We continue our series of wrong fuel myth busting blog postings by talking about how putting the wrong fuel in your car affects your vehicle insurance or warranty. It’s a subject that is very often brought up by our customers and something that we get enquiries from motorists about over the phone every week. The myth that we, unfortunately, have to bust here is as follows:
“My car insurance or warranty will cover the cost of repair work that I had done on my car after putting in the wrong fuel”.
In our experience this is rarely the case, but protecting against accidentally filling up with the wrong fuel is generally not something that motorists think about when applying for insurance in the first instance. It’s also not usually considered when arranging a warranty. The truth of the matter is that wrong fuel emergency victims don’t consider the possibility that it might happen to them and it always comes as a nasty surprise accompanied with the embarrassment and feeling of having done something rather foolish.
Why do motorists put the wrong fuel in their cars in the first place?
Modern life is to truly to blame. All of our lives are filled with deadlines and pressures that mean we can very easily be distracted just for a few moments. Having to stop and then queue to fill up with fuel is an added hassle to your working day and we usually do this at the worst time possible either on our way in to work or on the way home to pick up the kids or finish the work that you didn’t manage to complete at the office. The other huge contributing factor to the ever growing number of wrong fuel cases that we see on a daily basis, is the advancement of modern motoring technology. Diesel cars account for almost 40% of cars on UK roads, they have ultra quiet, smooth engines and many of us who commute a fair distance on a daily basis, have swapped to a diesel car. It’s so easy to forget that you’re driving a diesel when you’ve recently swapped and so many cases that we attend involve motorists who have filled up their diesel car with petrol at the first filling since obtaining the diesel car.
Will insurance or warranty companies cover wrong fuel emergencies?
This is a question that we are frequently asked and many insurance companies are now including wrong fuel cover as standard, but you will need to check your policy. If you have a long running policy and do not tend to check for a cheaper or better policy when your renewal is due, the chances are that your policy may not have been updated to include special wrong fuel cover. With regards to vehicle warranties, the vast majority of new vehicle and retrospective warranties will specify that the warranty is invalid where use of the wrong fuel type is concerned as this is considered to be a vehicle failure caused by human error and not unreasonable component failure. All warranties state that the vehicle must be looked after and serviced at the appropriate manufacturer specified intervals.
Should I inform my insurance or warranty company if I put in the wrong fuel?
This is not advisable. By not informing your insurance or warranty company about a wrong fuel incident, you are not misleading anyone and neither are you being dishonest. The fact is that the wrong fuel can be removed via a fuel drain and fuel system flush process at a low cost and in the vast majority of cases, provided that the problem is dealt with quickly, there will be absolutely no damage done to the vehicle and it will function as normal. Problems only arise if a poor fuel drain job is done or if the wrong fuel incident is not dealt with correctly, i.e. where some motorists put in a small amount of the wrong fuel type and then top up with the correct fuel type and run the vehicle without getting a fuel drain performed on the vehicle.
We have encountered quite a few cases where a motorist has informed the warranty or insurance company and the company has then insisted that expensive repairs are carried out on the vehicle which are almost certainly, completely unnecessary. The company has done this just to cover themselves against any possible claim due to failure of a related component and is somewhat understandable.
If you’re thinking of swapping your petrol car for a diesel car or if you have not updated your insurance policy for a while, please do check to make sure that you are covered in the event of a wrong fuel incident.