There are various reasons why a battery might fail — from loose connections to extremely cold weather. Whatever the cause, the result can mean that you’re stranded away from home, or unable to get onto your daily commute to work. A replacement battery may be your only option, but will you have to foot the bill, or can your insurance policy cover the cost?
We’ll take a look at how auto insurers might view their liability, and circumstances that cover could include battery replacement.
Whether your vehicle insurance will cover your battery is usually dependent on the cause of failure. For the most part, a battery will die as a result of wear and tear. This is not usually due to a manufacturer defect. There are common issues-particularly in luxury cars — with acid stratification. Over time, electrolytes in the battery become concentrated at the bottom, causing the upper portion to be acid-poor, and the battery cannot receive a full charge.
There can even be physical issues that can cause your battery to die, such as buckling of the lead-acid plates. The sad truth is, batteries have a limited life, and they are unlikely to last longer than 5 years. If the failure is due to one of these wear and tear issues, your insurer is unlikely to cover the costs.
Auto cover providers with high consumer ratings, such as Travelers Insurance, will always recommend that you read your policy cover thoroughly. This could be significant not just with regard to the replacement cost of your battery, but also establishing whether other issues resulting from the battery failure would be covered too.
In an Accident
We all hope that we might make it through our entire driving lives without a major incident, but this isn’t always possible. There are approximately 17,250 crashes each day on US roads, many of which result in serious damage. In some instances, you may find that among the issues with your vehicle after an accident, is a battery that no longer functions correctly.
Thankfully, this is usually an instance in which your auto cover provider might extend settlement to include the cost of a replacement battery. It may be the case that your insurer has access to mechanics who are able to repair relatively minor damage, or they may have a network of suppliers who can simply provide a new item directly. Either way, your insurer will be looking at the proximate cause — the primary incident that gave rise to the damage — and whether it was an insured event.
It’s always important to contact your insurer after an accident and provide as much information as possible. Even if you’re not entirely certain whether specific items will be covered, your policy provider will be in a position to advise you accordingly.
While a car failure at home might add some frustration to your day, it is not nearly as problematic as a breakdown away from home. If your battery dies when you’re out and about, you might be lucky enough to find a driver nearby who can help you jump start your battery back to life. However, if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, or your battery is beyond jumping, you could find yourself stranded.
Thankfully, this is one of the scenarios in which your car insurance provider might be of some assistance. While it does not usually form part of a basic policy, certain auto insurers offer breakdown assistance as an optional extra. If you have opted to include this in your cover, you may be able to call a mechanic to your location. Many mechanics will have the best car battery chargers and can help you get moving on the spot, or they may need to tow you to their shop in order to fit a replacement.
Prolonging Battery Life
While it’s always useful to know how you can address problems with your battery when they arise, it’s also important to understand that there are steps you can take to avoid such emergencies. Short rides are one of the primary causes of battery failure, so by limiting these, there is the potential for a healthier period of use. While it can be tempting to use electronic devices attached to the vehicle when idling, this can also be a significant drain on the battery. Even simple maintenance steps like keeping the clamp on your battery tightly fastened can make a difference. Care for your vehicle, and you can limit the issues you have to address,