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2011 forester automatic
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was in an accident on the freeway last week--a truck lost a pallet of freight, which the car in front of me hit, and came to an abrupt stop. I slammed on my brakes to stop, but didn't have enough time/space, and I rear ended that car. I did have enough time to significantly slow down--from about 55mph to about 20-25mph. There wasn't much damage to my car, however, by the time I pulled off the freeway (about 30 seconds or less) there were flames coming from under my hood. I grabbed my cell and got out of the car as quickly as I could. I called 911 and let them know my car was on fire. Within about 2 minutes the car was fully involved. By the time the fire dept got there (about 5 minutes), all that was left was the frame.

Not only am I bummed that I lost all my stuff inside the car, valued at about $1500-$2000 AND about $8500 in reduced value/downpayment I put on the car, but it also seems really unsafe! This car was practically brand-new--I bought it in September, it only had about 10,000 miles on it, and it was well-maintained.

Has anyone heard of anything like this happening?? It seems like a relatively minor/moderate collision should not instantly ignite a raging fire?!?! What if the occupant was trapped/unconcious or there were kids in carseats?

I reported it to Subaru, but they didn't really seem concerned, and haven't followed up.

I attached some photos below--I'm new to the forum, so hopefully this works...
 

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Premium Member
2008 Forester X Premium 5MT
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8,073 Posts
You would have to know where the fire started and what started it.

First thing that comes to mind is front end damage could result in a broken transmission cooler/cooler line spraying trans mission fluid on to hot exhaust. In this case any car is automatic car subject regardless who makes it.

Honestly I would rather have a car burn to the ground after a accident then have to have it moderate to heavily repaired. Take the money and buy a new vehicle, that is what insurance is for. Always make sure you are properly covered.
 

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Premium Member
2008 XS 4EAT
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9,878 Posts
First welcome, we are a pretty decent bunch here http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f62/ethic-our-community-100578/

Secondly no one can predict the type of damage every accident produces. I would be safe in saying this is not a common occurrence in the Member Mishaps that I have viewed over the years. I agree with flstffxe that some flammable source came into contact with an exhaust part as a result of the accident, unfortunately that was the result you experienced in this particular crash.

Sadly its not hard to image the consequence of anyone trapped in a burning car as a result of an accident.:icon_frown:

Consider the safety rating the Forester has had since its inception IIHS-HLDI: Subaru Forester and consider that what "wasn't much damage" could have been substantially more upon inspection.

Take a read through some of our Members Mishaps and you'll find more members than not that will never drive anything but a Subaru after surviving more horrific accidents than yours.

I can only speak about my insurance policy but if my vehicle had been written off in the first year of ownership, I would have recieved what I paid for it including taxes and registration. Talk to your agent to see what your policy provides and contact the head office to see if their response is any different from the agents.

Keep us posted, but even searches on the internet do not turn up patterns of burning Foresters. :shrug:
 

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2011 forester automatic
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
You would have to know where the fire started and what started it.

First thing that comes to mind is front end damage could result in a broken transmission cooler/cooler line spraying trans mission fluid on to hot exhaust. In this case any car is automatic car subject regardless who makes it.

Honestly I would rather have a car burn to the ground after a accident then have to have it moderate to heavily repaired. Take the money and buy a new vehicle, that is what insurance is for. Always make sure you are properly covered.
I have full coverage insurance, which is good. It covered the the entire loan amount, however, I am not covered to replace the car with a comparable model. The settlement I was given by my insurance ($2100), is far less than the $5000 I put down and $3600 in payments that had already been made. Plus I lost an estimated $2000 in personal effects in the fire--laptop, breifcase, leather jacket, etc, which are not covered by my insurance.

What is most shocking to me is that the fire spread to the passenger compartment so rapidly. I didn't even have time to grab my laptop--I would hate to think about what the results could have been if there were children in car seats in the car!
 

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2019 Forester Sport Auto
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14 Posts
Talk to you insurance agent about replacement value

Sorry to hear about your loss and glad it did not include any injury. Consider talking to your insurance agent about guaranteed replacement cost coverage for new car purchase. I have several companies that offer replacement on a total loss within four years of purchase so you would not have lost the depreciated value. Check with your agent about this coverage or ask any independent agent for information on this. I purchased a 2010 with only 14000 miles and could not get the coverage because it was not a new car.Cost is not a major factor but I would add it for at least the first year of ownership then drop it. I do not feel that this is a problem with vehicle itself. I believe the issue was related to spray from a hose as stated in prior replies. I would buy another Subaru to replace.
 

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Administrator
2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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30,106 Posts
Sorry about your car-b-que... :frown: Like others have said, transmission or differential fluid on hot exhaust bits can lead to fires under the right (wrong) circumstances. The closest to a Forester fire I've ever seen was a case where the diff fluid was overfilled, leaked onto the cat and caught fire: http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f62/forester-fire-story-aka-roo-good-submaritan-4402/

It's always a good idea to carry a fire extinguisher in the car.
 

