Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted my - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 11, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted my

The ignition switch on my Camaro has been sticking for sometime. It would not return to "run" when I start it and it would continue to try and start the car. The key was also sloppy in the keyhole and it was generally worn out after 40+ years of working.

So...I start the car last weekend, it runs for 5 seconds and white smoke starts to come from the ignition area of the dash. I turn off the key and the car does not stop running. I pull out the key and it still does not shut off. I run to the battery shut off and finally get the motor to stop.

I check my dash wiring harness and the brown/white wire from the ignition switch is completely melted from the switch all the way down the harness..taking all the other wires touching it with it.

My classic car insurance says that they do not cover "wiring issues". They do however cover mechanical and switch-related issues that result in melted wiring.

The aduster is calling this a "gray area" and will get back to me on whether I am covered.

My question to the group: is it plausible that a faulty ignition switch caused this issue? If so, how can I *prove* this to the insurance company?

Thanks,
Brent
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 11, 09:38 AM
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

I can easily see where the ignition switch could cause this, as it is a mechanical switch. Have you ever opened one up? I had to take mine apart and clean it so the spring, which is a wear item, would operate the switch properly. The switch is also adjustable so that it actuates the different elements inside (START, RUN, KEY ON, OFF, ACC) at the correct time(s).

I can also understand why he'd call this a 'gray area' because for all they know the switch in your car is 40+ years old. It's expected to wear out and cause problems at some point. Maybe not to a catastrophic effect, but you get the idea.
It's a tough call.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 11, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

Reading further into the policy it seems that they do not cover damage "due to and confined to" a mechanical or electrical failure.

Reading other posts and intepretations of this...the company should cover the damage that was caused by or "due to" the ignition switch's failure....but not the switch itself....

I'm hoping anyway...
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 11, 10:58 AM
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

From an owners standpoint, having a project car that we put all our love and time into, I hope you can get some compensation from insurance. At least enough to cover the new wiring harness.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 11, 11:50 AM
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

If a switch on a 2011 fails and causes a short, the new unfused wiring will fry. If the insulation was intact, most likely, the switch caused the meltdown.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old Feb 25th, 11, 08:10 PM
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

You need to read your policy to determine what the coverage is. Do not reply on an adjuster's paraphrasing of the coverage. Most standard auto policies contain an exclusion similar to this: the following are excluced: mechanical or electrical breakdown or failure (other than burning of wiring) which under this exclusion means the burning of wiring is covered. Next you have to determine the common accepted definition of "burning" ie does it include melting of the wiring insulation?, does it require there to be a flame.

Again, read your policy.

Good luck.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 11, 12:09 PM
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

Not taking sides here, but if you knew the switch was bad why didn't you fix it? From a safety standpoint that's a big no no. If you knew the wheels were loose would you still drive it?

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old Feb 26th, 11, 01:14 PM
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

I wouldn't even call the Ins.Co. for something like that. Would be different if the whole engine compartment burnt or worse yet, a total loss.

I knew it was bad, I didn't fix it, I have no one to blame but me. IMO

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 11, 06:07 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

Hmmmm....12Run and Doug--thanks???

While I was not looking for a cry-fest over melted wires, I didn't expect a "you deserve it" response either.

I knew the ignition switch would occasionally not return to "run" and that the key did not fit tight into the slot. I did not know it would melt my harness.

I actually purchased a new GM ignition switch from the dealer and have been trying to install it. I have been struggling with getting the lock cylinder to release and have actually damaged the dash in the attempt to get it out.

The repair bill with labor/towing will coming to around $1,350. That's worth a claim and is why I have insurance.

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Originally Posted by DOUG G View Post
I knew it was bad, I didn't fix it, I have no one to blame but me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12run View Post
Not taking sides here, but if you knew the switch was bad why didn't you fix it? From a safety standpoint that's a big no no. If you knew the wheels were loose would you still drive it?
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 11, 02:20 PM
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

responsibility : the quality or state of being responsible : moral, legal or mental accountability

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 11, 02:28 PM
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

Brent, Wasn't trying to kick you while your down. Just stated what I'd do.

But...if your car leaked/burns oil and you let it go to where the engine seized...who's at fault and who should pay ?

Just sayin'.

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old Mar 1st, 11, 03:06 PM
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

Wow. Tough Crowd.

It is plausible that the switch caused the problem. If you have all of the old parts you could attempt to perform a "post mortem" examination. Even if it is for your own sanity to determine the root cause of the failure. You may not like what you find but that is the downside to discovery.

If you do find something will the adjuster take it under consideration? If not, its just an academic exercise. Probably worth a call to the adjuster to ask how they are coming to their determination and if you could provide a picture docuemented tear down and failure analysis of the system would it effect their decision.

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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 11, 05:50 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

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Originally Posted by DOUG G View Post
Brent, Wasn't trying to kick you while your down. Just stated what I'd do.

But...if your car leaked/burns oil and you let it go to where the engine seized...who's at fault and who should pay ?

Just sayin'.
Doug--no harm/no foul. I had no idea that a loose ignition switch could melt my harness...chalk it up to lack of electrical savvy on my part--I just saw it as an inconvenience that I was trying to fix.

Either way, it was not negligence at all...the last thing I want is more problems with my car. I normally go overboard in trying to keep things in good working order and using good, quality parts...
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 11, 05:51 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedJet View Post
Wow. Tough Crowd.

It is plausible that the switch caused the problem. If you have all of the old parts you could attempt to perform a "post mortem" examination. Even if it is for your own sanity to determine the root cause of the failure. You may not like what you find but that is the downside to discovery.

If you do find something will the adjuster take it under consideration? If not, its just an academic exercise. Probably worth a call to the adjuster to ask how they are coming to their determination and if you could provide a picture docuemented tear down and failure analysis of the system would it effect their decision.
Jereme--good idea--I will do that and see what I find--I can't afford (time and sanity wise) this to happen again.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old Mar 2nd, 11, 05:59 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Insurance Claim Related Question--Ignition switch stuck and melted

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12run View Post
Not taking sides here, but if you knew the switch was bad why didn't you fix it? From a safety standpoint that's a big no no. If you knew the wheels were loose would you still drive it?
12Run: I see that you are an electrician and have given a lot of good electrical advice on TC. That would make you an ideal person to answer my original question. What inside of an ignition switch could happen that would melt a wire in the harness?

I have not yet taken mine apart to triage it.

Thanks.
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