Coronavirus – Car insurance FAQs
As lockdown continues, the UK’s roads have fallen silent and pollution levels have plummeted. You may even be getting used to the sounds of birdsong in the mornings rather than the cacophony of engines, blaring radios and frantic beeping that characterises rush-hour traffic.
Many of us have screeched to a standstill at this worrying time – so it’s good to know that some motoring expenses, like MOTs, have been parked for now. There’s even the option to request a three-month payment holiday on your car finance – if you really need it.
But this combination of less time behind the wheel and less money in your pocket might leave you wondering if you can pause or cancel your car insurance altogether. Here are some of the available options.Get free advice
Could I reduce my car insurance premiums if I’m driving less?
To find out if you’re entitled to a reduction, visit your insurer’s website to check their coronavirus policy or check their FAQs page. You can also ring up, but many insurers are extremely busy and operating on a reduced staff and opening hours – so you could find the answers you’re looking for quicker online.
Insurers usually consider the ways in your driving behaviour has changed. The lower the risk, the lower your premium. Coronavirus could have lessened your annual mileage, or perhaps it’s changed the way you use your car because you’re not commuting or driving for business anymore, meaning less risk to the insurer, and a cheaper monthly cost for you, the customer.
On 20 April, Admiral automatically issued a £25 refund to each of its 4.4 million car and van drivers to recognise their staying home during the lockdown. So far, they’re the only UK company to proactively offer a refund to drivers, but you could still save money on your car insurance premiums if you let your insurer know you’re driving less.
Does it cost anything to update my details?
At the moment, it depends on your insurer, as no blanket guidance has been issued on car insurance. Many companies do offer the option of updating policy details online for free. Here are a few of the key insurers and their current stance on updating mid-term:
- Aviva – Will allow you to adjust your mileage for free using their app.
- Co-op – You can ask Co-op insurance to reduce your mileage, but “only if you think your mileage is going to be reduced significantly for the forseeable future.” They recommend you call them directly to update your details.
- Direct Line – Are offering fee-free updates to customers via their online virtual assistant.
- Hastings – Will let customers reduce their mileage online, via their ‘My Account’ page.
- LV – Are encouraging their customers to get in touch with them to update their policies.
- NFU Mutual – Also allow mid-policy changes without penalty.
If you are making changes to your policy, it’s worth bearing in mind that your circumstances could differ again when life resumes after lockdown, so it may have to change back at some point in the near future.Get free advice
Should I cancel my car insurance during the Covid outbreak?
Only if you plan to completely stop driving, as your car can still suffer damage or be stolen even when it’s not being used. If you do plan to park up permanently, you must declare your vehicle off-road. You can do this by completing a Statutory Off-Road Notification using the government’s website, but bear in mind that you must have a private road or garage where you can store your car.
I can’t afford to pay my car insurance. What should I do?
Insurers understand that it’s a difficult time for customers and may offer some flexibility on payments if you take the initiative and get in touch.
Direct Line state on their coronavirus help and support page, “If you’re having financial difficulties, we can review your levels of cover, change your payment dates or offer a payment deferral.”
Aviva, on the other hand, suggest, “If you’re struggling financially due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and need help, we can defer your monthly payment and spread it evenly over the remaining term of your policy.”
Don’t put off making contact. You risk missing a payment and leaving your car uninsured. Despite the current lockdown conditions, continuous insurance enforcement is still in force. If you’re caught driving without insurance you could face a fine of up to £1000, having your wheels clamped or even prosecution.Get free advice
What if I’m driving more because of coronavirus, will my premiums increase?
This will come down to your existing cover level, your insurer, and the terms and conditions of your policy. It also depends on your reasons for driving more:
- I’m helping a vulnerable person: If you’re driving more because you have to take food or medicine to someone who’s been classed as vulnerable, you could be covered under a ‘volunteering work’ clause.
- I’m driving for work: If you’re taking up extra paid work because of the coronavirus – as a delivery driver, for example – you may need to speak to your insurer about increasing your cover level for business use.
- I’m an NHS, emergency services or healthcare worker: if you’re an NHS worker who’s driving more often, your insurer may have introduced special provisions to make life easier. For example, Admiral are helping NHS, emergency services and healthcare workers if they break down by giving them a replacement vehicle to keep them on the road and waiving excesses in the event of a claim. Temporary insurer Veygo have offered a 75% discount to NHS workers on their short-term policies, and Halfords is offering a free checkup on NHS worker vehicles to make it easier for everyone to stay safer on the roads.
If you think you have a debt problem or you’re worried about money because of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, we’re here to help with free, confidential advice. Call 0808 253 0798 to speak to a member of the Creditfix team, and start feeling better about your finances.Get free advice