Car insurance is a legal requirement for motorists in Britain. Protecting it and making sure it remains valid is down to the motorist and how accurate and honest they are with the insurer both when applying and during the length of the policy.
Providing false information or failing to update your insurer with changes of circumstances can leave you without valid cover.
There are also a few types of misinformation which could see you prosecuted for fraud and land you in court.
Here are some of the some of the ways that motorists are invalidating their cover, with help from CarParts4Less.co.uk.
1. Lying about your main address
Car insurance premiums vary based on the car’s postcode as certain areas have higher theft and break-in rates. If you put your main address as somewhere your car isn’t parked at night, for example at your parent’s house if you’re at university, your insurer could refuse to pay out if any claims are made.
Insurance companies have investigative departments (called special investigations unit, or SUI) dedicated to making sure information on your insurance and claims are correct, so you’re likely to be found out if you make a claim.
2. Ignoring your morning commute
Having the wrong class of use could leave you without cover. There are three types of car usage that insurance covers; social only, social and commuting, and business.
Social only covers drivers for leisure use such as going to and from your friend’s house or shopping. Commuting adds cover for driving to and from your place of work as well as everything a social policy includes.
Business cover relates to any the of driving that requires you to drive as a permanent feature of your job such as a delivery driver.
Drivers can invalidate their car insurance by making a number of mistakes
3. Not informing your insurer about any car modifications
Car modifications can affect your insurance premium for two reasons; if they increase the likelihood of an accident, or if they increase the likelihood of theft. You must inform your insurer of any modifications to your car when applying for your insurance and any made during.
4. Not informing your insurance company of minor accidents
Insurance companies should be made aware of any crash or accident you have with your car, even if the damage is merely a small cosmetic scratch or bump.
Even you don’t intend to claim the insurer must be made aware of any damage inflicted on the car so your policy is not breached.
This helps in the event that the other driver changes their mind and decides to claim, and also ensures damage is accounted for if you do need to claim after future incidents – damage which is inconsistent with a claim may mean that your claim is denied.
Drivers may not be covered if the let their friend drive their car
Fronting refers to partner or a parent being named as the main driver and policyholder of a policy for another person, typically a younger motorist.
Younger drivers have to pay the most amount of money for their insurance cover in the UK and ‘fronting’ is a method adopted by some to help slash costs.
If you get caught ‘fronting’, your policy will immediately be cancelled, and any claims denied. These cases are often taken to court, too, as it is classed as insurance fraud, with outcomes including fines of up to £5,000 and six points on your license.
6. Using more miles than you thought
Your annual mileage is one of the main factors used to calculate your car insurance policy. Naturally, the more miles you drive the higher amount you’ll have to pay for your cover as your risk increases the longer you stay on the road.
You must, however, be as accurate as possible when providing this rather than just guessing as your insurers could refuse to pay out for a claim if your mileage is higher than stated.
7. Driving with pets
Unsecured pets in your car could be a sure fire way to invalidate your insurance cover. Pets can be distracting and can even physically get in the way of your driving making them a danger. If the pet was unsecured and contributed to the accident then your insurer could refuse to pay out.
8. Letting other people drive your car
While it’s possible for your friends or family to have insurance policies that allow them to drive other people’s cars, it is unlikely these policies cover damage to the vehicle in the event they are in an accident.
It’s more than likely that your own policy only covers vehicle damage that happens when a named driver is in the car, so while your friend can legally drive it, any accidents that occur may not be able to be claimed for.
Leaving your pet left unrestrained while on the road can void your cover
9. You’ve recently changed jobs
Your job is one of the main factors used to determine the cost of cover and some professions are seen as higher risk than others, which is why it is important to inform your insurer of any changes in employment as your cover may need to be readjusted.
10. Charging for lifts
Some policies specifically exclude cover for car sharing, whether you make profit or not. For those whose policies do allow lift sharing, it may be void if you make a profit from giving lifts – many state you may only make enough to cover petrol and driving costs. Earning money from giving lifts can identify you as a ‘taxi hire service’, making a policy which does not cover this void.
It’s important to always read the terms and conditions of your car insurance policy, to ensure that you have not accidentally invalidated the policy. Keep your insurance provider up to date with any change of circumstances, regardless of whether or not you think it’s relevant, as some seemingly unrelated life changes can impact your premium.