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Motorists show poor understanding of insurance rules

Cherry Reynard
Written By:
Cherry Reynard

Millions of motorists could be driving with invalid insurance, or far lower cover than they believe to be in place, according to new research from Churchill Insurance.

Over a third (35 per cent) of people with a UK driving licence think that if they have a fully comprehensive car insurance policy they can drive any vehicle with the same level of cover.  This figure rises to almost half (46 per cent) of those aged 18-34 years old. In reality, almost no insurers offer “open” cover for using cars not listed on their policy.

Equally, less than a quarter (24 per cent) would inform their insurer if they wanted to drive another vehicle. Just 40 per cent of Brits with a UK driving licence have ever checked whether there are exclusions that would prevent them from driving someone else’s car.  As such, drivers could be getting behind the wheel and not be covered.

In fact, drivers are usually only insured third party when driving other people’s cars and this is only intended by insurers to be used for a very small proportion of the time.  The intention of this cover is to ensure third parties have some degree of legal protection if the insured customer has to drive a car in an emergency, such as the owner of the vehicle being taken ill.

Rob Miles, director of Motor at Churchill Insurance, said: “Fully comprehensive insurance does not cover every driver in every situation and it’s worrying to see that so few motorists understand this. Drivers have a duty of care to passengers, fellow road users and pedestrians to ensure they have appropriate insurance cover in place when they get behind the wheel.  Uninsured motorists drive up the cost of insurance premiums for all other drivers and ignorance is no excuse. We’d therefore urge all motorists to check their policies before using someone else’s car.”