Many aspects of our lives have changed because of the coronavirus pandemic and, while lockdown has eased, our habits won’t bounce back for some time.
For drivers, how, when and why they use their cars will also likely to have changed and that in turn will affect any existing insurance policies.
Whether you’re driving more, or less, or have a different job, here’s why you should review your current cover.
Making sure you’re actually covered
First of all, changes in your circumstances can invalidate your current policy.
For example, if you normally use your car for leisure purposes, and your cover was taken out on that basis, you would invalidate your policy if you started using it for commutes or business trips instead of taking public transport.
Similarly, if you’ve had to change your job, even if temporarily while you’re on furlough, that could impact your cover as different occupations are assigned different risk levels and therefore attract different premiums.
Having car insurance is a legal requirement.
If your policy is invalidated because of those changes, and you’re caught driving without insurance, you would receive a £300 fine and six penalty points on your license as a minimum.
This can extend to an unlimited fine and getting disqualified from driving if the case goes to court.
And of course, if you get into an accident, you would be liable for all of the costs.
Confused.com* has a handy list of things you need to tell your insurer about.
You might be able to save money
A second reason to update your insurer on a change in circumstances is that you might actually save some money. There are a few ways this might happen.
If you’ve changed jobs since the pandemic, your new role might be considered lower risk and therefore cheaper to insure. If that’s the case, you might be due a refund depending on your insurer and how far you are into the policy.
There’s usually an admin charge in the region of £35 to change your policy midway through the contract but many insurers have waived this during the pandemic.
If you’re driving significantly less now than when you took out your policy, you might be able to get some of your premium back. You’ll need to contact your insurer for this – they’re not under any obligation to offer anything, but you might be able to get a discount on future cover.
Direct Line is the only insurer that has introduced a formal discount for those with significantly lower mileages. You have to sign up to their Mileage MoneyBack scheme to get it.
It works in a similar way to electricity meter readings – you give a reading when you start your policy (or when you sign up to the scheme) and when you’re due for renewal.
Direct Line will then compare how much you’ve actually driven against your estimated mileage. For every 1,000 miles under your estimate, it will refund you 2% of your premium, minus any optional extras or interest payments, up to 20%.
If you’ve lost your job, can no longer work because of lockdown restrictions, or are currently on furlough, you might be able to get some money back from your insurance provider as well.
LV is one insurer that’s doing this. Depending on your circumstances, they will give you between £20 and £50 cash back.