It’s important to make sure you have car insurance in the UK, so much so that it’s a legal requirement. Getting behind the wheel without the right insurance could really cost you so we wanted to take a look to try and help you avoid falling into these traps. Here’s our list of 5 ways you could invalidate (sometimes referred to as void) your car insurance. We’ve also answered your frequently asked questions about invalidating car insurance.
5 ways to invalidate car insurance
Accepting payment for lifts
If you’ve got private car insurance, you won’t be allowed to carry passengers for hire or reward. Your insurer won’t mind you driving around your mates or family but if you start accepting money you could head into taxi territory. Legally, if you’re ride sharing or giving a friend a lift, you’re only allowed to ask passengers for a contribution towards fuel and running costs (including wear and depreciation). If you make a profit from giving lifts you could find that your insurance policy is invalid.
Naming a parent as the main driver
Naming an older, more experienced driver as the policyholder and main driver is known as fronting and it’s illegal. People sometimes do this to try and get cheaper car insurance, but getting caught out means it ends up being a lot more expensive as it makes your insurance void. This could leave you having to pay a hefty bill.
Pimping your ride
Anyone remember the MTV series pimp my ride? What a show. One thing they probably didn’t mention is that if you modify your car, you’ve got to tell your insurer. This includes lowering the suspension, switching out your wheels for shiny alloys, or adding a sporty spoiler. Modifications could boost the value or performance of your vehicle – sounds like a good thing but your insurance may not allow it. If they aren’t made aware of any modifications before you make a claim there’s a chance they may not pay out.
Leaving your key stuck in the ignition
If you leave your car unlocked and unattended you may as well point a giant neon arrow at it. So, if someone steals your car while you’re waiting inside in the warmth for your car to defrost, or just “popping in” to grab something, your insurer is not likely to pay out.
Letting someone else drive your car
You might think you’re being helpful by letting a friend or family member borrow your car. However, if they don’t have the right insurance you could both land in hot water. Many people mistakenly believe they’re covered to drive other cars if they have their own fully comp policy but this is not the case, especially if they are under 25.
Plus, if their policy does cover them to drive your car, it’s usually Third Party Only cover meaning your car is not actually covered, just the car of anyone else involved in the accident. Ultimately, as the owner it’s your responsibility to check the driver is insured. If you let someone drive your car without insurance you could receive an IN12 conviction (which is as serious as it sounds). If you need to lend your car, consider temporary car insurance to ensure the borrower and your car are fully covered. If your friend takes out temp insurance on your car, they’ll be fully covered and your no claims bonus won’t even be affected if they need to make a claim.
Invalid car insurance FAQ
There are some grey areas when it comes to invalidating car insurance; so our best bit of advice is to read your insurance policy carefully and get in touch with your insurer if you’re unsure about something.
Does no road tax invalidate insurance?
It depends on the insurer, different insurance companies have different rules when it comes to road tax. However, you can still get a fine from HMRC for not having road tax so it’s important to pay regardless. If you get a driving conviction for not paying road tax, your insurance may get cancelled or the price of your insurance may go up. So always pay your road tax people.
My MOT certificate has expired will this invalidate my insurance?
Check your insurance providers policy documents on this one. Some insurance companies require that you have an up-to-date MOT for your insurance to be valid. However, in some instances your insurer may still pay out, but the amount will be reduced to reflect the value of the car without the MOT.
Do you have to let insurance know about points on your license?
Yes. You’re required under the Road Traffic Act 1998 to declare penalty points on your driving license when you’re applying for car insurance. You also need to let your insurer know if you get any points once you’re insured. If you try to make a claim but haven’t declared your points to the insurer, they can refuse to pay for your damages, so make sure you own up! You don’t need to let insurers know if you went to a speed awareness course, find out more about that here.
Does having the wrong address invalidate car insurance?
Generally, insurance companies won’t deny cover just because you’ve forgotten to update your address. Sometimes certain postcodes aren’t eligible for insurance or may be more expensive, so there’s a chance that your insurance may no longer be valid. We’d always recommend updating your insurance as soon as you change addresses to be on the safe side.
Does drink driving invalidate insurance?
Drink driving won’t always invalidate your insurance, however in most cases you won’t be covered. Most insurance policies will have a drink and drug driving clause. Check out this article on drink driving limits for more information.
Does a red weather warning invalidate insurance?
You may have heard people say that your insurance is invalid if you drive in poor weather conditions. This is fake news. It’s always best to stay safe and avoid driving in poor conditions, but if you do need to travel check out our article on driving in winter.
Will my insurance be invalid if I drive during lockdown?
This is another rumour that’s been making the rounds on social media and the answer is no, cover won’t be affected if you drive during lockdown. However, all drivers should follow government advice and local lockdown rules. If you’re interested, check out this article on the impact of lockdown on transport.
What happens if car insurance is invalidated?
If you’ve done something which makes your car insurance invalid, your claims will be declined. Your insurer may cancel your policy. You’ll then have to declare this fact when you’re looking to buy any other insurance. This will make it much more difficult to get a quote, and if you do get offered a quote it’s likely to be a lot more expensive.
Make sure you’re insured
If you need short-term cover for your own car, or you’re looking to borrow somebody else’s check out temporary car insurance. You can get cover from 1 hour to 60 days and be on the road in minutes.