When you take out car insurance, you also agree to abide by its terms and conditions. Not doing so, can mean you risk invalidating your policy which means your insurer can cancel your cover and refuse to pay out, but how familiar are you with all your Ts and Cs? Here, a comparison site for cheap car insurance quotes, mustard.co.uk, share ten things you could be doing that actually invalidate your policy.
1. Driving while distracted
Distracted is a broad term and purposely so – it essentially covers anything that takes your focus away from the road. This can include eating or drinking behind the wheel or putting on your make-up or shaving.
If you have an accident while you’re distracted, your insurer could argue that the incident only happened because you weren’t paying attention. But not only could it invalidate your cover, but careless driving can also earn you between three and nine penalty points.
2. Switching jobs and not telling your insurer
Insurers work out your premium based on your risk profile which takes into account the type of job you do. If you change jobs but forget to tell your insurer, your premium won’t be an accurate reflection of the risk you pose. So, remember to let them know if you’re promoted or switch roles.
3. Having the incorrect address
Your address also influences your premium so you’ll need to remember to update your insurer if you move. If you’re a student, you should use the address you’re at most often – for example, your term time address.
Not having the right class of use
Class of use is the technical term for the activities you use your car for. Insurers need to know this, so they can gauge the chances of you being involved in an accident – the more you’re on the road, the higher the chances.
If your class of use is wrong, your premium won’t be an accurate reflection of your risk which invalidates the cover you have.
Classes of use include:
- Social, domestic, pleasure (SDP)
- Social, domestic, pleasure + commuting (SDP+C)
- Business use
5. Not keeping your windscreen clean
A dirty windscreen limits your visibility which increases the risk of causing an accident. In fact, as well as keeping your windscreen clean and clear, you’re expected to keep your car properly maintained to minimise the chances of an incident.
6. Underestimating your annual mileage
Insurers don’t expect you to be accurate to the mile, but they do expect you to be within a reasonable distance.
It shouldn’t be too tricky to work out your mileage as most of us are creatures of habit. For instance, your daily or weekly commute, the school run, grocery shopping and driving to clubs and hobbies.
If you think there’s a risk of you going over what you’ve estimated, let your insurer know. There may be a fee to amend your policy, but it’ll be far cheaper than your insurer cancelling your policy and leaving you to fork out for repairs after an accident.
Fronting happens when an older more experienced driver lists themselves as the main driver on an insurance policy in order to get cheaper cover for a younger driver. A typical example would be a parent fronting for their child who’s under 25.
Fronting is actually considered insurance fraud (whether it’s intentional or not) so the potential consequences can be severe. Parents can of course be included as named drivers on a child’s policy which can help lower premiums too.
8. Attaching objects to your rear-view mirror
If you have an accident and you’re found to have large objects hanging from your rear-view mirror, your insurer could reject your claim as this can also count as a distraction.
If you want to keep good luck charms in your car, consider putting them somewhere where they can’t be considered distracting (like the glovebox).
9. Inappropriate footwear
As the driver of a car, you’re expected to be in full control, which means having appropriate footwear that allows you to use the pedals properly and effectively.
Examples of inappropriate footwear include no shoes at all, very high heels, flip flops or shoes with thick soles that stop you from feeling the pedals.
10. Not securing your pet
If you’ve got a pet, you’ll need to keep it properly restrained – it’s also part of the Highway Code. This could mean putting your pet in a secure cage in the boot, or using a specially designed pet seat belt.
Not restraining your pet doesn’t just endanger you, it increases the risk of serious injury to them too and simply isn’t worth the risk, even for short journeys.
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