One of the UK’s biggest car insurers has urged drivers to double-check that their policy meets their needs or risk invalidating their cover.
Following last year’s lockdowns tens of thousands of drivers changed their cover and Admiral is now warning that shifting driving habits could leave them at risk of being left without insurance.
According to the firm, an average of nearly 13,000 customers a month have changed the usage class on their policy since January 2020.
In many cases this is to reflect changes in how they use their car, with many removing commuting from their cover as they work from home. Doing so often helps bring down premium costs, making it a tempting option.
In March 2021 alone, 6,500 Admiral customers downgraded their cover to social, domestic and pleasure (SDP), which covers activities such as visiting friends, going shopping and going on holiday but doesn’t cover travelling to and from work.
However, as more people return to pre-pandemic working patterns, the insurer has warned that failing to change policies back could leave commuters without cover and facing potentially serious punishment.
There are four main classes of use applied by insurers - social, domestic and pleasure (SDP); commuting; business; carriage of goods for hire and reward.
Driving to and from work, or for business purposes, with just SDP cover leaves drivers “under-covered”. If you’re involved in an incident without the right level of cover your insurer could refuse to pay out and could cancel your policy entirely.
Not only does this leave you uninsured in the short term but it can also make it harder to get insurance in future.
Driving without the correct insurance is also against the law and can carry severe penalties. Fines can reach £1,000 and police have the ability to seize and crush uninsured vehicles.
Clare Egan, head of motor insurance at Admiral commented: “We know that many motorists changed their car insurance cover during the pandemic to suit their needs at the time – whether that was adding cover to allow them to make deliveries, or removing cover for commuting or driving for business as they were working from home.
“While we all know it’s illegal to drive without car insurance it’s also illegal to have the wrong type of cover, so it’s vital that drivers make sure they have the right class of use in place.
“As we return to a form of normality, we urge drivers to check their policy to make sure it fits their current situation. It’s not just people returning to the commute who need to be aware of this, many drivers have changed jobs or have acquired a second job so we’re asking them to ensure they’re correctly covered.”