Car insurance can be something of a minefield to navigate at times. It’s a legal requirement to have a policy in place in order to be able to drive your vehicle in the UK. This means that many of us are just happy to have a form of cover to protect us while we’re on the road.
So, while you may have spent time researching the best price for the make and model of your motor, it’s likely that you haven’t read the ins and outs of the policy and the small print word-for-word. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. As well as insurance policies, there are other contracts that many of us sign up for that we don’t read in full, simply because it can take as long as an hour to get through it all.
With all of this in mind, it can be easy to miss things that could invalidate your policy, meaning that you’re not able to make a claim. If you’re unsure of the issues that could lead to this happening, here’s a look at the five most common things that could catch you out.
Things you may know
Before we get into things to be aware of, there are some factors that you might know about already that could invalidate your cover. These are usually the things that you’ll go through when applying for car insurance.
For instance, not having the most current address on the policy, not including the correct named drivers, and not being transparent about the purpose of your vehicle, such as driving to work or for recreation, can all nullify your insurance policy. Keeping your provider in the loop about any updates will ensure you are covered. But what are the lesser-known issues that can arise, causing you to have invalid cover?
Tyres are an essential indicator of how roadworthy your vehicle is. Having a set of tyres that are within the legal tread depth limit of 1.6mm and free of any punctures is crucial for keeping within your policy.
Insurers will check your tyres in the event that you want to make a claim, so investing in a set that are the right fit and size will all go in your favour. Take the time to choose tyres from reputable brands like Michelin to ensure that they are made to the highest safety standards.
You will have stated where your car will mostly be parked overnight when you applied for your insurance. Being honest about this and updating your insurer with any changes is important because if you were to claim for your car being stolen and it’s not parked where you said it would be, you could find that you’re not able to claim.
3) Car modifications
When you bought your car, you will have declared whether it had any modifications to your insurer. If you decide to make some changes to your motor, you will need to tell your provider about the updates you’ve made. This is because your car is likely to be worth more after you’ve upgraded it and not making your insurer aware could mean you’re paying for a policy against a car that was valued at much less.
Try to be as accurate as possible in your insurance application about the miles you travel. If you travel more than you estimate, it could impact on whether you’re able to claim in the event of an accident.
One way to work out the mileage of the regular travel you do, for example to and from your workplace, is to use a mileage calculator tool online. This will help you to get an idea of how far you travel each day and make the calculation for your annual travel estimate. It is always best to overestimate something like annual mileage, rather than under-estimate.
5) Not reporting accidents
If you’re in any accident, no matter how serious or insignificant, and there’s lasting damage to your vehicle, you should let your insurer know. This is because if there were to be another accident later down the line, any damage sustained in the minor incident can exacerbate later events and you could find that you can’t claim because you didn’t flag the initial bump.
Do you need to check your tyres or update your parking arrangement? Maybe it’s time to double check your policy?