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new BMW caught fire, wrote off 2nd car and damaged a 3rd - help

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Hey,

 

This is going to be a long winded post so please bear with me whilst I try and put my issue into some form of logically forum post..here goes..

 

My 4-month-old BMW 420D caught fire on my drive in the early hours of yesterday morning through what appears to have been an electrical fault which started under the bonnet and quickly engulfed the car, melting the engine, melding the front of my wife's park which was parked in front of it (nose to nose) and even damaged the side of the neighbor’s car which was parked approx. 3 meters away. Now I say that this was an electrical fire based on the opinion of the fire investigator who came out to inspect. There were no signs of "foul play" and no accelerants were used. The evidence under the bonnet shows where the fire started so they are satisfied that it was a manufacturing defect.

 

The BMW was a lease car from Arval and had company insurance from RSA, my boss has been made aware of what happened and told me to pass the insurance details to the neighbor’s as well as my own insurance company who cover my wife’s car (One Call) . It looks like 3 claims will be going in against RSA as the BMW was responsible for the damage on the 3 cars.

 

I have uploaded some photos of the damage and have yet not really done anything with these pictures - the link for the images are here .

 

https://www.imageupload.co.uk/images/2017/08/12/BMWFireRescure11.08.2017.jpg

 

https://www.imageupload.co.uk/images/2017/08/12/BMWAfterFireBrigade.jpg

 

https://www.imageupload.co.uk/images/2017/08/12/TowedBMW11.08.2017.jpg

 

https://www.imageupload.co.uk/images/2017/08/12/BothCars11.08.2017.jpg

 

https://www.imageupload.co.uk/images/2017/08/12/NissanDamage11.08.2017.jpg

 

https://www.imageupload.co.uk/images/2017/08/12/BMWEngine11.08.2017.jpg

 

https://www.imageupload.co.uk/images/2017/08/12/BMWSide11.08.2017.jpg

 

So that's the background of my issue. Now here comes the questions.

 

1) All the signs and the experts say that this was an electrical fire leading me to believe that there should be some involvement from the manufacturer - can or should I approach them for help and do they have a responsibility?

 

2) My wife's car is a Nissan that is on HP - we used a 3rd party finance company (Money Barn) to lend us the money to buy the vehicle from a Nissan dealership. As far as the dealership was concerned we were cash buyers and repay monthly repayment to Money Barn as part of a 60-month agreement. When we spoke to the insurance company on the Nissan they advised the car was worth £9750, however, the outstanding finance on the Nissan is approx £15000 leaving us with some rather nasty negative equity. What can we do about this in the event of the Nissan being wrote off ? Do I just accept the insurance write off, use the payout money to purchase a new car as cash and continue to repay the same monthly payments essentially not telling Money Barn what has happened or will the insurance go to them, we have the replay the negative equity still and end up car less but still making payments (as situation I really do need to avoid like the plague)?

 

3) The BMW catching fire issue is actually more common than I assumed, a quick Google search showed pages of hits with BMW's catching fire whilst parked leading me to believe that this is a known issue that BMW are / having been keen quiet on. Should I challenge this with BMW or do anything about this issue at this stage?

 

Fully appreciate that anything mass produced will have an acceptable failure rate but this is my life and the lives of my family that was in immediate danger here. We were woken at 4am yesterday to the sound of the fire brigade on the verge of kicking in my front door to wake us all up as they thought the cars were going to explode. Metal and plastic can be replaced but my family can’t so I do very particularly bitter about what has happened.

 

Right now, I am left without a car, the BMW was collected yesterday by a company called Copart on behalf of the business insurance, my wife’s car is being collected today on behalf of our own car insurance and the neighbor is sorting their car out themselves with their dealership.

 

What are my options?

 

Sorry to ramble on as there will no doubt be spelling mistakes within this post, I have tried to make it as factual as possible but I am sure some emotion will have been added.

 

Cheers

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Can't really help much, but maybe the BBC Watchdog would be interested especially if there are other cases of BMWs catching fire.

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cheers - proper stressing about this - not so much the BMW replacement as thats a company car but I need to know the best way to proceed with Money Barn.

 

My hope is that any replacement market value will be paid to me for a get a new car and I will just continue the finance payment but history has taught me that things don't always go to plan.

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Insurance does not work that way. Each car insurance claim will be separate with no attempt to claim back from the car which caught fire first. There will not be any claiming of uninsured losses from the first car that caught fire first either.

 

I doubt the Insurers of the BMW that caught fire will go after BMW to claim their claim payout either. Not worth spending time/money on.

 

It would be a different matter had this been a massive car accident with a very large loss valus with personal injuries or deaths.

 

Check Insurance, as many policies cover a new replacement if total loss within 12 months. If not, there might have been GAP Insurance.


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Ouch!! What a nightmare!!

 

All I know is the insurance pays out for market value of the damaged vehicles.

They dont get into how much you borrowed. That's what gap insurance is for. They wont settle finance or HP.

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Agreed. Unless the Insurance policy has a clause covering new replacement cost if a total loss occurs within first 12 months of first registration as a new car.

 

Going back to the questions

 

1) obtain an expert report from someone independent into the exact cause of the fire. RAC or AA might help with this. I doubt BMW will be interested in proving a manufacturing fault for obvious reasons. If you have legal cover on your Car Insurance see if there is any help in covering costs which might form basis of your legal claim, if you suffered any loss. If you have AA or RAC membership, see if you have any legal help on that.

