If My Car Breaks Down, Will Insurance Cover a Rental | Latest Info

Renting a car while at the workshop is possible with rental car reimbursement. So, if your car breaks down, your insurance may not cover the cost of a rental automobile. In most cases, rental car coverage kicks in only when your vehicle is under repair following an accident or other covered incident. It is not uncommon to exclude mechanical breakdowns from insurance policies.

After a car accident, you may find yourself in need of a rental vehicle. Perhaps you’ll need a rental automobile while a mechanic fixes your transmission. A rental automobile may be necessary for various reasons. But even in a covered accident, most basic auto insurance policies will not cover the cost.

It will not cover all rental car charges, but it may be worth the additional money in some cases. If you have a car insurance policy, we’ll go over whether or not your policy covers the cost of renting a vehicle. So, let’s see what to do if your car breaks down with the insurance by answering some questions:

If My Car Breaks Down, Will Insurance Cover a Rental?

If My Car Breaks Down, Will Insurance Cover a Rental

Your rental reimbursement policy will not cover a replacement vehicle if your vehicle breaks.

If you have rental reimbursement coverage and your vehicle suffer damages as a consequence of a covered loss, you may receive compensation for the expense of interim transportation. If your policy provides coverage, the rental reimbursement program will pay for a rental car while your vehicle is at the repair shop.

Because auto insurance does not typically cover mechanical failures or routine maintenance, you should expect to pay regularly for wear and tear or corrosion. Even if you have rental car reimbursement coverage, it will not cover the cost of a replacement rental car.

Therefore, if your vehicle breaks down due to mechanical issues, rival car coverage typically applies when your vehicle is at the repair shop due to an accident or other covered event.

What is “Collision Coverage”?

Regardless of who is at fault, collision coverage can help pay for repairs or replacement if your vehicle suffers damages in an accident with another car. In contrast, liability insurance helps cover damage to another driver’s car caused by an accident you cause.

As implied by its name, collision insurance compensates the insured for losses sustained due to a collision. This policy does not cover theft or vandalism-related damages. Moreover, if the other driver is guilty, any damage paid for by the other driver’s insurance policy will be out of the coverage.

If you have a collision with another vehicle, collision coverage helps cover the cost of repairs to your automobile. It could also reduce repair costs in a collision with another car or object. You may utilize it regardless of whether you are at fault.

Unlike other types of coverage, you cannot specify a deductible amount for collision coverage. It considers your vehicle’s actual market value when determining the amount you can receive. You must pay your chosen deductible.

What is “Comprehensive Coverage”?

Comprehensive insurance helps pay for the replacement or repair of your vehicle if someone steals your car or suffers damage without being in an accident.

Comprehensive insurance, also known as “other than collision” insurance, typically includes coverage for damage caused by fire, vandalism, and falling objects (like a tree or hail); when you have an accident that was not the result of a collision, comprehensive coverage can help pay for the damage to your vehicle.

For instance, comprehensive insurance covers vehicle damage caused by vandalism, hail, and animal collisions. If you hit a deer while driving and it causes damage to your vehicle, comprehensive coverage will pay for the repairs.

Comprehensive coverage extends beyond your vehicle to cover temporary replacement vehicles. Also, newly acquired vehicles and vehicles you use but do not own in the event of a covered loss.

Depending on the severity of the damage, they will pay either the repair costs of an insured vehicle less applicable deductible or the actual cash value of an insured vehicle less applicable deductible.

If you financed or leased your vehicle, your lender or lessor will require you to carry comprehensive auto insurance. This is because your lessor or lender desires protection if something goes wrong with your vehicle during the lease or loan term.

If you swerve to avoid a deer and collide with a tree, comprehensive coverage will not apply. On the other hand, collision with object coverage would.

What is “Uninsured Motorist Insurance”?

Uninsured motorist protection pays for damages caused by an uninsured driver. This coverage applies to a driver who causes a collision in which you suffer injuries or your vehicle damages. All this relates to the policy limits.

If an uninsured driver causes an accident, uninsured motorist coverage will pay for your medical bills and vehicle repairs. Uninsured motorist coverage, or UM, applies when another party is at fault for damage to your vehicle or health but lacks insurance to cover the costs.

What is “Underinsurance Protection”?

Uninsured property is a property that is insured for less than its replacement value.

An underinsured motorist policy kicks in when a person has an accident and the other driver does not have enough insurance to cover the costs. When you file a claim with your insurance company, you will contact the other driver’s insurer to make payment.

