Coronavirus and car insurance: what you need to know

  • Your questions answered on Covid-19 and your car insurance
  • Can non-essential trips really invalidate your cover?
  • Altering your cover could save cash

Car insurance

With the Covid-19 pandemic very much present and England in its second nationwide lockdown of the year, there’s no denying that driving habits have changed in 2020.

A huge number of us – including the whole Parkers team – now work from home, getting rid of the daily commute altogether. And during lockdown, many people are only driving once or twice a week, to purchase essentials and then return home with hatches battened down.

But how does this affect car insurance? We have all the answers below. For more advice regarding the pandemic, follow the links below:

Am I insured to drive during the lockdown?

Provided you hold car insurance to drive under normal conditions, yes. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has confirmed that there are no changes to the terms of your insurance, even if you’re travelling outside the lockdown restrictions for non-essential reasons.

“During the lockdown the government has advised against all but essential travel,” an ABI spokesperson said. “Motor insurers continue to cover those using their vehicle for commuting to work and NHS volunteering without you having to first tell them. You should follow government restrictions, but if you do use your car for non-essential travel, you will not risk invalidating your insurance.”

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Can I keep driving to work?

Follow our guidelines on car care – especially if you have to share your vehicle with another person – and driving to work is still the safest way of avoiding the virus.

The ABI has pledged that those driving to work during the pandemic do not need to change their cover if, pre-pandemic, they were only insured for ‘Social, Domestic and Pleasure’. This cover would not normally cover commuting, but until 31 December it will.

It also applies to those who are temporarily using their car for work purposes, key workers, or those volunteering for the NHS.

After 31 December, it’s expected the ABI will continue with these allowances, but that’s not yet confirmed. That could mean that in 2021, you’ll need to inform your insurance that you intend to use your car for commuting.

This isn’t a particularly fraught procedure – such a change often barely affects your premium, and is well worth doing as it’s far cheaper than having a claim rejected because you didn’t.

Can I reduce my insurance cover?

Many of us are expect that even post-pandemic, we’ll be doing fewer miles than we were before. With many offices shutting up completely, or agreeing that staff can work from home more often, the daily commute as we know it has changed forever for many people.

Car insurance crash

If you know for a fact that your reduced mileage will be a feature going forward, then it could well be worth contacting your insurer to reduce the stated mileage on your policy in exchange for a drop in premiums.

Insurers have warned, though, that it’s best to only do this if you’re 100% sure. If your mileage does return to normal later on, you might see your insurance invalidated if you don’t then increase your cover to allow for it.

Can I cancel my insurance if I’m not using my car?

Yes, but think carefully before you do. The first thing to remember is that to cancel your car’s insurance or declare it SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) you’ll need to be able to park it wholly on private land.

How to prepare your car for storage

Vehicles parked on the street, no matter if they’re mobile or not, need to be taxed and insured by law.

Think carefully before cancelling your policy totally, as you may end up paying more in the long run, especially if there’s a cancellation penalty or you’d be sacrificing several years of no-claims bonus.

What if I can’t afford my insurance premiums?

If your income’s been affected by Covid-19 there’s help available. The best thing to do in the first instance is to contact your insurer.

They may be able to offer help in the form of a payment holiday or a temporary reduction in your premium.

Read our other Covid-19 content here: