No usually, no. Car insurance does not cover battery replacement for a dead battery. However, insurance might help pay for batteries damaged in accidents, or stolen batteries, depending on your policy and the situation.
Whether you drive an old truck, a sports car, a hybrid or an electric vehicle (EV), in the realms of auto insurance, batteries are considered “consumable” items. Your auto will consume gas, wear down tires and windshield wipers, and need regular oil changes. It will also wear down your battery over time. These consumable auto products are not usually covered by insurance.
Now, there are several situations when auto insurance might come into play regarding your car battery. Today, the experienced team at Einsurance.com is here to explain them. But as a rule, car insurance does not cover dead batteries.
Keep reading to learn the answer to your most common questions, like:
- Will insurance cover battery replacement after an accident?
- Are stolen car batteries covered by insurance?
- Does insurance cover hybrid battery replacement?
- Will my insurance cover EV battery replacement?
- Does roadside assistance cover car battery replacement?
- Should I call in a claim for battery replacement?
Let’s begin with a look at batteries damaged in accidents, and whether insurance will pay to replace them.
Will Insurance Cover Battery Replacement After an Accident?
Possibly, yes. There are several situations that could arise, we’ll examine them below.
If Someone Else Causes an Accident, and they Have Insurance, Your Damaged Battery Should be Covered
Most states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance for accidents like this. Imagine you’re driving through an intersection on the way to work. You have a green light and the right of way. Another driver runs a red light and crashes into the front of your vehicle. Your front end is seriously damaged, and the battery is leaking.
In this instance, the other driver’s liability coverage will pay for things like:
- Auto body repairs
- A replacement battery
- Medical costs of your injuries
- And some medical costs of your passengers
At moments like these it’s important to address your personal health first, then exchange insurance information with the other driver. Law enforcement should be alerted right away, too. Assuming you’re not injured, take photos of the damage, and the other driver’s license plates right away.
Then, call a tow company to take your vehicle to an auto mechanic you prefer (or let your insurance company suggest one.) You won’t need to pay a deductible for these repairs, since they were caused by someone else.
If You Cause an Accident, Your Liability Coverage Will Pay for Damages to Others
Now, let’s imagine you’re the errant driver. You accidentally run a red light and crash into another vehicle during your morning commute. No one gets hurt, but both autos are damaged.
In this case, your liability coverage will pay for the other driver’s damaged battery, as well as their auto repairs.
Note that liability coverage will only pay up to the policy limits. So, if you have $15,000 property damage coverage, any repairs beyond that amount will be your responsibility. If the other vehicle is a Tesla with a $20,000 battery, you may find yourself on the hook to pay the balance out of pocket (unless the other driver has uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage.)
If You Crash into a Wall, Full Coverage Insurance Will Cover Battery Replacement
Now imagine losing control of your vehicle on an icy highway. You crash into a concrete wall, but no other vehicles are involved, and no one is hurt. Your vehicle is severely damaged, and the battery is leaking.
In this situation, a full coverage auto insurance policy will replace your damaged battery and repair your vehicle.
However, if you only have minimum liability coverage required by your state, you will pay for repairs yourself.
Are Stolen Car Batteries Covered by Insurance?
This is another complicated topic. In theory, most types of theft are covered by full coverage auto insurance. That includes:
- Theft of the whole vehicle
- Theft of your belongings stored a vehicle (laptops, cell phones, clothing and purses are among the items stolen most often)
- Theft of some parts of a vehicle, like wheels, batteries and catalytic converters
If someone steals your whole car, parts of it, or your belongings, full coverage auto insurance will help you cover the loss after a deductible is paid.
But battery theft is never covered by a minimum liability policy. Those policies only exist to protect others from damage you cause.
Remember, your full coverage policy also requires you to pay a deductible before it helps to pay for losses like theft. That means you’ll have some amount of financial responsibility.
Most modern auto policies have deductibles ranging from $250 to $1,000, but yours may be higher or lower. A new battery for a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) may cost anywhere from $50 to $250. If the price of a new battery is lower than your deductible — for a traditional gas or diesel engine this is probably the case — then insurance won’t be helpful.
And even if the costs are similar — for instance, a replacement battery is $269, and your deductible is $250 — you’d be smart to take on this cost entirely by yourself rather than try to save $19. That’s because insurance companies pay close attention to your claims history and may increase your rates.
Insurers Pay Close Attention to Your Claims History
Insurance companies keep very detailed records about the claims they pay, and they share these records with other insurers. Too many claims can cause your insurance prices to skyrocket. So, if a traditional car battery is stolen out of your vehicle, your best bet is to handle this cost yourself.
But what if your more expensive hybrid battery is stolen? And what about EV batteries?
Does Insurance Cover Hybrid Battery Replacement?
