- Changed jobs lately? Your car insurance may no longer be valid
- CarParts4Less.co.uk reveal ten ways to legally reduce your insurance
Having car insurance is a legal requirement for motorists, but whether it’s valid or not depends on how accurate the current information your insurance company holds is. Providing false information or failing to update with changes of circumstance, whether accidentally or not, can invalidate your insurance meaning your insurer is able to refuse to pay out for claims, or even cancel your policy. Some types of misinformation may even be classed as fraud and could see you end up in court.
CarParts4Less.co.uk shares ten easy to make mistakes, that might be invalidating your car insurance.
- Lying about your main address
Car insurance premiums can vary depending on the postcode, as some areas have higher rates of thefts and break ins. It can be tempting to put down your home address as somewhere different to where your car stays every night – a parents’ house while you are at university, for example, or at your house when you spend five nights a week living at your partner’s. However, doing so can mean your insurer can refuse to pay out any claims made, for example if your car is broken into in the location it actually resides.
Insurance companies have investigative departments (called special investigations unit, or SUI) dedicated to making sure information on your insurance and claims are correct, so while you may think you can get away with not updating your address, the likelihood is is that this will be found out when you make a claim.
- Ignoring your morning commute
There are three types of car usage that insurance covers; social only, social and commuting, and business. Social only insurance covers driving for social or leisure use; driving to and from friends’ houses, going to the supermarket, etc. The commute to and from work, or even to and from the train station, are not covered by this policy, so upgrading to a social and commuting is necessary, even if you only commute a few times a month. Insurance companies may dispute or refuse claims made during a commute if the policy is social use only, even if it is claimed to be only a one off.
If you use your car for work purposes outside of commuting, for example using it to get to meetings, or carrying equipment, you will need to get business cover.
- Not informing your insurer about any car modifications
Car modifications can affect your insurance premium for two reasons; if they increase the likelihood of an accident, or if they increase the likelihood of theft. Optional add ons for brand new cars, including something as simple and common as fitting in a SatNav, can impact insurance so it’s important to ensure these options are noted when applying for insurance. Your insurer will also need to be made aware of modifications that are made during your policy, as this may require a change in policy.
- Not informing your insurance company of minor accidents
In the case of small bumps or minor accidents where only cosmetic damage occurs, it’s common for motorists to have their car fixed without making a claim. However, even if you intend not to claim, it is important to inform your insurance of any damage received, as to not do so is a breach of your policy. This helps in the event that the other driver changes their mind and decides to claim, and also ensures damage is accounted for if you do need to claim after future incidents – damage which is inconsistent with a claim may mean that your claim is denied.
Insurance for young drivers often costs more than groups deemed less of a risk, and one way some motorists try and get round these higher premiums is by having a low risk driver, such as a parent or partner, named as the main policy holder, and adding the real motorist as a named driver. If you get caught ‘fronting’, your policy will immediately be cancelled, and any claims denied. These cases are often taken to court, too, as it is classed as insurance fraud, with outcomes including fines of up to £5,000 and six points on your license.
- Using more miles than you thought
Your annual mileage is one of the main factors used to calculate your insurance premium; the higher the mileage, the higher the cost. It’s important to be as accurate as possible when providing this figure, rather than just guessing, as it’s possible your insurance provider will decide not to pay a claim if your mileage is higher than what you’ve estimated. When working out how many miles you drive, don’t forget to include weekends away, weekly shopping, etc, and add some contingency miles – it’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Driving with pets
If you are driving with your pet in the car, you are legally required to make sure they are secured. Unsecured pets can make a car more at risk of accidents, as they may distract the driver or even physically get in the way of driving. If you crash with an unsecured pet in the car, it’s likely that your insurance company will refuse to pay for your claim.
- Letting other people drive your car
While it’s possible for your friends or family to have insurance policies that allow them to drive other people’s cars, it is unlikely these policies cover damage to the vehicle in the event they are in an accident. It’s more than likely that your own policy only covers vehicle damage that happens when a named driver is in the car, so while your friend can legally drive it, any accidents that occur may not be able to be claimed for.
- You’ve recently changed jobs
Your current occupation is one of the factors used to determine your risk profile, so it’s important to update your insurance company if you have changed jobs or occupations. Failure to do so many mean any claims made after a job change can be denied by your insurer.
- Charging for lifts
Some policies specifically exclude cover for car sharing, whether you make profit or not. For those whose policies do allow lift sharing, it may be void if you make a profit from giving lifts – many state you may only make enough to cover petrol and driving costs. Earning money from giving lifts can identify you as a ‘taxi hire service’, making a policy which does not cover this void.
It’s important to always read the terms and conditions of your car insurance policy, to ensure that you have not accidentally invalidated the policy. Keep your insurance provider up to date with any change of circumstances, regardless of whether or not you think it’s relevant, as some seemingly unrelated life changes can impact your premium.
To find out how to legally reduce your car insurance costs, visit https://www.carparts4less.co.uk/blog/10-tips-to-reduce-your-car-insurance-premium
STOP THE CONFUSION: HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR BUSINESS MAY BE INSURED AGAINST COVID-19
By Alex Balcombe, Partner at Harris Balcombe
The last few weeks has seen businesses in hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure and more forced to close their doors following the Government’s orders that they should close to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
While this is expected to flatten the curve and reduce the number of coronavirus cases, it will of course have an impact on businesses and employees alike. For small businesses especially, there are many concerns about how they can claim on their insurance to weigh the fall of this impact.
