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Have you got the right use classes on your car insurance policy?

Welcome to Day 3 of this six-day series on the simple things people can do to stay out of the magistrates court.

In this series, I’ll show you everyday mistakes people are making which are costing them money, points on their licence, and/or unnecessary criminal convictions.

Today, I’m talking about why you need to check if you have the right use classes on your car insurance policy.

It’s almost as if these car insurance companies don’t want to pay out in the event of an accident. It seems like they keep moving the goal-posts. You’ve got “commuting” but do you really need, “super-duper-commuting gold star”? What does, “social, domestic and pleasure, business use commuting” mean anyway?

The problem is that it all depends on what your car insurance says it means – and just because your previous insurers defined the term one way does not mean your current insurers use the same defination.

The other problem is you may genuinely believe you are covered for your journey – only to be stopped by the police and told otherwise – and the police seizing your car and writing you up for having No Insurance. Your good intentions don’t matter if you did not pay for the right use class.

Say, for example, you have a limited company and your job is setting up equipment for bands at festivals. Is that business? Are you commuting? Do you need, “business plus” or “commuting plus”? It will depend on how your insurance company defines those terms.

Why having the wrong car insurance can mean you have No Insurance

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, the principle of uberrimae fidei (utmost good faith) applies.

If you read your insurance policy and don’t know which use class applies to your situation, I recommend you ring your insurance company and be completely candid with them and explain exactly how you use your car and the type of journeys you intend to make.

You would think that, “commuting” would cover all types of commuting – but it may not – leaving you liable for the police reporting you for having No Insurance, contrary to s143 of the Road Traffic Act, 1988.

Here’s the thing: it may only cost a few extra pounds to get the correct use class for your situation. Checking the terms of your car insurance policy now and paying for the correct use class can save you time, money, points and heartache should the police stop you. Did I mention that the police have the power under s165A of the Road Traffic Act, 1988 to seize a car where the driver has No Insurance?

The penalty for No Insurance is 6-8 points, plus a fine, plus prosecution costs, plus a Government mandated victim surcharge.

It is unlikely in the extreme that it would cost you anywhere near this to ring up your insurance company and get covered for the use class you need.

My simple tip

Check the terms of your car insurance policy fully cover your use – and give your insurance company a call if you are in any doubt.