How has the coronavirus affected car insurance?
With the coronavirus pandemic causing travel restrictions and many of us staying home to work, most people have been spending less time in their cars. Because of this the government has announced some changes to the way things like MOTs, driving tests and other arrangements will be conducted. There could also be changes to your car insurance and breakdown cover. Read our coronavirus and car insurance guide to find out more.
Do I need car insurance?
Car insurance is a legal requirement for drivers in the UK, thanks to the continuous insurance enforcement rules brought in as part of the road safety act of 2006. This means that unless your car is registered as off the road with a SORN, or in the process of being bought or sold, you could be faced with a fine for not insuring your vehicle.
Why is car insurance for new drivers so expensive?
Do driving courses help lower the cost of insurance?
While driving courses such as Pass Plus or IAM make you a better driver, they won’t always save you money on your car insurance policy. In fact the average person won’t see any difference in premiums whether or not they have Pass Plus on their licence – but that doesn’t mean it can’t benefit anyone at all. Younger or inexperienced drivers might be able to save a few quid, but it’s better to shop around and compare options – this way if insurers do offer discounts you’ll be able to take advantage.
How does telematics cover work?
Telematics cover involves your insurer monitoring your driving habits and adjusting your premiums according to how you drive. They do this through one of three types of telematics tech – either a black box (the most common) installed under your dashboard, a plug-in device or an app on your smartphone.
This is particularly useful for sensible new drivers as it offers a way to get lower car insurance premiums as a reward for driving safely.
How can my parents help me get cheaper car insurance?
As a young or new driver, you might be able to knock a few quid off your premiums by adding another more experienced driver to your policy – in most cases this will be your parents. This suggests to insurers that you won’t be the only person driving the car, therefore the assumed risk won’t always quite so high.
While this can be a good way to get cheaper cover, people sometimes take advantage of this by declaring the older or more experienced driver as the ‘main driver’ – when in reality it’ll be the young or new driver using the car more frequently. This is known as ‘fronting’ and is illegal.
Is it cheaper to pay monthly or annually for car insurance?
You’re likely to get a better deal on your car insurance policy if you pay an annual lump sum rather than in monthly instalments. This is largely because in a way monthly payments are similar to taking out credit – you’ll be covered in full, but without having paid the full amount yet.
Paying monthly can be useful as you’ll be able to spread the cost out, but you will end up paying a little extra overall.
What does excess mean?
Excess payments refer to the cost of making a claim – it’s essentially how much you’ll need to put towards the total claim cost before your insurer pays the rest. Volunteering a higher excess fee on top of the compulsory amount indicates to insurers you won’t bother making small and frivolous claims.
What is a no-claims bonus?
A no-claims bonus is what you earn when you go some time without claiming on your policy. The longer you’ve gone without claiming, the more your insurers will knock off your premiums as they’ll see you as less likely to make further claims in the future.
You might consider not claiming for an accident if the damage done to your car is minor and it would be more sensible to pay for the repairs yourself – let’s say the excess you’d need to pay was more than the overall repair costs. This way you’ll preserve your no-claims bonus as well as being better off financially.
Do I have to tell my insurers about an accident if I’m not going to claim?
If you’re involved in an accident and you decide not to make a claim, you should still inform your insurer. They’ll keep their records up to date, so they know what condition your vehicle is in and whether this will affect your likeliness of claiming some time in the future.
If you don’t keep your insurer updated, it’s possible this will void your insurance policy so you won’t be able to claim when you really need to.
Do I need a credit check to buy car insurance?
Insurers look at a range of factors when deciding on your insurance premium, including your credit score. But they will also look at your age, your job and the car you drive, as well as where you live before they make a decision. If you have a bad credit score, it is still possible to get car insurance – you just may need to shop around.
How do I estimate my mileage?
One of the factors used to calculate your car insurance quote is the number of miles you drive on average per year. To calculate your own personal mileage, you can:
- Look at the number of miles you drove the year before on your annual MOT certificate and estimate mileage for the coming year
- Check your car's service record - mileage is noted in your logbook every time your car has its annual service
- Calculate how many miles you drive each day and add them all up
How do I work out my car’s value?
In most cases, the value you declare on your insurance policy documents will be the price you initially paid for the vehicle.
Be mindful though, that if you make a claim and your car has been written off your insurance provider will pay out the current market value of your car, not the initial price you declared on your insurance documents. This is because vehicle devaluation is also considered.
How long is my quote valid for?
How long a quote is valid for is down to the insurance provider. Using our price comparison service you can save your searches, but there's no guarantee the price you saved will be the same as the price you get when you purchase.
How does my job affect my car insurance?
Car insurers collect data about previous claims and use it to predict how likely it is that people in different occupations will make a claim in future. If the insurer judges your job to be higher risk than another one, you’ll likely pay more. Find out more about why your job affects your car insurance cost.
Can I drive someone else’s car?
Even if you have comprehensive car insurance, you might not be insured to drive someone else’s car. Cover for driving others cars (DOC) used to be included in most comprehensive policies but this is no longer the case. You will often have to request it and pay for it as an extra.
Will I be charged if I cancel my policy?
Usually if you cancel your policy within the first 14 days, most insurance companies won’t charge a cancellation fee but check the small print because some will. If your policy has been active for longer than 2 weeks, you’re likely to have to pay a fee for cancelling plus the cost for the time you’ve been insured (pro-rata).
I had to claim last year, will my insurance go up?
Even if it wasn’t your fault, making a claim will almost always lead to an increase in your car insurance premium. A non-fault claim won't affect it as much as an at-fault claim will though.
How do I claim on my car insurance?
To make a car insurance claim, you’ll first need to notify the police. They will give you a crime reference number that you’ll then need to give your insurer.
You usually have to call your insurer to make a claim, though you may also be able to claim online or by filling out a form and sending it by post.
When might my claim get rejected?
There are a several reasons as to why a claim could be rejected:
- Incorrect information: For example, about how something got damaged or you were dishonest about key personal information
- Lack of due care: Leaving valuables on display in your car which are then stolen might mean you’re not covered, for example
- Not reading or understanding your policy: You may miss certain clauses that specify conditions under which you can or cannot claim
- Using out-of-date or invalid documentation: For example, if your road tax or MOT documents are out of date or your driving licence isn’t valid
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