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Insurance costs may rise as millions more take to their cars

With the Government advising against using public transport if possible, 61% plan to drive to work…

Tom Harrison
Content writer
2
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Posted 12 JUNE 2020

Almost double the amount of people who drove to work before the coronavirus pandemic expect to commute by car in the immediate aftermath of lockdown.

As many as 10.5 million extra cars could soon join the UK’s daily commute, as the Government encourages staff to get back to work while avoiding public transport where possible.

But while car travel offers greater protection from the virus,
comparethemarket.com suspects increased traffic will lead to hikes in motor insurance premiums, at a time when household finances are already feeling the squeeze.

Workers to drive if possible

Comparethemarket.com data shows that 61% of people expect to commute by car when they return to the workplace – a huge rise on the 34% who drove pre-lockdown.

Those in the West Midlands (an increase of 38%) Wales (36%) and the South East (32%) plan to take advantage of their cars the most – while almost a third (32%) of Londoners now plan to return on four wheels, compared to a fifth (20%) before.

So with a potential 23.7 million vehicles taking to the roads for work, the risk of collisions dramatically increases – a fact that won’t be lost on insurance providers.

Added to the 17% of UK households who already think they’ll use their cars more than they did prior to the pandemic, it seems the pieces are falling into place for a rise in motor insurance premiums, which have fallen in recent weeks.

Dan Hutson, head of motor insurance at comparethemarket.com, said: “The Government is encouraging the UK to get back out to work and to society and, crucially, to avoid public transport where possible. Cars are so important for keeping us protected from the virus but, at a time when households are already financially stretched, being asked to drive more could have a significant hit on finances.

“Motor premiums, which have fallen recently, could be about to jump once more. More drivers will need to adapt their policies to include cover for commuting and insurers may increase their prices in anticipation of more cars, and more crashes on the road. In addition, higher car usage will also result in a higher fuel bill.

“At a time when money is already tight, it’s important that motorists look to save money where they can and shopping around for the most competitive policy remains the best way to do so.”

The right kind of cover

Any driver planning to make the switch from public transport to car for commuting should first of all check their existing policy details to ensure they have the right class of cover.

For example, anyone currently insured through a Social, Domestic and Pleasure (SDP) policy will not be entitled to make a claim over any eventuality arising on their commute to work.

If this sounds like you, you’ll need to switch to a Social, Domestic, Pleasure and Commuting (SDP+C) policy – which is likely to be more expensive.

For example, a 36-year-old man, living in West London, who has driven for 19 years, with a Skoda Octavia would pay around £350 for an SDP+C policy, compared to £330 for a standard SDP – a 6% increase.

If work requires you to drive to more than one location on business, you’ll likely need a SDPC+business use policy – which covers everything already mentioned plus business-related driving.

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