Classes of use: How they might affect your car insurance premium

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.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
6
minute read
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Posted 8 SEPTEMBER 2021

What are classes of use?

In car insurance, ‘class of use’ means what you intend to use your car for. When you take out a new policy, you’ll be asked which class of use you want to insure your car for.

The reasons you use your car may not seem that important, or even anyone’s business other than your own. But the difference between using your car 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?

The class of use you select cover for will depend on your driving requirements:

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 uses as SDP but also includes your 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, or even driving someone else to work.

Just be aware that usually 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 third type of cover includes everything in the first two categories, plus business-related driving, which is split into the following categories:

  • 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 – this can potentially cover unlimited miles and an unlimited number of destinations, for example, if you’re a sales rep. Just be aware that this class may cover delivering samples, but not 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 work out the risk and 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 COVID-19 pandemic began, there has been a massive surge in home deliveries and more 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 may 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 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 a whole load of factors will 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 premium.

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, in the eyes of the law you’ll be driving uninsured. Not only could it 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 to help reduce your premium while staying on the right side of the law:

  • Choose a car in a lower car insurance group
  • Only buy add-ons that you definitely 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. Comparing quotes with us could save you up to £267** on your premium, so it’s always worthwhile comparing prices.

**Based on Online independent research by Consumer Intelligence during May 2021 50% of customers could save up to £267.92 on their car insurance premium.

Frequently asked questions

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

Yes. When you use our car insurance search tool, we’ll ask you a number of questions including what you use your car for. This is so we can provide you with the right quotes to suit your needs. We’ll also ask for things like your average annual mileage and where you keep your car during the day and overnight.

Does my car insurance cover deliveries?

If you want to earn extra money by making food or parcel deliveries, SDPC + business use won’t typically be enough. You’ll need to take out a special type of commercial car or van insurance that includes ‘hire and reward’ cover.

You should check whether you also need public liability insurance which covers you against injuries or damage to members of the public or their property. If you make deliveries for a restaurant, you may be covered by their public liability insurance, but you should check. If you’re self-employed you may need to buy standalone public liability cover, in addition to ‘hire and reward’ car insurance.

Let your car insurance provider know you want cover for deliveries. They 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 instead or find a new provider that covers you for both 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.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, insurance providers introduced a temporary rule which allowed motorists to drive to work even if they were only insured for domestic, social and pleasure (SDP) driving. But since the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, the rule has been changed back again. If you have SDP cover and you want to continue driving to work, you’ll need to change your class of use to SDP + C.

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. Better to pay slightly more for your premium than run the risk of not being properly insured.

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