Does Auto Insurance Cover Fire Damage?
Last Updated on December 26, 2020
Although a sporadic occurrence, automobiles can catch fire, and it is a scary situation. After everyone is safe, people often wonder how they will replace their vehicles or repair the damage. When an automobile catches fire, some insurance companies will cover it. Others will not cover it. It all depends on the auto insurance policy you carry.
Policy Coverage for Fire Damage
It is unlikely that a liability only insurance policy will cover fire damage. If you want to ensure you have fire damage coverage, you will need comprehensive coverage. In the State of New York, comprehensive coverage is optional, and there is no required limit. Often, the policyholder pays on average a $200 deductible to use this coverage.
If you have comprehensive coverage, the insurance company pays you for the damage done to your car; this includes fire damage. The fault does not matter when utilizing comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage will cover theft, flood, windstorm, glass breakage, falling or flying objects, vandalism, or collision with animals. It will not cover collision with another vehicle. That is what collision coverage is for.
Deductibles can range from $100 to $1,000 to use comprehensive coverage, and sometimes glass damage is not covered, so read your policy. A comprehensive policy will cover the damage minus your deductible. Comprehensive’s design is to fill in the gaps that collision insurance does not cover.
For example, your engine catches fire as you drive down the road. The fire does $5,000 worth of damage. If your deductible is $200, the insurance company will cover $4,800 in repairs to your vehicle. If your car is worth less than $5,000, the insurance company will cover the value of the car minus the $200 deductible.
Source of Fire Damage
Comprehensive coverage will cover fire damage from a wide range of fires. Comprehensive automobile policies will cover damages regardless of the source of the fire.
One way an automobile can catch fire is from the engine catching fire. Almost all engine fires start from a mechanical malfunction or failure. Although auto insurance does not typically cover mechanical failure or malfunctions, it will cover an engine fire.
If you’re driving down the highway and your vehicle’s engine bursts into flames, there is a good chance your car will be a total loss. A total loss is when your vehicle will cost more to fix, then it is worth or when your vehicle can not be repaired.
In this case, your comprehensive insurance policy will cover the actual cash value of the car minus the deductible.
Arson is when something is intentionally set on fire. It is not very common for a car to catch fire because of arson, but it does happen, and insurance will cover it. Arson is a criminal act and vandalism. If you plan to use your comprehensive insurance to cover the arson, you must file a police report. Arson can do significant damage to a car and maybe a total loss. Having comprehensive coverage will help relieve some of the stress of losing your vehicle.
One of the most common ways a vehicle can catch on fire is through a garage fire. Your car won’t be the only damage but is one item that can be damaged that won’t be covered under homeowner’s insurance or renters insurance. You must have comprehensive insurance to protect your vehicle parked in the garage during a garage fire.
Car Accident Fire
The other most common way for a vehicle to catch fire is through a car accident or collision. If another car collides with yours or you collide with an object, there is a chance your vehicle will catch fire. It must be a pretty severe collision to catch fire, but it does happen, and it is a terrible situation when it does.
When your vehicle catches fire due to a collision, be sure to talk with your insurance adjuster about which coverage will cover the damage. Depending on the insurance company, it could be your collision policy or your comprehensive policy.
Most insurance policies don’t have a wildlife clause. Instead, it has an “Act of God” Clause, which protects against wildfire-related damage, hail/lightning damage, and damage caused by weather. Like the other fires on this list, comprehensive insurance will cover the fire set to your vehicle by a wildfire.
What to Do After Fire Damage?
Your vehicle has caught on fire, and the damage is done. The fire is out, and no one was hurt. If the fire damage is the result of a collision, call the police. After your vehicle has sustained fire damage, it is essential to notify your car insurance as soon as possible.
Be sure to have all the information the insurance company may need, such as the emergency agency called. Police reports, injury reports, and a list of repairs. All of your vehicle information, such as mileage, options, upgrades, and recent damage not sustained by fire. Include the company’s information that you are leasing or financing the car through. Having this information will make the process of filing a claim easier.
Follow all directions given to you by the insurance company to help make your claim process quicker and easier. The next thing to do is wait. Wait for the insurance agency to contact you with the next directions.
Conclusion – Auto Insurance and Fire Damage
We know a vehicle fire can be stressful and overwhelming; however, it is uncommon for a vehicle to catch fire. When it does catch fire, it is not unusual for a fire to cause your vehicle to become a total loss. It can be quite overwhelming knowing what to do when your car catches fire. Having comprehensive insurance that will cover your vehicle in case of a fire will help relieve some stress. You should be aware that a claim for fire damage will increase your insurance premium. Be sure to talk to your insurance agent about the best coverage and know your policy to help reduce your stress even more.