Honesty is the best policy: What you need to tell your car insurer 

Honesty is the best policy, I am sure this is something you’ve either been saying, or have been told for the majority of your life. But really and truly it is, especially when you’re completing an insurance application. Shockingly, the number of people that simply don’t bother to get car insurance is on the increase.

In 2016 145,000 uninsured cars were taken off the roads, with 58,000 of these being crushed, that’s more than 1,000 a week! The main problem with this is when an uninsured driver has an accident, the money has to come from somewhere to reimburse the driver that was not to blame. So where does it come from? Well, from a company called The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) and in 2017 they are expected to have paid out £256 million to victims that have had an accident with an uninsured driver. This does affect us all as the MIB claim this money back from the insurance companies and at this rate the uninsured driver claims are expected to add an average of £15 onto each motor insurance premium!

Why do people lie when filling out insurance applications? Well, it may be an honest mistake, but often people may be trying to reduce the cost of their premium. However, you need to be mindful about if you were to have an accident and you didn’t tell the truth, would your insurance company pay out, probably not. Figures from the Association of British Insurer suggests that almost one in four consumers lie when completing car insurance applications. These fibs range from not divulging all penalty points or claiming your vehicle is parked in a garage overnight when it’s not. Failing to give 100% accurate information is actually classed as insurance fraud and if discovered your policy could be invalidated.

So, here’s the million dollar question! How can you stay truthful but still get the cheapest insurance deal?

What do you do for a job?

When filling out insurance applications we are always asked to state our profession, this is because insurance premiums are calculated on risk and some professions are considered more risky than others. If when you view the dropdown box, there is more than one description that suits your profession, it’s worth seeing whether either of these make a difference to the price you are returned. However, the job title you do select has to be 100% accurate, otherwise your insurance could be invalidated. 

How many points have you got?

If you haven’t got any, then go you! However, if you have been caught speeding in the past and you haven’t checked the current status of your penalty points, you may be declaring points that have already spent and this will be having a detrimental effect on your insurance premium. It is really important that you own up to any points you may have as if you don’t, you will be committing insurance fraud.

Are you an experienced driver?

Unfortunately if you have just passed your test, your insurance is going to be much higher due to the level of risk associated with a first time driver. Whilst it might be frustrating, providing that you don’t have any accidents, or purchase an extremely fancy car, over the years your insurance premium should reduce. If you are a parent of teenage driver, don’t be tempted to claim you are the main driver of the vehicle, this is called fronting and is illegal.

However, what you can do is put your child as a named driver on a policy held in your name, as long as they are not the main driver of the vehicle. Another option is to add experienced drivers as additional drivers on a young person’s policy as this may reduce the cost of the premium.

Where is your vehicle parked overnight?

The common assumption is that if you park your car in a garage overnight then your insurance premiums will be cheaper. However, this is not always the case and this is due to the way the risk is calculated by your insurer. If more vehicles have been stolen or damaged in your area whilst parked on a driveway, compared to on the street, then your insurer will consider parking on your driveway risker in your location. Therefore, it’s worth doing a bit of research into crime stats in your area to see if this is applicable to you.

Common misconceptions

A couple of other things to point out that people don’t often realise is that third party only cover is not always cheaper than a fully comprehensive policy. This depends on what your insurer considers as a risk, as some insurers believe that third party cover is risky compared to a fully comprehensive policy and will therefore return you a higher price.

Always shop around to make sure that you are getting the best deal, as different insurers will return different prices. Why not use price comparison sites to scan the marketing ensuring you are getting the best product to suit your needs.

If you can pay your insurance in a yearly instalment instead of monthly, you will be saving yourself money. This is because you will have to pay a monthly interest on top of the premium price. It’s not always possible, but why not save £10-£15 a month and keep it in a separate savings account. That way even if you don’t have the full premium amount, paying annually will hopefully not be as painful to your monthly outgoings.

What about when you are completing your driving licence? Are you aware of the medical conditions you must make the DVLA aware of? There is an extensive list of medical conditions you are obliged to let the DVLA know about, if you don’t, you could find yourself being given a £1,000 fine. More seriously however, if you have an accident and your medical condition was deemed to be either the cause or contributing factor, you could be prosecuted. These medical conditions include things such as anxiety, cancer, eye conditions and depression, you can find a full comprehensive lists here on the DVLA’s website.

If you currently have a medical condition, the DVLA states that ‘you must give up your licence if either: your doctor tells you to stop driving for 3 months or more’ and/or if ‘you don’t meet the required standards for driving because of your medical condition.’ The Department for Transport data shows that seven people were killed and 63 people seriously injured in accidents on Britain’s roads in 2016 with ‘uncorrected, defective eyesight’ as a contributing factor.

Are you unsure whether you need to inform the DVLA about a medical condition? The best thing to do in this situation would be to speak to your GP and ask their advice. Again, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry.

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