If you were unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident, you would hope that your car insurance would cover some, if not all of the associated costs. That is, after all, the main reason you pay for vehicle cover in the first place.
But did you know that there are a few things you could be doing, some of which seem quite innocuous, that could result in your car insurance not paying out when you need it to?
How could you invalidate your car insurance?
Car leasing and contract hire company Vehicle Contracts has identified six unexpected things that could invalidate your car insurance.
1. Parking on the street
Parking on the street, whether for convenience or because you don’t have off-road parking at your address, may invalidate your car insurance. This is especially true if, when applying for your policy, you stated that you will be parking your car off-road.
2. Driving in slippers or flip-flops
It’s quite normal to forego regular shoes in favour of slippers or flip-flops when walking around your home or garden. But that’s where this should end. While it’s not entirely illegal to drive in slippers, flip-flops or even high heels, these may be regarded as ‘unsuitable’ for driving because they hamper your ability to drive safely. It could result in your insurer refusing to pay out if you are involved in an accident.
3. Tinting your windows
Like other car modifications, it’s important to let your insurer know if you decide to tint your car’s windows. If you don’t, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise should you need to make a claim.
4. Having too many car air fresheners
Hanging a couple of air fresheners from your rearview mirror to freshen the smell of your car’s interior might seem completely harmless. However, from an insurer’s perspective, they may obstruct your view of the road or act as a distraction. In the event of an accident, too many air fresheners could invalidate your insurance.
5. Charging friends for a lift
It’s not uncommon to ask your friends to chip in a few quid in exchange for a lift somewhere. This could actually land you in big trouble. Accepting money for giving someone a lift could see you branded as an unlicensed taxi service, which, on top of a hefty fine of £2,500, could lead to your car insurance being invalidated.
6. Parking near an airfield
Believe it or not, this is a thing. Think twice the next time you consider parking your car close to an airport or airfield. Numerous insurance policies will not cover damage caused by pressure waves generated by aircraft travelling at or exceeding the speed of sound. To avoid issues with your insurer, always park at a designated airport car park or use a shuttle service.
What’s the best way to avoid invalidating your car insurance?
Ultimately, the best way to avoid invalidating your car insurance is to read the fine print on your policy carefully. Examine all of the terms and conditions, including any exclusions and ask questions if anything is unclear before you sign.
If you’ve already got a policy, take out your policy documents and go over them to confirm all of the terms and conditions and ensure you are adhering to them as long the policy is active.
Also check with your provider before engaging in any vehicle modification or driving activity that could impact your car insurance policy.
What are your options if your car insurance is invalidated?
Your insurer must give you a reason for invalidating your policy or refusing a car insurance claim. Check your policy documents to confirm that the reasons are valid and reasonable.
If you don’t agree with the reasons, you can formally complain to your insurer through their official complaints process. Relevant contacts or details of the process should be available on your car insurance policy documents or the insurer’s website.
And if you don’t succeed with the complaints process, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman. This service will review the claim and give a final decision.
Could you find a better car insurance deal?
Is your current car insurance meeting all of your driving needs? Can you trust it to come through for you when you need it the most? If your answer is anything less than a resounding yes, it might be time to start shopping around for a new deal.
A good place to start is with car insurance comparison sites like MoneySuperMarket and Confused.com. These can help you find a car insurance policy that meets your needs and financial circumstances. That way, you can spend less time worrying and more time driving!
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