Five ways you could accidentally invalidate your car insurance

Invalidating your car insurance

Imagine being involved in a road accident which causes hundreds or even thousands of pounds of damage to your car or someone else's - and then finding your insurer won't pay for it.

And, even worse, finding out that that was your fault – because you'd given them the wrong information.

It's very important to be honest with your car insurance company and give them the right information as best you can. Anyone can make an honest mistake, but the law holds that if you “deliberately or carelessly withhold information or mislead your insurers”, they can hold that your policy is invalid.Here are some ways you can get caught out:

Not communicating changes

If any of the information you gave your insurer when you took out the policy changes significantly, you should let them know. This doesn't just mean a change of address – things like the type of work you do or where you park your car can affect your premium. Likewise, if you make any modifications to your car, such as altering the engine or even just adding spoilers, you must tell them.

Place of work

When you take out car insurance, your insurer will ask you whether you use the car to drive to and from one place of work, to and from several places of work, or actually as part of your job (like a mobile hairdresser or travelling salesman). You need to be accurate here. Even driving to a different office for a morning meeting now and then counts as commuting to more than one place. Driving to the station to catch the train to work also counts as commuting.

Fronting

Your 17-year-old son has just passed his test, but as a young, newly-qualified driver, his insurance will cost the earth – so what about insuring his car but saying you're the main driver? Don't – this is called fronting, and actually constitutes insurance fraud. Instead, young drivers can take out black box or telematics insurance, which is priced according to your driving style, not just your age. A small box is put into your car which allows your insurer to track things like your braking, cornering and speed using GPS; they then use this to personalise your premium.

Valet parking

Surprisingly, perhaps, many insurance policies don't cover damage caused to your car while it's in the care of a valet parking firm, for example at an airport or hotel. A few years back, in 2014, gocompare.com studied 245 car insurance policies and found that this wasn't covered on 51% of them. The valet parking company will have its own insurance, but the cover they offer is often limited and you should certainly check it, and your own insurance policy, before engaging their services.

Racing and motorsport

Much less surprisingly, if you decide to drive your car on a racetrack, or use it for competitive motorsports, your insurer will not be covering you. You can get specialist insurance for this if it's something you're keen to do.

As reputable used car dealers, we at Carwise Group are happy to offer advice on many aspects of motoring. We offer a huge range of used cars for sale, all of which are thoroughly inspected by our in-house technicians, so you know everything is in excellent working order. If you'd like to test drive one of them, just give us a call – you'll find us in Maidstone and Harlow.