Picture this: You’re cruising down the highway, wind in your hair, tunes blasting, when suddenly, smoke starts billowing from under the hood. Panic sets in as you realize your car is on fire. Scary, right? Unfortunately, car fires aren’t as rare as we might think. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, there are over 170,000 car fires in the United States each year. So, what happens if your car becomes one of those statistics?

So if your car catches on fire, will your insurance cover it? It’s a good question to consider, especially given the potential financial and safety implications of such an event. Whether you’re a seasoned driver or a novice behind the wheel, understanding your insurance coverage in the event of a car fire is essential.

In this post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of car fires and insurance coverage. From understanding the common causes of car fires to explaining the different types of insurance coverage available, we’ll break down what you need to know to protect yourself and your vehicle.

Understanding Car Fires

Common Causes:

  • Electrical faults: Short circuits and sparking.
  • Fuel leaks: From the fuel line, fuel tank, or fuel injector.
  • Engine overheating: Due to coolant leaks or a malfunctioning cooling system.

These factors can escalate and lead to fires if not promptly addressed.

Car fires pose significant risks, including injury and property damage. In the event of a fire, occupants of the vehicle may suffer burns, smoke inhalation, or other injuries while attempting to escape. Moreover, car fires can spread rapidly, endangering nearby vehicles, structures, and individuals. The resulting property damage can be extensive, including damage to the vehicle itself, nearby vehicles, and surrounding property.

Being prepared for car fires is essential for ensuring the safety of yourself and others. This preparation includes knowing how to recognize the signs of a potential fire, such as strange odors, smoke, or dashboard warning lights. It also involves understanding how to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a fire, including safely pulling over, evacuating the vehicle, and contacting emergency services. Additionally, having a well-equipped emergency kit in your vehicle can help you respond to various emergencies, including fires, with confidence and preparedness.

3 Types Of Car Insurance Coverage

1. Liability Coverage:

Liability coverage typically covers damages to other vehicles and property in accidents where you’re at fault. It helps pay for the other party’s medical bills, vehicle repairs, and property damage. However, it does not cover damages to your vehicle or injuries to yourself or your passengers in an accident where you’re at fault. It also typically does not cover non-collision events, such as theft or vandalism.

2. Comprehensive Coverage:

Comprehensive coverage, also known as “other than collision” coverage, protects your vehicle from damages caused by non-collision events. This includes incidents such as theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and yes, car fires. Comprehensive coverage is particularly relevant to car fires because it typically covers damages resulting from a fire, whether it’s due to electrical faults, fuel leaks, or other causes.

3. Collision Coverage:

Collision coverage is designed to cover damages to your vehicle in the event of a collision with another vehicle or object. While collision coverage may not directly cover damages from a fire, it can come into play if the fire is caused by a collision. For example, if your vehicle collides with another car, causing a fire, collision coverage could help cover the resulting damages to your vehicle. However, it’s important to note that collision coverage typically does not cover damages from non-collision events like fires unless specifically stated otherwise in your policy.

If Your Car Catches On Fire Will Your Insurance Cover It?

A car on fire

So does car insurance cover fire damage? Various factors can influence whether your insurance will cover damages from a car fire. These factors include the cause of the fire, the specifics of your insurance policy, whether your insurance lapsed, and any exclusions or limitations outlined in your policy. For example, if the fire was caused by a covered peril, such as a faulty electrical system, it’s more likely to be covered. However, if the fire resulted from negligence or intentional actions, coverage may be denied.

Insurance coverage for car fires can vary depending on the circumstances. In general, comprehensive coverage typically covers damages resulting from a car fire, regardless of the cause. However, there may be exceptions or exclusions based on your policy’s terms and conditions. For instance, if your policy excludes coverage for arson or intentional acts, you may not be covered if someone intentionally sets your car on fire. It’s essential to review your policy carefully to understand what is and isn’t covered.

Reviewing your insurance policy is crucial for understanding your coverage in the event of a car fire. Take the time to read through your policy documents carefully and familiarize yourself with the terms, conditions, and exclusions. Pay attention to any specific provisions related to car fires, such as coverage limits, deductibles, and any additional endorsements or riders you may have. If you have any questions or concerns about your coverage, don’t hesitate to reach out to your insurance provider for clarification. Being informed about your insurance coverage can help you make informed decisions and ensure you have the protection you need in case of a car fire.

