7 Things to Do When Your Car Is on Fire

Nobody can predict their exact future and what is going to happen next. Similarly, you can’t foresee what wrong may happen while you are out driving your car. For instance, you cannot know beforehand that your car’s tyre will get punctured or the fuel will start leaking, or worse, your car will suddenly catch fire. Although the probability of a car catching fire is less, if it does, it can be fatal.

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Don’t worry! Our car has its own ways of telling us that there’s something not right with it and any delay in a trip to the mechanic can lead to a fire.

Reasons Behind Fire in the Car

Before you learn to read these warning signs, you must know what can cause a fire in your car. Take a look at some of the most common reasons for car fire:

  • Damage due to collision
  • Fault in car’s electrical wiring
  • Malfunction in car’s fuel system
  • Breakage of fuel pipes
  • Leaving burning cigarettes in the car

Signs That Your Car Is Likely to Catch Fire

When a car is on the verge of catching fire, it will give a few signals to warn you. What is important is that you read these warning signs on time and take immediate steps to prevent your car from getting blazed. Moreover, these signs can help save your life as well as of the people riding with you in the car. Here are some of the warnings signs that suggest that your car is likely to catch fire:

  • Your car’s fuse will blow repeatedly
  • If you find loose or broken hoses
  • If there is spilt oil under the hood of your car from the last oil change
  • If the cap of the car’s oil filler is missing
  • If oil or other fluids is leaking under the car
  • Your car’s engine temperature, oil or fuel levels are changing rapidly
  • If you find loose or cracked wiring
  • If you hear extremely loud sounds from the exhaust system of your car
  • If your car is wired with an exposed metal

In case you encounter any of these signals in your car, immediately step out of the vehicle and move to a safe distance. Contact your car’s service centre/ mechanic and inform them about the situation.

However, if you get your car serviced regularly, these situations can be tackled at an early stage and a car fire can be avoided. In fact, regular maintenance of the car can help to reduce fuel costs, extend the life of your car and keep the overall cost of owning a car low.

Read Also: Does Your Car Insurance Policy Cover Fire Damage?

Things to Do When Your Car Catches Fire

If your car has caught fire, you will either see the flames coming out of the vehicle or smell smoke. You must know that a car fire does not always break out of the engine. You can also see flames/ smoke coming from near the wheels, under the vehicle, next to the brakes or from inside the car, including the dashboard. In any of the scenarios, it is important to act quick but remain calm. Here’s what you must do if your car catches fire:

    • Stop the Car and Turn Off the Engine

      As soon as you see smoke or flames coming out of your car, immediately signal to other cars, park the car on the left, turn off the car’s engine and take the keys out. By turning off the car, you will cut off the fuel supply to the engine and drive mechanism of the vehicle lowering the risk of fire spread.

    • Evacuate the Car

      Immediately after turning off the car, vacate the vehicle and move away to a safe distance. In case there was anyone else accompanying you in the car, ask them to leave the vehicle as well and help children and the elderly get out of the car. Make sure to pop the hood of the car before leaving the vehicle.

    • Move at Least 100 Feet Away From the Car

      When you vacate the car, make sure that you and other passengers are at least 100 feet away from the vehicle. By staying at this distance, you will be not be harmed by the flames or toxic smoke coming out of the vehicle. It will also prevent you from getting injured if the vehicle explodes. Also, ensure that no bystanders get too close to the car and get themselves hurt.

    • Call the Traffic Police and the Fire Brigade

      Next, you must call up traffic police as well as the fire brigade and inform them about the fire. Make sure to give the exact location of the incident so that they can reach the spot at the earliest. Once you inform the traffic police, they will mostly inform the fire brigade about the fire. However, it is better to inform the fire service yourself to ensure that there is no delay.

    • Inform Your Car’s Service Centre and Insurance Provider About the Fire

      Now immediately call up the service centre of your car and inform them about the fire. Your service centre will take your for repair after the fire has been doused off. Moreover, you must also call up your car insurance company and intimate them about the fire in your car. This is important to raise an insurance claim with the company and get the car damages or losses incurred due to the fire recovered. You can find the claim intimation number on the policy document as well as online.

    • Do Not Go Near the Car to Retrieve Personal Items

      If you see smoke or flames coming out of your car, then don’t let anyone or yourself go near the vehicle to retrieve any personal items. A burning car is always at a risk of exploding and can cause serious injuries. Even the flames and toxic fumes are harmful. You can retrieve your personal items after the fire has been put out by the firefighters and they have pronounced it safe to get near the vehicle.

    • Do Not Try to Douse the Fire on Your Own

      Unless the firefighters arrive, don’t try to douse the car fire on your own. Doing so can be extremely dangerous as an increase in air supply can result in the spread of fire. Besides, going near the vehicle can put you at the risk of getting burnt and inhaling excess smoke. However, if no flame and only smoke is coming out of the car’s hood, you can use a fire extinguisher.

Read Also: Zero Depreciation Car Insurance

Is Fire Damages Covered Under Car Insurance?

The coverage of fire damages depends on the type of car insurance cover you have. If you have comprehensive car insurance or own damage cover, then your car insurance policy will cover the loss or damages caused to your car due to fire. But fire damages are not covered by car insurance offering third party liability cover only.

If you own a comprehensive car insurance policy, make sure to register a claim with your insurance company to get your losses recovered. Here’s how you can raise a fire damage claim under your car insurance policy:

  • Inform your motor insurance company about the incident as soon as possible.
  • Take photos of the damaged/ burnt car after the fire has been put out as evidence.
  • Your insurer might send a surveyor to assess the damages sustained by the car. Therefore, make sure to not move your car from the site unless he/ she arrives.
  • Cooperate with the surveyor and provide any information that he/ she needs. Your insurer will approve your claim based on the survey report.
  • Once the survey has been done, get the car towed to a network/ non-network garage of your insurance provider provided if the car is under repairable condition. Network garage provides cashless repair facility where the repair bill is paid the insurer directly.
  • If the car is at a non-network garage, pay the entire repair bill and file a reimbursement claim with your insurer. You may be required to submit a few documents, including the bill payment receipts, to the insurer.
  • Your insurance company will pay the claim amount after accepting your claim.

Please note that if your car is completely destroyed in the fire, you will have to raise a reimbursement claim for the total loss of the car.

Parting Words

In case of a car fire, the most important thing is to ensure the safety of the people in and around the car. Make sure that you follow these safety tips and let the firefighters and the police do their job. If you follow these instructions, your car fire will be doused off at the earliest and you will get the losses recovered under your comprehensive car insurance policy.

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