Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • If you carry a policy with only liability coverage required by the state, your own insurance won’t pay for engine damage in any form
  • Whether or not engine damage is covered depends on the coverage that you’ve selected and the cause of the damage
  • If engine damage is the result of wear and tear, there’s a wear and tear exclusion that says that the insurer isn’t obligated to pay
  • Damage that’s the result of wear and tear or failure to maintain the vehicle is covered under a warranty but not under a standard auto insurance policy contract
  • Comprehensive insurance will pay for engine damage if it’s the result of a flood, a vandalism, or a other related incidents
  • Collision coverage will pay for engine damage if it’s the result of a front end collision. If the cost for engine repair and body repair exceeds the vehicle’s market value, the car will be totaled.

Your engine is the heart of your car. While maintaining your entire car is important, engine maintenance is crucial if you want your car to live a long life with few breakdowns. If you don’t maintain your engine or change your fluids regularly, your car will end up in the shop in need of regular repairs. In fact, dirty engine oil or clogged air filters can result in major engine damage after time. This is why vehicle owners should invest in regular oil changes and air filter changes to get the most life out of their engines.

Car insurance might help you pick up the pieces when your car needs repair, but it isn’t always there to help. If you’ve put off oil changes and driven your engine into the ground, there are exclusions written into your policy that say that the insurer isn’t responsible for paying to get your vehicle back on the road. If, however, the circumstances of the damage are covered under your policy, the insurer may pay. This is why all policyholders should be familiar with their coverage and how it protects them. Compare car insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!

Auto Insurance Pays for Sudden and Unexpected Losses

Auto insurance is a product that’s sold to protect property owners against sudden, unexpected, unintentional losses. This is why auto insurance is classified as property and casualty coverage.

If the loss occurred over time or was preventable, it more than likely won’t be covered.

If there’s financial loss as a result of a covered act, the policy will pay as long as the policy includes the appropriate coverage.

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Understanding the Wear and Tear Exclusion

Personal Auto Policy forms all of have property exclusions written into the contract. One of the most common exclusions you’ll find in all types of property and casualty insurance is referred to as the ‘wear and tear’ provision. Under this provision, it’s specifically stated that any causes of loss that are hidden or slow-moving are excluded under the policy. This is very relevant when you have a claim for engine damage. Some types of damaged that are classified as wear and tear include:

  • Faulty design
  • Faulty workmanship
  • Degradation
  • Mold
  • Rust
  • Corrosion
  • Latent defect
  • Ordinary damage that occurs over a span of time
  • Mechanical breakdown

What can you do to protect yourself against mechanical breakdowns?

Just because your auto insurance doesn’t provide coverage for failing parts or damage as a result of a vehicle aging doesn’t mean that you can’t buy some form of protection. Rebuilt engines cost anywhere between $2250 and $4000.

Considering that not everyone has thousands of dollars to pay to fix a damaged engine, it’s important to look for protection that helps you cover the costs.

Companies specifically sell mechanical breakdown coverage just for people who want peace of mind. This is a warranty that guards you against expensive repairs that need to be made after the typical factor warranty expires. It’s important to review the terms and conditions of a breakdown plan before you purchase it. Check out the exclusions and compare which parts are covered under different plans available on the market. The price will be determined by the car’s age, mileage and vehicle history.

Will auto insurance ever pay for engine damage?

There are a few scenarios where engine repairs or a full replacement will be covered under your policy. For coverage to extend, the cause of the damage must have been a sudden event. You’ll also need to carry physical damage under your policy so that you can make a claim. No matter what type of damage claim you have, be aware that your deductible will apply.

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When will comprehensive pay for engine damage?

There are two forms of physical damage coverage that will pay for damage to your car. One form is comprehensive, which is also referred to as ‘other than collision’. Comprehensive claims for engine damage can get a bit complicated since the causes can be due to a chain reaction. You have to consider what initially caused the loss to then determine if damage will be covered. Here are some of the perils that are covered under comprehensive that could lead to engine damage:

  • Fire
  • Explosion
  • Flood
  • Vandalism
  • Damage caused by a live animal
  • Damage caused by falling object

When will collision pay for engine damage?

You can carry comprehensive alone, or you can carry both comprehensive and collision together. If you have collision, there’s a chance damage to the engine as a result of a rollover or a crash will be covered. The damage must be because of the collision and not because of a mechanical breakdown before the collision happened. If you’re not-at-fault for the loss, the other party’s insurance will pay for your repairs.

Will a vehicle with engine damage be a total loss?

Engine damage can be expensive to repair. Depending on the extent of the damage, there’s a chance your vehicle will be totaled. The likelihood that a vehicle is a write-off goes up when the car is older or doesn’t hold much value. If the cost for the new parts and the labor are higher than the vehicle’s market value, the car will be a total loss and you’ll need to decide what action to take next.

You can keep the car and repair it or you can sell it to the insurer for a higher claim payout.

Modern engines are capable of lasting for years if they are properly taken car of. Unfortunately, these fine pieces of machinery cost a lot of money. If you suffer a loss and your car’s engine is damaged, getting back on the road might not be realistic. Luckily, your insurance carrier might be there to help. Check out your coverage and see what you’re carrying. Get quotes for full coverage with several carriers on an online rate tool and then you can decide if it’s worth it. Enter your zip code in our FREE tool below to compare car insurance rates now!