Car Insurance and Fire Damage
Forest fires can cause serious damage to your vehicle, whether or not your car was actually touched by flames. Prepare for the unexpected by knowing the signs and effects of fire damage on your vehicle.
Fire Damage to Your Car
If your car has actually caught flame from wildfires, it won’t take much investigation to figure it out. Long-lasting burns can cause irreparable damage to the structure of your vehicle. In some of these cases, your car will simply be declared totaled, or a “ total loss, ” meaning the cost of repairs would be more than the actual cash value of your vehicle. However, if the car can be salvaged, you’ll need the help of a trusted mechanic to fix it up.
Smoke Damage to Your Car
If you live in an area at risk for forest fires, there’s a good chance you need to check your car’s air filters, even if flames don’t reach your property.
The first thing to check after a fire is the air filter. Having a clean air filter in your vehicle plays an important role in your health since you’ll breathe in any debris and dust that the filter doesn’t catch. Once the smoke has cleared from your area, you can check the air filter by taking it out and giving it a shake. If you see anything come off of it, it’s time for a new one. Since air filters are relatively cheap, you may just consider replacing it to be safe. Parts and labor for a new air filter are typically less than $100, so you wouldn’t necessarily need to get your insurance involved if that’s the only damage.
However, if heavy smoke makes its way into your car, you may be in for some deep cleaning. If you’ve ever gotten in the car with someone who smokes, you’ll know firsthand just how the smell of smoke can linger on interior fabrics. Smoke from forest fires is no different, and a professional cleaning crew might be the only way to get the smell out of your car.
Ash Damage to Your Car
Falling ash can be surprisingly harmful to your paint job. This is because ash contains calcium and potassium, which can cause chemical damage when wet. This means ash left sitting on a dewy car overnight can start to do some harm to the body of your car.
Because of the grainy nature of ash, you won’t want to just brush it off. Instead, using a high powered hose or heading to the nearest car wash is your best bet to clear off the outside of your car. Fortunately, if you take care of it quickly, you likely won’t need professional intervention.