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 insuranc...

Full Bio →

Written by

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our car insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different car insurance companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything car insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by car insurance experts.

People sometimes get confused as to what car insurance is responsible for paying, and as a result believe they are covered for things which their insurance does not insure. An example of this is when people confuse a “warranty” with an “insurance policy” and believe that their insurance will pay to fix a broken car engine. The truth is, no insurance company will ever pay for maintenance, repairs or other “preventative” work on your car; only car warranties cover this type of repair.

Damages from a Car Accident

There is one exception to this rule. If your car is involved in an accident and parts are needed to bring the car back to pre-accident condition, car insurance companies will pay for the purchase of these parts. To use an illustration, suppose one of your taillights went out and needed a new bulb. Your car insurance company certainly would not buy you a new bulb to put in your taillight. However, if your car was rear-ended by an uninsured motorist and that same light was smashed, your insurance company would certainly pay for a new taillight, assuming you have uninsured motorist coverage. It may seem a bit ironic that an insurance company would pay for exactly the same taillight bulb in one case would not in the other, but it is due to the purpose and nature of car insurance that dichotomies such as this exist.

Non-Accident Related Damages

If you want your car repaired or parts replaced in situations not involving an accident, you will need to have a warranty on your vehicle. Warranties are a different type of insurance policy; you pay a premium, usually up front when you purchase the car, and the warranty covers parts and labor through a certain mileage. Many new cars have manufacturer’s warranties already in place; for example, Volkswagen offers three years or 36,000 miles worth of “bumper to bumper” coverage on all new vehicles, and five years or 70,000 miles of “drivetrain protection.” What this means is that if you buy a new Volkswagen, you will have three years of warranty coverage in which you will not have to pay for any repairs to your vehicle, although you will probably have to pay the costs associated with oil changes and regular maintenance. For the first 70,000 miles, any major issues such as engine and transmission will also be covered.

What options do I have after my warranty expires?

After a manufacturer’s warranty expires, you have several options. You can purchase an “extended warranty” from the manufacturer or from another company. Many customers choose to purchase the extended warranty at the time they buy the car, so they already know they are going to get an additional year or two years worth of free service if anything goes wrong with the car. Generally speaking, the older a car is the more expensive an extended warranty is going to be.

You do not have to purchase a warranty for an older car; instead, you can take the money you would have paid for the warranty and put it into a fund to pay for your own repairs. This is a great option if you or someone in your family is handy with making light-to-moderate repairs on your car. However, if you do have an older car, you may find yourself with “nickel and dime syndrome.” This means that constant small repairs may actually add up to a total which is more expensive than if you simply purchased a new, well-constructed vehicle.

The third option is simply to buy a new car. You can do a bit of research and discover which models are consistently ranked highly for “dependability,” which means that they do not need many or very expensive repairs. Of course, any individual unit could give problems, but overall dependability ratings tend to be reliable. Finding a car which never requires any repairs is not possible, however, and you will want to budget enough in your “car allowance” to be sure you perform routine maintenance in a timely manner, which can help you extend the life of your car.