Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: May 3, 2022

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Key takeaways...

  • Transmission repair could be covered under liability, collision, and comprehensive repair
  • Mechanical breakdown insurance may add a limited amount of additional coverage for repairs
  • Drivers should not automatically assume transmission repairs are never covered by policies

When a car owner takes a vehicle into a garage, among the worst diagnoses to hear is that the transmission has problems. Transmission repairs can be very costly.

In many instances, the transmission cannot be repaired. Rebuilding a new transmission may be the only solution when a car isn’t running.

Rebuilding a transmission could cost more than what an older model is even worth.

With a new car, the owner may find it prudent to pay $3,000 for a new transmission rather than scrap a vehicle with $25,000 left on the loan.

A visceral reaction on the part of any car owner is to determine if transmission damage may be covered under an auto insurance policy.

Whether or not a car insurance policy covers repairs to the transmission system depends on the circumstances surrounding how the transmission was damaged and the type of coverage the owner chose to purchase.

If you have recently experienced transmission issues and need better auto insurance, compare at least three to four policies today! Enter your ZIP code above to begin!

Myths and Facts About Transmission Repairs

“Auto insurance won’t cover transmission repairs.” This commonly stated assessment isn’t entirely correct.

Routine repairs to a transmission system are not going to be covered under a standard auto policy.

Inflicted damage, for lack of a better description, quite likely will be covered.

If the transmission was damaged due to an accident, auto liability or collision coverage should pay for the repairs. Transmissions harmed by covered perils listed in a comprehensive insurance might also be covered.

People connect “transmission repairs” solely with errant problems that arise from normal use and degradation. Such is not always the case.

An accident could damage a transmission system, and accident repairs are commonly covered under policies.

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Accidents, Collisions, Liabilities, and Transmissions

When a vehicle is involved in an accident, claims would be filed under either liability insurance or collision insurance.

Damage to a transmission that occurs in an accident would be covered provided the claims process reaches a positive conclusion after the adjuster’s investigation.

With auto liability insurance, an at-fault driver is covered for the damage they cause to another party. So, if a negligent driver were to hit someone’s car, a claim would be filed against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.

The negligent driver could not file a claim against their personal liability policy to cover damages to their own car. The damages should include any damage inflicted upon the transmission.

An at-fault driver could file a claim with their own insurance company under collision insurance coverage. Collision insurance is usually a worthwhile investment for those whose cars have not depreciated severely.

How to Deal With an Uninsured Motorist

What happens when the at-fault driver hits a car, ruins a transmission, and has no liability insurance? If the injured party has uninsured motorist coverage, a claim can be filed to, hopefully, recover damages.

Uninsured motorist protection is a coverage that should not be ignored or otherwise dismissed. This fact is doubly true for those who live in states or localities in which people driving without insurance seems to be endemic. Protect yourself and your vehicle. If you live in an area, like Florida, where uninsured drivers are common, be sure to check with your insurance provider about this coverage.

Accident data is compiled by various authorities in a state. Before making any decisions on what type of insurance to purchase, it may be best to look over the data as it relates to uninsured or underinsured motorists.

If the number of uninsured/underinsured drivers is high, then investing in this type of coverage might be a very prudent decision.

Uninsured motorist coverage could protect against numerous losses beyond transmission and other auto body damage. Again, drivers should look closely at the financial protection uninsured motorist covers.

What does comprehensive coverage offer?

Comprehensive insurance is somewhat misunderstood. Usually, people think of comprehensive as something that protects against the following:

  • theft
  • damage to a vehicle’s body
  • vandalism

Theft and damage are two perils commonly covered under comprehensive insurance. However, they are not the only risks covered under the comprehensive insurance.

Comprehensive coverage casts a wide net of non-accident perils. Damage to a transmission may be protected under comprehensive.

For example, if a car is subjected to a massive amount of snowfall, water from the melted snow could get into the transmission and cause problems. Comprehensive insurance may very well pay for repairs in a scenario such as this.

Again, insured owners do need to file a claim and await the insurance company’s determination. Never assume any claim is automatically going to be paid out.

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What’s a totaled car?

Older cars that are not worth very much could end up totaled when a transmission is ruined.

An insurance company will not pay $2,500 to replace the transmission on a vehicle only worth $1,400.

The settlement on the ruined transmission would be the resale value of the car.

Transmission and Mechanical Breakdown Insurance

Are “normal” repairs always off limits with auto insurance policies?

Routine repairs to a transmission system could be covered under mechanical breakdown insurance (MBI). This type of insurance, considered a service contract in Utah, handles serious repairs that require an equally serious fix in a garage.

Mechanical breakdown coverage is often purchased by people who buy a new car and want extra protection beyond the manufacturer’s warranty.

Most often, traditional insurance policies won’t cover transmission repairs unless you have mechanical breakdown coverage. Moreover, most policies don’t cover the transmission unless the damage is due to an accident. For the cost of transmission repairs to be covered, you also need to prove that the damage has been caused in an accident, and that you have a warranty that covers the damage.

Depending on the value of your vehicle, it might be a good idea to get MBI coverage, especially if your warranty has expired. The cost for this type of coverage varies from provider to provider. Factors such as the type of vehicle driven, number of miles driven, length of coverage and level of protection also affect your rates.

Insurance companies probably won’t insure an older vehicle, either. After a certain number of years or number of miles has been reached, mechanical breakdown insurance expires.

Be mindful that mechanical breakdown insurance won’t cover routine maintenance so changing transmission fluid is out. Nor will MBI cover wear and tear-related damage to the transmission.

And MBI is not going to cover negligence.

If the manual says to change the transmission fluid at 30,000 miles and problems arise because the same transmission fluid is in the system at 93,000, a claim probably is going to be denied.

MBI insurance does possess limitations, but shopping around for a good deal on this type of coverage could end up saving a driver a lot of money.

The Transmission Might be Safe

The coverage windows for transmission repair are not as narrow as some might have initially assumed.

To be covered under an insurance policy, transmission damage must fall under a covered peril within the parameters of an appropriate coverage capacity.

Those wanting to protect their investment in a car should look for the best possible coverage plans.

Many car owners think they would not be able to acquire reliable coverage at a reasonable price. Considering these numerous quotes makes it easier to arrive at the right selection and an agreeable price.

Try our FREE online quote tool and start comparison shopping today! Enter your ZIP code below!