Car insurance is expensive, costing motorists around £471 a year. But thousands of them are invalidating their policies with these simple mistakes…
Driving With Your Pets In The Car
The Highway Code states that pets need to be retrained properly at all times whilst in a vehicle. Why? Because they can distract motorists and, in the event of an accident, can receive and cause serious damage. But insurance companies may also refuse to pay out if you failed to use a proper restraint in the event of an accident. Horror stories of pets turning into projectiles are bad enough, without the added stress of not receiving a pay out.
Misreporting The ‘Main’ Driver
Providers want to know who the ‘main’ driver of a vehicle is. This is the person who’s using the vehicle the most and, ultimately, defines most of the parameters of a policy. As a result, some people are tempted to misreport the main driver of a vehicle. For instance, an 18-year old with no experience will face a higher premium than their father who is 50. So it makes sense to put the latter down as the main driver, right? Wrong. It’s called ‘fronting’ and it’s illegal. So not only will you invalidate your insurance you could also find yourself in court for fraud.
Modifying Your Car
Lots of people enjoy modifying their cars. Whether it’s for performance or solely for looks, it’s a passion for some. However, literally any modification you make (no matter how small) must be reported to your insurer. They’ll almost certainly mean a significantly higher premium, too. This is because modifications are often expensive and sometimes difficult to repair, meaning your provider will have to fork out more in the event of an accident. If you fail to report car mods, you risk invalidating your insurance.
Failing To Update Your Address
At this stage, you’re probably thinking that the car insurance industry is rather one-sided; and you may very well be right. Your address plays a big role in determining your car insurance premium. This is because insurers take local congestion and car-related crime into account when coming up with a quote. So, if you’re registered with your parents but have moved into the city, you absolutely must inform your insurance provider. Whilst you might think it’s difficult for them to figure it out, you need to remember many of them use special investigation units to ensure you’re not fibbing!
Ignoring Business Insurance
Most car insurance policies are classified as ‘social.’ That is to say, they covers private use. This consists of the trips you take to the shops and to see friends. What many drivers fail to recognise is that these policies don’t cover the mileage they cover for work. Many social policies will include commute mileage (although not all), but you’ll nearly always need separate cover for business mileage. This is defined by the driving you do as a part of your job. Going to see a client out of the office? You’ll need business insurance.
Not Reporting Minor Accidents
So, you’ve just scraped another car’s wing mirror. The damage, if any, doesn’t look that bad. Maybe you do the right and leave a note, maybe you decide to chance it and drive away. Regardless, you need to report it to your car insurance provider. Why? Because the person you’ve hit might have spotted you and may well claim for it. In addition, when it comes to a future accident your provider may notice discrepancies between the event and damage to the car. Fibbing is a sure way of falling out with insurance companies.
Miscalculating Your Annual Mileage
For insurance providers, everything’s a matter of risk; they want to mitigate it as much as possible, because they don’t want to pay out for accidents. It’s how they make money. In their minds, the more you drive the greater the chance is of you experiencing an accident. This is why it’s factored in when they provide you with a premium. This is why it’s so important that you give them an accurate figure for your annual mileage. If you exceed it and the worst comes to worst, they may refuse to pay. Older cars which have experienced MOTs will have mileage recorded, this can held you work your annual mileage out.
Letting Other People Drive Your Car
Many insurance policies will now allow you to let other people drive your car. But there are also exceptions as to precisely who can and can’t. For instance, some often come with restrictions on drivers below the age of 25. Others will, believe it or not, restrict some people based on their profession! You also need to make sure that you understand the other person’s coverage in full, as it’s unlikely to match your own.
Charging People For A Ride
There are generally no restrictions on asking passengers to help cover fuel costs and other motor-relating expenses. But if you’re making a profit, you’ll be classed as a ‘taxi-hire service.’ Not only is this breaking the law if you’re not properly licensed and regulated, it’ll also invalidate your car insurance in nearly all cases. Why? Because operating as a ‘taxi’ service, even ostensibly, carries its own risks and considerations. So, if you’re not a professional taxi driver, don’t act like one.
Not Updating Your Job Title
This might sound odd, but many insurance providers will want to know what your job title is. Why? Because it affects your overall risk. For instance, a ‘man with a van’ is likely to be covering a lot of mileage; which equals a greater risk of hazards. A photographer will probably be carrying a lot of expensive kit with them when they take to the roads; if it’s damaged, that’s a higher payout. So make sure to report your job title accurately and to update it when you change jobs or if you receive a promotion. Whilst it might mean a slightly higher premium (it could also be cheaper), it’s better than invalidating your car insurance.
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