Perhaps one of the scariest things that you can see on the road is a vehicle fire. It's not something that you ever want to happen to you. Plus, if you are a commercial driver, and a vehicle fire breaks out, then not only will the car sustain damage, but the business will also suffer.
Your commercial auto insurance might be able to help in situations like these, though. Consider the benefits that it can provide in these often-sudden, scary occurrences.
Causes Of Vehicle Fires
Cars are machines that use electricity, combustion engines, fuel and other flammable materials. Therefore, common causes of car fires often originate under the hood. Potential risks might include:
- Fuel leaks
- Overheated engines
- Battery failures
- Problems in the electrical system
- Exhaust system breakdowns
Even external issues might cause fires. Wrecks, of course, might trigger them, but even a single spark in the middle of a routine drive might cause a blaze. Other issues - like vandalism, poor maintenance or arson - might also contribute.
Fires are as likely to occur in a parking lot as they are on the open road, and at any time of the day or night. They are often hard to control and need an immediate response by emergency services.
Commercial Auto Insurance And Fire Damage
A commercial auto insurance policy can prove a big asset to business owners in case of fires. To understand the benefit of the policy, consider some of the losses that might occur because of the fire:
- A damaged or destroyed vehicle
- Damaged cargo
- Injured drivers or bystanders
- Property damage to the surrounding area
Following a fire, you might have to pay to repair or replace the vehicle. You could have to cover towing and cleanup, along with damage to other property. Costs might also arise for both the business and clients in the event of damage to the items in the car. As these add up, commercial auto insurance might be able to step in to help you pay for the damage.
Comprehensive Damage Insurance
Repairing your business vehicle is likely at the top of your mind following a fire. If your commercial auto policy contains comprehensive damage insurance, then you might be in luck. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your car from events not related to wrecks. Vehicle fires usually fall under this portion of your coverage.
There are a couple of conditions to remember here:
- If the fire damages the vehicle beyond repair, then the insurer will settle with you for the damage costs. However, this might not equal the value needed to buy a new car. They might only pay you the cash value of your vehicle at the time of the loss.
- You might have to pay a deductible for the damage. The insurer will subtract this cost from the total they will pay for your damage settlement. For instance, if a fire causes $5,000 in damage, and you have a $1,000 deductible, then your policy will pay $4,000.
Other Protection You Need
Commercial drivers should not stop their coverage with just comprehensive insurance. It often won't provide adequate protection from the severity of vehicle fires. Some of the other protection you might need includes:
- Medical Payments Coverage for injuries you or your passengers sustain in the fire.
- Liability protection in the event the fire spreads to someone else's belongings or vehicle and damages them.
- Collision Insurance to pay for the damage if a wreck triggers the fire. You must purchase collision insurance separately from comprehensive insurance in most cases.
A special piece of protection you might need for your cargo is Inland Marine Insurance. Policies can cover damage to equipment carried in the vehicle. They can include Motor Truck Cargo Insurance, which applies to customer cargo you ship or deliver.
If your commercial vehicle catches fire, don't wait around. Get out of the car and immediately call 9-1-1. Then, contact your Auto Insurance Discounters agent. They can help you with your claim.
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