Started driving to work during the pandemic and not updated your insurance? You may need to tell your insurer TODAY
If you starting using your car to commute during the pandemic and plan to continue to do so, you may need to notify your insurer ASAP. A temporary extension of cover organised by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) trade body ends at 11.59pm on Friday (30 April), and if you don't have the correct insurance in place you could be fined and left unable to claim. Some insurers don't need to be notified immediately though and have automatically extended cover further - we've full details below.
Many major insurers signed up to the ABI's policy of automatically extending insurance cover free of charge at the start of the pandemic. Under this policy:
- 'Social, domestic and pleasure' cover was automatically upgraded for all motorists to cover commuting.
- Key workers driving to different work locations automatically had their cover extended (policies with commuting cover usually only cover you driving to the same workplace).
- Motorists using their vehicle for volunteering were automatically covered.
The volunteering pledge is set to continue for now (no end date has been put in place) but the blanket extensions for commuting and key workers driving to multiple workplaces are due to expire on Friday 30 April, though some individual insurers are extending cover further. This means you need to check if you have the correct insurance in place from 1 May.
See our Cheap Car Insurance guide for help finding the best policy and cutting costs.
Some insurers WILL continue to offer extended cover
Here's what some of the major car insurers told us when we asked if you need to notify them to continue to be covered for commuting from 1 May onwards. Of course, if you miss the 30 April deadline, you should still get in touch with your insurer as soon as possible - and even if your insurer doesn't require you to get in touch, it's best practice to let them know if anything changes that may affect your policy:
|Insurer||Do you need to contact your insurer by 30 Apr if you haven't already notified it?|
|AA||Yes if you're a key worker driving to different locations, no for standard commuting|
|Admiral||Yes if possible (1)|
|Churchill/Direct Line||No (2)|
|eSure||No - cover continues until renewal|
|Hastings||No - cover continues until renewal|
|LV=||No - cover automatically extended until date TBC.|
|More Than||No - cover automatically extended until date TBC.|
|Sainsbury's||No - cover automatically extended until date TBC.|
Beware - you can be fined £300 for having the wrong level of cover
Fail to ensure your policy reflects how you use use your vehicle, and it could leave you without cover if you come to claim.
Having the wrong type of cover is the same as driving uninsured under section 143 of the Road Traffic Act in England, Wales and Scotland. This means you can be fined £300 and have six points added to your licence. If the case goes to court you could even get an unlimited fine, be disqualified from driving, and the police also have the power to seize, and in some cases destroy, the vehicle that’s being driven uninsured.
You may have to pay more to continue commuting
The cost of premiums and the additional cost of commuting cover will depend on your insurer. But typically either increasing your mileage or adding commuting cover will push up prices.
Be aware that you could also be charged admin fees to change your policy, although some insurers have waived certain charges due to the pandemic. For more help, see our Cheap Car Insurance guide.