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What is Car Insurance and Why should I have it?

If you own a motor vehicle, you must have at least third-party car insurance. If you park your vehicle on the street, in your driveway or in your garage, you must have insurance.

Police can inspect your vehicle to see if it is covered using the Motor Insurance Database. They can take your vehicle away if it’s not insured. To get your car back, you will need to provide a certificate or insurance and pay the charges. The police will take your vehicle away if you do not provide proof of insurance within 14 days. You can get your money back if they sell it.

No Claims Bonus

You can build up a no-claim bonus if you don’t file a claim within the policy’s lifetime. Your bonus will increase over time and you could save as much as 60% to 75% on your motor insurance.

You can purchase premiums to help protect your no-claim bonus. If you are involved in an accident or have to file another claim, your no-claims bonus will not be affected. To keep the discount, it’s often cheaper to pay extra premiums.

Types of Car Insurance

Basically there are three main types of car insurance policies:

Third Party

This is the minimum legal requirement. It covers damage to another person’s vehicle, property, or injuries sustained in an accident. This covers accidents that are caused by you or your passenger. This doesn’t include repairs to your vehicle.

Third Party which Includes Fire and Theft

This covers third-party damage and loss, as well as damage to your car from fire or theft.

Full Comprehensive Cover

This covers third party, fire and theft as well as repairs to your car. This may be covered by your policy as well:

  • Death or injury to yourself or a member of your family, up to a certain amount
  • You are covered for any belongings that are stolen from your vehicle
  • Coverage for legal or medical expenses
  • Renting a replacement vehicle.

Older Drivers and Travelers

If an insurer or broker cannot offer you insurance due to your age, they will most likely refer you to another insurer or provide details of a signposting service like the British Insurance Brokers Association’s (BIBA) ‘Find a Broker service. This service allows you to locate specialist insurers that can offer specific types or cover based on your medical condition.

To find out more about the BIBA’s Find a Broker’ service, call their helpline at 0370 950 1790. Or visit their website www.biba.org.uk.

You can learn more about Age UK’s Over 50s Car Insurance at .

You can learn more about Age UK’s travel coverage at www.ageuk.org.uk

Cost of Car Insurance

Insurers can no longer charge different premiums for men and women if they renew or purchase a policy. You can use your gender to determine how likely you will be to make a claim. However, they must share the cost of this risk among all customers. This means that young women may have to pay more for car insurance than in 2012 because she is at risk of being involved in an accident.

Choosing Insurance Cover

Get quotes from multiple insurers and then compare them.

  • What each policy covers, and what exclusions are made and how much excess is allowed. Any discounts
  • Any discounts offered
  • The no-claims bonus and the value of the discounts each year if your policy isn’t claimed
  • Any policy restrictions, such as the exclusion of named drivers, are not covered

You must provide as much detail as possible about your vehicle and yourself to your insurance company when asked. They will likely ask about:

  • Driving convictions
  • Accidents
  • Medical conditions that could impact your driving ability

 

These details will impact your premium and your insurer’s ability to pay out on a claim.

A policy of insurance should be held in the name of the principal driver. If you have insurance under your name, an insurer may refuse to pay.

If you are asked, tell your insurance company immediately about any changes in your life such as a move or a job change.

You will need to insure the vehicle if you finance it.

The majority of policies last for one year. Your insurer does not have to send you a renewal notice. However, most do.

You will receive a cover note when you renew or take out a policy. This is valid for 30 days, while your policy documents are sent. Driving without a policy is an offense.

When you sign up to insurance, make sure you read the terms and conditions. Some companies may require that the policy be automatically renewed every year. If you cancel your policy after renewal, this could result in a cancellation fee.

If your vehicle is stolen, sold, or written off, you can cancel your insurance. To see if your premium can be refunded, you should review your policy.

Your Insurance May Not Cover You

You may not be covered by your policy or you could only have partial coverage if you:

  • Driving was not covered under the policy
  • You can charge passengers for a lift if it is not on a cost-only basis
  • Your car is not roadworthy
  • Even if you didn’t know it, you have bought a stolen car
  • Driving someone else’s vehicle is a crime. It’s a crime to permit someone to drive a vehicle that doesn’t have insurance.
  • You don’t hold a valid driving license
  • Your insurer believes you are partially to blame for the accident
  • You may be eligible to get these costs back from your other driver if you have incurred additional expenses, such as vehicle rental.
  • Your insurer is no longer in business. You may be eligible for compensation through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Insurance Cover Abroad

You can drive in any EU country if you purchase a policy from an EU-based insurance company. You may need additional coverage. You may also be covered for third-party injuries in certain non-EU countries by your policy. You may also need to complete other tasks before you can drive in Europe starting January 2021. Before you travel, make sure to check.