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SierraHotel
2010 Forester 2.5x 4EAT
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542 Posts
The first offer of the insurance company is not necessarily the end do the story. Do your research on the replacement value of the car.... you should be able to purchase the equivilant car (2011 w/10,000 miles, proper model & options)with the proceeds. At retail of course.

I'm glad you were not hurt. Welcome to the forum.
 

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2011 forester automatic
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
The first offer of the insurance company is not necessarily the end do the story. Do your research on the replacement value of the car.... you should be able to purchase the equivilant car (2011 w/10,000 miles, proper model & options)with the proceeds. At retail of course.

I'm glad you were not hurt. Welcome to the forum.
Thanks for being so welcoming--I really appreciate all the responses!

My insurance company offered me about $23,500 for value of the car and additional to cover tax, and unused registration/licencing fees. The balance I will recieve is $2100. I have looked at comparable 2011 models--Premium, all-weather package, heated seats etc w/about 10,000 miles, and the values are close to $25,000--which is pretty much the sticker price I paid for a new one. Do you think it's reasonable to push the adjuster to give me an additional $1500-$1700 on the value of the car? Since my car was under warranty, should I be entitled to a car that's still under warranty?

I am SO BUMMED at the prospect of not being able to replace my car with the same car. As is, I would have to replace the car with the base model.

I also had gap insurance and an extended warranty, so should I be able to get a partial refund from those policies?


This is the KBB value for a Forester under warranty:

Kelley Blue Book


Cars for Sale: 2011 Subaru Forester 2.5X Premium in Santa Monica, CA 90404: Sport Utility Details - 318823582 - AutoTrader.com

2011 SUBARU FORESTER 2.5X PREMIUM - Kelley Blue Book

2010 SUBARU FORESTER 2.5X PREMIUM - Kelley Blue Book
 

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2011 forester automatic
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23 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Sorry about your car-b-que... :frown: Like others have said, transmission or differential fluid on hot exhaust bits can lead to fires under the right (wrong) circumstances. The closest to a Forester fire I've ever seen was a case where the diff fluid was overfilled, leaked onto the cat and caught fire: http://www.subaruforester.org/vbulletin/f62/forester-fire-story-aka-roo-good-submaritan-4402/

It's always a good idea to carry a fire extinguisher in the car.
Yeah, in this case the fire extinguisher would have been not help. It was fully on fire in minutes--like take shelter from exploding airbags and blown out windows on fire. But definitely a good idea to have a fire extinguisher
 

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2008 Forester AE
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1,726 Posts
Terrible story, and pretty ironic that it's parked beside a vanagon with fire marks as well :icon_frown:

Cars harness fire to work, in an accident all bets are off.
You did the right thing and no one was hurt.
 

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02 Forester L (sold) Manual
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1,221 Posts
The first offer of the insurance company is not necessarily the end do the story. Do your research on the replacement value of the car.... you should be able to purchase the equivilant car (2011 w/10,000 miles, proper model & options)with the proceeds. At retail of course.
No, no, no...
Retail value is not insurance value. Retail value is a dealer's asking price. If you're paying retail, you're paying too much. Remember, vehicles are one of the few products you have to negotiate a price for (a process I loathe, but that's a soapbox for another time). A privately owned vehicle is valued under private party if you're using KBB. This is pretty much similar to what figure an insurer will come up with.

Tuffy, the link to KBB you posted is also incorrect (and I deal with this on a daily basis with people). You did not use Private Party value. With some exceptions, vehicles are insured for Actual Cash Value (ACV). ACV does not include CPO or warranties. Insurance covers the cost of vehicle only; not additional things like extended warranties, which are highly variable. Simply put, insurance doesn't cover what is essentially another form of insurance; it only covers the actual, physical vehicle in question. Clicking the link to Private Party on your link generates a figure very similar to the one offered by the insurer, so it appears they were fair in their offer. Also, I can only think of one instance where I had a car that qualified as 'exceptional' in condition; even if it would be rated as such, a deduction for a basic clean and detail would usually be applied. Unless it's sitting inside on a showroom floor, it's highly unlikely it will fit that category. Everyone thinks their car is in perfect condition, no matter how many door dings or stone chips it has. :shake:

Your personal items lost in the fire may be covered under your homeowner's or renter's policy. Items not a part of the car are typically not covered, though some policies do allow for a certain dollar amount of items.

If you purchased an extended warranty (which I don't recommend), you may be entitled to a partial refund on it.

