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Car insurance – Don’t get caught out

Buying car insurance is not only a sensible thing to do in case you are involved in an accident; it’s a legal requirement in the UK. If you are caught driving without car insurance you could be fined, banned from driving or even have your vehicle impounded and destroyed in a vehicle crusher.

But what if you are uninsured but you don’t realise it? Many people who think that they have car insurance cover still get caught out on technicalities and details, so it makes sense to check your policy thoroughly to make sure you are accurately covered.

Check your details when you buy car insurance

One common problem is inaccurate completion of your car insurance application form. Just one letter or number wrong in your car registration will invalidate your car insurance policy and leave you open to prosecution. Often the same make and model of car will have very similar registration numbers from their original dealership, so you should always double check.

It is your responsibility to provide the correct details and so it is vital that you check your car insurance policy documents carefully when they arrive and report any errors immediately to maintain your cover.

You will always receive a full copy of your policy document plus an easy to read ‘Key Facts’ booklet that explains your car insurance policy for you. You should use these documents to check exactly what you are covered for and who is covered by your policy, to make sure that you have the insurance you think you have.

A common mistake is to assume that someone else in the family is also covered to drive your car. That may be true if they are named on the policy, or if there is a clause allowing it, but most policies insure the named policy holder only. It is very dangerous to make assumptions and could work out very costly if your assumption is wrong.

Tell the truth

Tempting though it may be to embellish your driving record or other details to reduce your car insurance policy price, any information that you give that turns out to be false will mean your car insurance policy may not be honoured in the event of an accident. What’s more, modern computer records mean that most major insurance companies share data on their clients, so if you’ve had an accident or points on your licence with one insurer, then there is no point hiding this from another.

Our top tips for honesty:

  • You need to notify your car insurance company if you get new points on your licence.
  • You need to also let them know if any of your other details change. Even moving within the same town can significantly change the price of your cover, and so this must be disclosed as soon as possible.
  • If you claim you keep your car in a locked garage overnight when in reality the garage is so full of junk you would have trouble getting a toy car in there, think again.
  • Keep a track of your mileage – if you get six months into the term of the policy and realise you are going to do more miles than you thought, update your insurer.

Don’t wait until your renewal to tell your insurer any of the above, or you risk invalidating your current car insurance policy. Your insurance premiums may cost you a little more, but that is nothing compared to the cost of an accident if your car insurance is deemed invalid.

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