Team AckoSep 15, 2021
Even the thought of imagining one’s car on fire is unsettling. Here’s hoping that you never face such a situation. Unfortunately, accidents happen without any warning. What if, somehow, your car catches fire? Are you prepared for the aftermath? You might be wondering, does my car insurance policy cover damages due to fire? This article will answer all these questions.
Apart from being a mandatory requirement, a car insurance policy is also a safety net as far as car-related expenses for legal liabilities and accidents are concerned. However, the extent of the policy’s coverage depends upon the kind of policy you choose to insure your car. Also, you need to keep the policy active, be truthful, and raise a claim (if any) promptly. Read ahead for a detailed explanation concerning a car insurance policy’s fire damage cover.
The answer to does Comprehensive Car Insurance cover fire damage is yes. However, there are certain conditions to this answer. For example, if you own a basic Third-party Liability Car Insurance policy, then it will not cover the damage. But if you have paid the premium for a Comprehensive Cover, then such instances shall be covered.
You can get to know all the details about the coverage and the terms and conditions of an insurance plan by going through its Policy Wording. Alternatively, you can simply browse through the insurer’s website or call/email them about your desire to know more about a car insurance policy.
To know the answer to this question, it is crucial to step back a bit and understand more about the concept of car insurance in India. As per The Motor Vehicles Act in India, two-wheelers, three-wheelers, four-wheelers, etc. need to be insured. The vehicle owners must insure their vehicles with at least a Third-party Plan, which covers the vehicle owner’s liability towards third parties that might be injured or face property damage due to the insured car.
Vehicle owners have another option—a better alternative in the form of a Comprehensive Cover. This plan not only meets the requirements of the mandatory cover (it includes liability coverage) but also offers an Own Damage cover. This means, the damages to the insured car will be covered by the insurance company, which is not the case in the basic liability-only plan. Does Comprehensive Car Insurance cover fire, theft, and calamities? Yes, it does because of the Own Damage component in its coverage.
As you are getting enhanced coverage with the Comprehensive Plan, you also must pay a comparatively higher premium to purchase this plan. The premium for such a plan differs from one insurer to another. Thus, it is important to research and compare plans before insuring your car. Smartphones and the internet have made this process relatively simple. All you need to do is spend five to ten minutes researching and another five minutes buying and verifying the details of your policy. That’s it, your car will be insured.
Another striking advantage of this plan is the opportunity to buy add-on covers. As the name suggests, these add-ons offer an extra layer of insurance coverage or service in exchange for an additional premium. For example, with a Consumables Add-on, the insurer will cover the cost of consumables in the claim amount, which otherwise wouldn’t be covered. A Roadside Assistance Add-on offers a service of helping you in case your car faces issues and you are stranded.
There are several ways that a car can catch fire. Some are in your control while some are not. Here are some reasons why cars catch fire.
A car parked in a garage can catch fire if the garage itself catches fire. There can be a short-circuit in the garage and it can cause the entire area to burn.
Overheating of the engine can cause a fire. This can happen if the car is not in good condition. The fire can also spread from other parts of the car or outside the car to the engine and cause an engine fire.
There are several occasions where a major accident has resulted in the car blowing up in flames. This can happen in case of a car accident involving a single as well as multiple cars.
Faulty wiring in the car can cause problems. Some people tamper with the car’s original wiring while fitting extra accessories. If this task is nor performed as per the guidelines, then it can cause a fire.
Cases of rioting can cause severe damage to property. A car can also be burnt in such circumstances. Vandalism can, directly and indirectly, cause a car fire.
Also, read: Vehicle Scrappage Policy in India
In such an unfortunate scenario, first, think of your and everyone else’s safety. If the fire is still active, try to stop the fire using the available means. If you come across the damaged car after the fire has consumed the vehicle and the effects have subsided, then consider it as a no-movement-zone.
