I recall reading about this internet millionaire who was driving the Lamborghini Avendator Sports car when it suddenly caught fire. He managed to get out of the car in time but could do nothing to stop it from burning down to the ground.
I wonder what he’d be thinking watching one of the world’s most expensive cars turn to ashes apart from the question that does it even warrant the $376,000 price tag.
A lot of car owners face a similar predicament each year around the world. While they are busy dealing with the shock and the anxiety caused by the fire, another huge cloud looms large above their head filling their minds with doubts, auto fire insurance.
For a condition as common as a car fire, very little is known about what insurance covers and under what circumstances.
Most car owners have no clue about the different types of car fires that a policy covers until a ‘claims adjuster’ comes around playing snoop and talking about technical terms that sound like gobbledygook.
If you have just dealt with a car fire or want to stay covered in the possibility that you might encounter one, here’s all that you want to know about Auto Fire Insurance
Is a car fire covered by Insurance?
To sum it up in one word, yes.
But it all boils down to the type of policy you have and the reason/cause of the fire.
As a car owner, there’s only one word that can be considered as your ticket out of an auto fire scenario, ‘Comprehensive’
A comprehensive coverage policy covers almost all the types of car fires including arson, collision, mechanical damage and even a garage fire.
But not all car owners have a comprehensive insurance policy because of the costs associated with it. Not to mention that most people believe that a car fire would never happen to them.
Here are the different ways in which insurance companies categorize a car fire. If you are dealing with a claims adjuster, you will be hearing some of these terms the first time they come probing around with their fish eye lenses.
Believe it or not, there are weirdos out there who set fire to other people’s vehicles for no reason and take pleasure watching it burn down. And there are people who do it to their own cars to escape a piling auto loan which is not affordable for them anymore or to cover up a crime that they might have committed. Arson is one of the commonest reasons for an auto fire claim.
For this reason, insurance companies are extremely cautious dealing with arson claims related to a car fire. They will ask you hundreds of questions that help them ascertain that you didn’t burn down an old clunker yourself.
The questions can sometime border on invasive too. They may ask you where you were at the time of the incident. When you first discovered that your car was on fire. They will also need your social security number. Stay prepared and help them with all the information that you have at hand. Most companies wouldn’t drag it for long unless they don’t suspect that something is amiss and you should have your claim settled soon.
Also, if the fire was started by one of your family members out for revenge, then no policy will cover it. The only option that you may have will be to slug it out in court with the family member.
A lot of people have liability insurance that covers any damages caused due to other’s property in the advent of an accident. But sometimes, the accident can result in a car fire and your liability insurance may or may not cover a car fire caused by collision. This leaves you with only one option, chasing the car manufacturer in court and that’s easier said than done. Once again, a comprehensive policy will save the day for you. But if you have a liability policy, speak to your claims adjuster to know whether the fire can be covered under it.
Most standard auto insurance policies do not cover mechanical failure. So, irrespective of whether the car had faulty electrical wiring or brake line or anything else that led to a fire, it will not be covered by liability coverage. You will need a comprehensive policy to get the actual cash value of the car. The deductible will be cut from the final amount you receive.
If your garage catches fire and damages your cars and a part of your home along with it, having a home owner’s insurance policy may not suffice. Home owner’s policies do not include damages caused to cars. Once again, you need a comprehensive policy to adjust the claim against the insurance company.
Fires caused due to your fault
Now that we have discussed all the possibilities that can trigger a car fire, there are certain scenarios in which a fire may start due to the negligence of the car owner. At the forefront is lack of timely maintenance. If the insurance company is able to determine that it was poor maintenance that led to the accident that caused the fire, or that you were aware of a faulty electrical cable that could trigger a fire but did nothing to prevent it from occurring, then they may reject your claim citing poor maintenance.
Aftermarket modifications are also included in this category. If you make extensive modifications to your car without the knowledge of the insurance company and this modification leads to a fire scenario, then you are staring at a rejected claim or a reduced one.
A lot of car owners do not inform insurance companies about modifications fearing that they may have to cough up more money or purchase additional insurance to cover those parts. But saving a few pennies may actually cost you a lot more if your car were to ever catch fire.