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Car Insurance Classes of Use Explained

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Last updated: 07/09/2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

You must choose the right class of use on your car insurance policy. But why is this so important, and how do you know what class to choose? Read on to find out.  

In This Guide:

What are classes of use?

When you take out a new motor insurance policy you will need to specify a class of use.

Essentially, these classes clarify to the provider what exactly you intend to use your vehicle for.

In turn, they’ll assess the level of risk you pose by how much driving you do (among other things), which all has an effect on your premium.

Choosing the right class is important for making certain your policy is valid.  

Classes of use vs car insurance groups

Classes of use are different to car insurance groups. While classes of use refer to how you actually use your car (where you drive to and how often), car insurance groups refer to the vehicle itself (things like the engine size and performance specs).

What class of use is right for me?

There are three basic classes of use available, with the third split up into a further three categories.

Social, Domestic and Pleasure (SDP) insurance

SDP use covers day-to-day, non-work-related driving only. You'll fall into this class of use if you only use your vehicle socially, for example trips at the weekend or going to the supermarket. Specifically, you must not use your car for getting to work.

SDP use is also referred to simply as 'social use'.

Social, Domestic, Pleasure and Commuting (SDP+C) insurance

SDP+C is the same as an SDP except you also use your car to commute to a permanent work place. We say permanent, because if you drive to various locations as part of your job you may need to take out a higher level of cover. SDP+C use includes driving to a train station for your commute, or regularly driving friends or family members to their place of work.

SDP+C is often referred to as 'social and commuting'.

Personal business SDPC+B insurance

Business cover (SDPC+B) is needed if you use your vehicle to drive to more than one work place, and/or you use your car for general business purposes. This in turn is split into three business classes:

  • Class 1 Business Use – Class 1 use is the most basic: you simply drive your car to more than one place of work. Often your policy won't cover any other named drivers but may cover your spouse.
  • Class 2 Business Use – Class 2 use is the next level up. It's pretty much the same as Class 1 except your policy also covers a named driver that's connected to your business.
  • Class 3 Business Use – You'll need Class 3 business insurance if you spend a lot of time on the road as part of your job - if you're a door-to-door salesperson, for example.

Commercial or business car insurance

Commercial car insurance is for anyone who drives professionally. This includes delivery drivers as well as cab drivers or chauffeurs. Business policies work differently from standard car insurance policies, and you'll need to add public liability insurance if you take passengers in your vehicle. Head over to our business insurance page for more information.

Why do car insurance classes of use matter?

Class of use is important because insurers need to know what you use your vehicle for in order for you to be properly covered. We'll give you an example why.

Let's say Driver A lives in a city and uses public transport to get to work because the traffic jams are just too unbearable. They only use their car on the weekends or for trips to the shops.

Driver A uses their car significantly less than Driver B, an on-the-road salesperson who spends a good chunk of their day driving.

Statistically, Driver B is more likely to be involved in an incident or have a third-party claim brought against them and as such is a greater risk to the insurer.

Insurance premiums will vary depending on your class of use. However, don't be tempted to lie and say you're in a cheaper class, as you will likely invalidate your policy if you do so. 

Which car insurance class of use is cheapest?

On the whole, the SDP class of use tends to the cheapest. Then, as policies encompass increased amounts of driving and use, they tend to get more expensive.

But here’s a strong word of warning: don’t ever be tempted to be dishonest about how you use your vehicle just to get a cheaper claim. If you’re commuting to work each day, don’t try to get away with just a social policy. Doing so is considered fraudulent and will invalidate your insurance.

Should your circumstances change and you need to upgrade or downgrade your policy, speak to your insurance provider as soon as you can to let them know.  

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