Unfortunately, hybrid batteries are fairly easy to steal if you have some mechanical skills and physical strength. They’re also sold easily online (our research suggests you can buy one on Craigslist for about $1,000.)
If you have a full coverage policy, it will cover the theft of your hybrid battery and any related damage. Again, a liability-only policy will not come into play. But insurance will not replace a battery that’s worn out from use, because it’s a consumable item, like tires.
According to Hondauniverse.com, a new hybrid battery can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000. You should expect to replace them every 100,000 to 150,000 miles, assuming the vehicle is maintained properly.
Most new hybrids will come with a battery warranty. As of 2023, the industry standard is eight years or 100,000 miles. So, if you have a new hybrid, check your warranty documents to see if you qualify for a replacement.
Higher quality used hybrids, sold by dealers with titles like “certified pre-owned,” may also have a limited warranty on the battery. So be sure to look into that before spending thousands of dollars on a battery.
Will my Insurance Cover EV Battery Replacement?
Depending on your ride, a new battery for your EV might cost up to $20,000. They are extremely heavy, however, so they’re not easy to steal. It’s probably easier to steal the whole vehicle.
If your entire vehicle is stolen, your full coverage insurance policy will pay the value of the vehicle, either to you or to your lienholder.
But your EV battery is running out of life, a standard auto insurance policy will not pay to replace it. Battery replacement is a significant cost that EV owners need to plan for.
Does Roadside Assistance Cover Car Battery Replacement?
This is a conversation you should have with your insurance agent, or your third-party roadside service provider.
Anecdotally, our insurance agents have heard stories about tow trucks or roadside assistance providers bringing new batteries to customers in need, after a “jump start” fails. But you’ll need to read your contract carefully to see what is / is not covered.
Usually, a roadside aid endorsement added to your auto policy will cover points like:
- Jump starts
- Local towing
- Flat tires
- Tire blowouts
- And other emergency situations that might happen
If your car battery dies completely, your roadside assistance provider may tow your traditional ICE vehicle to a local garage, or department store parking lot, where a new battery can be bought and installed. If you drive a hybrid or EV, they can tow you to a shop that specializes in these types of vehicles. But the high costs of EV or hybrid battery replacements will fall to you.
Ultimately, no matter what kind of vehicle you drive, it’s best to stay on top of automobile maintenance. And keep some cash put aside for emergencies like these, they do always seem to happen at the worst time.
Should I Call in a Claim for Battery Replacement?
It depends on your policy, the vehicle you drive, and the cost of your battery. If you drive a gas or diesel vehicle, calling in a claim to your insurance company for a $100 or $200 car battery will likely be a waste of time. You’ll need to pay a deductible first, which is more than the cost of a new battery.
If you drive a hybrid and the battery is stolen, your full coverage auto policy will probably pay for a new battery after you pay a deductible. If your deductible is $1,000, and your new battery is $1,000, you’re better off leaving insurance out of it. Otherwise, you can create a claims history which may cost you more in the long run.
EV batteries are difficult to steal because they weigh 1,000 lbs. or so. They’ll only be covered by insurance after a covered loss (usually an accident.) After an accident you should definitely call your insurer.
Be Aware of Your Car Battery
About Batteries for Internal Combustion Engines
Most new vehicles have gauges in the dashboard or more complicated apps to help you stay aware of your battery status. But these things can malfunction, so it’s vital to stay abreast of auto battery health. Have it checked when you get your oil changed and be aware of signs that your battery might be failing.
Per AutoZone.com, these could include:
- A very slow start, the car seems to have difficulty starting or “turning over”
- You have headlights and interior lighting, but the car won’t start
- An odd smell coming from your battery, it might smell sulphury, or like rotten eggs
- The battery is very old
- The vehicle starts and then dies immediately
- Your check engine light is on or flashing on and off
If you’re dealing with any of these issues, there’s a good chance you need a new battery. The good news is that any decent mechanic shop can help you check it out, and a replacement battery is a relatively small cost in an ICE vehicle.
Battery Information for Hybrids and EVs
You may need a new battery for your EV or hybrid auto if:
- You’re experiencing charging issues
- Fluctuations in the state of charge, the battery seems fully charged, then low, then full again
- For hybrids, fuel economy is decreasing
- Check engine lights or check battery lights in the dash are on or blinking
- You hear unusual noises
At Einsurance.com: We Know Insurance is Complicated and We’re Here to Help
Most auto insurance topics are complex. And the advent of new technology like EVs and hybrid vehicles can make them even more complicated. We understand.
That’s why we offer completely unbiased articles on insurance for the average consumer. Our mission is to match you with the right auto insurance for your needs, whether you need full coverage, new car insurance, cheap auto insurance, insurance for teens, or something else.
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We invite you to use our helpful insurance quoting tools to get quotes from insurers actively seeking your business right now. And feel free to peruse our blog for more helpful resources for consumers.