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Insurance less likely to cover wrong fuel in your car

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Drivers who fill their cars with the wrong fuel could be left footing the bill as insurers increasingly exclude this type of damage from their cover.

Accidentally filling up your car with the wrong fuel could cause significant engine damage which costs thousands of pounds to repair or in the worst case, it could result in complete engine failure.

Insurers tend to include this under the accidental damage section of their policies but according to research, it is gradually being removed from standard cover.

According to financial data business Defaqto, in 2016 around half of car insurance products on the market covered misfuelling as part of damage claims.

But now the balance has shifted with more insurers excluding this from cover as just 41% include misfuelling for damage claims caused by tanking up with the wrong fuel.

However, while insurers are curbing these type of accident claims, Defaqto found that conversely, more breakdown providers are including it.

In 2016, just over half of products in the market (51%) included cover towards the costs of recovering a car that had been misfuelled to a repairer and 49% excluded this cover. Today, nearly two thirds (64%) include this cover and just 36% exclude it.

What to do if you’ve put the wrong fuel in your car

Drivers are urged not to turn the engine on and not to drive the car. Instead, try and move your car to a safe place and call your car insurer or breakdown service to see if they can tow your car to a repairer who can drain the tank.

You should also check if the repairer draining the tank can supply you with the right fuel, so you can be on your way as soon as the car is ready.

Michael Powell, consumer motor expert at Defaqto, said: “It is easy to put the wrong fuel in your car by mistake, particularly if you are driving one that you’re not used to. If you realise that you’ve put the wrong fuel in, do not start your car’s engine but do try and move the car to a safe place.

“If the engine is started, the incorrect fuel will enter the fuel system and potentially cause serious damage. This mistake can cost you dearly if you’re not covered for the damage caused.

“If you do have breakdown cover call your provider and ask if they can help. Otherwise, you may need to call a repairer and pay for the costs involved. Either way, it is essential that you do not start your car’s engine as the potential damage could be very expensive to repair.”

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