 15,000 miles. For someone who drives often or has a long commute, your nearly new car may be ineligible for mechanical breakdown insurance before it turns a year old.

Female mechanic inspecting a damaged car in an auto repair garage

Difference Between Mechanical Breakdown Insurance and Extended Car Warranties

In addition to mechanical breakdown insurance, you may have heard of extended car warranties. Extended warranties, which are technically vehicle service contracts, provide much the same coverage as breakdown insurance. An extended warranty, however, doesn’t come from your insurance agent.

You can buy an extended warranty from your dealer when you purchase your car or through a warranty provider like CARCHEX. Unlike MBI, you’re not required to buy a vehicle service contract from your insurance company. You can instead shop around for the best extended warranty for your car.

Another major difference between MBI and extended car warranties is coverage options for older vehicles. Most third-party warranty providers offer protection plans for older cars of those with higher mileage. You can even find protection plans for cars with over 100,000 miles. It’s unlikely your insurance provider would allow MBI for a car with that many miles.

Why an Extended Warranty Might Be a Better Choice

An extended warranty and mechanical breakdown insurance are most likely going to cover almost the same breakdowns. With similar coverage, it doesn’t make sense to choose the more restrictive mechanical breakdown insurance.

Extended car warranties give you plenty of flexibility in almost all aspects of protecting your car, including:

  • Age of Vehicle: Older cars are more prone to breakdowns. Vehicle protection plans often have options for protecting used cars that have been on the road for years. An extended warranty for a new vehicle helps you get the best price on extended coverage as your new car ages.
  • Vehicle Mileage: Just like vehicle age, the mileage of your car plays an important role in its protection options. MBI often has strict mileage restraints, while a third-party warranty provider like CARCHEX is more open to protecting high-mileage cars.
  • Manufacturer’s Warranty: An MBI provider might drop coverage after your manufacturer’s warranty expires. Since this is when you might need protection the most, an extended warranty is the better option.
  • Choice of Provider: If you want mechanical coverage but your insurance company doesn’t offer it, you’d have to switch to a new provider that does offer it. Rather than potentially losing money or a relationship with your current insurance policy and provider, a third-party warranty gives you the coverage you need while allowing you to keep your current car insurance coverage.
  • Additional Benefits: CARCHEX and other third-party warranty providers give you additional perks with your vehicle protection plan. These benefits often include things like roadside assistance, trip interruption service, or a money-back guarantee.

CARCHEX Extended Warranties Provide Extra Perks with Coverage

Getting an extended warranty from a third-party provider gives you better control over the cost, coverage, and savings potential of your car’s protection. CARCHEX is one of the leading providers of extended vehicle service contracts for both new and used vehicles.

We offer a range of protection plans to meet almost every car and driver’s needs. Let our helpful and friendly car warranty and insurance experts help you find the perfect vehicle service contract for your car.

Extended Vehicle Protection Plans from CARCHEX

Our industry-leading protection plans come in five levels of coverage, so there’s a good fit for almost any vehicle. Whether you’ve just purchased a new vehicle and want to save money on long-term protection or have an older vehicle that may start breaking down, CARCHEX has a plan that suits your coverage requirements and budget.

Coverage LevelYears of CoverageBest ForDetails
Titanium CoverageUp to 10New car owners looking for the best long-term protection of their vehicleOur most comprehensive coverage level All parts and systems covered, minus a short exclusions list
Platinum CoverageUp to 10Affordable long-term coverage for new or low-mileage carsCoverage includes repairs for hundreds of stated components
Gold CoverageUp to 10Drivers of cars with over 60,000 miles who are looking for premium protection and affordabilityFlexible terms and comprehensive systems coverage Covers repairs for most of your vehicle’s major systems
Silver CoverageUp to 7High-mileage or older vehicles with high reliability ratingsCovers the essential systems of your vehicle in addition to powertrain coverage
Bronze CoverageUp to 6Older cars, vehicles with high mileage, and drivers looking for basic, affordable protectionProvides coverage for your car's systems that are most likely to have breakdowns

Benefits of a CARCHEX Extended Warranty

CARCHEX Extended Vehicle Protection Plans offer a lot more than great coverage for your vehicle. You’ll also get the benefits of an industry leader in car protection plans. We provide customer service you can trust, as proven by our BBB accreditation and A+ rating.

Other benefits of a CARCHEX extended warranty include:

  • Flexible Payment Options: We make your extended warranty affordable with monthly payment plan options. It’s usually easier to make a low monthly payment than to pay out of pocket for a $3,000 transmission repair.
  • Roadside Assistance at No Extra Cost: Get the peace of mind of roadside assistance with no extra cost. All CARCHEX protection plans include 24/7 emergency roadside assistance to help you when things go wrong.
  • Industry Endorsements: We’re backed by some of the leaders in the automotive industry, including CARFAX, Kelley Blue Book, SiriusXM, and more.
  • Insurance Backing: All of our protection plans are back by high-rated insurance companies. Unlike untrustworthy warranty providers, CARCHEX understands how important it is to provide repair coverage that follows the insurance industry best practices.
  • Keep Your Mechanic: We won’t make you use an unknown mechanic or repair shop to fix your car. Choose from any certified repair provider, whether that’s your local mechanic, dealership, or a national chain.
  • Repair Payments Made Easy: CARCHEX pays your repair shop directly, so you don’t have to wait for a reimbursement check. After a cover repair is made, you’ll pay your small deductible. CARCHEX handles the rest by working with your auto repair mechanic.

Start Protecting Your Car Today

Give your car the protection it needs, whether it’s brand new or has a few years on the road. A CARCHEX extended warranty can help you protect your car better than mechanical breakdown insurance.


Insurance Information Institute: https://www.iii.org/automobile-financial-responsibility-laws-by-state

The Zebra: https://www.thezebra.com/auto-insurance/car-insurance-endorsements/

Insurance Information Institute: https://www.iii.org/article/understanding-your-insurance-deductibles

Car and Driver: https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a22815727/america-household-vehicle-age/

FTC: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0054-auto-service-contracts-and-warranties

BBB: https://www.bbb.org/us/md/hunt-valley/profile/extended-warranty-contract-service-companies/carchex-0011-23015869