a simple guide to getting it right when buying insurance

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No Claims Discount Expires After 2 Years | Protected No Claims Discount Does Not Protect Your Premium | Manipulating Your Details to Gain a Better Price Could Invalidate Your Policy | You Don't Automatically Get Driving Other Cars With Comprehensive Cover | Should I Send Copies of Documents to My Broker/Insurer? Yes | Each Policy Earns It's Own No Claims Discount, You Can't Use It Twice | Insuring Your Child's Car In Your Name Is Called Fronting And Is Fraud! | Don't Assume Your Company Car No Claims Discount Will Be Accepted By Your New Insurer - Check First! | Counterpart Licences Abolished, You May Still Have To Provide a Code From DVLA to your Underwriters to Check Your Details | Motorbility Policies Do Not Earn a No Claims Discount | Motoring Endorsements Are Declarable For 5 Years

Buying any kind of motor insurance should be and can be a straight forward experience, other than finding the funds to pay for it.


See The Question Set for further advice on answering your questions or what to expect.  The comparison site question may only show the short version and you need to click on a “?” or “!” to get the full extended version.  However, even if you have done this, when you go to buy from the selected broker or insurer, you will be redirected to their site.  This will require you to agree to their own acceptance criteria, which is to protect themselves, because some comparison sites don’t have a full or concise version of what you’re being asked.  For example, MoneySupermarket’s NCD question, just asks you to enter how many years NCD you have, it makes no reference to whether it’s in your name, earned in the UK, not in use on another vehicle or from an expired policy within the last 2 years.  So, if you just barrel on through and enter what you think is correct and tick “I have read your Terms and Conditions or Acceptance Criteria”, when you haven’t paid a blind bit of notice to them, you can expect problems.


I have worked in the insurance industry for over 25 years predominantly in personal lines insurance, having started as a junior sales consultant to running my own brokers.  I have heard it all, everyone who buys insurance knows how insurance works, I am not trying to ridicule anyone here, because you believe what you’ve been told by friends and family; trust me there are many miss-conceptions.  “I’ve been driving for 30 years and I’ve never heard of that before!” is a common one; well insurance is continually evolving, so changes are happen all the time.  In those ‘30 years’ you’ve been driving, there have been 4 different organisations overseeing the regulations or control of insurance, there has been the introduction of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) (and 3 increases of it) and computers now do the calculations, whereas we calculated most of them manually when I started out.  Even who’s responsibility as to who needs to provide information has shifted the onus from you to provide everything an insurer would want to know, to the insurer to ask the right questions


There are a lot of things people don’t fully understand about insurance, but because everyone tells you the same things about insurance, so you believe them.  For example, if you have a comprehensive policy, you probably get told you can drive any other vehicle - wrong!  A lot of the time this is correct, but there are exceptions - see driving other cars for the facts - you won’t always get this cover for example; if you’re under 25 years old, or work in the motor trade or any kind of delivery service (including Royal Mail). Even then, some comprehensive insurers don’t provide this cover and you certainly won’t get it on a commercial vehicle insurance and some specialist policies.  Check with the provider, or if you’ve already bought the policy check the certificate, it should have something along the lines of “the policyholder may also drive another private motor car, not belonging to them and not hired to them under a hire or lease agreement” if you do have driving other cars.  Note the “private motor car” part, you can’t drive a van, motorcycle etc under this cover.


Also, there has been a change in pushing the onus onto the insurer rather than the individual when answering questions on an insurance application.  Until 2012 when the Consumer Insurance Act of 2012 came into force, it was always down to the would be buyer to disclose all information, whether they thought it relevant or not as to what a prudent underwriter would want to know.  Which in itself was a ridiculous rule; how are yo meant to know what a prudent underwriter would want to know.  That opened up many an avenue for an insurer to get out of paying a claim “well you didn’t tell us that, so we can’t pay!”  Now the Act basically says if the questions not asked, you don’t need to volunteer it.  Which is great, but you need to make sure that you do answer the questions fully, disclose the information requested, answer the questions correctly and be careful not to make any misrepresentations.


Whether you think a question has relevance to your insurance is not for you to decide, the Consumer Insurance Act of 2012 says that insurer must ask relevant questions.  Therefore, that has already been established that the questions insurers ask, do have a relevance to the way in which they calculate premiums.  As long as you answer them correctly and being careful that any answers that have already been ticked on comparison sites are ticked correctly for you, then you shouldn’t go far wrong.  Pay special attention to your convictions history, the question will ask of any in the last 5 years.  If you think “it’s off my licence, I don’t have to disclose it”, that is a mistake.  The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act says motoring endorsements are declarable for 5 years even though the DVLA say they can remove them after 4 years.  Maybe these 2 Government Departments should talk to each other, but that aside, you must declare them.  Some insurers will not rate on a conviction after 3 years, so as long as you’ve entered it, your premium will be calculated correctly.


The Question Set

Motor Insurance - Get It Right on the Comparison Site


…. the Act basically says if the question’s not asked, you don’t need to volunteer it.