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What could invalidate your car insurance?

If you give your insurance provider false information – even unintentionally – you could invalidate your policy. Here are some common ways people invalidate their car insurance – and how you can avoid them.

If you give your insurance provider false information – even unintentionally – you could invalidate your policy. Here are some common ways people invalidate their car insurance – and how you can avoid them.

Written by
Alex Hasty
Insurance comparison and finance expert
Reviewed by
Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
Last Updated
7 OCTOBER 2022
5 min read
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Could I accidentally invalidate my car insurance policy?

You’ve been involved in a car accident and claim on your fully comprehensive insurance for the damage to your car and the one you collided with. Most car insurance claims are paid successfully, but what if your insurance provider says the claim is invalid and won’t pay out? How could that be?

When you search for a quote, insurance providers ask questions so they can calculate the risk of you making a claim. They use this information to decide how much to charge you for your premium.

If you answer any questions untruthfully, perhaps to try to keep costs down, you’re committing fraud. When you then make a claim and your insurance provider finds out you were dishonest (and they likely will) your policy will be invalidated.

But invalidated policies can also stem from simple mistakes, like forgetting to tell your insurance provider when your details change.

When getting a quote, always make sure the information you give is accurate and complete to the best of your knowledge.

How to avoid invalidating your car insurance

Here’s what be honest and upfront about with your insurance provider when you get a quote, to avoid invalidating your car insurance. And if any of these details change during the time you hold your policy, you’ll need to tell your insurance provider.

Personal details

Your job
What you do for a living affects what you pay for your insurance as some occupations are considered riskier than others. And if you change jobs or have a new job title, you’ll need to tell your insurance provider. If you start using your car for work purposes, you’ll need to tell them that too.

Where you live
Insurance providers look at your postcode and local crime statistics to decide how likely you are to suffer theft or vandalism. If you move and don’t tell your insurance provider, you could invalidate your policy.

Your main address
If you’re away at university and spend most of your time there, you’ll need to change the main address on your policy, even if you’re still connected to the old address.

Your driving history

Any driving convictions or points on your licence
If you have a history of dangerous driving or speeding, you’re more likely to claim on your car insurance in future. Driving convictions and points are on record so they can be checked.

Reporting minor accidents
Even if you don’t want to claim, you should tell your insurance provider about any accident – however minor. If you don’t report damage that’s then noted on a later claim, it can be considered a breach of your policy. It also protects you if you’re in an accident and the other driver makes a claim against you.

Your car

Any modifications you make to your car
If you’ve upgraded your car’s engine or body work it could make your car more expensive to repair. Even a small change, like a new car sound system, could make your car more attractive to thieves.

How you use your car

Where you park overnight
If you say your car is kept in a locked private garage and it’s stolen from a busy main street, your claim may not be valid.

What you use your car for
There are three different classes of use. You’ll need to tell your insurance provider which one you want to insure your car for.

Your annual mileage
The more you drive, the more likely you are to have an accident. Be as accurate as you can when calculating your yearly mileage. If you’re hugely off, it may raise a red flag with your insurance provider.

The main driver
Lying about the main driver of a car is a common type of insurance fraud known as fronting. This typically happens when a parent claims they’re the main driver of their child’s car to keep costs down. Fronting is a criminal offence and you could face prosecution for fraud.

When completing a quote with us, always answer the questions honestly to make sure you get the right policy. If your details change after you’ve bought your policy, let your insurance provider know, even if it doesn’t seem directly relevant.

When do I need to tell my insurance provider about any changes?

You should always think about what might have changed during the previous year when it’s time to renew. But depending on your policy, you may have to let your provider know about changes to your circumstances once your policy has started. This is called a mid-term adjustment.

And as always, carefully read your policy’s terms and conditions so you know what’s covered and what isn’t.

What else do I need to do to make sure my insurance is valid?

  • Keep your car in decent condition and stay on top of maintenance, such as changing the oil and checking your tyre pressure. Make sure you have a valid MOT certificate and pay your road tax on time to avoid breaching your policy.
  • Keep your car safe and secure. If you leave the doors unlocked or your keys in the ignition and your car is then stolen, you probably won’t be able to claim.
  • Drive carefully and safely. When your insurance provider investigates a claim, they’ll want to know that you followed speed limits and the Highway Code.
  • When driving with pets, make sure your four-legged friend is properly secured. You could find your insurance invalidated if your pet was wandering about the car and distracted you, causing an accident. Read our car safety checklist.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if I invalidate my car insurance policy?

If your insurance provider decides you’ve given false or inaccurate information, or were driving unsafely, they’re likely to deny your claim. That means you’ll have to pay for any repairs to your car, as well as damage to other vehicles or property. Your insurance provider will also likely cancel your policy.

If you continue to drive with invalid car insurance, you’ll be breaking the law. It’s illegal to drive on UK roads without at least third-party cover in place. If you’re caught, you could face a minimum six points on your licence and a £300 fine.

Will it invalidate my policy if someone else drives my car?

Not necessarily, but you should be extremely careful about who you let drive your car. Most policies only cover accidents involving a named driver.

Even if the driver has their own policy that lets them drive other people’s cars, this is normally only third-party cover, which won’t cover damage to your vehicle. Letting someone else drive your car might not invalidate your policy, but it may mean you can’t claim. If someone else needs to drive your car for a short time, they might want to consider getting temporary car insurance.

If my insurance is cancelled, will my insurance provider give me a refund?

Whether you’ll get a refund depends on your policy and insurance provider. Some providers offer a partial or full refund if they cancel your policy, but it depends on the circumstances and your policy terms. 

Find out more about car insurance cancellation fees.

If my claim is invalid, will I be able to get insurance in future?

It might be very difficult. If you make a fraudulent claim, or an insurance provider finds you were dishonest, they can cancel your policy.

You’ll have to declare this when you shop for a new policy (or risk making the same mistake again). If you’re blacklisted for insurance fraud, some insurance providers may not offer you cover, or might charge you higher premiums. That’s why it’s so important to avoid doing anything that could invalidate your policy.

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Alex Hasty - Insurance comparison and finance expert

At Compare the Market, Alex has had roles as Commercial Associate Director, Director of Trading and Director of Growth. He’s currently responsible for the development and execution of Comparethemarket’s longer-term strategic options, ensuring the right breadth of products and services that meet customer needs.

Learn more about Alex

Kate Hughes - Insurance and finance expert

As an award-winning journalist, author and broadcast commentator, Kate has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She’s the former Money Editor for The Independent. Her work has appeared across the UK broadsheets as well as a number of international titles. Kate brings her financial expertise to inform her readers on ways to save money. She’s also written a book. ‘Going Zero: One Family’s Journey to Zero Waste and a Greener Lifestyle’ is available now.

Learn more about Kate

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