A survery by the internet-only insurer Swiftcover car insurance has revealed that thousands of UK motorists risk breaking the law because they are unaware of what their car insurance policy does and doesn't cover them for.
The research found that UK drivers are very confused about the benefits on their policies and could be unwittingly committing a criminal offence by making false assumptions. For example, many drivers are not aware that they could be accused of negligence if involved in an accident while smoking or eating at the wheel; resulting in a drastically reduced payout from their insurer.
Tina Shortle from Swiftcover.com commented: "While choosing the lowest price car insurance policy is most people’s objective, it is also important to know exactly what is and isn’t covered. Drivers make a lot of assumptions about their policies, so it’s best to read all terms and conditions carefully and to regularly review the terms."
The main findings of the Swiftcover survery were as follows:
Driving other cars
Driving a friend’s car might seem perfectly innocent but most car insurance policies only cover drivers if it’s included in the small print, and rarely offer more than third party cover. So, check the small print on your policy or contact your insurer to confirm you're insured before driving someone else’s car.
Eating, smoking or using a mobile whilst driving
Swiftcover's survey discovered that over 20% of UK motorists aren't sure if they would be covered if proven to be easting or smoking at the wheel and involved in an accident. In fact they could be prosecuted for negligence, even if the accident wasn’t their fault. A drivers reaction times are 50% slower when on the phone, eating or smoking. The Highway Code recently listed eating and smoking as dangerous distractions whilst driving.
Not declaring your correct mileage
Failing to tell your insurer when you exceed your declared mileage can invalidate your policy. Swiftcover's research showed that over 25% of motorists didn’t know whether exceeding their stated mileage would affect their insurance cover and 16% believed that it wouldn’t. Always inform your insurer if your circumstances change.
Filling up with the wrong fuel
Filling your car with the wrong kind of fuel can be an expensive mistake and one which thousands of motorists make each year. Unfortunately, many policies won’t cover this and 10% of people surveyed assumed their policy would cover the cost. An engine strip-down can cost thousands a momentary loss of concentration very expensive.