Buying your new car is the easy bit (buying used? Read our test drive guide), but even more important is getting it covered. Obviously you should always make sure you can get insurance and afford to pay it before you buy a used car, but after that it is up to you to make sure that your insurance cover remains valid and legal.
9 Car Insurance Tips
1. Don’t tell fibs
Car insurance is based on both the car and the driver, so best not to lie about the specification of the vehicle, or your personal circumstances. In other words don’t pretend to be a vicar when you are actually a nightclub owner. Similarly don’t say your car is electric when actually there is a V8 under the bonnet. It makes a difference.
2. Don’t ask for trouble
In the simplest terms, don’t be stupid. If you leave the keys in the ignition whilst you pop to the post box, then you won’t be covered. At the very least don’t leave your car unlocked, or fail to use any security devices you told the insurance company were fitted to the vehicle at all times.
3. Don’t ‘Front’
Insuring a car in your name to make the insurance premium lower and then letting a named driver use it as the main driver is illegal. It's called fronting and usually it is a parent making it easier and cheaper for one of their children to drive. No problem - until your left footing the repair bill in the event of an accident.
4. Drive responsibly
Trouble comes when you break the law. Whether you drive under the influence, or commit a motoring offence the cover available to you will be nullified unless you are honest with your insurance provider.
5. Don’t loan your car
Tempting as it might be to help a member of your family or a friend by giving them the keys to your vehicle, it is essential to make sure that they are covered. Either they need a clause in their cover which allows them to drive another car or you need to have one in yours covering them.
6. Don’t modify your car
You might think that painting the bonnet blue, or fitting alloy wheels are just minor changes, but your insurance company may not see it that way. Making a car more noticable instantly means it is more at risk of being stolen (for more on this take a look at our GAP insurance) and your insurance company need to know this, even if it makes no difference to the premium price.
7. Keep your car MOT’d
This is all to do with keeping your car legal and roadworthy. Sometimes it is negligence and ignoring problems, but it can be sheer forgetfulness. However, joining MotorEasy will certainly help, as they will send you reminders to book a test.
8. Don’t do minicabbing
The basic principle is don’t use your vehicle for jobs it is not covered for. The most obvious is to become a minicab (or Uber) driver, but you may also use it to get to business appointments and if you do that the insurance company needs to know.
9. Report accidents
And finally, it sounds obvious, but even if an accident is not your fault then tell the insurance company it happened and it will be recorded on a database. It will always pay to be honest about your driving history.
While car insurance will protect you in the event of an accident, you're on your own if your car simply breaks down requiring repairs. A car warranty protects you against this, covering the costs of parts and labour to get you back on the road as quickly as possible.