What effect does your career have on car insurance?

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As a driver, you may have given little thought to the way in which your job title could potentially affect the premium you pay for your car insurance. In fact, when applying for cover, navigating your way through the maze of different providers and policies available can be tricky enough, without having to spend time and effort thinking about how you’re going to go about filling in the details of your job. But while this may feel like an extra hassle, it is worth getting it right, as this can have a big impact on the price you end up paying. And putting in the wrong occupation could actually cause problems if you have to make a claim.

When setting premiums, insurers take a range of factors into consideration, including the car you’re driving, your age and your claims history, but occupation is also key, with providers often adjusting their rates according to the applicant’s profession.

The price you are quoted will be based on statistics and models of past experiences – and the job you have will have a big part to play in this. Insurers will make assumptions about the way people behave in certain occupations, and the impact this will have on their level of risk. The more reckless an individual is viewed as being, the less an insurer wants to cover you, so the higher the premium levied.

So which particular professions attract higher premiums?

Workers who face more expensive car insurance premiums include journalists, estate agents, sales reps, athletes, and people who work in the entertainment industry. By contrast, there are certain professions that attract far lower car insurance premiums, and these include teachers, police officers, and solicitors.

So why exactly do premiums vary so much between one profession and the next?

The key issue here is risk, as journalists, for example, have traditionally been viewed by insurers as being higher risk because they drive more than average, and may have an important passenger travelling with them. They also have a reputation for being social drinkers – and for drinking during work hours. In reality, the role of a journalist has changed considerably in recent years, but as yet, the risk profile has not changed to reflect this.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, students also face high car insurance premiums, as young drivers – and especially young men – are statistically proven to have more accidents and make more claims. Insurers can’t set their prices with reference to the driver’s gender since the European Gender Directive came into force last year, which means insurers might attach even great significance to the statistical data attaching to various occupations.

At the other end of the scale, individuals who work as teachers, police officers and solicitors are often viewed as “pillars of the community” because they hold down “sensible” jobs and drive far less for their work. As a result of this, they are therefore viewed as lower risk, and this, in turn, means lower premiums.

When thinking about how your occupation could affect your car insurance premium, it’s also worth being aware of “risk by association”. This applies to people are employed in the arts, entertainment and sports who may themselves be very safe drivers, but who attract the “higher risk” label because they are carrying high profile or celebrity passengers in the car with them.

For example, if you had a collision while ferrying a professional footballer from A to B, that could result in an expensive claim, as the footballer could claim for a much higher than average loss of earnings. Other professions which can attract higher car insurance premiums include builders, electricians and salesmen, as all these workers are likely to use their car more than average for their job or to travel longer distances.

In addition, they are likely to be carrying expensive items or goods with them – making them prime targets for thieves.

The same rules could also apply for a far more niche job, such as someone who owns a mobile disco who drives more than average, and who carries expensive kit in the car almost all of the time. Once again, as these individuals are perceived as being higher risk, this means higher car insurance premiums. Another way in which your occupation can have an impact on your car insurance premium is if your job requires you to be on the roads at the busiest times, as these are the times when most accidents occur.

Workers who use their cars during peak hours are viewed as higher risk by insurers than those who work less sociable hours – and who will be on the roads at quieter times. Crucially, when applying for motor cover, it’s worth noting that different versions of the same job title can attract different premiums.

For example, if you say you’re a journalist, you’ll be stereotyped as high-risk, but if you say you’re an editor or a writer, you will be perceived as being a lower-risk, and attract a lower premium. Similarly, someone who describes themselves as a “landlord” will pay less for their car insurance than someone who describes themselves as a “publican” – even though it’s the same job.

The key here is to be more specific about your occupation, and to state your job as one of the occupations which aren’t favoured by insurers. That said, however, you must never bend the truth when applying for cover. If you do, this could render your cover invalid. Put simply, the occupation you list must reasonably and accurately describe what you do for a living.

Equally, you could actually end up paying over the odds for your cover if you get it wrong; for example, a bricklayer who describes himself as a “builder” will pay more than he would if he’d called himself a “bricklayer”. The key here is to spend a few moments comparing the prices for the different variations of your job title, to ensure you are paying the right price for the right policy for you. This shouldn’t take more than a matter of minutes, and could save you money on your car insurance premium.

Equally, don’t forget to inform your insurer when you change jobs, as this could affect the price you need to pay – and could even mean a lower premium if the new job is perceived as being lower-risk than your old job.

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