A bloated battery, a weird smell, a car that struggles or fails to start when you turn the ignition – there are many signs it might be time to replace your car battery. Car batteries only have a lifespan of two to five years. Paying $50-$200 for a new car battery every few years can feel unfair, so you might wonder whether your car insurance coverage will pay for it.
Will my car insurance cover battery replacement?
Sorry, but your insurance probably won’t cover replacing your car battery. Auto insurance coverage doesn’t include routine maintenance. Replacing a dead car battery is part of regular maintenance, just like getting new windshield wipers or changing your oil.
There are three uncommon situations where car insurance might cover a battery replacement.
Is a stolen car battery covered by insurance?
If you have comprehensive coverage on your car insurance policy, your policy might cover a stolen car battery. Your comprehensive coverage deductible would have to be lower than the price of replacing the battery, though. You'll need to pay the deductible with your own money before insurance kicks in. Deductibles vary between $0 and $2,000, while batteries usually cost between $50 and $250, so comprehensive insurance might not cover your stolen battery.
What about a battery damaged in an accident?
Insurance might cover your car battery if it’s damaged in an accident. There are two ways this could happen.
- If an accident was another driver’s fault, their liability insurance will pay for your car repairs. If another driver hits you and your insurance companies find them at fault, the claim payout you receive will pay for damage to your car. That includes damage to your battery.
- If an accident was your fault and you have collision coverage on your policy, your collision coverage will pay to fix your car. That includes replacing a battery. Like comprehensive coverage, collision coverage usually has a deductible. Unless you have a $0 deductible, you’ll have out-of-pocket expenses for an accident that damages your battery.
Car insurance coverage for a battery damaged for reasons other than accidents
Remember comprehensive coverage? In addition to theft, comprehensive coverage also applies to other external forces that affect your car. Comprehensive coverage could pay for your battery (after your deductible) if it breaks because of something like vandalism, a storm or natural disaster, or an accident with an animal.
Comprehensive coverage does not include wear and tear. If your battery dies because it’s old, your insurance won’t cover that.
Will a roadside assistance program pay to replace my car battery?
A roadside assistance program like the American Automobile Association (AAA) will not replace your battery. That said, having roadside assistance can be very helpful if your car battery stops working. Roadside assistance programs can help jump-start your car if your battery is drained and arrange a tow to a mechanic. Some programs will pay for your tow, though the distance they’ll pay for depends on your membership.
How much do roadside assistance programs cost?
Adding roadside assistance to your insurance policy usually adds $10 to $20 to your annual rate. A standalone roadside assistance program will likely cost between $20 and $100 a year. Higher-cost roadside assistance plans include benefits like coverage for longer tows, reimbursement for meals and lodging if a car problem leaves you stranded, and discounts on car- and travel-related products.
Do I have to pay for my own car battery?
Unless you’re in one of the specific situations we mentioned, yes. Replacing your car battery every few years is part of the ongoing cost of maintaining a vehicle. It’s annoying, especially if your battery bites the dust before your morning commute. But the good news is that a bad battery is one of the easiest car problems to diagnose and fix. Even a beginner can safely change a car battery. Just be careful and always wear gloves and eye protection!