Does auto insurance cover arson?

Comprehensive auto insurance often usually covers any fire damage. Review your policy to check your coverage. The average cost of comprehensive coverage in the US is $11.57/mo.

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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 Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 18, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Arson might be covered under comprehensive insurance
  • Other fire-related incidents could be covered under liability and uninsured motorist coverage
  • Drivers need to review their insurance policies to determine if they have the necessary coverage
  • Customers should be familiar with any exclusions in their policy

There are countless chaotic events that could affect an automobile. Incredible natural disasters or even something falling out of the sky could cause major damage. Amazingly, these incidents may end up being paid for by the right insurance coverage.

Arson is one such scenario that may severely damage a vehicle. Few would ever dream their vehicle would deliberately be set on fire but, believe it or not, car arson does occur. The sight of cars ablaze during a riot is, sadly, something that does occur. (Learn more about riot coverage here: does car insurance cover riots?)

Regardless of the reasons or circumstances surrounding the arson, a fire is going to do major harm to a car. The vehicle might even be completely totaled.

The obvious question that will weigh on anyone’s mind in the aftermath of arson is usually, “Will my car insurance pay for the damage?”

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A Coverage Option for Arson

Comprehensive insurance should cover damage related to arson. Additionally, comprehensive insurance would likely cover other types of fire-related disasters.

For example, if an accidental house fire spread from a neighbor’s house to a garage, a claim for the damage could be filed under the comprehensive policy.

Comprehensive insurance is designed to protect vehicles against a wide range of damage-inducing problems outside of accidents. This type of coverage should never be overlooked when performing comparison shopping for auto insurance.

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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Beware of Exclusions

Policyholders need to familiarize themselves with exclusions in their policies. An exclusion is, essentially, a clause in the insurance contract that states something is not covered.

An example of a standard exclusion in an auto insurance policy is poor maintenance.

Negligence with maintenance is probably spelled out in the exclusions in a policy. But not all exclusions are so clear.

Reading through a policy could reveal exclusions that are tied to possible arson. Some exclusions may include:

  • Terrorism
  • Riot-related incidents

That means no arson inflicted in a vehicle would be covered if terrorism or a riot were the cause of the damage.

Different Fire Scenarios

Aside from arson, vehicles can catch fire due to a collision as well. Cars are at risk of fires and explosions due to the presence of gasoline. If a car is hit by an another driver, the vehicle could go dangerously ablaze.

The same could occur when a driver crashes his or her own car into an object.

Scenarios of this nature could be covered under various other coverage categories outside of comprehensive. So you will want to be sure that your vehicle possesses the necessary insurance.

Boosting Insurance Coverage

Not all coverage is required under the law. Collision and comprehensive are optional, and drivers really should think about exercising those options when looking over quotes.

Auto liability is required by law in 48 states, but the thresholds could be low. Drivers worried about causing fires and other damage in an accident should think about raising those thresholds. Uninsured motorist insurance could be worth purchasing as well.

For example, if the person who causes a car accident has no insurance, uninsured motorist coverage could prove extremely helpful.

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Research Options

Situations related to arson or other causes of a vehicle catching on fire can vary. With the right insurance coverage in place, a settlement may be reached to cover losses associated with this type of peril.

Customers need to review exclusions and other terms, however, in order to be sure they are on the path to selecting the right service with the best chance of covering losses.

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References:

  1. https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/arson.html
  2. https://www.thebalance.com/car-fire-and-insurance-527082
  3. https://www.nolo.com/dictionary/comprehensive-insurance-coverage-term.html
  4. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/06/carinsurance.asp?ad=dirN&qo=investopediaSiteSearch&qsrc=0&o=40186
  5. https://www.iii.org/article/protecting-yourself-against-uninsured-motorists

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