Insurance companies may refuse to pay for filling your car with the wrong fuel

Motorists in the UK who drive diesel cars are more likely to fill up their vehicles with the wrong fuel, resulting in repair costs that could reach £5,000.

Nearly a third of insurance polices will not cover this accident though, according to the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA).

BIBA have revealed that of the 150,000 cases recorded each year, 95 per cent are because people are putting petrol into diesel cars, due to the wider diesel filler neck and narrow unleaded petrol pump nozzle.

Repair costs can range from £300 for a fuel drain, climbing to as much as £5,000 if serious damage has been to the engine when driving.  

BIBA carried out a survey that showed 30 per cent of the major insurers in the UK would refuse to pay out for this type of accident.

A spokesperson for BIBA said, “Putting the wrong fuel in often occurs on a Monday morning and Friday evening when drivers are preoccupied thinking about the week ahead or rushing home for the weekend. If the motorist were innocent, the insurance industry would normally treat this as an accidental damage claim, under a comprehensive insurance policy. However, if the policy is third party, fire and theft or contains incorrect fuelling exclusion, then the motorist is unlikely to be able to claim at all. We have also experienced motorcycle incorrect fuelling where the rider has been driving a company van or car during the week and then fuels his motorcycle for leisure activities at the weekend. Riders should speak to their Insurance broker as 57 per cent of motorcycle insurance policies don’t cover this kind of event.”

BIBA is urging drivers to purchase a sufficient policy from an insurance broker that protects them against such an occurrence, instead of buying an insurance policy based simply on price.

If a motorist does fill their car with the wrong fuel, BIBA have advised them not to start the engine of the vehicle and notify the break down service and petrol station immediately.

Insurers may be reluctant to pay out in cases where drivers have willingly driven their vehicle with the wrong fuel in it, because the policyholder may be deemed to have neglected their duty of care.

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