Is putting the wrong fuel in a car covered by insurance?

When misfuelling, insurance covers the damage only if stated in your policy. Mechanical breakdown coverage might provide the protection you need.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Nov 2, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Many insurance companies have exclusions for misfuelling auto insurance coverage
  • Significant damage can be caused if you put the wrong fuel into your vehicle
  • Misfuelling, insurance coverage, and out of pocket expenses go hand in hand
  • Mechanical breakdown coverage might provide the protection you need

Misfuelling is a common occurrence and happens when a person uses the wrong fuel when putting gas or diesel into the car. If you put the wrong fuel in and there is damage to your vehicle, you need to know whether your auto insurance will take care of the repairs. 

Often, insurance will reject the claim. You need to manage your auto insurance policy well and know if your policy includes misfuelling insurance coverage.

If you want to ensure your car is covered in case you accidentally give it the wrong fuel, compare at least three to four policies today! Enter your ZIP code above to find the best auto insurance rates for you!

Misfuelling and Auto Insurance

Misfuelling can cause problems with more than just your engine. It can seriously put a dent in your wallet as well. Auto insurance may not cover the damages caused by putting the wrong fuel in your car. Keep reading to find out exactly what is misfuelling and if it is covered by auto insurance.

Will my auto insurance cover misfuelling?

If this is a concern for you, you will want to make sure your auto insurance company allows this type of coverage. It will all depend on the company. Some of the most frequently asked questions are:

  • Does Geico cover misfuelling?
  • Does State Farm cover misfuelling?
  • Does Progressive cover misfuelling?
  • Does USAA cover misfuelling?

The answer is maybe, depending on the type of coverage you carry. For example with Geico, misfuelling may be covered under mechanical breakdown insurance.

The only way to know for sure is to speak with your agent or examine your current policy.

Your insurance policy is built to include coverage if you are involved in an auto accident. The state you live in might require certain types of coverage. You can then choose to add different types of auto insurance coverage as you desire.

Most states require that you carry at least liability auto insurance coverage. Anything else that you choose to add will be up to you and your specific needs.

This video details different types of car insurance available.

Let’s looks at average annual rates by coverage type through some of the more common companies.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates By Coverage Type
CompaniesAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates for High CoverageAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates for Low CoverageAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates for Medium Coverage
American Family$3,416.40$3,368.49$3,544.37
Liberty Mutual$6,356.04$5,805.75$6,058.57
State Farm$3,454.80$3,055.40$3,269.80

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As you can see, full coverage is more expensive, but it offers you the most coverage and the least risk.

There is always fine print on a policy which will vary from company to company. Many times, there are exclusions in the insurance policy that identify what is not covered. “Misfuelling” is a common exclusion in policies.

Not all companies will offer coverage for misfuelling. We can help you find out what insurance companies cover misfuelling and what will a misfuelling policy cover.


Is putting the wrong gas in your car covered by insurance?

Even if you have comprehensive or another form of coverage, you might not be covered for misfuelling. Not all insurance companies have this exclusion.

You need to compare insurance companies and look at the exclusions so you know the full amount of coverage you are getting.

An accidental fuel contamination insurance claim may not be paid out unless you have it written specifically in your policy.

These are some of the questions you need to be answered when it comes to auto insurance and misfuelling:

  • Is putting the wrong fuel in my car covered by insurance?
  • Why wouldn’t my car insurance company cover misfuelling?
  • How can I find out if my policy covers misfuelling?
  • Can I get a policy that covers misfuelling?
  • Can I attach a policy rider that covers misfuelling?
  • Will I have to pay my deductible for a misfuelling incident?
  • Will adding misfuelling coverage make my rate increase?
  • Is misfuelling covered as part of a comprehensive policy?

The answers to many of these questions depend on your auto insurance company and the specific policy that you have.

Is engine damage covered by insurance?

Misfuelling will often result in mechanical damage. You might want to consider adding mechanical breakdown coverage to your policy.

The coverage can be obtained from an insurance company, obtained through the dealership, or a third party. It’s often best to get it from insurance as it will be more affordable when added to all of the other coverage that you have.

Even with mechanical breakdown coverage, it’s important to check if there are exclusions regarding misfuelling.

Insurance might not provide the coverage you want against misfuelling. It’s important to know what fuel your vehicle takes and to pay attention to the pump.

If the wrong fuel does enter your tank, be sure you know your coverage options within your policy and learn of any exclusions before you sign up to obtain a policy from one company over another.

What does misfuelling mean?

Your vehicle requires a particular type of fuel. Inside your owner’s manual, it will tell you what kind of fuel you should use. If you accidentally put the wrong kind of fuel into the tank, it could cause various problems.

In some instances, misfuelling is done on purpose. Many people think that if they put premium fuel into their tank when the owner’s manual calls for standard unleaded fuel, they are improving the fuel efficiency. This belief is not accurate, however.

One thing you need to be aware of is what are the different types of fuel. There are several different types of fuel available:

  • Unleaded
  • Super Unleaded
  • Premium Unleaded
  • E85 (for flex-fuel vehicles)
  • Diesel

So, how can you avoid misfuelling? Gas stations label the pumps well to avoid misfuelling. Additionally, the diesel nozzle has a different shape so that it won’t fit inside the average fuel tank designed for unleaded gas. The purpose behind this is to ensure that people don’t put the wrong fuel into the tank by accident.

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What Happens to Your Car if You Put in the Wrong Fuel


The damage that occurs when you put the wrong fuel into the tank depends on your car and the octane that you used. If you have a car that requires unleaded and you put premium unleaded in, there is not likely to be any damage. You are simply going to spend more at the gas station on fuel.

But sometimes the misfuelling costs are more than just the price at the pump.

If you put regular gas into a car that requires premium, however, you could cause major internal damage.

Modern cars have engine computers that will make adjustments, but there might be a rattling noise in the engine.

Watch this video for more details on what happens when you put the wrong fuel in your car.

Make sure to pay attention at the pump to avoid a costly mistake.

How do I know what fuel my vehicle uses?

Your owner’s manual will tell you exactly what type of fuel to use, as will the label inside your fuel door. Your dealer should also have that information.

To avoid problems, you need to follow what your car recommends from the manufacturer. If you do use the wrong fuel, it could pose problems. Insurance might or might not cover the repairs, which is why you have to be cautious.

What should I do if I put the wrong fuel in my car?

If you notice that you put the wrong fuel in, you can choose to take action right away. You have the ability to drain the tank and replace the fuel with the correct kind. Quickly replacing the fuel might help to mitigate some of the damages that would otherwise occur.

If you do not catch the mistake in time, it can severely damage your car’s internal workings.  And some insurance companies may see this as negligent and refuse to cover any damages.

What kind of damage can putting the wrong fuel in your car cause to your engine?

Adding unleaded fuel to a car that needs diesel can cause major damage to your engine. The regular fuel will cause friction in the engine parts and will lead to replacing the fuel lines and pump.

Adding diesel to a car that needs unleaded fuel will probably mean the engine won’t even start. This will allow you to get the tank drained before major damage occurs.


Finding an auto insurance company that offers great rates and the coverage you need can be tricky. Let us help get multiple quotes for you to compare. Enter your zip now to get quotes on insurance that will cover misfuelling.

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