Car Maintenance Insurance



Thank you for reading this email. My question is this:

I have a 98 Ford Escort SE 4dr Sedan with 80K miles on it.

Automatic, A/C, power windows, even though Kelly appraises it at $1300.00 it?s my little baby. (Has passed all DEQ?s)When I stop at a light the car shakes a litle. Possible transmission trouble?

Since it is getting up there in mileage, I am interested in your opinion on Car Maintenance Insurance, should I get

coverage for the Engine? Transmission? A/C?

What insurance company do you recommend? Help

Marsha from Beaverton


Get in touch with these health insurance companies for cars and figure out what the monthly premium is for your car. It’ll probably be pretty pricey from age and mileage.

Now take that monthly premium and put it into a bank account for car repairs.

Now find an independent mechanic to do the repairs on your car.

You’ll be a lot further ahead.

As far as the shaking at stop lights? Could something as simple as a worn engine/transaxle mount.



Car maintenance insurance is probably a waste. It seems these companies do their best to not pay, when you are in need to getting the repairs done and getting on with your life. Pay as you go is best.

To help on the car idle problem, tell us what maintenace has been done. It may be simpler than a possible transmission issue, but knowing when you have changed plugs, filters, etc will help out.


Almost every contributor to this site has a very low opinion of any of these programs. They are simply very expensive insurance, and usually only cover those items that seldom break over the early ownership period when these things normally don’t happen.

You would not likely get it for a 1998 Escort since such a car is almost guaranteed to have repairs.

We normally recommend that the amount this insurance costs be put in your own bank account and act as your car repair account. You will really come out ahead that way.

For interest, I kept track of the “extended Warranty” insurance offered by Sears and other hard goods suppliers.

I tracked 11 items over the period that this insurance would be in force after the nromal warranty expires (years 2 to 5) and over that period I had $115 worth of actual repairs that would have been covered, and I would have paid out $1100!!! in fees if I had bought the coverage.

Others will tell you that 50% ofthe cost goes as profit to the dealer or seller. All repairs have a DEDUCTIBLE, usually $100.

So, draw your own conclusions!


None of them.


I think that the OP is confusing maintenance and repair, which are two completely different things.

That being said, if the OP is referring to the extended warranties that are being heavily advertised in the media currently, they are ALL scams designed to play upon the financial insecurities of people in the stuggling economy. These plans all manage to refuse to pay claims that are submitted, based on obscure technicalities. Also, many of them magically disappear after a year or so, taking all of the payments with them. Don’t fall for these scams!

The only extended warranties that can be relied upon to be honest are the ones sold by the car manufacturers themselves. However, Ford will not sell an extended warranty on a 12 year old car.

As has been said, put a couple of hundred $$ in a special savings account each month. That should be sufficient to pay for repairs unless a major catastrophic failure (like the transmission) takes place.


I don’t watch much television but when flipping on the late evening news the other night I caught a commercial for a warranty programs for homes. Apparently this scam is bleeding over to homes now and the wording is near identical to the automotive ads.

“Covers wear and tear but not pre-existing conditions”, etc, etc. leaves the interpretation wide open.


Well any car can have major expensive repairs.

The profit to the salesman and company is usually over 50%. So for every $1,000 you spend the insurance company has less than $500 to pay for repairs or they will loose money, something insurance companies do not do. Some peop;le will get nothing back and some will get a lot more than they pay.  Most will get far less. In addition you need to keep in mind that the insurer has worded it to eliminate as many expensive things as they can.

Remember that the seller is out to make money and they get to write the rules and set the price.  They are not going to sell them at a loss so one way or another they are going to have you pay more than they will pay out.  

Would you gamble with a car dealer who gets to set all the rules and knows all the odds?   

Your decision has to do with the value of the piece of mind it gives you. If that is worth the cost then buy it. Don't expect it to cover everything however, most are written to keep cost down and exempt what they know will cost them money. 

Good Luck


Do not waste your money on anything called “Car Maintenance Insurance,” nor anything similar such as an extended warranty. None of these so-called policies cover normal wear and tear, which are the very things that will send your car to the shop at this stage.

You may expect to pay up to $1000/year on normal maintenance and replacement of worn out parts. This is normal for a car over 10 years old. Such costs are not covered by typical policies. It is still more economical to repair an old car in good condition than to replace it altogether.

Budget for routine maintenance and upkeep. An insurance policy is not for you.


Insurance companies are “risk averse”.
They will avoid insuring something with a higher-than-average risk, or they will charge very high premiums to insure the high-risk object or person.

So–try think about this objectively and logically.
Do you think that an 11-12 year old car has more risk of mechanical breakdown than…let’s say…a 3 year old car? Obviously the older car carries much more risk.

If a company is willing to insure you against mechanical breakdown for this car, they will either charge you an incredibly high premium or…they have no intention of actually paying any claims that you might make. Actually, both factors might be true.

If anyone offers to write a policy for this car, I would be very skeptical.
Just save your money for the inevitable repair issues that will arise.

And, remember that the best insurance against repair issues is great maintenance and gentle driving.