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Car insurance – Errors you need to avoid as they can invalidate your insurance policy

Car insurance is complex to calculate and there are multiple factors that can affect the overall cost of the premium. Things such as your environment, what car you drive, where you keep it and what you do with it on the roads can affect and alter the price of it.

It is a legal requirement for motorists in Britain but there are a number of factors which can affect it and even invalidate it.

Motorists could invalidate their car insurance premium by making a number of different errors when applying for it or while on the roads in Britain.

Some types of misinformation may even be classed as fraud and could see you end up in court. CarParts4Less.co.uk shares ten easy to make mistakes, that might be invalidating your car insurance.

Lying about your main address

Premium costs vary based on the postcode the car is kept in as some areas have higher rates of crime and theft.

Similarly how you park the vehicle (on-road or of-road) also affects what the price of the premium is. Putting your address down as something that is different to your actual address could mean your insurer can refuse to pay out any claims made, for example if your car is broken into in the location it actually resides.

Insurance companies have investigative departments (called special investigations unit, or SUI) dedicated to making sure information on your insurance and claims are correct, so while you may think you can get away with not updating your address, the likelihood is is that this will be found out when you make a claim.

car insurance

Motorists can invalidate their car insurance by making a few simple errors (Image: GETTY)

Ignoring your morning commute

Making sure your class of use is correct can save you invalidating your cover when driving. There are three types of car usage that insurance covers; social only, social and commuting, and business. Social only insurance covers driving for social or leisure use; driving to and from friends’ houses, going to the supermarket, etc.

The commute to and from work, or even to and from the train station, are not covered by this policy, so upgrading to a social and commuting is necessary, even if you only commute a few times a month. Insurance companies may dispute or refuse claims made during a commute if the policy is social use only, even if it is claimed to be only a one off.

If you use your car for work purposes outside of commuting, for example using it to get to meetings, or carrying equipment, you will need to get business cover.

Not informing your insurer about any car modifications

You must inform your insurer about car modifications for a number of reasons these are because they increase the likelihood of an accident and of theft.

Even small changes such as fitting a sat nav can affect your insurance policy so you need to inform your insurer to make sure you aren’t left without cover.

Car mileage

Underestimating your car’s mileage can land you a hefty fine (Image: GETTY)

Not informing your insurance company of minor accidents

In the case of small bumps or minor accidents where only cosmetic damage occurs, it’s common for motorists to have their car fixed without making a claim. However, even if you intend not to claim, it is important to inform your insurance of any damage received, as to not do so is a breach of your policy.

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.


Young driver’s insurance costs are usually extortionate due to the risk they pose for being so inexperienced. As a result, some motorists will put more experienced and lower risk motorists as the main named driver on their insurance policy. to lower the overall cost.

However this is called fronting’ and if you are caught then 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.


Driving with an unsecured pet can invalidate your cover (Image: GETTY)

Using more miles than you thought

Your annual mileage is one of the main factors used to calculate your insurance premium; the higher the mileage, the higher the cost.

It’s important to be as accurate as possible when providing this figure, rather than just guessing, as it’s possible your insurance provider will decide not to pay a claim if your mileage is higher than what you’ve estimated.

When working out how many miles you drive, don’t forget to include weekends away, weekly shopping, etc, and add some contingency miles – it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Driving with pets

Unsecured pets in your car can invalidate your insurance as they increase the likelihood of an accident because they are distracting and can even physically get in the way of a crash. Insurers are unlikely to pay out in a crash and you can also land a hefty fine.

Letting other people drive your car

It’s a common misconception that fully comprehensive car insurance polo holders can drive other people’s cars without needing additional cover. However, this clause rarely exists and when it does it will only cover the named damage when damage occurs.

You’ve recently changed jobs

Your job also plays an important role when it comes to estimating the cost of your annual car insurance bill. The reason for this is because certain occupations are perceived to be higher risk than others. If you don’t update it then you could see any claims rejected.

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.

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