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Auto Insurance May Not Cover Fire Damage - Here's When It's Excluded

Smoking car and man with fire extinguisher

Your auto insurance policy includes coverage for damage caused by fire. So, there's a fire, and your car is damaged or a total write-off. Your insurance should kick in, right? As it turns out, that isn't always the case. Even if you have fire damage in your policy, the insurer might look deeper to what caused the fire. If it came from something that's otherwise excluded, you may not get the payout you expect.

What's Excluded?

Look closely at your insurance policy. In Ontario, there's a provision that says mechanical failure or explosion in the engine aren't covered, unless they are the result of an insured peril. So any driver that neglects regular car maintenance which leads to overheated elements and, in the worst-case scenario, engine explosion, won't get the benefit of an insurance payout.

Thankfully, this doesn't happen too often -- but it's an important distinction for car owners to remember. Fire damage that results from an engine explosion is excluded from standard auto insurance. That's the case even if you have the comprehensive coverage that most drivers in Ontario choose to purchase.

What's Included?

So, if insurance won't cover a fire caused by mechanical breakdown, what does it cover? Well, more scenarios than you might think. In general, a fire that starts because of any other reason may trigger an insurance payout. That's true even if the cause is the fault of the driver. A fire that's the result of a collision with another vehicle or a stationary object is one example. Insurance may also cover a fire that affects a parked car when that fire is not due to mechanical issues in the vehicle.

It is hard to predict whether an insurer will investigate the cause of a vehicle fire. Since most drivers properly maintain their cars, it is not something they have to worry about. Occasionally, a faulty part may cause an engine fire. If that's the case, an insurer may pay out the claim but then try to recover losses from the automaker.

Tips for Proper Car Maintenance

Keeping your car in good shape goes a long way toward warding off potential catastrophe. Preventing an engine fire is only one reason you should think about what's going on under the hood. Follow a few maintenance tips to keep things running smoothly:

  • See a mechanic if the check engine light is on
  • Check the oil every few hundred kilometers
  • Get regular servicing from a professional

These steps can maintain the health of your vehicle. That keeps you safe on the road and lowers the chances you'll have to put in a challenging insurance claim.

Learn More About Auto Insurance

There may be some common elements in auto insurance policies, but you still have plenty of choices when it comes to coverage. Search online for the latest auto insurance quotes at Rates.ca. You can find something affordable that still meets your need for a safe drive.