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Repudiation of claim for Petrol in Diesel Car


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Help! I put some petrol in my diesel and thought it would not be a big problem. I stopped filling when I realised my mistake and filled up by adding diesel into the tank to dilute it down. Result was about 1/3 petrol 2/3 diesel.

 

I drove the car thinking it would not be a problem. It drove fine and I recalled friends who had done the same and had no problems. 24 hours later after about 100 miles it failed to start. I called breakdown thinking it would be a simple job to fix the car. They advised me to check with insurer as it could be big claim. When I called insurer they said I was covered.

 

Now after about 5 days insurer is repudiating the claim because they say I should have known not to drive at all. That by driving I was not adhering to the requirement to minimise the damage.

 

I understand this is going to be several thousand pounds as apparently the petrol damages fuel lines, seals and many other components. I really feel they are being unreasonable. Are they and how can I fight this?

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Sorry i am going to play devils advocate on this -

 

Although its quite harsh i can honestly agree with their position.

 

Fair enough if you drove say 1 mile to get to a garage to remedy the problem but the insurer could rightly argue that to drive 100 miles was inviting trouble.

 

Remember that insurers stipulate that you should always act as if there were no insurance cover in place. Would you honestly have driven 100 miles with the wrong fuel (albeit diluted) if you knew you would have to cover the cost of any damage yourself?

Cahoot - Rejection of offer sent 14/06/07

 

Barclaycard - S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent 22/03/07

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Thanks for the feedback. The honest answer is Yes, I would and in fact did drive the 100 miles. When I had the problem I first called the normal recovery number for Merc. They advised I should call my insurer. Up to that point I did not even consider it were insurable.

 

So whilst its true and an honest view my question remains, under such circumstances is it reasonable for the insurer to deny the claim?

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My policy states that I must take all reasonable steps to protect my car from loss or damage and I suspect yours will have very similar wording, this is not in my opinion an unfair term.

 

I do not think that driving 100 miles with the wrong fuel in the tank is a reasonable step to protect your car from damage. I would say it is reasonable for them to deny the claim.

If in doubt read the

FAQs

 

If still in doubt - ask!

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Thanks for the input. I just did not realise there was a risk. Clearly you understand the risk. I have two friend who put petrol in diesel and had no issues. Also I read only last week about a rally across Europe using vegetable oil.

 

To me it was not obvious and not malicous to drive the car. I was not even aware I could claim until Merc. told me I should try.

 

I would be interested to know if there are other people out there who do not realise how damaging this can be.

 

If there is one thing I can do, it is to warn others of the risk.

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Some diesel engines withstand petrol better than others.

 

I've a diesel and I sometimes run it on reclaimed vegetable oil, but that's very different from trying to run it on petrol. I do know that the problem of petrol going into diesel cars by mistake is very common (I once test-drove a diesel Audi that ground to a halt because the dealer had put the wrong fuel in) and I've seen press reports that pressure is being put on the industry to try and deal with the situation.

 

Not much consolation to you, but you're far from the only one to make this kind of mistake.

If in doubt read the

FAQs

 

If still in doubt - ask!

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You would be surprised how common this refuelling error is had a client claim last week for £5000 due to this and 1 other the week before and I work in a brokers not a claims dept.

 

A few years back i had 1 client do this 3 times in 2 years which is just plain careless.

Cahoot - Rejection of offer sent 14/06/07

 

Barclaycard - S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent 22/03/07

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xrchris is correct.

 

Recently done some research with Insurers on this issue ( Commercial ) and respondents concurred that a claim would normally be paid ( under the "own Damage" section for such incidents provided that the driver had taken reasonable care to reduce/limit damage caused to the vehicle once they had realsied what they had done ( even includes the wife !!!! ). Reasonable care being movement of the vehicle if obstructing forecourt etc or a couple of miles if hadn't realised initially. Expectation is that the driver should then arrange for car to be towed/uplifted by garage, AA, RAC etc. or even the insurer themselves if they offer that service. Claim is always subject to excess.

 

I'm afraid in this instance the insurers are within their right to repudiate however I would still persue by pleading complete ignorance & you may get a sympathetic underwriter over-ruling the claims dept. Have a word with the underwriters (not just one of the call centre ops ) & try to explain. You never know, they may just pay on an ex gratia basis or contribute towards repair. May depend on your replationship though i.e. been with them a few years - loyalty etc. The fact however that you knowingly drove the vehicle may be an issue.

:p :p If my advice as been of help, please give me a quick click on the scales to your right ;) ;) :)
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