Does Your Car Insurance Policy Cover Fire Damage?

The rising number of cars on the roads of India is not only increasing the traffic and pollution but also leading to incidents of fire in the past few years. Even though a majority of car insurance providers do not take this responsibility and pass the blame over the tempered wiring of the car, but what does happen to the insurance claims in such situations? Many of us think whether the insurance claim gets honored in such cases when the car catches fire? Or the insurance company rejects it? Well, this article will give you the answer to all these questions.

What is Covered in Your Car Insurance Policy?

The experts of the car insurance industry say that if you have insured your car with a comprehensive car insurance plan, then the insurance company provides you coverage against any loss or damage to your vehicle caused because of fire. These losses and damages can be internal or external such as damage in the wirings of the car or damage to the electrical fittings of some of the electrical parts and vehicle components because of fire. For claim settlement, fire is termed as actual ignition in or of the car in the flames that is visible. In this way, if your car is damaged because of short-circuiting or overheating, then it is not considered as real fire and the claims for it are not accepted by the insurer.

Therefore, damage or loss to your car because of fire is covered under the comprehensive plan. However, such damages are not covered in third-party insurance. With a comprehensive plan, the insurance provider honors the claim if it has made sure that the loss or damage is because of fire or because of external or internal means. However, if the damage due to fire is proven to be intentional by the owner, then the claim is rejected by the insurer.

One more example to understand this is when vehicles are set on fire because of riots. Even such cases are covered in best car insurance with comprehensive coverage. If the engine catches fire and the vehicle is burnt completely, then the insurer pays the value of the car minus deductibles.

How to Make a Claim in Such Cases

When your car catches fire, you should contact your insurance provider immediately and the police for reporting the issue. Immediate reporting of the issue to the insurance provider helps to arrange a spot survey. The surveys at the spot help to settle the claim fast. The insurer can also ask to provide a detailed copy of FIR that contains the details of the incident. This consecutively helps the insurer to carry out their investigation. While investigation, if it is found that the accident was planned or a result of some thoughtful attempt of the insured for claiming the insurance, then the claim is rejected.  

Documents Required for Claim Settlement

You have to provide the following documents for claim settlement:

  • Duly filled and signed claim form
  • FIR and Final Report of Investigation
  • Insurance policy’s copy
  • Report of the fire brigade, if it is called
  • Assessment or survey report for substantiating the losses because of damage to the insured vehicle.
  • Cutting of newspaper wherein the riots incidences are reported.
  • Original bills of replacement or repairs.

Scenarios of Claim Rejection

There are a few scenarios wherein the claim of your car insurance policy is rejected if your car catches fire. These scenarios are:

Mechanical Defects

  • Mechanical defects such as fuel seepage, oil leakage, engine’s overheating, high pressure on the vulnerable parts of the car, etc.
  • Because of the sparks due to tear in the electric wiring system of the car.
  • Sparks through the battery of the car, that is unable to support the fitment of other additional accessories.
  • Replacement or installation of air conditioner, LPG gas kits, etc.
  • Defects or short circuits because of the tempering of the wiring (electrical) system for fitting some extra accessories such as amplifiers, woofers, fog lamps, headlamps, air filters, alarms, etc.

Precautions

The claims because of a car fire can be rejected if any unauthorized accessories are fitted in your car and the fire is caught because of such accessories. Therefore, the car owners should ensure to use authorized accessories and as well make sure that the original system of wiring is not altered beyond the mentioned limit.

It is, therefore, necessary that car owners don't tamper the car's original electric system for fitting the accessories that consume higher voltage. The mechanic at the time of repair should ensure that the wiring system is not at all tempered. The owner should also install a small fire extinguisher in the car that can help in the case of an emergency. 

Exclusions that You Can Include by Paying Some Extra Premium

There are some expenses and risks other than some permanent exclusions that are mentioned above, that are not included in a standard comprehensive policy, but may be included within the policy by paying some extra premium, these are:

  • Normal Wear and Tear: Loss because of normal wear and tear of the vehicle is not included in a standard comprehensive cover. However, if you take the wear and tear add-on, you can get additional coverage for your plan.
  • Roadside Assistance: A 24x7 assistance at the roadside gives support for the car's breakdown at the roadside.
  • Extended Accidental Cover: A basic cover for the personal accident for the owner is provided if the owner has a valid driving license and can drive a car. However, the co-passengers and other hired drivers are not covered in personal accident cover. An optional add-on to cover co-passengers and paid driver is available, which you can avail.
  • Zero-Depreciation Cover: A zero-depreciation or nil-depreciation is also known as bumper to bumper insurance. It is a car insurance rider that leaves the factor of depreciation of your car with time from the coverage and provides you complete cover.

These are some of the add-on covers or riders, however there are many other riders that you can opt for.

Final Words:

If you know about insurance policies, then you may also know that nothing comes with a mark of an asterisk. While what your insurance plan covers is written in bold and big letters, its exclusions and terms & conditions are mentioned in small letters and a car insurance plan is nothing different. However, keeping inclusions and exclusions and conditions of your insurance plan in mind, you can easily process the claim and get it settled. So, in case of damage from a fire in your car, go for claim settlement and if it is genuine, then your insurance provider will settle it.

Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 31 July 2020
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