When you take out a car insurance policy – particularly a comprehensive policy – it’s common to think that you’re covered for every eventuality. Unfortunately that is not always true, as there are a number of things that could go wrong that most comprehensive policies don’t cover as standard.
Below we’ve identified the most common problems motorists can face that are not typically covered by a standard policy – leaving them out of pocket when it comes to trying to make a claim.
Personalised number plates
According to the DVLA, there were almost 375,000 personalised number plates sold in the UK last year. Despite their growing popularity though, many insurance companies do not offer cover for personalised plates.
Research by comparison engine Go Compare found that out of 302 comprehensive policies they looked at, only 19 included cover for personalised plates and would pay out for the value of the registration number if the car was stolen or lost.
This can be a problem for motorists who have a personalised plate, as the registration number is associated with the car not the driver. Therefore if a car is written off then you would have to buy the personalised plate back from the insurer. Considering that personalised plates can cost thousands of pounds, this could leave motorists significantly out of pocket.
If you end up in this unfortunate position, then you’ll have to arrange for the personalised plate to be transferred to another car. According to Go Compare, owners of personalised plates typically have to wait 12 months to get it back.
Therefore it is important to check if the policy you are taking out includes cover for personalised plates. If you are nowhere near your renewal date then you can check with your current insurer to see if you can add cover on to your existing policy in case the worst should happen.
Also, when you register a personalised plate to a vehicle you need to inform your insurance company immediately. Failure to do so could see your policy being invalidated.
If you make changes to your car after taking out a policy, it is likely that your insurance will not cover the cost of repairing or replacing them. This is generally limited to modifications that are non-standard. e.g.
- adding a turbo or supercharger to your engine
- modifying your car wheels
- fitting uprated breaks
- removing or replacing seats
- tinting windows
- changing the steering wheel
Some optional extras and accessories offered by your car manufacturers may be covered, as can any adaptations made to your car due to a disability, but these should be declared to your car insurer so they can approve them.
If you make significant modifications to your car then you may need specialist modified car insurance to make sure your investment is fully covered.
Get a quote for modified car insurance from the top providers below:
As young drivers are often the worst hit in terms of expensive car insurance premiums, it can be tempting to only be covered as a named driver on your car and get a parent to ‘front’ as the main driver on the policy.
While this would mean cheaper car insurance premiums, it will also lead to your insurance being invalidated if you are caught out – so it’s really not worth it in the long run.
If you are looking for cheaper premiums for young drivers, then consider black box policies which determine the cost based on your driving habits e.g. what time you drive, how often you drive, how fast your drive etc..
Putting the wrong fuel in your car
It may seem like a silly mistake that you would never make, but misfuelling is surprisingly common – around 150,000 people every year in the UK put the wrong fuel in the car, which is over 400 every day.
Putting petrol in a diesel car, or diesel in a petrol car, can be a very costly mistake which requires a big engine repair job – which most car insurance policies do not cover.
Research by Defaqto found that 80% of car insurance policies do not offer any cover for misfuelling as standard. Many that do offer cover under ‘accidental damage’ will require an excess payment and the loss of your no-claims discount. Some insurers offer misfuelling cover as an additional extra to your policy, which naturally costs more, but can be a life-saver if you end up absent-mindedly putting in the wrong fuel.
Top tip: If you do put the wrong fuel in your tank, don’t start the engine. As long as the engine hasn’t been engaged you can just get the tank drained and cleaned, which doesn’t cost much more than £150.
Using your car for business
When you take out an insurance policy online, you will be asked what you use the car for. This is so the insurance company know how the car will be used so they can work out your premium.
You typically have three options: social, commuting and business. The usual car insurance policy is designed to cover for social and commuting purposes, i.e. driving to and from work, driving to visit family, driving to the shops etc… Those who use their car for business purposes are seen as a bigger financial risk as they will be driving more miles, driving on unfamiliar roads more regularly and carrying expensive equipment (laptops, presentation equipment etc…)
Therefore, if you do not declare your business use your policy could be invalidated and not pay out if you have to make a claim.
Racing or car events
Traditional car insurance does not provide cover if you use your car for any kind of track racing. If you intend to race your car then you can get specialist track day insurance to cover any repair costs, replacing the car etc…