As of 29th March 2021, the Government imposed stay-at-home rule was lifted. This means that we now have slightly more freedom to move around, although we are still being asked that travel is ‘minimised’. For those people who have stayed at and worked from home for most of the past year, with vehicles being used minimally, now is the time people may start to look at getting their vehicles serviced and double-checking that the correct insurance policies are in place, in readiness for a time when a vehicle may be used more frequently.
Once you have your car insurance policy, it is vital that you don’t unintentionally invalidate or restrict your cover and find yourself driving without an insurance policy in place.
To help keep you covered, we have put together a guide to the actions that could leave you driving without insurance.
- A Change Of Job
If you have changed jobs, you must inform your insurer. Your occupation, title and type of job are all factors that insurers consider when setting premiums. You must also declare if you use your vehicle to commute to and from your place of work. Failing to inform your insurer of these changes, no matter how small you may think they are, could invalidate your cover and leave you driving uninsured.
- A Change Of Address
You must inform your car insurance provider immediately after you move to a new house. Insurers take your postcode in to account when setting your car insurance premium, as certain areas are deemed a higher risk than others. Moving to a new house in a different postcode district could make your policy cheaper or more expensive. You must inform your car insurance provider immediately.
If a parent names themselves as the main driver on their child’s car insurance policy, to make the premium cheaper, this is called ‘fronting’. Not only could this invalidate both your child’s and your car insurance policies, but you could also be convicted of fraud.
If you are a young driver looking to reduce your annual premium, there are much better ways to do this. For example, black box insurance, which is priced depending on your driving and not solely on your age.
- Parking On A Street
Parking your vehicle on the street outside/near your home might sound harmless enough, but if you’ve declared to your insurance company that you leave your vehicle in a garage, on a driveway or in a private car park, leaving it on the road every night might invalidate your cover.
When calculating your insurance premium, insurers will take into consideration where you leave your vehicle overnight, as this will have an impact on the risk of theft or damage. If you change where you keep your vehicle overnight, let your insurer know.
- Leaving Your Windscreen Obstructed
Regardless of whether your windscreen is covered with snow, frost, mud or dirt, or if you’ve got one too many air fresheners or fluffy dice hanging from your rear-view mirror, if it is obstructed in any way, you run the risk of invalidating your cover.
If you are involved in an accident and your car is deemed to be in a dangerous condition, not only could you invalidate your policy, but you could also be issued with a £60 fine. It is important to always keep your windscreen clear.
- Carrying Too Many Passengers
The current world record for the greatest number of people to fit in a Mini is 28. However, the vehicle was stationary, and this was for an entry in to the Guiness World Records. Don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the law, and your insurance policy, by trying to fit too many people into your vehicle at once. Remember, all passengers must be secured in the car with their own seatbelt.
Overloading your vehicle, be it with people or goods, is likely to invalidate your car insurance policy.
- Pimping Your Ride
If you are thinking of making any modifications to your vehicle, you could be left without valid insurance if you fail to inform your insurer. Modifications that alter the appearance or performance of your vehicle will result in an increase in the cost of your annual premium. It may be tempting to keep quiet about your modified vehicle, but if you do, you’ll be unable to make a claim, and may invalidate your insurance altogether.
- Valet Parking
It may look glamorous in films, handing your keys to a Valet when you arrive at a venue, but in the real world, doing so could leave you without cover. This is because many policies won’t cover you if your vehicle is damaged in the care of a Valet.
Valet services are increasingly popular at airports and some hotels across the UK. However, this luxury could leave you out of pocket if your car is damaged. If you do book Valet parking, check the small print of your insurance policy.
- Charging People For Lifts
While drivers are allowed to receive payment for fuel costs, anyone found to be making a profit or advertising online could be charged with illegally operating as a taxi. Giving lifts is perfectly legal in most cases, but any driver found to be making a profit faces a fixed penalty notice and prosecution if caught. Those who charge passengers could also end up invalidating their insurance policy as most insurance providers won’t cover motorists who are illegally making a profit.
Tony Buckingham, Managing Director of Buckingham Insurance says, “These are just a number of ways you can unwittingly invalidate your Car Insurance. If you have any questions regarding Car Insurance, and how different circumstances may potentially affect your cover, then please do get in touch. Buckingham Insurance remains open for business during this Lockdown.
Please contact us or telephone one of our friendly staff on 01246 575 625 (Clowne) or 01773 748 627 (Ripley). They will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.”