Insurance coverage available for vehicle fires, says PIAM

Vehicle owners are eligible to make an insurance claim for vehicle fires, subject to their policy type. In an email reply, the General Insurance Association of Malaysia (PIAM) said that out of the three auto insurance policies, two have vehicle fire coverage.

“Loss or damage from fire is covered under the tariff comprehensive policy, or the third-party fire and theft (TPFT) policy.

“The usual exceptions such as consequential loss, loss of use, convulsions of nature, which can be extended to cover, and others would apply,” it said yesterday.

This means that those only insured with a third-party policy are not eligible to make a claim in case of a vehicle fire.

PIAM said the compensation would depend on the vehicle’s damaged condition and the sum insured.

“The amount of compensation including whether the vehicle will be rendered a ‘total loss’, will depend on the nature and extent of damage suffered.

“If a vehicle is beyond repair or the repair cost is higher than its value, then it will likely be a ‘total loss’ for the vehicle,” it added.

When asked, PIAM said claims due to accidents caused by performance modifications on vehicles are generally not covered by insurance.

“Vehicle owners should inform their insurers should there be major modifications done to their vehicles.

“Major modifications, especially those affecting safety aspects and the structural integrity of the vehicle, may need the Road Transport Department’s (JPJ) approval.

“Losses due to improper or illegal modifications will not be covered,” it said.

While one may be able to save some money on insurance premiums with the most basic coverage, fires and other disasters can occur anywhere and anytime.

“Vehicle owners should know what they are buying and the benefits affecting their vehicle and financial interests.”

PIAM noted that the common misconception when it comes to vehicle insurance is that a comprehensive motor policy covers all losses.

“There are exceptions. Vehicle owners should understand fully the terms and conditions and seek clarification.”

While vehicle owners sometimes buy the cheapest insurance just to meet the minimum requirement to renew their road tax, PIAM said they should think about whether it is protecting their safety and financial interests.

“They are advised to review their policies to ensure that their specific needs are met and their interests are protected, like extending coverage to include flood if the vehicle is used in flood-prone areas,” it said.

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