Dealing with the financial and emotional effects of a fire – whether accidental, intentional or the result of some natural disaster – can put you through some pretty challenging times. As your car is generally one of the most expensive pieces of property that you own it’s critical to ensure that it is adequately protected against all risks, including fires. In this article we will attempt to answer the question “Does Auto Insurance Cover Damage from Fires?” and provide some tips on mitigating your losses if your automobile is involved in a fire.
Fire Damage Caused by Negligence
First, let’s discuss fire damage to your automobile that is caused by the driver or passengers. While it may seem a little weird that someone could end up lighting their own car on fire, this actually happens across the country on a daily basis. It’s very easy to fail to put a cigarette out and have it end up on the carpeting, or to be thinking that something went out the window when in truth it went into the back seat.
If you end up causing fire damage to your own automobile it’s unlikely that your insurance provider will do anything to help you. Most auto insurance companies flat out refuse to pay for “self-inflicted wounds” like your car catching on fire due to negligence, and since a police or fire report will need to be filed an investigation will determine what the cause was. Unless you have comprehensive or other add-on insurance, if you’re seen to be at fault for the damage your insurer will expect that you pay for the repairs. This may be for the best as having your auto insurance company pay for this may cause your premiums to jump sharply in future years.
Fire Damage Caused by Arson
Conversely, if the fire damage to your automobile was caused by somebody else, whether as a targeted act of vandalism, random mischief, or during a riot, you can expect that your auto insurance company will probably extend coverage to you and pay the repair cost. Circumstances like this are exactly why you have insurance in the first place – to protect your property from the actions and negligence of others. If a group of drunks decides that smashing your car’s windows and lighting it on fire is going to be their night of fun, you shouldn’t be left on the hook. Events like these are why auto insurance is a worthy investment, and worth putting in as much as your budget allows to expand your coverage.
Check with your auto insurance agent to find out exactly what kind of random damage and mischief is covered by your insurance policy before you finalize your purchase. Some insurers may expect that you purchase a comprehensive or add-on package to have a complete spectrum of risk management, while others will include these sorts of events in their regular insurance policies. Spending some time researching this can end up saving you money in the long run – especially if your vehicle ends up being the victim of being parked in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Fire Damage Caused by Natural Disasters
Unlike those caused by human interaction, fires can also be caused by natural disasters such as lightning, earthquakes, forest fires, hurricanes and even floods. Since these events are largely considered to be an “act of God”, many providers refuse to provide coverage under regular auto insurance policies. The good news is that if you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters, your insurance company will have a number of options available to you. As mentioned above, the easiest option is to purchase a comprehensive auto insurance policy, which includes acts of God and natural disasters as part of your coverage. Check with your insurance agent before finalizing your auto insurance details and make sure that these types of events are covered. This way you can sleep soundly knowing that if your car is the victim of a forest fire, your insurance will cover it.
Comprehensive Coverage is the Way to Go
When you purchase a comprehensive auto insurance policy, you end up with coverage for a diverse array of circumstances that may seem a little out of the ordinary – like fires – but are a distinct possibility in daily life. If it’s in your budget, comprehensive car insurance is an excellent addition to your insurance portfolio and will pay for itself in the event that you end up the victim of some strange event.
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