This depends on your policy as not every deal will pay out for the same kind of repairs. To begin with, car insurance comes in different levels, and more basic policies may only pay out for a limited scope when it comes to damage.
The three common types of car insurance are third party only (the most stripped-down kind of policy and the legal minimum required to drive a car legally), third party fire and theft, and fully comprehensive. ‘Third party only’ only covers you for damage or injury which is caused to a third party in an accident. You will have no cover for personal injury or damage to your vehicle. It is designed to pay out against claims made against you if you have an accident – and a policy like this will not cover damage to your vehicle.
Third party fire and theft does the same as the third party but will pay out if your car is damaged by theft or by fire, typically because someone has stolen it and attempted to or succeeded in burning it out. Fully comprehensive car insurance is often simply called ‘fully comp’ and protects against everything covered by the above policies plus accidental damage. Accidental damage normally means damage to the vehicle named on the policy, and will often include malicious damage, i.e., vandalism. Fully comp is designed to cover damage caused by any accident, from the broken bumper caused after you reversed into the garden wall – to a new bonnet, headlights, and windscreen caused an accident with another vehicle.
There will normally be some exceptions where the policy may not pay out. You can normally expect repairs not to be covered if the damage was caused by an off-road or racing event, perhaps on track. You will normally need to get special policies to protect against this. The payout will not be forthcoming if you allow an uninsured driver to drive your car, i.e., lend it to a friend who is not covered who then incurs damage.
A general car insurance policy will also not normally cover against maintenance repairs. However, there are special policies which can cover this and breakdown insurance could help you out if your vehicle develops a fault and leaves you stranded. In such circumstances, this cover should pay out towards breakdown assistance, typically allowing you access to an on-call mechanic to come out to wherever you have broken down. Some specialist policies will also pay out towards significant repairs, which can be useful if you have an older car. Parts covered by repair insurance may include things like head gasket repairs and replacements, starter motors, cam belts and radiators.
What is covered depends on your policy:
The third party only will pay out only for damage repairs to other people’s cars.
Fully comprehensive payout towards accidental damage, minus any excess on your policy.
Maintenance repairs normally not covered.
Common extras including breakdown cover and car repair insurance are available.