Classes of use and car insurance

What you intend to use your car for can make a difference to the cost of your insurance premium. Find out what car insurance classes of use mean and how they work.

What you intend to use your car for can make a difference to the cost of your insurance premium. Find out what car insurance classes of use mean and how they work.

Alex Hasty
Insurance and finance expert
5
minute read
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Last Updated 14 OCTOBER 2022

What are car insurance classes of use?

Car insurance ‘classes of use’ refer to how you intend to use your car. When you take out a new car insurance policy, you’ll be asked which class of use you want to insure your car for.

How you use your car may not seem that important, but the difference between using it to do the shopping and school run, or using it to travel for work, can have an impact on the price of your premium.

Why? Because the more miles you clock up, especially at certain times of the day like rush hour, the higher the risk of you being involved in an accident.

What are the different car insurance classes of use?


1. Social, Domestic and Pleasure (SDP)

SDP is when you use your car for everyday social driving, like visiting friends, doing the school run and shopping.

2. Social, Domestic, Pleasure and Commuting (SDP+C)

This class covers the same as SDP but includes journeys to and from work. It also includes driving to and from the train station and leaving your car there to take the train to work, and even driving someone else to work.

Just be aware that, typically, only one place of work is covered. If you travel to a number of places for work, it’s likely you’ll need the next level of cover.

3. Personal business use (SDPC + business use)

This includes everything in the first two categories plus business-related driving, which is split into the following:

  • Class 1 business – if you need to travel to more than one place for business purposes: for example, on-site visits or driving to various business meetings.
  • Class 2 business – same as above but also includes another named driver, like your spouse, partner or a colleague if they also use your car for business purposes.
  • Class 3 business – sometimes called ‘commercial travelling’, this can potentially cover unlimited miles and an unlimited number of destinations: if you’re a sales rep, for example. Just be aware that while this class may cover delivering samples, it doesn’t cover business goods or merchandise – you’ll need commercial insurance for that. Some insurance providers will ask for extra details for this class, so they can assess how much driving you’ll be doing. They’ll then calculate your business car insurance premium.
  • Commercial – you’ll need commercial car insurance if you drive for your job: for example, if you’re a minicab or taxi driver, chauffeur, delivery driver or driving instructor.

Did you know?

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a huge surge in home deliveries and increased demand for delivery drivers for big-name firms like Amazon, Deliveroo and Just Eat. But be very careful about your car insurance if you’re looking to make a few extra quid by delivery driving. Many of the top insurance providers consider it too risky and won’t cover delivery driving. What’s more, if you don’t have ‘hire and reward’ or courier cover, your car insurance may be invalid, so you might not even be covered for your everyday SDP driving.

Why does class of use matter?

When an insurance provider calculates your car insurance premium, they'll assess your risk of being involved in an accident.

Commuting to work, for example, could involve being on the roads at the busiest times, so you’d be exposed to more risk than if you were driving for purely social reasons.

Similarly, if you’re up and down the motorways visiting different offices, you’re likely to be exposed to a greater risk of an accident.

For an insurance provider, the greater the risk, the higher the premium they’ll charge. For this reason, business class of use is almost always going to cost more.

Which class of use is cheaper for car insurance?

Social, Domestic and Pleasure (SDP) is typically the cheapest class of use for car insurance. This is because you’re likely to spend a lot less time on the road than someone who commutes or drives for a living.

Just remember that a whole load of factors go in to calculating your premium, not just the class of use. Your age, job, address and driving history will also impact the cost of your car insurance.

What happens if I choose the wrong class of use?

If you’re in the Social, Domestic and Pleasure class but you actually use your car to commute to work and back, you’ll be driving uninsured in the eyes of the law. Not only could this invalidate your policy, it might also lead to a criminal conviction.

Don’t be tempted to select the wrong class of use just to keep the cost of your car insurance down. The consequences, if you’re involved in an accident and need to make a claim, are simply not worth the risk.

How can I reduce the cost of my car insurance premium?

There are ways you can reduce the cost of your car insurance while staying on the right side of the law:

  • Choose a car in a lower car insurance group
  • Only buy add-ons that you need – extras like a courtesy car, motor legal protection and windscreen cover could hike up the price of your premium
  • If you’ve only just passed your test, consider a black box policy – you could be rewarded with a discount for good driving.

Check out more of our top tips for cheaper car insurance.

Shopping around could also help you save money on your car insurance. Get a car insurance quote with us today to see if you can save.

Frequently asked questions

Will I be asked my class of use when getting a quote?

When you get a car insurance quote with us, we’ll ask you a number of questions including what you use your car for. This is so we can provide you with quotes to suit your needs

Does my car insurance cover deliveries?

If you intend to make deliveries, you’ll need a special type of commercial car or van insurance that includes ‘hire and reward’ cover.

Your current insurance provider might be able to expand your SDP cover to include hire and reward. If not, you may have to take out a commercial policy with them or find a new provider that covers you for personal driving and making deliveries.

Am I insured to drive to work?

If you use your car to drive to work, you’ll need SDP+C, which covers commuting.

Most insurance providers define ‘commuting’ as travelling to the same place of work each day or taking the same route – for example, driving to the train station and parking there each day. If your daily commute varies and you travel to more than one location for work, check with your insurance provider as you may need extra cover.

How do I change the class of use on my car insurance policy?

If your class of use changes in any way, you should contact your insurance provider immediately. They’ll reassess your cover and make any necessary changes to your premium.

You should always be honest when it comes to car insurance. It’s better to pay slightly more for your premium than run the risk of not being properly insured.

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