One in three motorists not covered by insurance – Diesel drivers most at risk from misfueling

10th May 2010

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) is warning that diesel drivers are most at risk of misfuelling, which could cost more than £5000 to repair and is not covered by nearly a third of insurance policies.  


BIBA has highlighted that of the 150,000 misfuelling cases per year, 95 per cent are people putting petrol into diesel vehicles due to the wider diesel filler neck and narrower unleaded nozzle. A BIBA survey of the major UK insurers reveals that 30% would not pay a misfuelling claim.

Graeme Trudgill, BIBA Technical and Corporate Affairs Executive, said: “Nobody is immune to misfueling, from TV celebrities like Philip Schofield to Wayne Rooney’s reported misfuelling mishap, it is easily done.  Even the Metropolitan police have spent nearly £280,000 repairing vehicles filled with the wrong fuel since mid 2006. It is important to speak to your insurance broker to arrange a fully comprehensive policy that covers these unexpected risks.”

BIBA advises that in the event of misfuelling the motorist should not start the vehicle and ought to notify the petrol station and breakdown company immediately. The possibility exists that an insurer may refuse to pay out in the case of a motorist who knowingly drives their vehicle with the wrong fuel in it because the policyholder may be deemed to have failed in their duty of care.

BIBA insurance broker, Michael Edwards from MCE, commented: “Misfuelling often occurs on a Monday morning and Friday evening when drivers are preoccupied thinking about the week ahead or rushing home for the weekend.  If the motorist is innocent the insurance industry would normally treat this as an accidental damage claim, under a comprehensive insurance policy. However, if the policy is third party, fire and theft or contains a misfuelling exclusion, then the motorist is unlikely to be able to claim at all.

Edwards added: “We have also experienced motorcycle misfuelling where the rider has been driving a company van or car during the week and then fuels his motorcycle for leisure activities at the weekend. Riders should speak to their Insurance broker as 57% of motorcycle insurance policies don’t cover misfuelling.”

Motorists have the right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service, if the exclusion was not brought to their attention at the point of sale. Where there is any doubt, an insurance broker is best placed to represent the policyholder on the policyholder’s behalf.

The cost of repairs can range from £300 for a fuel drain, to over £5,000 if the car is driven causing serious damage to the engine.  BIBA is urging consumers to purchase an adequate motor insurance policy from an insurance broker which protects against such an event and not buy solely on price alone.


Notes to editors

1. For further information please contact :

BIBA press office:
Leighann Burtrand, Communications Manager
020 7397 0223
[email protected]

2. About British Insurance Brokers’ Association

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) is the UK’s leading general insurance organisation representing the interests of insurance brokers, intermediaries and their customers.

BIBA membership includes 1700 regulated firms. Insurance brokers and intermediaries distribute nearly two-thirds of all UK general insurance. In 2007, insurance brokers and intermediaries generated £1.5 billion of invisible earnings and they introduce £22 billion of premium income into London’s insurance market each year.

BIBA is the voice of the industry, advising members, the regulators, the Government, consumer bodies and other stakeholders on key insurance issues.  BIBA provides unique schemes and facilities, technical advice, guidance on regulation and business support and is helping to raise, and maintain, industry standards. BIBA works closely with the Chartered Insurance Institute to provide training to those working in the industry and actively participates in helping the industry and its customers deal with some of the major issues of the day.

BIBA members provide professional advice to businesses and consumers, playing a key role in identification, measurement, management, control and transfer of risk.  They negotiate appropriate insurance protection tailored to individual needs and operate to a very high standard of customer service with the aim of ensuring peace of mind, security, financial protection and the professional advice required.

To find your nearest BIBA broker visit the ‘Find A Broker’ section of the BIBA website, or call BIBA’s consumer helpline on 0870 950 1790