 

The owners of the other cars should enquire exactly what cover they have to claim for their own cars.

 

2) as already stated, insurance nothing to do with finance. If total loss Market value would the claim amount. The cars might well be economically repairable, but you won't know until they are taken apart and an assessment is made.

 

If there is a total loss and there is no GAP cover or new replacement clause in policy, then you face having a debt as a deficit. Now this where it might be interesting too see a report into the cause of the fire. If you suffered a loss as a direct result of a manufacturing fault, the retailer who sold the car should be responsible. The finance company also have a legal interest in this as well.

 

3) get evidence of the fire cause.


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Thanks all.

 

This is causing us a massive head ache at the moment and both the insurance company for our own car (Nissan) and finance company (Money barn) are closed leaving us with the stress of real uncertainty.

 

All I know is the replacement value of the Nissan is not going to cover the debt and its not our fault.. If I crashes etc then fine, but it was caused by by another car spontaneously combustion in our drive after being stationary for 11 hours.

 

We don't have £4k sitting around to pay off the negative equity should Money barn demand this and show no compassion to what we have been through.

 

I have a large family and its totally mission critical that we have a 2nd car for the wife to use for school and general life etc.

 

Just looked at the contract from Money barn and it does say that in the event of total loss we need to give them the insurance money and pay all outstanding sums... We are ..... to put it politely..

 

My ideal solution would be to get the payout money, purchase a new car as a cash buyer and continue to pay monthly payments for the remainder of the loan but that simple solution I not looking like being a reality..

 

God this is stressful.

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You must make it clear to whoever took the cars away, that they must not interfere with the cars before they are inspected. The fire cause needs to found out if this is possible and it can then be reported. There is a government department that deals with vehicle safety issues and if there is a fault that could endanger life, then it needs investigating further.


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"My ideal solution would be to get the payout money, purchase a new car as a cash buyer and continue to pay monthly payments for the remainder of the loan but that simple solution I not looking like being a reality""

 

 

This wont work as the finance company own the vehicle. You want to buy another car and continue to pay.

Your wanting to turn a secured loan into an unsecured one.

 

What's to stop you from doing that and then refuse to pay monthly payments. The finance company have no asset to repossess.

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Thanks.

 

Lets hope the finance company show some compassion and don't just preach law.

 

3 year customer, never missed a payments or caused them any problems at all.

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Unfortunately all they have now is a pile of scrap metal and a promise to pay.

If you were them what would you do to recover thousands owed?

I feel sorry for you. I know hindsight is a wonderful thing but check for gap insurance.

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You should push the BMW insurance company to restore you to the point of the loss which should include where you are with the Nissan, i.e, they should compensate any consequential damages as well if the BMW was fully comprehensively insured.

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No help at all so sorry, but many on here think GAP is a waste of time and money.

 

It isn't.

 

You could console yourself in the fact that if your story leads to someone else getting GAP and avoiding your issues it will have been worth it.

 

H


40 years at the pointy end of the motor trade. :eek:

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You should push the BMW insurance company to restore you to the point of the loss which should include where you are with the Nissan, i.e, they should compensate any consequential damages as well if the BMW was fully comprehensively insured.

 

They do. Buy giving the value of the car.

It Is not their concern that the owners took out finance for it

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I agree.

 

However that's not to say I'm not trying it on, on behalf of a commercial client having to pay the remaining 6 months of a lease agreement for a vehicle that was written off part way through in an RTA. I've sued for the value of the lease termination invoice.

 

It's a consequential economic loss arising directly from the tortfeasor's negligence. The question in my view is going to be whether the loss itself is forseeable or too remote. I'm going along the lines of in this day and age and in this economic climate it is entirely likely that (as was in this case) a nearly new vehicle is subject to some sort of finance/lease, therefore the economic loss one would suffer under any such finance/lease agreement isn't unforseeable or remote and therefore ought to be recoverable. Indeed, any reasonable person can see there is an entire market of insurance products that has arisen out of the finance shortfall issue (GAP Insurance).

 

Add to that, re GAP insurance, the current position with mitigation of loss is that a claimant is not obliged to use insurance to mitigate losses as an insurance contract is res inter alios acta - a defendant can't use a claimant's contractual entitlement under an insurance contract to escape its own liability as a tortfeasor.

 

Whether any of this will actually fly is anyone's guess... I'm of the opinion that it won't.

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This is an interesting subject. What consequential losses are covered by case law.

 

If a fairly new car catches fire, if the fault is with BMW in manufacturing a car with a fault, if this is proven, then the OP can sue the BMW garage for the total value of finance outstanding if this us more than market value and any losses they can evidence. If you buy a vehicle on finance, the finance company and retailer are part of the contract with the buyer.

 

I am sure if the OP gets proof a manufacturing fault is most likely to have caused the fire, that the BMW dealer will wish to fully resolve.


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Whilst the claim if action was taken would be against the dealer

the reality is that the claim should be against BMW UK as he dealer is an agent of BMW UK.

 

 

I've had to deal with similar claims where one on the car lines I look after caught fire in a garage and destroyed the building and had to authorise the rebuild of the garage as well.

 

 

provide the BMW was under warranty at the time

then as I understand it they would be liable for the consequential damage as well.

 

 

In my past life with BMW they have paid for repairs to tarmac drives where oil has leaked and lifted the tarmac during warranty and I don't see much difference here.

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