When premiums drop, 10 issues that might void your car insurance – Grampian On-line

Car insurance prices have hit a seven-year low, with Covid helping to bring the price down, but it's important to remember to be as specific as possible when providing your personal information.

Remember to keep your car insurance company informed of changes in your life circumstances.

Providing incorrect information or failing to update when circumstances change, whether accidentally or not, can void your insurance, which means your insurer can refuse to pay claims or even terminate your policy. Some types of misinformation can even be classified as fraudulent and land you in court.

Because of this, CarParts4Less has shared 10 easy mistakes to make that could invalidate your car insurance.

1. Lies about your main address

Car insurance premiums may vary depending on the zip code, as some areas are more likely to be thefts and break-ins. It can be tempting to give your home address as a different place where your car is parked every night – in your parents' house during your studies, for example, or in your house if you live with your partner five nights a week. However, this can mean that your insurer can refuse to pay any claims made, for example if your car is broken into at the location where it is actually located.

Insurance companies have special investigation units (SUI) that ensure that the information about your insurance and your claims is correct. While you might think you can get away with not updating your address, the chances are you will find out if you make a claim.

2. Ignore your morning commute to work

There are three types of car use covered by insurance – social only, social and commuting and business. Only social insurance covers driving for social or recreational purposes; Trips to and from friends home, the supermarket, etc. Getting to and from work or even to and from the train station is not covered by this policy, so upgrading to Social Security and commuting is required even if you are just commuting couple of times a month. Insurance companies can deny or reject claims made while commuting to work if the policy is for a social purpose, even if it is a one-time policy.

If you use your car for work other than commuting, such as going to meetings or carrying equipment, you will need professional insurance.

3. Do not inform your insurer about changes to the vehicle

Car modifications can affect your insurance premium for two reasons; if they increase the likelihood of an accident or if they increase the likelihood of theft. Optional add-ons for brand new cars, including something as simple and common as installing it in a sat nav, can affect insurance. Hence, it is important to consider these options when applying for insurance. Your insurer must also be informed of any changes made during your policy as this may require a policy change.

4. Do not inform your insurance company about minor accidents

In the case of small bumps or minor accidents that only cause cosmetic damage, it is common for drivers to have their car repaired without complaint. But even if you do not want to make any claims, it is important that you inform your insurance company of any damage received, as this does not constitute a breach of your policy. This helps in the event that the other driver changes their mind and decides to file a claim, and also ensures that the damage is settled if you need to make a claim after future incidents – damage that is incompatible with a claim could result in your claim being denied.

5. "Fronting"

Insurance for young drivers often costs more than groups that are considered to be less risky, and some motorists try to circumvent these higher premiums by using a low-risk driver, such as the real motorist, as a named driver. If you are caught "fronting" your policy will be immediately canceled and all claims denied. Again, these cases are often taken to court as they are classified as insurance fraud, with fines of up to £ 5000 and six points on your license.

6. Use more miles than you thought

Your annual mileage is one of the main factors in calculating your insurance premium; the higher the mileage, the higher the costs. It is important to be as specific as possible when giving this number rather than just guessing as your insurance provider may decide not to pay a damage if your mileage is higher than you estimate. When calculating your mileage, don't forget to include weekend trips, weekly shopping, etc. and add some contingent miles – it's better to be on the safe side!

7. Driving with pets

When you are in the car with your pet, you have a legal obligation to make sure it is secured. Unsecured pets can increase a car's risk of accidents as they can distract the driver or even physically hinder them while driving. If you collide with an unsecured pet in the car, your insurance company will likely refuse to pay for your damage.

8. Let others drive the car

While it is possible for your friends or family to get insurance policies that allow them to drive other people's cars, these policies are unlikely to cover damage to the vehicle in the event of an accident. It is more than likely that your own policy will only cover vehicle damage that occurs with a named driver in the car. So while your friend can legally drive it, accidents that do occur may not be eligible for a claim.

9. You recently changed jobs

Your current occupation is one of the factors used to determine your risk profile. Therefore, it is important to update your insurance company whenever you have changed jobs or occupations. If these are not adhered to, claims that are made after changing jobs can be rejected by your insurer.

10. Elevator fees

Some policies specifically exclude car sharing coverage, whether you are making a profit or not. For those whose policies allow ridesharing, making a profit from offering ridesharing may be void – many state that you may only earn enough to cover gasoline and commuting bills. Earning money by offering ridesharing can identify you as a “taxi rental service” and get a policy that doesn't cover that void.

It is important to always read the terms of your car insurance policy to ensure that you have not accidentally invalidated the policy. Keep your insurance provider informed of any change in circumstances, whether you find it relevant or not, as some seemingly unrelated life changes can affect your premium.

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