You need to ensure that you are financially covered if your car is damaged in a fire. Whether your car is protected against fire depends on the type of car insurance policy that you have and the cause of the fire that damaged your car.
What Are The Reasons for a Car to Catch Fire?
A car catching fire is not uncommon. In fact, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, one out of every eight fires that the fire department responds to is a car on fire on the highway. The most common causes are:
- Electrical and mechanical malfunctions of the car components cause fire and this is mostly seen in older cars.
- A car may not necessarily be in motion when it catches fire. It can happen with a parked car too.
- Fire in your house or adjoining spaces can cause damage to your car.
- Deliberate fire damage to the car during theft and vandalism.
- A collision may also result in your car catching fire.
What Car Insurance Coverages Cover Fire Damage?
Fire-related costs may cripple you financially if you are not adequately covered. The right car insurance coverage offers you peace of mind and confidence that in the event of a mishap you are financially secure.
If you have collision and comprehensive insurance coverages on your car, the repair and replacement costs will likely be covered in the event of your car catching fire.
- Collision coverage
If the car catches fire due to an accident between your car and another vehicle or an immovable object, it will be covered by your collision coverage. If the other driver is at fault for the collision in which your car catches fire, you can file a claim for damage with their insurance company under the third-party insurance claim or you may file a claim with your insurance provider who will seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company.
- Comprehensive coverage
All non-collision causes that result in your car catching fire will be covered by the comprehensive coverage of your car insurance policy. It covers fire caused due to defective or malfunctioning car parts, theft and vandalism, natural elements, natural disasters, and other factors that are out of your control such as:
- Mechanical or electrical defect
- Stolen and burnt
- A house fire in the neighborhood
- Forest fire
If due to a fire in your home, your car is damaged, the damage costs will be covered by your car insurance, however, if the damage is due to the fire in your neighbor’s home, you can file a claim against your neighbor’s homeowner insurance or personal liability insurance to cover repair and replacement costs.
How To File a Claim for Fire Damage?
- Contact your insurance provider immediately to file a claim
- Provide details about the cause of the fire and the extent of damage to your car
- An adjuster will visit to assess the damage and determine the cause of the fire
However, in the event of a car fire due to mechanical failure, your claim may be rejected if:
- The mechanical issue was a longstanding problem that had not been addressed
- Similar incidents for the same car model resulted in manufacturer recall. In this case, you must pursue the manufacturer for reimbursement for damages
If your car is totaled in an incident of theft or vandalism, your insurance provider’s investigations unit conducts a thorough probe to investigate the details. This is done to rule out fraudulent claims. Once the facts have been established in your favor, your insurer will proceed to settle the claim with an amount minus the deductible. The compensation depends on the type of coverage you have and also your coverage limit.
What Does the Settlement Process Include?
Once negligence and fraud-related issues are ruled out and your insurance claim is accepted, your insurance provider will initiate the process of settling dues. If your car needs repair for the damage, your insurer will issue a check that will cover the repair costs minus the fixed deductible.
If your car is totaled and needs to be replaced, your insurer will estimate the actual cash value of your car and compensate you accordingly.
You must know the coverage details of your car insurance policy. While some insurers offer comprehensive coverage with specific inclusions for fire-related damage, others may have a fire exclusion in their car policy. When you buy a car insurance policy, you must ask your insurer about the inclusions and exclusions of your policy to stay adequately prepared.
How Must I Do to Avoid a Car Fire?
All cars, especially older cars, need regular servicing and maintenance so that all electrical, mechanical, and other issues can be identified and taken care of. Repair and replacement of faulty, worn out, or leaking car parts can be done promptly. Besides reducing the repair costs and keeping your car in optimum condition, it helps to prevent damage to your car from mishaps such as fire due to car component malfunction.