While the popular impression of the flammability of motor vehicles may be exaggerated due to such things as the manner in which they are portrayed on television and in the movies, cars and trucks do contain flammable materials, and they obtain their motive power through the use of flammable fuel. As a result they occasionally catch fire, causing damage to themselves and to objects around them. Fire coverage under policies of motor vehicle insurance has been devised in order to reimburse vehicle owners for the loss and damage sustained in such incidents.
Fire coverage under a policy of motor vehicle insurance, which is sometimes contained within the comprehensive coverage provisions of the policy, generally provides coverage for accidental loss of or damage to a covered vehicle caused by fire. Questions may sometimes arise over coverage of fire damage associated with a collision involving a covered vehicle. Similarly, because of the great variety of ways in which fires can start and propagate themselves, incidents resulting in motor vehicle fires may raise other coverage issues related to causation. While negligence or carelessness of an insured will normally not preclude coverage, intentional acts of the insured that bring about a fire can cause an insurer to deny coverage for a loss. Because of the destructive nature of fire and the manner in which it can obliterate the evidence of how it was ignited, insurers have an incentive to carefully analyze claims of damage or loss involving fires of suspicious origin.
The business of insurance in the United States, including that of motor vehicle insurance, has traditionally been governed by the separate laws of each of the states rather than by a single unified body of federal law. As a result, the answers to questions concerning coverage of fire damage under auto insurance policies will vary from state to state, and will be found in the state statutes regulating the business of insurance and in the decisions of courts dealing with matters of insurance law.