If You Put the Wrong Fuel in Your Tank, Will Insurance Pay for Damages?

Last Updated on December 6, 2023

Even the best of us make mistakes when it comes to driving. If you’ve had a long day at work or are at a gas station you aren’t familiar with, it’s easy to accidentally put the wrong fuel in your tank. Unfortunately, this can be very damaging to your car. If this has happened to you, you may be wondering if insurance will pay for the damages. Here’s what you need to know.

What Happens When I Put the Wrong Fuel in My Tank?

If you put the wrong fuel in your tank, will insurance pay for damages?There are several different things that can happen when you put the wrong fuel in your tank, depending on what type of fuel it is and what type of fuel your car is supposed to take. If your car is supposed to use regular gasoline and you put in diesel, it can cause internal damage to your car over time. Gasoline tanks are not designed to burn diesel fuel, so it will not light and your engine will likely shut off. As soon as you realize you have put diesel in a gasoline engine, turn your car off and get to an automobile professional. You will need to have your car’s gas lines drained, and this is not something you should attempt on your own.

Putting regular gasoline in a diesel engine is slightly more dangerous and damaging to your car. Gasoline will ignite much faster than diesel, and it will cause your engine to misfire, start knocking, and likely cause permanent engine damage very quickly. This is particularly true for clean diesel engines, which are incredibly sensitive. If you realize you have put gasoline in a diesel engine, turn your car off as soon as possible. You should never drive with gasoline in a diesel engine, and you will likely need to call a tow truck.

Another common problem is putting lower octane fuel in your car than it needs. If you aren’t sure what octane rating of fuel your car requires, it’s important to find out before you start driving. If you put lower octane fuel in your car, you will very quickly start to notice your engine slowing down and malfunctioning. Your engine will likely overheat and sustain long-term damage. If you put higher octane fuel in your car than it is designed for, nothing abnormal will happen, but it won’t enhance your car’s performance either.

Will My Insurance Provider Pay for the Damages?

Generally, your insurance company will not cover the damages if you put the wrong type of fuel in your car. They refer to this as misfuelling, and you will typically need to pay for it out of pocket. To confirm this, look for a misfuelling clause on your car insurance policy. If you try to file a claim for misfuelling, it will likely be rejected and could hurt your insurance rates slightly. However, if you have mechanical breakdown coverage, you may be able to file this claim. Mechanical breakdown insurance covers damages that are not addressed or covered in traditional car insurance policies. However, not every mechanical breakdown policy will cover misfuelling, so you should always check your insurance policy before filing a claim. Mechanical breakdown insurance is typically only available for cars that are less than three years old.

How Can I Prevent Accidental Misfuelling?

Since your insurance company won’t cover the damages that result from putting the wrong type of fuel in your car, it’s important to take precautions to prevent accidental misfuelling. When you purchase any new car, it’s important to read the owner’s manual thoroughly and make sure you understand which type of fuel your car needs. In the US, the five types of fuel available are unleaded, super unleaded, premium unleaded, diesel, and E85 ethanol. It’s easy to get these confused, so make sure you know exactly which one your car needs. Whenever you go to a new gas station, it’s important to double-check all the labels and make sure you’re putting the right fuel in your car before taking any action.

Some people will try to put the wrong fuel in their car on purpose, thinking that it will enhance their car’s performance. This is a myth that is unfortunately not true. In the best cases, putting the wrong fuel in your car won’t hurt it, but it also won’t improve the engine performance. In the worst cases, it will hurt your engine to the point that you can’t use your car. You should never risk putting the wrong type of fuel in your car.

Since insurance won’t pay for damages, it’s very important to be careful with the type of fuel you put in your car. Always double-check to make sure you’re using the right kind. If you put the wrong type of fuel in your car, turn it off immediately and get it to an auto professional to prevent further damage.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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