Whether you usually drive a petrol but have switched to a diesel for the day, or you’re in a rush, it’s easy to put the wrong fuel in a vehicle accidentally. It’s estimated that it happens once less than every two minutes in the UK and costs motorists £150 million. You may be surprised to discover that nearly half of car insurance and breakdown policies won’t cover you if you do make this mistake. Luckily, misfuel insurance is available to help cover the costs. Read our quick guide to find out everything you need to know.
What is misfuelling?
Misfuelling is the name given when you put the wrong type of fuel into your vehicle.
What happens if you put diesel in a petrol car?
It’s quite hard to put diesel into a petrol vehicle. That’s because car and pump manufacturers have got together to make the hole at the top of the fuel tank of petrol cars smaller than the pump nozzle for diesel. If it does happen, the diesel will coat the spark plugs, and your vehicle could start to misfire or even fail to start at all.
What happens if you put petrol in a diesel car?
Unfortunately, the petrol pump nozzle does fit in the hole at the top of diesel fuel tanks. If you put petrol in a diesel vehicle, it can damage the engine. Depending on how far you drive with the wrong fuel, the damage can vary from requiring expensive repairs to a complete engine replacement. That’s because introducing petrol into a diesel tank reduces the lubrication, which means metal parts can rub and become damaged.
What should you do if you put the wrong fuel in your car?
Stop driving as soon as you realise your mistake. The further you drive the more damage you will do. If you realise before you start the engine, don’t turn the ignition. As soon as you start the car, the patrol will start to contaminate the engine.
You’ll need to contact a local garage or someone who can drain the tank for you or tow your car away for repairs. If you have misfuel insurance, you’ll be given a 24/7 contact number. This will mean you’ll get help quickly so you can get back on your way.
Does breakdown cover include misfuel cover?
Probably not. In most cases, breakdown cover will not include the cost of a fuel drain or for any repairs or replacement parts.
Can I claim on my main car insurance?
Don’t automatically assume that your car insurance will cover you if you misfuel. Defaqto checked over 200 car insurance policies and found that misfuelling was excluded from cover in 42% of policies.
If you’re not sure if you’re covered already, check the small print or speak to your broker. Even if it is included, bear in mind the cost of any excess you’ll need to pay and factor in the increased costs in future insurance cover as you’ll lose your no claims discount.
What about my warranty?
If you drive a new car, you won’t be covered under warranty for any repairs or replacement parts needed as a result of misfuelling.
What is misfuel insurance cover?
The average cost of fixing problems as a result of putting in the wrong fuel is £3,000. When you hold misfuel insurance, you have the peace of mind that these costs are covered. If you do put the wrong fuel in the tank, call the number you’ve been given and relax. Assuming you haven’t started the engine, someone will be on their way to drain your tank. Then they’ll give you the right fuel so that you can get back on your way again. If you’ve started the engine, they’ll drain take your car to the nearest garage. Any caravans or trailers attached to the misfuelled car will also be taken, so you don’t need to worry about those being left at the roadside.
How much does misfuel insurance cover cost?
Misfuel insurance can be an inexpensive add-on to your car insurance or stand-alone policy. The exact figure will depend on the type of vehicle you drive but could be as low as the cost of a takeaway for two.
Do I need misfuel insurance?
If you only ever drive a petrol vehicle, you’re less likely to need to misfuel insurance as it’s harder to fill up with diesel accidentally. It’s estimated that only around 5% of misfuelling is diesel put into a petrol vehicle. However, if you drive a diesel, it’s an easy mistake to make, especially if you sometimes drive a petrol car.
Where can I buy misfuel insurance?
If your car insurance does not include misfuel insurance, ask if it can be added on. If that’s not an option, you can buy a standalone policy. Speak to our friendly team at Easy2Insure for more advice. We’re independent, so we’ll shop around on your behalf to find you misfuel insurance at the best price. Call us on 0800 917 9522 or get in touch.