Fuelled Your Car Incorrectly? Are You Covered?

Mon 10th Feb 2020

Almost 150,000 drivers a year accidently put the wrong fuel in their car, but would you be covered by your insurance if you wanted to claim for the damage caused to your engine?

While many drivers might assume that cover would be automatic, a revealing new survey of insurance companies has found that close to 60 per cent of car insurance policies actually exclude repairs for putting the incorrect petrol in your tank.

Research from Defaqto, an independent financial information company has found that more and more insurance companies are excluding misfuelling from their products. In 2016 less than half (49%) of car insurance products on the market excluded damage by misfuelling, but today 59 per cent of car insurance companies exclude it.

Putting the wrong fuel into a car could cost thousands of pounds to repair, and in some severe cases lead to complete engine failure - but now insurance companies are shifting the burden elsewhere.

The same research has revealed that more and more car breakdown companies are including the recovery of a misfuelled car in their services. In 2016 only 51 per cent of breakdown companies included this as a service, but now that is up to 64 per cent, though many will charge for draining of the engine as an additional extra.

Michael Powell, Consumer Motor Expert at Defaqto, says: “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.”