Car insurance policies could be invalidated by major new rule change next week

Morning Live: Expert shares tips on car insurance

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Drivers may have their policy axed by insurers for driving without the correct level of cover they need as special allowances introduced for the pandemic come to an end. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has confirmed it will be “necessary” for drivers to ensure they have the right insurance class from April 30.

The rules were relaxed in lockdown, allowing drivers to make other journeys that were not part of their usual routine without needing to upgrade their policy.

Drivers have been urged to contact their provider if there are “ongoing changes” to the journey they made before the pandemic.

The ABI said: “As restrictions change and travel to workplaces becomes more routine, it will again become necessary for drivers to check their insurance cover is appropriate for their needs.

“You will need to speak with your insurer or broker if there are ongoing changes to your working and driving activities since taking out the policy.

“This includes using your own vehicle to commute to work or driving to different locations for work purposes.

“As was common practice before the pandemic, this will apply to all roles.

“Insurers appreciate this may continue to be a difficult time for some customers and will be ready to discuss insurance cover, including options for those who may be experiencing financial hardship.”

However, the ABI has confirmed drivers who use their car for voluntary means such as transporting medicines or groceries will still be covered at no extra cost.

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Although this coverage will continue, they warn insurers “may wish to be informed” so drivers are still urged to contact their provider.

Ryan Fulthorpe, motoring expert at Go Compare said the return to previous rules could mean drivers will need to “upgrade their cover”.

He said: “It’s been just over a year since the first national Covid lockdown and, as the latest restrictions begin to be lifted, we are all finding our new normal.

“For many people, this means getting back to the office or other workplace.

“To reflect changes in driving behaviour as commuting and driving between different workplaces starts to pick up, insurers have reviewed their position.

“From May, drivers who insured their car only for social, domestic or pleasure purposes, but following the pandemic now use their car to travel to work, will have to upgrade their cover.”

According to Compare the Market, a driver’s ‘class of use’ is used to determine overall risk behind the wheel.

Commuting to work could see prices slightly higher as drivers will be travelling at one of the busiest times of the day and therefore exposed to more risk.

Despite the higher costs, Go Compare has warned road users who fail to update their details to reflect recent changes could face “severe penalties”.

Mr Fulthorp added: “Following the end of insurers’ pledges to automatically extend cover during lockdown, it’s essential that drivers make sure their car insurance covers them for their new normal usage.

“If a motorist fails to declare that they drive to work, or drive as part of their work, this could invalidate their insurance and driving without insurance carries severe penalties.

“So, if you’ve started driving to work since the pandemic and you are unsure whether you’re covered, the best thing to do is to contact your insurer immediately so your policy can be updated if necessary.

“Likewise, it’s essential to tell your insurer if you’ve changed job or moved address since you arranged your insurance.”

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