As for the fire: I inspect hundreds of cars every year of all types. Fires are extremely rare. Discounting the ones intentionally set, I may see 1-5 a year that are 'naturally occurring'. These are usually either fuel/oil generated (leak onto something hot) or electrical (chafed wire, or more typically, Joe Blow's backyard stereo installation). Very, very few occur from an accident itself, but it can happen. Of the hundreds of wrecked Subarus I've inspected, not one has caught fire from an accident. Yours happened to be one of the .01% that did. That the fire spread that rapidly has me lean towards a fluid ignition. Once a car starts on fire, it will burn quickly. Had it happen to me. Thankfully, it is truly rare.
 

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2011 forester automatic
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Discussion Starter #16
I'm a bit confused... Why would I be expected to buy a car from a private party? My car was new and purchased from a dealership. It was under factory warranty and didn't have a ding/scratch on it. I also got 1.9% financing through the dealership. For me to buy the same car through a private party it would cost about $23,000, which I would have to pay outright in cash, which, of course, will not happen with the $2,100 check AAA cut me.

Do I have recourse to go after the guy who caused the accident to try and recoup some of my losses?
 

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2006 2006 & 2010 Forester automatic
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2,250 Posts
@Tuffy...

You are not expected to buy new or used, you are simply expected to REPLACE.

Back in 1991 I had an '89 Supra turbo. I was cruising from Indianapolis to Vincennes(to see a woman I knew from high school who was a student)...

Long story short...

Light turns green, I never "stopped" because this intersection has a "tell" for when the light is about to turn green(you can see the walk sign for the direction...3 way intersection)...

There was a town police officer 2 cars back. He heard my turbo whine...blat from the exhaust and BOOOOMMMM.

Car turning left(there is no left turn signal) turned on green and expected to make it before any oncoming traffic. Of course he wasn't expecting a Supra on full boost to enter the intersection. Basically caught this kid and his dad(driving on his learners permit) about a 65 degree angle right in front of the passenger door. The truck rolled up onto my hood and then when I came to a stop(from around 35mph) my car chucked the truck right over a guardrail and into a ditch...where it shockingly ended up on all 4s.

The officer on the scene had flipped his lights and sirens on BEFORE the accident expecting to chase me out of town(the speed limit where I was was 35 and 55 outside of town...he was just assuming I was going to H.A.).

My car was totaled(had the targa off sitting in the hatch). The undercarriage of the car was SITTING on the road and drivers side back wheel was off the ground.

Moral of the insurance fiasco...

I got a check to pay off the car + $2000. They didn't cover the $1500 aftermarket front lip. They didn't cover the $1400 side skirts. They didn't cover the $800 Toyota Racing rear wing(tasteful...not gaudy, it had broken off and was sitting next to the truck in the ditch). They didn't cover the $900 Toyota Racing intercooler either.

When my car went in to "storage" the radio and wheels(aftermarket, which all 4 were fine) went missing. I wasn't reimbursed for those either.

What I was reimbursed for though(under my homeowners)...

Glasses(had come off my face and ended up in the road scratched up)
Card CD player(as in, an actual one you use a tape adapter for) cause it had fallen on the floor
Cell phone(cause back in the day they were "rare")
 

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SierraHotel
2010 Forester 2.5x 4EAT
Joined
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542 Posts
The first offer of the insurance company is not necessarily the end do the story. Do your research on the replacement value of the car.... you should be able to purchase the equivilant car (2011 w/10,000 miles, proper model & options)with the proceeds. At retail of course.
No, no, no...
Retail value is not insurance value. Retail value is a dealer's asking price. If you're paying retail, you're paying too much. Remember, vehicles are one of the few products you have to negotiate a price for (a process I loathe, but that's a soapbox for another time). A privately owned vehicle is valued under private party if you're using KBB. This is pretty much similar to what figure an insurer will come up with.
I agree that dealer's ASKING prices are not realistic, but I also believe it is unrealistic to think that you can expect to purchase a car from a dealer at anything close to private party prices. Do insurance companies require that their insured scour the limited private party market to replace a car? Is this universal with insurers, or does it differ between companys?

Don't want to argue, but am curious. I am placing a call to my insurer (USAA) at this moment.... to see what they have to say.
 

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2006 2006 & 2010 Forester automatic
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2,250 Posts
Also...

If your insurance company has better "terms" than the other company(I'm assuming this is being payed by the causer of the accident...otherwise you are at fault for not stopping???)...

File the claim with yours(lose the deductible) and they will recoup from the other insurance company...and you'll get the deductible back.

So...answer that one...

The accident is the "causers fault"...

Or yours is your fault from not stopping?
 

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SierraHotel
2010 Forester 2.5x 4EAT
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542 Posts
I can't edit my previous post...so here is my update after talking to my insurance company (USAA).

They check your insured vehicles accident history, they examine the car for condition and mileage, they research the local dealer market to determine replacement value. If you want the same car as a replacement they will conduct a local search for you to find a suitable replacement. They cover any sales tax due on purchase of the replacement.

After this conversation, I am confident that they will make their best effort to make me whole if I should total my car. I love USAA.
 
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