Steps to Take if Your Car Catches on Fire

Immediate actions to ensure safety:

  1. Pull over to a safe location: As soon as you notice signs of a fire, safely pull over to the side of the road or into a nearby parking lot away from traffic.
  2. Evacuate the vehicle: Quickly and calmly exit the vehicle, ensuring all occupants, including pets, evacuate as well.
  3. Move to a safe distance: Once outside the vehicle, move to a safe distance away from the car and any potential hazards.

Contacting emergency services and insurance providers:

  1. Dial emergency services: Immediately call 911 or the emergency services number in your area to report the fire and request assistance.
  2. Notify your insurance provider: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the incident. Provide them with details of the fire, including the location, cause (if known), and any injuries sustained.

Documenting the incident for insurance purposes:

  1. Take photos and videos: Use your smartphone or camera to capture visual evidence of the fire, including the damage to your vehicle and any surrounding property.
  2. Obtain witness statements: If there were witnesses to the fire, ask them to provide written or recorded statements detailing what they saw.
  3. Keep records of expenses: Keep track of any expenses related to the fire, such as towing fees, temporary transportation costs, and medical bills for injuries sustained.
  4. Obtain a copy of the police report: If emergency services responded to the scene, request a copy of the police report for your records and insurance claim.

Following these steps can help ensure your safety, expedite the response from emergency services, and provide documentation necessary for filing an insurance claim related to the car fire.

3 Tips for Preventing Car Fires

A man doing maintenance on a car

1. Vehicle Maintenance

Regular vehicle maintenance and inspection are crucial in preventing car fires. Make sure to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, which includes regular oil changes, fluid checks, and tune-ups. Additionally, regularly inspect electrical components such as the battery, wiring, and electrical systems for signs of wear, corrosion, or damage. Monitoring fluid levels, including coolant and oil, is essential to prevent overheating and potential fire hazards. Address any recalls related to your vehicle promptly to prevent potential safety issues.

2. Flammable Materials

Being cautious with flammable materials inside the car is another key preventive measure. Avoid smoking inside the car to prevent the risk of igniting flammable materials. When transporting flammable materials such as gasoline, propane, or aerosol cans, ensure they are securely stored in a container in the trunk or an exterior storage compartment. Keep the interior of your car clean and free from clutter to reduce the risk of flammable materials like paper, fabric, and trash igniting.

3. Proper Storage

Proper storage of the vehicle when not in use is also important. Choose a safe parking location away from potential fire hazards such as dry grass, flammable materials, or sources of heat. Whenever possible, park your vehicle in a garage or carport to protect it from exposure to extreme temperatures, weather elements, and potential vandalism. Consider using fire-resistant materials for storage containers, shelves, and other accessories if storing your vehicle in a garage to reduce the risk of fire spread.

Following these tips can help reduce the risk of car fires and keep you and your vehicle safe on the road. Regular maintenance, cautious behavior, and proper storage practices are essential for preventing potential fire hazards in your car.

Dealing With & Preventing Car Fires

So if your car catches on fire, will your insurance cover it? Having appropriate insurance coverage is paramount to protecting yourself and your vehicle from the financial and safety implications of a car fire. Comprehensive coverage, in particular, can provide peace of mind by covering damages resulting from various non-collision events, including car fires.

We encourage all readers to review their insurance policies carefully to ensure they have adequate coverage in the event of a car fire. Regularly reviewing and updating your policy can help you stay prepared and avoid potential gaps in coverage. Additionally, taking preventive measures such as regular vehicle maintenance, being cautious with flammable materials, and proper storage practices can further reduce the risk of car fires.

If you have any questions about your insurance coverage or would like to explore your options further, don’t hesitate to reach out to Insurance Advisors of St. Louis. Our team of experienced professionals is here to help you find the right coverage for your needs and provide guidance on preventive measures to keep you and your vehicle safe. Contact us today to learn more and protect what matters most.