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Our response to Covid-19

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Covid- 19 : Car Insurance FAQs

FAQs concerning what car insurance customers should do with their policies in this period of uncertainty during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, there are understandably many questions surrounding current car insurance policies. The government-enforced lockdown states that people should only travel from their house for vital reasons, such as getting groceries and medical supplies or travelling to and from essential workplaces.

Due to this enforced lockdown, most people aren’t using their vehicles in the same way that they were before. Many of you may be wondering whether your car insurance policies have changed and whether you still need insurance if you aren’t driving at all.

Below we’ve answered some of our most frequently asked questions on how car insurance providers are responding to the pandemic, as well as advice to our customers on what to do with their own car insurance policies.

 

Please note: The nature of COVID-19 means that guidelines and enforcements are changing rapidly. This information was correct as of 16th April 2020 and we will work to keep this page updated if there are more changes. However, please check in with your insurance provider directly to confirm any details provided on this page.

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Due to the lockdown I’m not currently driving – do I still need to have car insurance cover?

It’s a legal obligation to have car insurance even if you aren’t driving your car, so the answer is yes. If you aren’t going to be driving at all for a long time, it could be worth taking your car off the road altogether. This means you won’t have to pay insurance or tax, but the car must not be driven or be parked on a public road during this time. You must contact the DVLA to declare your vehicle as “off the road.”

My occupation has changed, do I need to tell my insurance provider?

Different car insurance companies have different policies, so we recommend checking with your current provider. If you need to claim and certain details are incorrect or out-of-date, you risk your insurance being invalid. Anyone volunteering during this pandemic has been advised by the Association of British Insurers that they do not need to notify their insurer. This includes those who are using their car for voluntary reasons like delivering medical supplies, as well as NHS Volunteer Responders. Not every insurance provider is a part of the ABI, so we advise checking whether yours is or not.

If I’ve changed my driving habits, should I notify my insurer?

Understandably, many aspects of our lives have changed these last few weeks, including our driving habits. There are a few changes that are worth telling your current provider about, such as:
  • Your commute – Does your policy cover Social, Domestic, Pleasure and Commuting (SDPC)? If so, then you may consider telling your provider if you’re no longer travelling to work during this period - they may alter your policy.
  • Where the car stays – Your policy states where you usually keep your car overnight and during the day. If you want to move it somewhere else for the foreseeable future - for example from a street to a garage - we recommend getting in touch with your provider and letting them know. If you’ve moved to a different address – for example, if you’ve moved back to a family home – and the car has moved with you, your insurer should be notified of this too.
  • Anticipated mileage – Let your insurer know if your expected annual mileage is likely to change.
  • How do I get an MOT?

    During these unprecedented times, the Government is granting an MOT exemption that will last six months from 30 March 2020 (for England, Scotland and Wales only. Guidelines for Northern Ireland are detailed below). This applies to car, motorcycle and van owners and was introduced so key workers can still get to work, as well as for those who need to drive to provide food and medicine to those less able to procure it themselves. Nevertheless, vehicles must still be roadworthy and some garages remain open to deal with important repair work. It is still the case that prosecutions will be made if vehicles are driven whilst deemed unsafe. Why? The Government have implemented this exemption so that any drivers who are due a MOT are able to save the £55 cost in a time where money may be tight. It also means that people can remain in their homes rather than having to go to the garage and risk the spread of infection. In Northern Ireland, drivers who have a MOT booked in the next 8-weeks (and has been cancelled) will be granted a Temporary Exemption Certificate (TEC). If your car is due its MOT but it hasn’t yet been booked, please book this as soon as possible. If it is cancelled, you will then automatically receive a TEC and be legally allowed to drive. If you don’t have a TEC and your MOT is overdue, you will not be driving legally.

    What if I can’t afford my premium anymore?

    Many people are getting hit hard financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you find that you cannot afford to pay any monthly insurance fees, we advise getting in touch with your provider as soon as possible. If payments can’t be met, then your insurance policy may be voided which can have dire consequences if you’re caught driving without it. Speak to your provider as soon as you can to see what options you have.

    Can I still claim on my car insurance at this time?

    Insurance providers are still open and available to contact, although wait times may be longer and vulnerable customers prioritised. If an incident occurs during this time, it’s important to still make a claim and let your insurer know. They will be able to advise on next steps. If you have any further questions that we haven’t listed here, please feel free to get in touch with a member of our team. Response times are slightly longer as our working hours have been reduced, so we thank you in advance for your patience. See our official response to COVID-19 to find out more.

Remember, if you're a Brightside Car, Van or Bike customer you can manage your policy online including confirming you're going to renew your policy with us if you haven’t already opted-in.

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