At WiseDriving, we know that mistakes can be made, you’re only human but sometimes these can cost more than you bargained for. Here are some of the common mistakes we see customers make and how they can affect your insurance. We want to make you aware, so you don’t get caught out!
1. Not confirming modifications
It’s important that any modifications are disclosed when doing a quote as not all insurers accept modifications and if the vehicle is found to have any, the policy could be cancelled. A modification is any change to the vehicle that alters it from factory standard. For example - suspension, wheel upgrades, exhaust changes, stickers/decals, tinted windows, bodywork, paint changes and so on.
If you’ve purchased your car second-hand, you might not know if it has been modified. If you’re unsure, you can take it to a dealership to get it checked.
But why do modifications affect insurance? Well, there are a few reasons for this - modified vehicles can be a target for thieves and vandals and DIY modifications can make the vehicle unsafe. Also, by enhancing the performance of a vehicle, you can cause more damage in a crash, putting you at a higher risk of injury.
2. Not mentioning claims or getting details wrong
Although this is not something that is always done intentionally, not mentioning your claim history can be a very serious matter and crosses the line into possible insurance fraud! When doing any quote, you will be asked if you or any other drivers named on the policy have had any accidents, incidents or claims, regardless of blame in the last 5 years. It is important to make sure all the relevant information is given for these, if you’re unsure you can call your previous insurers to check what claim history they hold on file for you.
Here are some tips on what should be included:
- Any accident or incidents, even if you didn’t make a claim: If you or a third party notified a previous insurer that an accident or incident occurred this would still be noted on the file even if no claim was made for damages or injury. This is classed as a notification only but does still need to be provided to future insurers.
- If someone had a claim on your policy: If you have a policy in your name and include named drivers and they have an accident these still need to be included as the claim was made against your insurance.
- If someone made a claim on one of your name drivers own policy: The same as above, if a named driver on your policy has their own insurance on their own car and a named driver on their policy has an accident, as the claim has been made against your named driver’s insurance it needs to be included under their claim history on your policy.
3. Unacceptable No Claims Discount
No Claims Discount (NCD) can make a lot of difference to the price you pay for your insurance, but it’s important to know when it can and can’t be used. If this is incorrectly added to a policy and later found to be unacceptable, all that discount would be removed and your policy could even be cancelled! So, what is acceptable? Here are some simple rules to stick to:
- It must have been earnt on a policy in your name (not as a named driver)
- It must have been earnt on a policy in the UK
- It must be no older than 2 years old (your last policy must have ended less than 2 years ago)
- It cannot be in use on any other vehicle/policy (NCB can only be used on one vehicle at a time)
- The end date of your last policy should not overlap the start date of the new policy
And what proof will we accept?
- The proof must be an official document from your last insurer you gained NCD with, it must be letter headed and include the following information:
- Your name
- Start and end date of that policy
- Vehicle details
- Number of years NCD gained
If you’re unsure, you can always contact an insurer before purchasing to check if the proof that you have is acceptable or not.
4. Letting someone else sort out/buy your insurance
Buying insurance can be daunting and it’s tempting to let someone else (such as a parent) sort this out for you, but this can lead to problems. It’s like someone else packing your suitcase when you go on holiday and getting to the check point and being asked “Did you pack your suitcase yourself?”. It’s a legal contract in your name and it’s your responsibility to make sure all the information provided is correct. You may trust the person but if they have given incorrect information, the consequences for you could be additional amounts added to the insurance cost, cancellation or even the policy being voided.
It’s also important to note that if someone else pays for your policy, their card details are kept on file and are used for any future charges or refunds on that policy.
5. Buying a car without checking what the insurance will be first
You found a car you love…great! But can you afford it? It’s not always about the cost of buying the car, have you done your research on tax and insurance? If you already have a policy and are looking to buy a new vehicle it is important to check before you buy, changing a vehicle on a policy can change the cost of your insurance and in some cases, we may not be able to insure the new vehicle. Always check before you buy!
6. Dual postcodes
Is your car kept at more than one address overnight? Whether you stay at someone else’s on a regular basis or you’re a student who comes home on holidays, this can affect your insurance. One of the key factors that drive the price of your insurance is where your car is parked overnight. If this is more than one address, then both will need to be added to make sure you are correctly covered in case anything should happen at either place.
7. Not getting the box fitted in time
When setting up a WiseDriving policy we advise that the box needs to be fitted within 14 days of the policy being purchased. We know there are sometimes factors that can’t be avoided, but it is your responsibility to make sure this is done within the timescale provided and to make sure you are available. If you know you are going to be on holiday or not available within this time, we would suggest not to purchase the policy unless you are able to fit the box within 14 days.
8. Not fully reading your renewal invite
Your policy is due for renewal and you’ve been sent a quote for the next year. The main thing you want to know is, has it gone down in price? But be careful that the price is not the only thing you check. Here are some important things to check on your renewal information:
- Have any of your details changed? The renewal price will be based on the current details your insurer has on file, if any of these details have changed, for example if you’ve moved or changed jobs, then your renewal price will be incorrect and the insurance for the next year will be incorrect and possibly invalid. It’s important to double-check all the details and if anything has changed to contact them and get these updated.
- What will happen on your renewal date? The standard process used by most insurers is to auto-renew a policy. This means if you’re happy with the renewal quote and all your details are correct, you don’t need to do anything the policy will continue for another year. If you however don’t wish for the policy to continue, you will need to contact your provider to stop this. If you don’t contact them and the policy auto-renews and you call at a later date, this would be classed as a cancellation as a new year’s insurance has started and cover has been provided. So make sure to put your renewal date in your diary!