When you’ve renewed your car insurance for another year, it’s easy to forget about it. But ignoring the terms and conditions set out by your insurer could mean you unwittingly invalidate your policy.
If that happens, your insurer can refuse to pay out if you make a claim, and it could stop you from finding cheap car insurance quotes in the future.
To help you avoid any unwanted surprises, here are some of the most common ways you could be invalidating your car cover without even realising.
Not declaring medical conditions
It shouldn’t come as any surprise to know that you must tell the DVLA about medical conditions that could affect your ability to drive. What you might not realise, is that you have to let your insurer know too.
Conditions you should declare include: heart trouble, history of stroke, glaucoma, diabetes, epilepsy.
Misrepresentation and non-disclosure
In order to work out your premium, your insurer needs to build up a risk profile which calculates the chances of you making a claim.
To do this, your insurer will ask you a whole series of questions about the car you have, where you live and the job you do. You’ll also be asked how old you are and whether or not you have any driving convictions or made any recent claims. Not telling your insurer about any changes can invalidate your policy.
There are no legal restrictions about what you can and can’t wear but your shoes shouldn’t impair your driving. For example, flip flops or mules that can easily slide off your feet, slippy stilettos or chunky, wide trainers can all affect how you interact with the foot pedals.
If you’re involved in an accident while wearing what could be considered inappropriate footwear, your insurer could refuse to compensate you.
Fundamentally, distractions cover anything that hinder your ability to drive or that affects your line of vision, for example:
- Leaving your pets unrestrained in the car — animals should be properly harnessed or kept in a cage.
- Having anything large hanging from the rear view mirror — these could restrict your view and can include items as innocent as air fresheners or a pair of fluffy dice.
- Eating and drinking in your car — it’s not against the law to eat or drink soft drinks, but it could lead to a lapse in concentration, especially if you spill hot tea or coffee on your lap.
Fronting is when one person says they are the main driver (when they aren’t) in order to get cheaper car insurance.
A common example of fronting is when a parent lists themselves as the main driver instead of a child who has just passed their test. It can also happen if one driver has penalty points or has made a recent claim — both of which can increase premiums.
Fronting is considered insurance fraud. At best, your insurer will simply cancel your policy but this is also likely to impact future premiums. At worst, you could be prosecuted for fraud which could result in a criminal conviction.
Failing to keep important documents updated
You’ll be expected to keep your driving licence updated so it’s worth double checking its expiration date and setting a reminder so you don’t forget.
Also, make sure you’ve paid car tax (vehicle excise duty). Remember, if your car is exempt from tax (because it’s electric or a classic) you must still apply  for the exemption, you can’t just stop paying it.
If your car is more than three years old, you’ll also need to arrange its MOT annually, unless it’s a classic (more than 40 years old). The only time your classic car might need an MOT is if you’ve significantly changed it within the last 30 years — you can find more details about this at GOV.UK.
Having the wrong class of use
Class of use describes the activities you use your car for — for example, social, domestic and pleasure, commuting or business use. It’s essential to have the right class of use, if not, then your policy is unlikely to give you adequate cover.
It means that if you decide to earn extra cash as a courier, you’ll need to arrange suitable business car insurance. If not and you have an accident, your insurer can refuse to compensate you.
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