Car insurance doesn't cover misfuelling for a third of drivers Go compare with our comparison table

Car insurance doesn't cover misfuelling for a third of drivers

11 May 2010 / by Rachael Stiles

One in three drivers would not be covered by their car insurance if they put the wrong fuel in their car, according to the British Insurance Brokers' Association (BIBA).

There are around 150,000 annual cases of misfuelling – putting diesel in a petrol car or vice versa – and only two thirds of car insurance policies would cover this cost.

Drivers of diesel vehicles are more likely to misfuel than petrol drivers, the BIBA research shows, with 95 per cent of annual instances of misfuelling due to people putting petrol in a diesel car.

Some car insurance companies will not cover the cost of repairs resulting from misfuelling if the driver knowingly drives the car after putting the wrong fuel in it, because they would be said to have failed in their duty of care.

In the event that a vehicle is filled with the wrong fuel, the BIBA advises motorists not to start the vehicle, which can damage the engine, but to notify the petrol station and a breakdown company immediately.

"Nobody is immune to misfueling," comments Graeme Trudgill, technical and corporate affairs executive at the BIBA, "it is easily done." For motorists who want protection against this occurrence, he suggests: "speak to your insurance broker to arrange a fully comprehensive policy that covers these unexpected risks."

BIBA insurance broker, Michael Edwards, explained that Monday mornings and Friday evenings are common times for misfuelling, when drivers are preoccupied with the week ahead or getting home at the end of the week. Some car insurance companies will cover it under accidental damage, but in instances where drivers have third party, fire and theft, or a misfuelling exclusion in their policies, "then the motorist is unlikely to be able to claim at all," he said.

Commenting on the findings, Will Thomas, head of car insurance at, said "There is no hard and fast rule" across the car insurance industry for misfuelling, because it depends on whether or not the car has been driven with the wrong fuel in it – this can mean a difference in cost of £300 for draining the tank or £5,000 if the engine has been damaged.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd

ProviderSpecial OffersGet Quotes

5 Star car insurance from £185 – That’s all 10% paid for our standard cover* .
You could save up to 20% online - 36% of customers are expected to receive the maximum saving**

Get Quotes >
Our Guaranteed Hire Car cover comes as standard with our comprehensive motor insurance.

Underwritten by U K Insurance Limited

Get Quotes >

99% of customers would buy again from LV= - Reevoo

Benefits include UK call centres, 24/7 claims helpline, unlimited cover for factory fitted phone, audio and sat nav equipment, replacement child car seats, and European car insurance cover. Tailor the cover to suit you with optional extras, such as Motor Legal Expenses, Guaranteed Hire Car, increased Personal Accident cover and Breakdown cover.

Get Quotes >

Don’t get caught out when you break down. Churchill offers free breakdown service to new Motor customers
First year Breakdown service (roadside only), provided by Green Flag, new policies only. Breakdown chargeable at renewal. Underwritten by U K Insurance Limited. Terms & conditions apply

Get Quotes >

Save 15% Online††
No claims discount up to 75%.

Get Quotes >

Comprehensive cover available from just £180 a year***.
Defaqto 5 Star Rated Comprehensive Cover, you'll benefit from the following as standard: Uninsured driver cover, Vandalism cover, Guaranteed replacement car, Emergency any driver cover, Cover for driving in the European Union for an unlimited period.

Get Quotes >
New customers can get 12 months' breakdown cover for the price of 6 when they buy AA Car Insurance. You also get access to member benefits, including up to 20% off at Moto service areas. Get Quotes >

Get Comprehensive Car Insurance Quotes Online.

Get Quotes >
Free Annual Roadside Assistance and Recovery Breakdown Cover worth £49.
Over 50s save at least £50.
Get Quotes >
With lots more cover now included as standard, AXA car insurance offers you extra reassurance on the road.
If your car’s hit by an uninsured driver, you’ll keep your no claims discount and get back your excess with AXA’s uninsured driver promise* – only with our comprehensive car insurance (*We will return any No Claims Discount and Excess if you are not to blame – you will need to provide the make, model and reg number of the other car. T&Cs apply.)
Get Quotes > compare prices from over 130 motor insurance providers to find you their best dealGet Quotes >
Save up to £230 on your car insurance (51% of consumers could achieve a saving of up to £229.96 with car insurance based on a comparison of at least 40 companies)Get Quotes >