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My client has an employee erroneously fuel his diesel motor vehicle with one litre of Go Clear and subsequently cause the engine to cease working. Fuel systems are affected only. 

The policy can respond to incorrect fuel type as per below: 

Section 1 Exclusions - Vehicle Parts 

- e) Fuel Systems are excluded.


2 (g) states it will be covered if incorrect fuel type accidentally gets added (e.g diesel in a petrol engine or petrol in a diesel engine)

However Go Clear is defined as: GoClear Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) is an exhaust system additive and scrubbing agent that reduces nitric oxide (NOX) emissions in modern diesel engines. GoClear is used by lean burn engines which are equipped with SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction

The insurer has declined the claim on the grounds that Go Clear is not a fuel type (policy does not define fuel type in the wording) and is an additive. 

Could it be argued that as it is used in combination with fuel and the engine burns both the fuel and Go Clear it is essentially a (type of) fuel too? With no definition of fuel type it leaves it slightly open to ambiguity. 

Lastly is generally advised that:

Vehicles requiring this product are manufactured with a second tank specifically for this product only. It can have serious consequences for a vehicle if it is incorrectly dispensed into a petrol or diesel tank. Customers need to be aware of these options and be very careful in their selection.

Reply…  Crossley Gates

The write back to the exclusion refers to "fuel". The write back applies if the fuel is of a type that is incorrect.

The word "fuel” is not specially defined, so it gets its ordinary dictionary meaning. The dictionary defines "fuel" as: "An energy source for engines, power plants, or reactors: Kerosene is used as jet engine fuel. " 

Is the additive a fuel? It doesn't sound like it. Does any engine run on it alone as its fuel? Assuming not, then I don't believe it comes within the write back as it is simply not fuel. It is, of course, something that is added to fuel (in a certain way). 

While it is a hard call as it comes close, there has to be a demarcation line somewhere.

December 2018

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