Don’t accidentally invalidate your insurance!
Every year, hundreds of drivers try to claim on their insurance, only to find that it’s been unintentionally invalidated.
You must have valid car insurance to drive in the UK. That means filtering through comparison websites, finding the best policy for your needs and making sure you don’t do anything to jeopardise your agreed terms.
There are a number of things drivers do, often accidentally, to invalidate their insurance. To prevent this from happening to you, the best way to start is by re-reading your policy to ensure that you fully understand your coverage.
Then, watch out for these 10 factors to make sure you never get caught out:
Top 10 things that can invalidate your insurance
1. Ignoring road signs
Driving past ‘road closed’ or ‘flood’ signs will often result in insurers refusing your claim. Make sure you know what each road sign means to ensure you’re taking the right action on the roads. Be careful following your Sat Nav too. If it’s not completely up to date, you could be led into unusual off-road situations that your insurance will not cover.
2. Leaving your keys in the ignition
Unsurprisingly, insurers see this as an open invitation for car theft, so will refuse to pay your claim on the grounds of negligence. This will also happen if you leave your car unlocked. Such situations often occur during winter, when the car is left running while it defrosts. Keep an eye out while you’re heating up your car, and don’t walk away while the engine’s still running.
3. “Forgetting” to update your insurer
Keeping your insurer up-to-date can seem like a hassle. But, making sure your insurer knows about any changes to your car or your circumstances might be a deal-breaker if you’re required to make a claim. You must inform them of any:
• Change in circumstances or personal details (including
• Change to the location that your car is stored
• Driving convictions
If you do not tell your insurance company about such changes, your claim could be rejected on the grounds of “non-disclosure”. Providing inaccurate information can also result in a rejected claim. This might occur if you insure your vehicle in someone else’s name and cite yourself as a named driver, but in fact do all the driving.
4. Driving without an MOT
Not only is driving without an MOT a serious driving offence, insurers can reject any claims made while your car is not covered by an MOT certificate. A vehicle is not deemed in a ‘roadworthy condition’ if it does not have a valid MOT.
5. Accepting cash for lifts
Sharing your car in return for petrol money is allowed. However, if you begin making a significant profit from providing lifts, your insurer will want to talk to you.
6. No boy racers
No one mentions in the ‘Fast and Furious’ films that if Vin Diesel’s insurer got hold of him, his policy would definitely be invalid. Using a car for racing, rally driving or off-roading can invalidate your insurance, unless your policy has been extended to include such situations.
7. Unused cars need cover too
Many people think that the old banger stored away in their garage doesn’t need insuring unless they start to drive it again. They’re wrong. Every car – whether it’s used or not – requires insurance, except when a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) has been obtained.
8. Driving someone else’s car
Third party insurance does not authorise you to drive someone else’s car. Instead, third party insurance is designed to help you pay if you’re at fault for an accident that damages the car of a third party. If you drive someone else’s car while uninsured and have an accident, both your policies may be affected.
9. Driving abroad
You need to be careful when driving abroad; there are different rules that you must adhere to. It’s worth checking whether your specific policy covers driving abroad, as many providers omit this from the coverage.
One common mistake that can invalidate your insurance claim is driving over the legal alcohol limit. In the UK, people are allowed to drive with up to three units in their system. But, in countries such as France and Spain, the limit is rapidly shrinking down towards zero.
10. Driving for work purposes
On your insurance application you will be asked what you use the car for: social, domestic, pleasure or work-related driving. If you state that you use your car for social use, but then have an accident while commuting, your claim may be rejected.
So there you have it, the ten most common ways to invalidate your insurance. Avoid these, and your new policy should keep you comprehensively protected.