A car accident is—to say the least—an inconvenience. But that’s what car insurance is for.
Unfortunately, you may be guilty of one of these five actions that can invalidate your insurance:
- Participating in lift sharing. Peter Kay’s ‘Car Share’ has made this a popular concept, even if the reality is more mundane than the unfolding drama in the TV series! However, even if you don’t charge your lift-share passenger for the ride, your policy could be invalidated if it does not explicitly say you are also covered as a lift-share driver.
Most insurers will allow lift sharing, but only if you don’t make a profit from it – covering the cost of fuel is usually fine. However, a survey by GoCompare found that 9% of policies specifically excluded lift sharing, so make sure you read your policy carefully if you do give a colleague a lift to work.
- Letting someone else drive your car. Car insurance policies vary. Your friends or family may have policies that cover them when driving other people’s cars, but the policies may not cover damage to your vehicle if they’re in an accident (i.e. the driver has third-party only cover). Some policies won’t cover driving other cars (in fact, this is becoming more common).
Drivers under the age of 25 will most often find that driving other cars is not included on their policy, and another common exclusion is cars owned or rented by you or your partner – so driving your partner or spouse’s car may not be allowed. In addition, your policy may only cover damage that occurs when a named driver is operating the vehicle. When allowing somebody else to drive your car, you need to be mindful of all these things to avoid a costly mistake. The same thing applies when you’re driving other cars yourself, too.
- Driving with your pet. Pet lovers across the country will holiday with their animals, or drive them to the vet for check-ups or medical attention. The Highway Code states that if you drive with your pet, they need to be suitably restrained so they cannot distract you. Failing to do so is not only illegal, it could potentially invalidate your insurance policy in the event that an accident occurs.
It can be stressful for your pet being in a vehicle, so it makes sense to ensure they’re secured, comfortable and not distressed to avoid accidents on the road. You should also bear in mind that your pet insurance can also be invalidated if you’re involved in a car accident where your pet has distracted you – a double whammy if you’re not careful when driving with your pet.
- Listing another driver as the main driver. If you’re the main driver and list yourself as an additional named driver, this is insurance fraud, also known as ‘fronting’. Listing someone with a better history as the main driver and you as the occasional driver to get a cheaper premium means your policy may not only be invalidated, but you could receive up to a £5,000 fine and six points on your licence.
Insurers are wise to this, so it pays to be honest. Besides which, inexperienced drivers or drivers with convictions may pay more for their policy, but should benefit from cheaper premiums with more experience or as convictions age and are removed from their licence, for example.
- Wearing inappropriate footwear. The wrong footwear is not only a potential distraction—it can be a hazard while you’re driving.
There is no legal requirement for footwear when you get behind the wheel. However, you need to have control of your vehicle, so wet shoes, high heels or flip flops may lead to a lack of feel from the pedals or your feet slipping from the brake or accelerator. Larger footwear—such as boots or wellies—is equally dangerous, and bare feet can be make it more difficult to depress pedals.
All things considered, getting into an accident because you were wearing inappropriate footwear could invalidate your policy.