Seven Silly Ways You Didn’t Realise You Could Void Your Car Insurance
30 October 2017
When you buy insurance, your insurance provider will send you your policy documents, which contain all the information related to your policy along with conditions and exclusions – essentially the ‘rules’ of the policy.
If you don’t stick to these rules, your insurer has the right to void or cancel your policy. Driving without a licence or having no valid MOT are fairly understandable reasons why your policy might be voided in the event you try to make a claim, for example.
What a lot of drivers mightn’t realise, though, is that there are plenty of ways that you can invalidate your insurance just by being a little careless. From driving through deep water and off cliffs to giving your mates a late-night lift, here’s seven of the silliest ways you could end up voiding your car insurance:
Following Your Sat-Nav TOO Closely
It’s perfectly fine to use a satellite navigation system to find your way around, but blindly following its instructions and ending up in hairy situations as result could in fact see you end up in seriously hot water.
Several drivers have already fallen victim to this mistake, most notably one man who ended up lost in the Pennines back in 2009. Instead of using common sense to find a way out, he followed his sat-nav down a footpath and ended up almost driving off the end of a 100ft cliff.
If you tried to make a claim in the above situation, your insurance company could argue that it was a result of more than just bad luck on your behalf, and that instead you’ve been negligent and failed to keep a watchful eye on where you’re going.
De-Icing Your Car With The Keys In The Ignition
If you leave your car unlocked, unsupervised and with the keys in the ignition you’re pretty much doing the equivalent of sticking up a sign that screams: “FREE TO WHOEVER WANTS IT”.
Yet although it might seem silly, it’s unfortunately something that happens quite often in the wintertime. Many drivers can unwittingly commit ‘frosting’, an offence whereby they leave their vehicle unattended but ticking over in order to heat it up and de-ice the windscreen.
Be warned that if you leave your car on its own with the keys inside and it ends up stolen, any claim you attempt to make is likely to be flat-out rejected due to negligence on the driver’s behalf.
Forgetting To Keep Your Insurer Updated
Here in Northern Ireland, many drivers tend to be quite fond of their modified cars, but it’s important that you first run any changes you intend to make to your vehicle past your insurer first, or otherwise you risk invalidating your cover.
Forgetting where you’ve left your glasses is one thing, but forgetting to let your insurance company know that you’ve kitted your car out with an engine swap and spinning rims? That’s taking the mick a little.
In the eyes of insurers, forgetting to let them know is just as bad as lying on your insurance policy form; it comes under “non-disclosure”, so don’t forget to keep them updated on not just your vehicle status, but any changes of address or penalty points you may pick up as well.
Ignoring Flood Warnings
You mightn’t realise, but your insurance company can actually reject a claim if your car is damaged as a result of driving through floodwater, provided that there was a warning sign in place.
Driving ahead recklessly despite official warnings isn’t the only thing capable of voiding your cover, as claims for accidents that take place on closed roads cordoned off by ‘road ahead closed’ signs can also end up rejected by your insurer.
Keeping Too Much Stuff In Your Car
Believe it or not, you can also have your car insurance rejected if you keep too many things in your car. A few boxes, coats, handbags and other items are fine, but if you have enough stuff crammed in there that it counts as overloaded you could be looking at a voided policy.
As well as running the risk of having your car insurance policy rejected, drivers that have an accident after overloading their car could face three penalty points, a fine of up to £200 or even up to two years in prison if the vehicle is found to have been dangerously overloaded.
It’s worth knowing that it doesn’t even have to be heavy things that will make your car considered to be overloaded. If you’re involved in a crash and it’s found that your windscreen or dashboard is covered with clutter, furry dice or any other items which can restrict your view, then your insurance claim could likewise be rejected.
Giving Lifts For Money
Your mates are out on the lash, are in need a late-night lift and agree to chuck a few coins your way if you come to pick them up: we’ve all been there, and on the whole it’s absolutely fine.
However, if you start giving lifts for money regularly and are making a profit out of it, your insurer will likely cotton on and void your insurance policy. Not only that, but the police are likely to get involved and prosecute you for operating an unlicensed taxi.
Racing Your Own Car
Fancy yourself as a bit of a part-time Colin McRae or Lewis Hamilton? Make sure that you know what you’re doing, or else your insurer might have some strong words for you.
Taking your car off-roading, racing or rallying is usually explicitly excluded from your policy and will require specific racing insurance; anything else and you risk your insurance being invalidated if you get into trouble.
This is especially worth noting if you decide to take your vehicle to a track day. As soon as you set rubber on a track or circuit, your regular insurance policy won’t count.