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Author Topic: Lithium batteries Insurance issue  (Read 272 times)

garyb1st

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Lithium batteries Insurance issue
« on: August 15, 2019, 05:25:24 PM »
The speaker at an FMCA rally, the Owner/CEO of a company called Master Tech RV, stated that some insurance policies have an exclusion for a motorhome with a lithium battery.  Since I never read anything about this on this or other forums I read I was curious.  How many with Lithium batteries know of or have heard of an exclusion for claims arising out of lithium batteries?  I assume they're talking fire losses.  I haven't read my motorhome policy closely but I can't imagine any auto policy, which is basically what my motorhome policy is, has such an exclusion. 
Gary B1st

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2016 Jeep Wrangler


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ArdraF

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Re: Lithium batteries Insurance issue
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2019, 06:49:22 PM »
Never heard of that Gary, but we're not surprised.  A night or two ago the evening news showed a video of a car with a lithium battery burning on a freeway.  It apparently got hit and burst into flame.  Luckily the people were able to get out, but it was totally engulfed in flames.  A few of those happening would certainly alert the insurance people and probably guarantees a special restriction on their policies.

ArdraF
ArdraF
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bill dane

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Re: Lithium batteries Insurance issue
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2019, 08:16:31 PM »
Hay Gary,
    Good to see you guys at the rally.

garyb1st

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Re: Lithium batteries Insurance issue
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2019, 08:31:02 PM »
Thanks Bill.  Good to see you as well.  Where you headed next?
Gary B1st

2005 Pace Arrow 35G
2016 Jeep Wrangler


Poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor, but because we cannot satisfy the rich.

Chakara

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Re: Lithium batteries Insurance issue
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2019, 11:26:43 PM »
This plays into Tesla and all the others.  Hadn't heard it was a factor....but an RV is different in that you added it as opposed to the risk is "known".  What about things like the Travato which has an option for a LARGE lithium battery instead of the generator?


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Arch Hoagland

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Re: Lithium batteries Insurance issue
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2019, 12:32:47 AM »
Interesting question....following.
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John From Detroit

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Re: Lithium batteries Insurance issue
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2019, 06:42:44 AM »
From what I understand...

There are lithium batteries. and Lithium batteries and Lithium batteries.

The original LiOn batteries had a habbit of flaming on as I recall  Many laptop computers were well and truly fried by them

The one they make for RV's are a DIFFERENT type of LIthium like LiFePh and no more dangerous than lead acid (or so I'm told)  They are however NEW technology.. YOu might call it "Liberal" technology (New and truly improved is a liberal thing don't you know)

Insurance companies  are very very very "Conservative" they do not understand there is a difference in the types of Lithium batteries and they only widh to "Conserve" as much money for themselves (profit) as possible.

Eventually at least one company will learn the difference. get a whole lot of client/subscribers, make a whole bunch of profit. and then the other companies will be asking "Where did all our customers go? and figure it out.. WHEN. I can not predict.
Nothing adds excitement like something that is none of your business
My Home is where I park it.

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Lithium batteries Insurance issue
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2019, 08:29:12 AM »
As John says, there are many variants of the basic Lithium battery chemistry and thus differences in how they behave. The LiFePO4 type is the one most commonly packaged as a 12v lead acid replacement but these may differ somewhat from the lithium variants used in electric car battery packs or phones or portable computers.    They are all susceptible to melt-down or fire if over-stressed and lithium is extremely dangerous when burning and near-impossible to extinguish.  Therefore the pre-packaged, commercially available lithium-based batteries all have a built-in Battery Protection System (BPS) that monitors the charge, voltage and temperature and shuts down the battery internally if it reaches certain limits. An inadequate BPS or a failure in its electronics is a significant risk.

The makers of lithium-ion batteries do not like the word “explosion” but sometimes refer to “venting with flame” or “rapid disassembly.”   That may be a slower process than "explosion", but it's still going to be violent and likely to injure anybody near by.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Lithium batteries Insurance issue
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2019, 08:55:47 AM »
I've not found any reference anywhere to a vehicle insurer refusing to insure vehicles with lithium-ion batteries.  It is, however, a hot topic (pun intended) for product liability insurers and cargo transport insurers.  The manufacturers of batteries or the products containing them have primary liability for failures, so their insurers are keenly interested in the risks. Cargo transporters and their insurers worry about hidden risks when they unknowingly transport items that have Lithium-ion batteries, whether it is a single electronic gadget in somebody's luggage or a shipping container full of them.

I think, though, that it is only a matter of time before some RV burns as a result of Lithium battery failure and safety questions arise.  RVs are designed to handle lead-acid technology and have no built-in safeguards for lithium. The lithium batteries packaged as 12v lead-acid replacements do have internal BPS, but the battery storage area and battery charging systems do not.  Further, deep-cycling is one of the stressful uses that can lead to lithium cell failures, but few RV owners regularly monitor battery discharge rates or watch for signs of imminent failure.  How often do we see or hear of lead-acid batteries failing due to neglect or system problems caused by corrosion or bad connections? There will be a great hue & cry when the first RV fire involving a lithium battery occurs.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL