Shock and stall: Lightning ‘strikes’ car, insurance refuses to spark coverage
Shock and stall: Lightning ‘strikes’ car, insurance refuses to spark coverageLegacy

A car driver expressed concerns about his recently purchased vehicle when it malfunctioned just over a month after acquisition. The motor failed to start and displayed unusual electrical issues. While the dealership attributed the problem to a lightning strike, the insurance provider refused to cover the damages.

A 44 year old resident of Uthai Thani, Bandit, reported the incident today. He holds a vocational diploma in electrical studies and currently works as an engineering officer for the municipality.

He bought a brand-new four-door car for 882,000 baht from a dealer in Uthai Thani, placing a down payment of 20,000 baht.

On March 30, he collected the car and paid an additional down payment of 330,000 baht. The car, initially fitted with red license plates, was barely used. The vehicle was then parked beside his house until May 22.

On the morning of May 22, Bandit attempted to unlock the car using the remote key but it failed. Suspecting a dead battery, he tried a spare remote, which also did not work. Using the manual key, he managed to unlock the door but could not start the engine.

He contacted the car dealership, who advised him to jump-start the battery. Despite following the instructions, the car remained unresponsive. The dealership then suggested removing the battery to charge it overnight.

Electrical gremlins

Upon reinstalling the battery, the daytime running lights would automatically turn on without the key being inserted, and the engine still would not start. Realising something was seriously wrong, he contacted the dealership again.

Technicians inspected the vehicle and speculated that rodents or ants might have damaged the wiring. They later suggested that a lightning strike might have caused the issue and inquired about the weather conditions the previous night.

Unable to fix the problem on-site, they arranged for the car to be towed to the service centre for further inspection.

The following day, the dealership informed Bandit that the damage was due to a lightning strike on the left rear wheel, affecting the car’s entire electrical control unit. This explanation puzzled Bandit and his family, as the car had been parked for 15 days and had only covered just over 3,000 kilometres.

The insurance company sent their agents to investigate on May 27 but later informed Bandit that the incident did not fall under the coverage terms. They attributed the damage to natural wear and tear rather than a lightning strike, resulting in a denial of the insurance claim.

Faced with this situation, the dealership escalated the issue to their headquarters in Bangkok for another round of investigation. However, the head office reiterated the lightning strike theory.

Not possible

Bandit showed the reporters the parking spot beside his house, arguing that if a lightning strike had occurred, the nearby phone and Internet signal boxes would have also been damaged. The area also had a ground wire installed.

Bandit, who is only on his third instalment payment out of 72, finds the dealership’s claim of a lightning strike hard to believe.

He and his relatives sought assistance from the Office of the Consumer Protection Board (OCPB) in Uthai Thani, which has accepted his complaint. To further investigate, the reporters used a drone to inspect the house’s roof, which is made entirely of wood with tile shingles, and found no signs of a lightning strike, reported Khaosod.

The story Shock and stall: Lightning ‘strikes’ car, insurance refuses to spark coverage as seen on Thaiger News.

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Author: Ryan Turner