Most people know that you need car insurance to drive a car in a public place. But did you know how easy it is to accidentally invalidate your car insurance? According to research by Leasing Options, there are multiple ways you can do it without realising. Let’s explore some of the most common.
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The cost of no car insurance
Invalidating your insurance is costly, according to Leasing Options. In fact, you could face:
- Six penalty points
- £300 fixed penalty
- Disqualification (for the most serious offences)
What’s more, if you void your policy, there’s a chance you’ll find it harder to get insurance in the future.
With all that in mind, here are ten of the most common ways people accidentally invalidate their car insurance.
1. Moving house
Have you moved house? You must tell your insurer because a change of postcode is likely to affect your insurance premiums.
If you live between a few places, your main address is the one you spend the most time at.
2. Changing where you keep the car
Where you park your car affects your policy. For example, if you normally park on the street but claim you park in a secure garage, you’ll void your insurance.
If you change where you park your car, notify your insurer right away.
3. Starting a new job
Got a new job recently? Surprisingly, this can affect your insurance premium. Tell your insurer immediately if you change jobs or get a promotion.
4. Changing driving habits
You’re covered based on why you drive (e.g. for social or commuting reasons).
So, if you tell your insurer that you only drive for social reasons, but you also drive to work, you may not be covered if there’s an accident on your commute.
If you name yourself as the ‘main’ driver of a car, but a younger person is actually driving it most of the time, it’s called ‘fronting’.
Never do this – it can invalidate your insurance policy.
6. Failing to give accurate details
Whether you failed to declare a previous accident, or you haven’t told your insurer about penalty points, you could invalidate your insurance if you don’t give accurate information.
The best idea? If you’re in any doubt, always tell your insurer anyway.
7. Failing to declare modifications
You can modify your car, but here’s doing so can affect your insurance:
- Some modifications are expensive to repair.
- There’s a chance your car will be more attractive to thieves.
Contact your insurer before making any changes – you might void your insurance otherwise.
8. Making mileage errors
One of the main things insurers consider when they set your premium is your annual mileage, according to Leasing Options. So, if you end up driving a lot more than you claim you do, you’ll put your insurance cover at risk.
Not sure how many miles you do each year? Many insurers offer online mileage calculators to help you work it out.
9. Having dirty windows
If you can’t see clearly through all of your windows and mirrors, you’re driving dangerously. Dangerous driving can affect your car insurance.
Before you set off, make sure there’s nothing impeding your vision. Keep a window scraper and some cloths in the car. This can help you ensure windows and mirrors are clear while you’re out and about.
10. Charging for lifts
Sure, it’s okay to give people lifts, and it’s fine to ask for some petrol money, too.
What’s not fine is charging people for lifts. Not only will this void your insurance, but if you’re caught doing this, you could be charged with illegally working as a taxi driver.
Want to ensure that you’re properly insured? Here’s what Mike Thompson, Director at Leasing Options, has to say: “We recommend motorists check their car insurance policy to make sure it is up to date with their current circumstances before getting behind the wheel again. Or they could be breaking the law by driving a vehicle on a road or in a public place without insurance.”
It’s easy to check your insurance policy. Simply view it online, or ask your insurer to post out a copy (they may charge for this). If you notice any discrepancies, contact your insurer to amend them as soon as possible.
And finally, make sure you’ve got a valid MOT certificate. Your insurance is void without one.
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