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Fewer repair options may prompt drivers to get car repair insurance

With many dealerships closing around the country, consumers are faced with fewer options for repairing their vehicles. Insurance experts say drivers may want to consider buying car repair insurance to cover costs.

General Motors and Chrysler are expected to close thousands of dealerships in an effort to cut costs and survive bankruptcy. Companies selling a type of car repair insurance called extended service contracts said auto shops will continue to honor the contracts for vehicles that will no longer be made by the companies.

Consumer advocates such as the Consumer Union are supporting legislation called the Right to Repair Act, which would require that independent repair shops have the same access as dealers to the tools and information to work on highly computerized late model vehicles.

This would allow more flexibility for car owners in choosing a place to service their vehicles. Because prices can vary greatly between dealerships and independent shops, car repair insurance could provide extra protection against elevated costs, experts say.

Repairs and maintenance on average make up about 4 percent of the total cost of owning a vehicle, according to Consumer Reports.

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