One of the most common enquiries we receive is about driving without insurance, and in many cases, the motorist did not realise they were not insured. If your insurance becomes invalid without your knowledge, it can be one of the most frustrating positions to find yourself in, as you can be hit with between 6 to 8 penalty points and an unlimited fine (however, you would usually be offered a fixed penalty of 6 points and a £300 fine). If you already have points on your licence, this mishap could lead to a 6-month disqualification from driving.
Once the insurance is purchased, many motorists will forget all about it and assume it remains valid, but it’s important to ensure you don’t unintentionally invalidate your cover.
1. Moving house
Your insurance premiums are largely determined by your postcode, so if you move, you must ensure your policy is updated to reflect the change. Failing to do so will likely invalidate your insurance.
2. New employment
Similar to the postcode, your occupation can also affect your premiums, so failing to inform your insurer could also leave you uninsured.
3. Where the vehicle is parked
Parking in a secure garage, as opposed to on the street, is a more secure option and the lowered risk of theft/damage to your vehicle is reflected in lower premiums. If you tell your insurer that your vehicle is in a garage when it isn’t, any claim after your vehicle is damaged or broken into could be invalid.
4. Misrepresenting what you are using your car for
Social, social and commuting or business use? These are important factors, and you must be completely transparent with your insurer about your intended usage. During the pandemic, many people have taken up delivery work for extra income and this is a perfect example of when your insurer must be updated. We have received calls from so many drivers who did not realise that their insurance was invalid when making fast food or parcel deliveries.
5. Underestimating the mileage
If your actual mileage is higher than your estimated mileage, then your policy may be at risk of being invalidated. There are several mileage calculators online to help you get an idea of how many miles you would be clocking up in a year.
6. An obstructed view
If you’re involved in an accident, but your windscreen is obstructed in any way (frost, dirt, too many air fresheners) then your policy will likely be invalidated.
When a parent (older, more experienced and in a higher-level occupation) takes out insurance and lists their child as a named driver, when, in reality, the main driver is the child, this is fronting and it will almost certainly invalidate your cover.
8. Failing to disclose accidents
No matter how minor, you must inform your insurer of every accident. If you don’t, and the motorist you’ve just had a minor bump with reports the incident to their insurer, it would leave your insurance company in an awkward position and could invalidate your cover.
9. Hire and reward
Charging people for lifts could put your car insurance at risk. Accepting petrol money is fine, but if you make a profit, you are committing an offence.
10. Car modifications
Always check with your insurer before you modify your vehicle, as this may increase your premiums. Some modifications can also increase the risk of your car being stolen or damaged. This area is regularly overlooked by motorists and the consequences of doing so can be significant, so always try to be mindful of your insurance policy.
Motoring Defence Solicitors are road traffic lawyers specialising in drink and drug driving offences. Based out of their central London offices, they provide free advice on a range of offences to motorists nationwide. You can contact Neil Sargeant for free on 0800 433 2880 or visit the website at www.drinkdrugdriving.co.uk.