In response to calls to help struggling businesses, the Government has informed the public that companies who are facing turmoil will be able to claim on their business interruption insurance during this difficult time. For most, this is wrong.
The insurance industry has also been extremely vocal that there is no cover for any coronavirus-hit businesses during this tough financial period. This isn’t strictly true either.
How can businesses see through the mixed messaging and best secure their future and their livelihoods and reduce money worries? It’s an extremely stressful time for many companies, and confusion over whether or not they can be covered can only cause more unnecessary stress.
Since it’s a new disease, most businesses will not be covered for business interruption due to COVID-19. In fact, the vast majority of policies do not cover anything related to COVID-19.
That said – don’t rule out the idea that you may be covered. There is a chance that you will be covered against COVID-19, but not know it. This is a very small chance, but your current cover may already protect your business against the consequences of coronavirus, and the nationwide response to it – though those with this cover are unlikely to realise it.
How Could I Be Covered?
Not everyone has business interruption insurance, as it’s not a legal requirement. It is entirely up to the policy holder to weigh up the benefits of having it, and their ability to trade should a disaster happen.
To be considered for cover for COVID-19, there are two types of policy extensions to your business interruption cover that can potentially cover you for this situation:
Infectious Disease Extension
Many policies expressly state which diseases fall within the realm of being an infectious or notifiable disease. If this is the case, your policy will not provide cover. As it is a new disease, these policies will not have included COVID-19.
Other infectious disease extension policies will define the disease with reference to the actions of the government. Since the UK Government has named COVID-19 as a notifiable disease throughout the UK, it is possible that your business may fall into this definition, thus meaning you may be able to make a claim.
However, again, it’s not always that simple. Many policies require the disease to have been on your premises, while others specify a radius from your premises in order to qualify.
Denial of Access Extension (non-damage)
Denial of Access Extension (non-damage) policies may cover you if you’re prevented from accessing your property. This could be due to an event, or by the actions of a competent authority, which could cause your business interruption cover to engage.
If covered by this clause, there are often very subtle differences in wording in your policy. This could depend on the insurer or policy. You may well be covered, but it will depend on your particular circumstances, and the specific policy wording.
It’s clear that the Government needs to do more in ensuring there is clear messaging for businesses, and to help the insurance market look after policy holders. This is an unprecedented situation, and with many people looking to claim on their insurance, we’re already seeing major delays which could have a domino impact.
People throughout the world are understandably facing all kinds of worries because of the current pandemic. Our ways of living have changed, and many business owners will not have experienced a situation like this in their life times. If you own a business and are unsure about whether you can claim for business interruption, or are confused about ambiguous wording, get in touch with a loss assessor.
These claims are not simple, but loss assessors will be experts in business interruption insurance, and will specialise in large and complex claims. They will be able to help and guide you along the way, check your wording and work on your behalf to make sure you get everything you are entitled to.
HERE’S HOW YOU CAN LEARN TO TRADE RISK-FREE DURING THE COVID-19 MARKET CRASH
Trading app BullBear has launched new features to support budding investors looking to hone their skills against the backdrop of the COVID-19 stock market plunge. The risk-free financial game aims to empower the next generation of investors to learn how to trade stocks and shares by playing with dummy chips as opposed to real money. The app updates come as investors pull back from a volatile stock market rocked by the coronavirus outbreak.
At a time when some fresher investors are experiencing their first-ever stock market crash and seasoned investors are reluctant to invest new capital in the market, BullBear is empowering a whole new cohort of traders by teaching them how to trade effectively at no risk.
App users can engage in both short-term and long-term trading games using real-time market data from popular stocks enabling them to build investing confidence, making the app both engaging and educative.
With over 35,000 downloads, the app provides a free, fun way for thousands to learn how trading works by offering a practice arena in which trades take place and where no real money can be lost. Users can also enter into duals and competitions with other players. Whilst the app incorporates dummy chips to invest with, players can still redeem prizes by winning ‘bulls’ when they rank high in games. These bulls can be used to redeem rewards, such as gift cards from retailers like Amazon, Apple, Google Play and Netflix, at the in-app store.
Co-founder of the BullBear app, Anurag Saboo, stated
“I realised just how lacking the support for young investors was when my cofounder and I wanted to invest some money in stocks whilst at university. We had no idea where to start and so spent a couple of months trying to find a platform through which we could learn the basics before we risked any cash. But it simply didn’t exist. The resources that did were dull and theoretical. Paper trading can be very boring, and no-commission trading helps only if you make money out of your portfolio. Social methods of learning can help, for example, Etoro’s copy trades, but they still don’t let investors explore the markets themselves before putting money down. Combine this with the fact that only a small percentage of young investors make money through the market, and others end up staying away or are pushed away through losses, we decided to launch BullBear to offer a free, fun alternative.”
During a time of crisis accompanied by a turbulent stock market, the BullBear app provides a fail-proof way for budding investors to develop their trading knowledge, helping them to make more informed investments.
The BullBear app is available to download now on Google Play and the App Store.
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