To avoid overpaying for insurance, look for an underinsurance clause in any policy you buy.

An underinsurance clause in your policy could result in only a portion of the rebuilding costs your car needs. These work to reward policyholders with complete or comprehensive coverage while discouraging the purchase of partial or incomplete coverage.

What to do if your car breaks down?

If My Car Breaks Down, Will Insurance Cover a Rental

It would be best if you did a couple of stuff. Once you suspect something is wrong, activate your hazard lights to alert other drivers. Maintain the lights for as long as possible.

Your objective should be to remain on the right side of the road. According to Consumer Reports, before pulling over, find a flat, secure area as far away from moving traffic as possible.

Apply the emergency brake and remove the wheels from the road. Ensure that your vehicle’s wheels are facing the opposite direction of traffic when parking on a hill or slope to avoid rolling into oncoming traffic.

Stay in your vehicle unless your safety requires you to leave. If you must exit the car, find a safe location and ensure the road is clear around it. Take the passenger-side exit if you are on the right side of the road.

Place flares or reflector-equipped triangles behind your vehicle to alert other drivers of your presence. Finally, call or download an application to request a tow truck, mechanic, or roadside assistance. Any other service provider who might be able to help, such as your insurance company, Dial 911, or your local police department if you are uncertain who to contact in an emergency.

How much does car insurance cover when your car breaks down?

The reimbursement of rental expenses functions similarly to other types of insurance claims. Depending on your policy, you may be eligible for a rental refund up to the maximum of your policy’s coverage. The total rental reimbursement is $900, or $30 per day for a total of $900. Contacting your insurance company or agent is the best way to determine your rental reimbursement coverage.

Rental car reimbursement has some limitations. For instance, you could be covered for up to 30 days at $30 per day. For example, a provider may set a daily cap of $25 or a claim cap of $750. You will be responsible for the excess if your rental costs exceed these limits.

Deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage may be required, although they are generally excluded from rental car reimbursement coverage.

If you’re not covered by car insurance, can you get compensation from your provider?

Some states have No Pay, No Play statutes. In certain conditions (such as New Jersey), you can recover no compensation from the negligent driver if you did not have valid auto insurance at the time of the accident. In these states, you may be unable to recover compensation for your injuries. 

So, according to the reasoning behind “No Pay, No Play” laws, you should not be able to claim all of the benefits of someone else’s auto insurance if you are involved in a car accident and do not have sufficient coverage to compensate the other party fully.

How to claim for a broken-down car on insurance

Contact your insurance company immediately to initiate the process of filing a car insurance claim. Filling out an online form is one way to begin filing a car insurance claim. However, calling is typically the most convenient option.

Follow the steps below if you want a quick settlement after a car accident: Request information from another driver if multiple vehicles are involved.

You will require the following supplies:

  • The person’s entire name
  • Email 
  • The number of the license plate of their vehicle
  • You can reach them at the provided number.
  • One can find their insurance policies online.

To document the incident, photograph the vehicle damage and the surrounding environment.

Determine if any additional drivers or pedestrians witnessed the collision and could serve as potential witnesses.

You must contact an ambulance and the police if anyone is injured in the accident. If your parked vehicle is stolen or damaged, you will require a police crime reference number.


You can receive reimbursements for temporary transportation costs from an auto insurance policy if your vehicle suffers damages in a covered loss. 

Auto insurance typically does not cover mechanical failures or routine maintenance; you should expect to pay for wear and tear or corrosion regularly. 

This implies that even if you have rental car reimbursement coverage and your automobile breaks down due to mechanical concerns, you will be responsible for the total cost of a replacement rental car.

Rental car insurance may seem like a waste of money to most people, but this isn’t always the case. Some policies don’t cover cars that aren’t yours, even if you have auto insurance. All insurance policies contain exceptions, and knowing what you’ll be responsible for is crucial if something goes wrong.


Adam Grabois is an expert in all aspects of Insurance and Property with 20 years of experience. He is a licensed broker of all lines including property, casualty, life, and health. As a licensed adjuster, he is well-versed in all aspects of insurance, and he owns All Needs Insurance agency in Florida.

He attended Tufts University where he earned his undergraduate degree, followed by a Master's degree from Columbia University.

Adam shares his breadth of experience by helping many businesses and individuals manage risk and protect themselves financially. He now shares this with the audience of the "Pro Insurance Info" website.

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