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Brits are bombarded with irksome jingles for price comparison websites every time they switch on the TV or radio. It all seems so easy until a quick trip to one of these websites leads you on a tedious form-filling mission in which we are asked everything from our date of birth to our occupation.
It may seem futile, but the details asked by us insurance companies are extremely important, and the risks of providing incorrect details can be high.
Details about you
When you ask us for a car insurance quote, you will be asked about your driving licence – when did you gain your licence, what kind is it, has it been suspended for any reason and have you ever received any points on it? The relevance of these questions is fairly clear – we use the information to assess how safe you are as a driver based on statistics.
Until December last year, for example, female drivers had lower car insurance premiums because they are statistically safer drivers. However, EU legislation has meant that insurance providers can no longer discriminate between drivers based on their gender, which has led to many companies increasing the price of their car insurance for female drivers.
Your track record is also important, as it will help to determine the cost of your cover. Recent points on your licence are also likely to increase the cost of your insurance, as they show that you are potentially an unsafe driver. Similarly, any claims that you have made in the past are important for the company to determine how safe you are on the road.
We’ll also ask you your occupation, which again may seem irrelevant but it can be an indication to the insurance companies on how prudent the driver is. This is a result of studies that have proven that some occupations tend to be held by more careful drivers.
Details about your car
In addition to details about the driver, we need to know about the car you’ll be driving. If a car has a high vehicle safety rating, it may allow for a reduced premium because the risk of injury in a crash is reduced.
One of the most common pieces of information that people forget to tell us about is where they keep their vehicle. Students, for example, may be insured on a family car that is usually kept safely in the garage, but when they go off to university it could end up parked on a busy street in an area where crime is higher. Naturally, a higher risk of the car being broken into is likely to increase the insurance premium.
What happens if the details are incorrect?
When applying for a car insurance quote, drivers are strongly encouraged to check the details extremely carefully. While a piece of information may seem fairly irrelevant, it could be affecting the price of the cover.
The key area where people find trouble is when they forget to inform their insurance providers of any changes, especially minor changes (such as where the car is kept).
There are two main outcomes that can arise from not providing us with the correct details. The first is that we may ask you to pay the discrepancy between what you paid and what you should have paid. This can be surprisingly high, as small details can make a big difference when it comes to insurance.
The second problem is a little more serious and will only happen as a result of a serious discrepancy between the details that you provided and the correct details. This may result in the insurance being voided, which can have legal implications and a hefty fine.
If your cover is declared as void, it basically means that you have not been covered since the policy was taken out or since the details were incorrect. Since having car insurance is a legal requirement for any vehicle in the UK, other than those that are declared SORN (off the road), you could be charged for driving without insurance. Government guidelines say that the maximum fine for this is £1,000 and the vehicle could be impounded, that’s a lot of money and hassle for forgetting an important detail!
Again, any future insurance providers will need to be made aware of any incident such as this and it could increase future premiums.
When filling out one of our forms, it can be a good idea to get a family member or partner to double check the accuracy of the details and to check again yourself to avoid any issues. Keeping a list or print-out of all the details required could also remind you to contact us when any of those details change. If you have any questions, or are not sure what is important, you can call any one of our advisors and simply ask, we’re here to help make this as simple as we can for you.