Motorists who now drive to work due to Covid warned to check car insurance policies ahead of rule change
MOTORISTS who now drive to work due to Covid are being warned to check their policies ahead of a rule change next week.
If you don't, you could unwittingly invalidate your car insurance – and risk being slapped with a £300 fine.
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When you buy car insurance, you're usually asked how you plan to use the vehicle, including whether you'll commute or use it for social purposes only.
This will influence how much your premium is, as different types of driving carry different risks.
Last March, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) introduced extra support to make it easier for employees to commute during lockdown.
It meant staff members could drive to work without extending their policy, even if it stated that they'd only use the vehicle for social purposes.
How to make sure you have the right car insurance
IAN Rowlands, head of car insurance at GoCompare.com, has previously explained how to make sure your policy covers you for driving to work.
He said: “If you use your car for commuting to work, you will need a policy that covers you for this commute as a standard car insurance policy may not include this.
“In addition, if you use your car for anything other than driving to a single place of work, then you need business car insurance.
“This includes any work trips such as driving to meet clients, visiting multiple work sites, driving to the post office or transporting other members of staff.
"Common business journeys are rarely covered by standard car insurance, so if you do any of these, you’ll need business car insurance.
“If a driver fails to declare that they drive to work (or drive as part of their work), this could invalidate their insurance.
“When taking out a car insurance policy, it’s essential that you answer all questions honestly and accurately, and inform your insurer if your circumstances change.
However, ABI has now confirmed these temporary measures will end on April 30, following several extensions during lockdown.
It means drivers must check they have the right policy if they're planning to commute by car after this date, if their insurer is an ABI member.
If your insurer isn't an ABI member, then you still need to check your policy to make sure your insurance covers you for commuting.
If you don't inform your insurer, you could invalidate your policy, meaning that on your commute you're technically driving uninsured.
The consequences of driving without insurance are severe, starting with six points on your licence and a £300 fine.
Meanwhile, most insurers will continue to support drivers using their own cars for voluntary purposes at no additional cost.
Whether you're covered for commuting or not will depend on the type of insurance you bought, your provider of choice, and your policy wording.
For example, Direct Line actually allows you to commute on their standard policies.
While LV= has temporarily added business use to all existing Direct Motor policies until further notice.
Ryan Fulthorpe, motoring expert at Go Compare, said: "To reflect changes in driving behaviour as commuting and driving between different workplaces starts to pick up, insurers have reviewed their position.
"From May, drivers who insured their car only for social, domestic or pleasure purposes, but following the pandemic now use their car to travel to work, will have to upgrade their cover.
"If a motorist fails to declare that they drive to work, or drive as part of their work, this could invalidate their insurance and, driving without insurance carries severe penalties."
Almost 2million motorists could be driving without a valid MOT, putting them at risk of being slapped with a £1,000 fine.
Martin Lewis has also warned drivers to urgently check if their photo licence needs renewing or risk a similar fine.
Meanwhile, we explain a number of changes that came into force for drivers from April as the new tax year began.
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