Millions of drivers are at risk of overpaying for insurance, being left without cover or hit with a fine because they have fallen for common misconceptions around cover.
New research into the 10 most common insurance myths has found that 90 per cent of motorists wrongly believe at least one of them.
At best, this could leave drivers paying more for insurance than they need to but at worst it could leave them without cover and in trouble with the police.
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According to data from insurance comparison site Confused, a quarter of drivers - equivalent to nearly 10 million people - wrongly think that comprehensive insurance automatically allows them to drive any car.
You're not automatically covered to drive other people's cars, even with fully comprehensive insurance (Photo: Shutterstock)
Driving other Cars (DOC) cover used to be common but is no longer standard with many policies. And driving someone else’s car without insurance could see you fined £300 and handed up to eight penalty points.
Two thirds of drivers with a prior conviction said they didn’t inform their insurer because the conviction was no longer valid. However, while many convictions expire after four years insurers usually ask for details of all convictions in the last five years. Failing to declare a conviction could see your policy cancelled and your insurer refusing to pay out in the event of an accident or theft. Worryingly, a third of those who didn’t declare a conviction said it was because they didn’t think the conviction was fair.
Drivers also wrongly believed that they didn’t need to inform their insurer of a crash if they paid for repairs themselves. Insurers ask to be told of any incidents, whoever was at fault and whether or not a claim was made. Failing to tell them could invalidate your cover.
The top ten car insurance myths
You’re automatically insured to drive other cars if you have a comprehensive policyYour renewal price is cheaper than the prices your insurer offers to new customersKeeping your car in the garage means lower insurance costsDriving for business use means higher prices than social or commuting useOnce you reach 25 your premiums fall dramaticallyThird-party cover is cheaper than comprehensiveNon-fault claims won’t affect your insurance costsYou’re always guaranteed a courtesy car if you have an accidentI don’t have to tell my insurer about convictions that aren’t on my licence anymoreYour insurance covers you for any accident that you cause
Falling for other myths might not leave a driver without cover but could see them paying over the odds, with half of those questioned believing at least one of three common misconceptions.
More than a third (34 per cent) of people who took out third-party cover did so because they assumed it would be cheaper. Some insurers actually charge more for third-party cover because of the number of higher-risk drivers who sign up for these kinds of policies.
A quarter of drivers also thought that insuring for business use would cost them more. However, insurers assume that people who use their car for business have more to lose if they damage it, so they are likely to take better care of it, which means they may not necessarily have a higher price.
And one in 10 people believed their renewal quote would always be cheaper than last year’s. But research by Confused.com discovered that 77 per cent of drivers saw their price increase - by an average of £44.
Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, said: “The rules around car insurance can be confusing, which is why it’s important for drivers to separate fact from fiction.
“Believing that not telling your insurer about a conviction or risking driving someone else’s car could cost you a lot, both financially and legally.”