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Car on fire in Singapore: What to do if it happens to you

Ever witnessed a car going up in flames? Surprisingly, it is not uncommon.

On Sep 27, 2020, a car caught fire at Tampines after a “bang” was heard. Thankfully, the couple who was in the car had already alighted and moved to safety before smoke was seen billowing out from the car.

Earlier in the same month, a car caught fire at the junction of Woodlands Avenue 1 and 2 in the afternoon and the driver was taken to the hospital; and in Ang Mo Kio, a car caught fire when parked in an open-air carpark.

That makes three cars in a month, and these are the reported ones. So, it seems like cars burning up isn’t rare. Why does a car catch fire and more importantly, what should you do if it happens to you?

Why do cars catch fire?

Cars can catch fire due to a variety of reasons. This is because it contains fuel as well as other flammable liquids like engine oil, transmission fluid and brake fluid. Various electrical and heating components that can cause combustion to such liquids.

Reasons could range from overheating, fuel leakage, short circuit, a ruptured battery, or a car accident.

What to do if your car catches fire?

As a driver, act fast if you see sparks, smoke, or feel like there is a burning smell. Try to park if you can, otherwise simply get out of the vehicle to safety.

Time is of essence if you suspect that your car smells strange. Fires could lead to explosion, which is very dangerous to people in the car as well as others in its proximity.

You can try to put out small fires using a fire extinguisher, but if it becomes too big, get emergency help immediately. The SCDF Ambulance and Fire Service hotline to call in Singapore is 995.

Get your car insurer’s help

If you have comprehensive car insurance, or Third Party Fire & Theft policies, get help from your insurance as soon as you are out of the danger zone.

Activate your insurer’s roadside emergency assistance if it’s included in your car insurance policy. If the fire resulted due to collision, let the insurer and police investigate rather than immediately assume liability.

Then, gather necessary documents such as police report, GIA accident report, insurer’s surveyor’s report and SCDF’s fire investigation report. Submit a medical report if you have suffered burns from the car fire, as you can be compensated for the expenses with certain comprehensive car insurance plans.

The insurer will either pay out the full market value of your car if there is total loss, or pay for repairs up to market value. This can set your mind at ease after such a traumatising event as you would not have to pay for repairs out of pocket.

How to prevent car fires

The first thing that will help you prevent a fire happening in your car is to send it for servicing regularly. Your technician must help you to ensure that there is no fuel leakage, and there is sufficient coolant liquid in the radiator, so your car does not overheat.

Singapore is a very hot place, so another way that cars can catch fire is when there is combustible material in your car, such as a aerosol sprays. Think, something like deodorant or air freshener. When it gets too hot, pressurised cans can explode and result in a fire. So, never leave them around in your car!

Avoid substandard modifications and third-party accessories. Tampering with the parts, electronics, lights, stereo and horns of your car can cause short-circuiting.

Want to get better car insurance policies?
Visit car insurance portal and Guide to Car Insurance.

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