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What your car insurance may not cover

It’s sometimes assumed that if you have purchased comprehensive car insurance, then virtually all risks are covered by the policy.

In fact, almost all insurance policies of whatever type will carry certain conditions and exclusions. That applies as much to car insurance cover, as any other form of policy.

There are though some things that are typically not covered in comprehensive car insurance policies that may come as a surprise.

Using your car for work purposes

Car insurance cover providers typically segment the use of a vehicle into three categories:

  • private, usually including your personal and leisure motoring;
  • commuting – this is usually taken to mean the process of getting to and from your normal place of work;
  • business use – contrary to some misconception, this doesn’t just mean using your vehicle to visit clients or make deliveries. It might even be interpreted to mean driving to work at various locations which are not considered to be your normal place of professional activity.

Typically, comprehensive car insurance cover might include the first two categories outlined above. It is though worth checking to ensure that “commuting cover” is actually included.

However, such policies might not cover using your car for business use unless you have specifically so requested and paid an additional premium.

Using the wrong fuel

This can happen more easily than many people suspect. The effect on your vehicle can be serious and necessitate significant and expensive work to rectify.

Some policies do not include this cover automatically.


It’s important to note that not only is this an issue in terms of insurance cover but also potentially a prosecutable offence.

It is essentially the act of insuring a car in the name of a main driver who, in reality, will be using the vehicle only occasionally. Typically that is because the real main user of the vehicle will be a secondary or “named driver” who is meant to be an occasional driver but who is, in fact, the person using the vehicle for the majority of the time.

This is often done in order to take out a policy in the name of a lower-risk driver in order to secure a lower premium. Note that this might inevitably put your cover at risk if you do so.

Fairs, sporting events and demonstrations

Standard car insurance cover might typically exclude the use of your vehicle for any form of demonstration driving or participation in competitive sporting events.

Once again, if you wish to engage in such, it would be highly advisable to discuss this in advance with your insurance provider in order to make sure that you are covered appropriately.

Modified cars

Your normal car insurance policy will typically be based upon an industry-standard definition of the make and model of the vehicle you confirmed as part of your initial insurance proposal.

In situations where you or somebody else has significantly modified the vehicle away from its original manufacturer’s specification, your insurance cover may be at risk.

This is particularly an issue in situations where things such as the fundamental mechanical or chassis components of a vehicle have been changed. Installing a new engine might be one such example.

Personalised number plates

This is a subtle issue and one that is frequently not well understood!

Some people spend many thousands of pounds on personalised number plates. However, should your vehicle be written off in an accident by the insurers, your personalised number plate typically will go with it to the scrap dealer.

Once again, your costs and losses involved in that will typically not be covered unless you have made special arrangements to do so with your insurance provider and potentially paid an additional premium accordingly.

It’s worth keeping in mind!

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