10 ways to avoid invalidating your car insurance

Tips & guides

7 October 2019

Purchasing car insurance means purchasing extra peace of mind. But you’d be surprised at just how many everyday habits and small mistakes can render your car insurance invalid.

And the last thing you’d want to discover after the shock of an unexpected scrape is to find out that your claim isn’t going to be covered. So, to save your wallet from taking an unexpected hit, AXA looks at 10 ways you can avoid invalidating your car insurance.

From being honest with your mileage to keeping your windscreen crystal clear, read AXA’s top tips to prevent invalidating your car insurance so that you’ve always got the protection you need when heading out on the highway.

Honesty is the best policy

Tempted to bend the truth to help bring down your premium? Don’t. As enticing the prospect of saving a few pounds is, telling little white lies to do so can have huge consequences – including having your car insurance invalidated.

So, to prevent being left without the cover you need, always be honest and take extra care to provide the correct information when applying for your car insurance policy. Make educated assumptions when anticipating your vehicle usage in the year ahead, and make sure you disclose any penalty points, driving and non-driving related convictions, and any accidents you or any driver on the policy have been involved in prior to applying for your car insurance quote. The more upfront you are, the easier it’ll be to get cover that best suits your needs.

Update your details

Don’t forget to let your insurer know if you’ve moved to a new house or bagged a new job recently. It’s not so that they can send you a congratulatory card – your insurer needs to know about any changes in your circumstances so that they can update your policy to reflect the change in your needs.

A new job might mean a longer commute, which means more time spent on the road and an increase in the number of risks you’re exposed to every day. Plus, if your new job involves carrying goods or passengers in return for a fare, your insurer may not be able to cover you.

Here's changes to look out for when knowing if you need to let your insurer know:

  • If you sell, or change your car
  • If you change address or where you keep your car
  • If you need to make changes to the drivers covered under the policy
  • If you modify, scrap or SORN your car
  • If you or anyone else on the policy change jobs or want to change what you use your car for.
  • If you or anyone else on the policy change licence entitlement, are banned from driving or are told by DVLA they cannot continue driving

Experienced any of the changes listed above? The sooner you let your insurer know, the quicker they can update your policy to keep you covered when you’re on the road.

Be clear on where you keep your car overnight

We get that you won’t keep your vehicle at the same location every day of the year, but if you tell your insurer that you keep it at one address but park it at a different postcode every night, this could render your car insurance invalid – especially if the two locations are a hefty distance away. Always keep your insurer up to speed on where you park your car at night, whether this is in a garage, at work, or on the street, so that they can help keep your vehicle protected. If you do shift work which involves parking your car at work while you're there, just advise your insurer of the location.

Keep your keys safe

Always be smart about where you leave your keys. Most insurance policies won't cover you if you leave your keys or key card anywhere in or on the car. If your insurer believes you’ve failed to keep them safe and your car is stolen, you run the risk of invalidating your car insurance.

It can be all too easy to leave your keys hanging by the door after a busy day but try to avoid leaving your keys in easily accessible locations like this. Store them out of sight and out of reach of opportunistic passers-by. Got a keyless car? Read our guide on how to safeguard your vehicle against relay theft.

Only let named drivers use your car

Remember: only you and other named drivers on your insurance policy should be using your car. Even though other drivers with the ‘Driving Other Cars’ extension on their policy can technically drive your vehicle, consider whether it’s worth the risk.

This extension provides third party cover only, meaning your insurer won’t pay out if they’re involved in an accident while in the driver’s seat of your car – and neither will the other driver’s insurer. Save yourself the unnecessary stress by sticking to the hard and fast rule of only allowing those named on your insurance policy to drive your car.

If you want to ensure that any damage is covered while your car is being driven by someone else the safest way to do this is to add them to your policy.

Keep your car in good condition

Whether it’s checking tyre levels or topping up the water in your car’s radiator, give your car some regular TLC to keep it in roadworthy condition and ensure it has a valid MOT. If breakdown is found to be caused by lack of maintenance or servicing (which is your responsibility as the car's owner) your insurance could be rendered invalid. Take a read at our car maintenance checklist to help keep your vehicle in top gear throughout the year.

Don’t drive recklessly

It should go without saying but avoid taking to the roads like a race car driver. Insurers expect drivers to comply with the law and observe all road traffic rules. Put the brakes on your need for speed by being a conscious driver.

Driving sensibly goes hand-in-hand with keeping your car well-maintained, so make sure you adhere to speed limits, follow signs and drive carefully, particularly in testing conditions (whether this is sub-zero temperatures, fog, heavy rain or busy traffic) whenever you take to the roads.

Choose the right class of use

When applying for car insurance you must select the class of use that reflects how you use or will be using your car. To help you make an informed decision, here’s short definitions of the classes of use you can pick from.

  • Social, domestic and pleasure
    Choose this class of use if you only drive for social purposes, such as visiting family and friends or nipping to the shops.
  • Commuting
    As well as covering you for the above usage, this offers protection for your commute to and from your place of work. Keep in mind that if parking your car at a train station before hopping on a train is part of your daily commute, then you’ll need to choose this class as your car is part of the journey. Dropping someone else at their work is also classed as commuting too, so don’t get caught out.
  • Business use
    If your job involves regular travel to more than one place of work, you need this. This does not cover transport of goods for customers, fast food delivery, driving instruction or carrying passengers as part of a business. Bear in mind that giving friends or colleagues lifts in return for contributions to fuel does not constitute carrying passengers for business.

Choosing the wrong class of use can be costly and will result in a claim being declined if you are using your car for a purpose that it's not covered for. For example, if you were to tell your insurer that you used your car for social domestic and pleasure purposes but also use it for commuting, you run the risk of your car not being covered if you’re involved in an accident on your way to work.

Check with your insurer before making modifications

Lowering suspension. Spoilers. Turbochargers. What do they all have in common? They’re all modifications that could invalidate your car insurance if your insurer doesn’t cover them.

That’s why it’s always best to be upfront about any car modifications or extras when first arranging your insurance. If you’re planning on giving your car an upgrade in the middle of a policy, let your insurer know as any changes will likely impact the vehicle’s value and power and, subsequently, the cover you’ll need.

AXA cover standard optional extras fitted by the manufacturer or approved garages, but if you’re still feeling unsure, check our modifications FAQ page for clarification.

Don’t mislead your insurer

If you claim that someone else is the main driver of your car when it’s actually you – otherwise known as fronting – you’ll render your policy invalid. Make sure that the person you have stated to be the main driver is the person who uses the car the majority of the time.

Similarly, if you say your car has a tracking device and it doesn’t, this could also lead to your claim being declined if your car is stolen.

Never try to pull the wool over your insurer’s eyes in a bid to save money. Not only are you running the risk of being left without the cover when you need it most, your wallet will take the biggest hit in the long run.

It’s easy to make mistakes. But accidentally rendering your car insurance invalid can be an all-too-easy one to make. To avoid being left out of pocket, why not try putting our simple tips into practice to keep things ticking over like a well-oiled machine?

From providing accurate answers on your insurance application and choosing the right class of use to suit your needs, to letting your insurer know about changes to your circumstances and keeping your car well-maintained, these are all easy steps to take. That way, you’ll have the cover you need 365 days of the year, which can help keep you protected if the worst happens.

 

Keep your car road ready with AXA

Don’t let an unexpected bump in the road but the brakes on your plans. Protect your vehicle with AXA car insurance to help keep it going from A to B – no matter what lies ahead.