Click pictures and shoot a short clip of the damaged vehicle. Cover it from all angles as this will help you while you file a car insurance claim. Inform your car insurance company at the earliest about the incident and follow the stated process. Depending upon the reason for the fire, the insurance company may need a First Information Report (FIR) and other relevant documents.
You can raise a claim for the burnt car by following any of the processes stated by the insurance company. But before that, check if your policy is active and covers damage by fire.
Here’s a stepwise overview of the claim process in case of a burnt car.
Step 1: Contact your insurer via call/email/website. For example, visit and login to www.acko.com
Step 2: Share policy details and state your intent to raise a car insurance claim for damage due to fire.
Step 3: Submit the necessary documents asked by the insurer.
Step 4: The insurer will appoint a surveyor to have a look at the damaged vehicle. The surveyor will also inspect the car and ascertain the cause of damage. Cooperate with the surveyor and answer all questions honestly.
Step 5: The insurer will either accept or reject a claim based on the surveyor’s findings. If the claim is accepted, it will be settled and you shall receive the claim amount as per the policy’s terms and conditions. Either the car repair expenses will be paid or the Insured Declared Value of the vehicle will be paid. The latter will happen in case the car is burnt beyond repair. If the claim request is rejected, you will be informed about the reason for claim rejection. You can then work on the reasons (if applicable) and then reapply.
You might be asked to share the following documents. The exact documentation process can vary from one car insurance company to another.
First Information Report from the relevant police authority.
Final Report of Investigation.
Car insurance policy.
Report of the fire brigade (if any).
In case of vandalism, newspaper cuttings featuring the riots.
Original car-repair bills.
Note that a car insurance claim for the fire will be settled in case of ‘actual ignition’. Instances of short-circuiting and overheating do not involve ‘actual ignition’ and most likely will be rejected.
You need to meet several requirements for claim settlement. This is not to discourage people from buying a cover but to ensure that fraudulent claims are rejected and authentic claims are settled. Thus, if you have not done anything wrong and have all the right documentation in place, then you do not have to worry about claim rejection. However, it is good to know the common reasons for car insurance claim rejections so that such instances can be avoided.
List of Claim Rejection Reasons:
Fire due to instances that are not covered.
Violation of the terms and conditions stated in the applicable Policy Wordings.
Here’s a list of precautions to be undertaken to avoid your car from being damaged by fire and claim auto insurance.
Make sure that the car is parked in a safe space.
Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
Ensure regular servicing of the car.
Do not postpone car repairs; resolve issues urgently.
Do not tamper with the original wiring of the vehicle.
Sometimes, original wiring and settings are modified to fit new accessories, which cause problems. Avoid this.
Always rely on a professional mechanic for repairs or modifications.
Do not modify the car’s settings/wirings beyond the prescribed limit.
Use only authorized accessories.
Here’s a list of common questions and answers concerning car insurance coverage regarding damages due to fire.
Can I purchase a car insurance cover for fire as an add-on?
No, fire cover is not an add-on. This type of cover is included in the Comprehensive Plan’s Own Damage coverage and is not a standalone cover.
Does a Long-term Third-party Liability cover offer fire damage cover?
No, a Third-party Car Insurance Liability cover does not offer fire damage cover as it does not offer Own Damage cover.
How does the insurance company ascertain that the fire damage has led to Total Loss?
When the car is damaged beyond repair, the insurance company terms it as a Total Loss. In such a scenario, the policyholder will receive the Insured Declared Value of the vehicle. If the policyholder has the Invoice Protection Add-on, then they will receive the invoice value of the car.
Does a car insurance policy cover all kinds of damages associated with fire?
The insurance company will have a look at the damages and ascertain the cause of the fire. If the cause is covered by them and the claim application meets the terms and conditions, then the claim will go through.
Why would anyone willingly burn their car and raise a claim?
Wilful damage of property is performed by fraudsters to benefit from their insurance coverage. This must be avoided as it can lead to legal consequences.
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