How to stay insured?
There are some fundamental things that need to be in order for your car insurance to run without issues.
There are some urban legends about driving offences and what might invalidate your insurance cover, as well as there are some very weird driving laws that actually exist.
We set a few things straight to help the puzzled minds…
It’s illegal to drive barefoot
There is no law defining the type of footwear you need to have when driving but doing it barefoot or wearing flip-flops can make it difficult to operate the car safely. It’s not illegal to wear a bad choice of shoes (or none at all) but iIf this leads to endangering other cars, your reckless driving is illegal.
You may not be covered if your car’s stolen when you leave the engine running
Many insurance policies have an exclusion clause stating they’re not responsible for paying out a claim if your car is stolen with the engine running and the keys inside.
It’s also an offence to leave your engine running when parked up on a public road. This so-called ‘engine idling’ can lead to emission offences, though only if you refuse to switch off your engine when being asked to do so.
Modifications don’t have an impact on your insurance
Modifying your car can change the value, and safety, of the car and therefore is a big thing for insurers. If you’re considering modifications, check with your insurer and think twice – your premium could increase or in many cases, your insurance could become invalid.
Your insurance could be invalidated if you change to winter tyres
Most insurers don’t require detailed information on which tyres you use and won’t take it into account in your premium – it’s a seasonal, and regional, thing after all. The main thing is that your car overall is roadworthy and has a valid MOT.
The best thing to do is check with your insurer whether you need to let them know.
It’s illegal to not de-ice your windscreen
The Highway Code states that you MUST be able to see when driving which requires clearing snow and ice from all windows. It’s also an offence to drive around with a registration plate that is so dirty you can’t read the registration number.
Your insurance could be invalidated if you don’t have an emergency kit in the car
There is no legal requirement in the UK to have an emergency kit in the car and it has nothing to do with your insurance. It is very much recommended, especially in the winter when breaking down in the middle of nowhere comes with more risks.
You’re covered during a natural disaster
“Acts of God” isn’t something that insurance policies cover separately, usually, but luckily we don’t have volcanos and monthly tornadoes to deal with. If you’re embarking on a road trip abroad and drive through an area where something like this could happen, your insurance is unlikely to cover you for damage caused by lava or flying debris.
You should also check with your insurer whether you’re covered driving abroad in the first place.
You’re covered under all types of parking
If another driver damages your car whilst it’s parked up, your insurance will have you covered. It’s not the type of parking but the actual incident that defines what is paid out in a claim.
This might not be the case with valet parking, though. It might look glamorous in movies but many policies don’t cover any damage if you leave your car in the care of a valet.
You can run an occasional taxi service
The way you use your car needs to be clarified when you buy your policy and if this changes, it’s important you notify your insurer. Trying to save costs by taking out a policy for social use but actually operating as an Uber driver is illegal and could get you in real trouble.
It would not only invalidate your insurance but could lead to some fines if you’re making a profit illegally.
A lot of the issues with car insurance are to do with the information you give to your insurer – some simple errors can cause you a real headache. From changing your main driver to your parking address, we also listed what you shouldn’t get wrong in your policy documentation.
Things, like changing your address and not informing your insurer or not declaring that you’ve modified your car, are things that matter the most.
Looking for an insurance policy? Having a black box in your car allows you to track your driving and provides evidence in the event of an accident. With a black box, driving safely is rewarding – most of our customers receive an average renewal discount of 37%!*
*Customers renewing after their first policy year with a policy start date between 1st Jan-31st Dec 2018. 55% of these customers earned 60+ monthly Bonus Miles.