Motorists might well be using comparison sites to find cheaper car
insurance policies, but they are not sure how the premium has been pared down to reduce the cost.
Many motorists assume that their "small print" in the terms and conditions will cover them for common driving practices, whereas when they have an accident they are dismayed to find that they are not.
Mis-quoting the car’s annual mileage is one of the ways in which
insurers can refuse to pay out – if you have underestimated the distance covered, by changing jobs, or having to visit an ill relative, then your insurer may dispute your claim. A quarter of people (25.8 per cent) told a survey that they were unsure whether their car had exceeded the amount they had stated, and 16.1 per cent wrongly said that it didn’t matter – that they would still be covered in the event of an accident.
Eating or smoking whilst driving is considered to be ‘normal’, yet
insurance companies can refuse claims on the basis of negligence – even if the accident was not the motorist’s fault. One fifth of drivers said that they had no idea if this was covered in the "small print" of their policy, yet two thirds of people admitted to eating and driving, and 36 per cent of people say that they smoke in their vehicles.
The main offence which so many people say that they are covered
for is borrowing someone else’s vehicle. Almost a third of motorists "just assumed" that they could drive another car and claim on their policy – yet this is only true if the insurance policy specifically mentions that you can – and then the cover is for third-parties only.
Tina Shortle, of swiftcover.com, commented, "While choosing the lowest
price car insurance policy is most people’s objective, it is also
important to know exactly what is and isn’t covered.
"Drivers make a lot of assumptions about their policies, so it’s best to read all terms and conditions carefully and to regularly review the terms."