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What can invalidate your car insurance?

Our guide explains all to make sure it doesn't happen to you.

Last updated: 26/04/2022 | Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

There are a few ways in which you can invalidate your car insurance, preventing any kind of payout in the event of an accident. Some are obvious and severe (e.g. lying on your car insurance application), but there are ways to invalidate your cover by accident if you're not careful. We'll go over both in this guide.

In This Guide:

5 common ways you could be invalidating your car insurance policy

  • Risk profile manipulation: Insurers build a risk profile on you to assess how likely you are to make a claim. This is based on your age, location, occupation and driving history, among a host of other factors. Lying about any of these in order to reduce your quote could result in your policy being invalidated.
  • Non-declaration of incidents: If you’re involved in an incident, whether you’re at fault or not, you must inform your insurer even if you don’t intend to make a claim. This is because your insurer needs to know whether the incident is likely to happen again, and you’ll find most policies include a clause requiring you to let your insurer know. Visit our guide for more information on making car insurance claims.
  • Classes of use: Whether you use your vehicle for social purposes, commuting to work or for business determines the circumstances in which you can legally drive it. You must inform your insurer of exactly how you use your vehicle to avoid invalidating your policy.
  • Fronting: Fronting is adding a low-risk person as a main driver to a policy in order to bring down an overall quote. For example, parents may be inclined to take out policies in their name for vehicles predominantly driven by their children; who, as high-risk drivers, face larger insurance premiums if they were to take out their own policy. If the main driver listed on a policy is not just that, then not only will your policy be invalidated but you could also face fraud charges and a fine.
  • Modifications: You must notify your insurer of any modifications made to your vehicle, even minor ones. This is because often they can increase the value of your vehicle, in turn making it more expensive to repair or replace in the event of a claim, as well as making it more susceptible to theft.

What else can cause your car insurance to be invalid?

There are many other ways your car insurance could be invalidated, so it's important to know the basics:

Is car insurance valid without tax?

Car insurance is only valid if your vehicle is roadworthy. To be roadworthy in the UK, it must be taxed, so in theory, your car insurance is only valid as long as your car is taxed. However, some insurance providers have been known to still provide cover to cars even though their road tax had expired.

But don’t take our word for it. To be on the safe side, and also to avoid a nasty fine, you should always ensure that your car’s road tax is up to date.

Is car insurance valid without an MOT?

Again, your car insurance will typically only valid if your vehicle is roadworthy, and this includes a valid MOT. If you’re involved in an accident after your MOT has expired, then this will likely invalidate your insurance and you won’t be able to make a claim (unless you can prove you were driving to a garage for the necessary repairs).

Is car insurance valid in a red weather warning?

In general, your car insurance will stay valid in any weather conditions, and that includes when there is a red weather warning in place. However, insurers can claim negligence on your part if you fail to adhere to road warnings and are generally reckless while driving in such hazardous conditions, which would invalidate your insurance and any claims you make. To be on the safe side, we wouldn’t recommend driving during a red weather warning unless you absolutely have to.

Is my car insurance valid in Europe?

In short, yes. All UK car insurance policies provide at least third party cover whilst driving in the EU, including Ireland. This also applies to many European countries not in the EU, including Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Serbia & Switzerland. However, if you’re travelling to Albania, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Turkey, or Ukraine, you may need to get a green card, which you can get by contacting your insurance provider.

If I sell my car is my insurance still valid?

Yes. If you sell your car, and don’t replace it with a new one, then you will need to contact your insurance provider to cancel your existing car insurance policy. Otherwise, you will still be paying premiums for a car you no longer own.

Is car insurance valid on a private road?

The short answer is yes. If you’re driving on a private road that is open to the public, then your car insurance policy will still be valid just as if you were on a public road. However, if you’re on a private road that’s closed to the public and you’re involved in an accident, then the landowner, or whoever is at fault for the accident, is liable. So, if you cause damage to another car or someone’s property, you will be liable - but this will still fall under your third party cover.

Is car insurance valid if drink driving?

If you’re involved in an accident and found to have been over the legal alcohol limit, then your car insurance policy won’t necessarily be invalidated. However, your insurer will likely refuse to pay out on any claims you make, leaving you alone to pick up the bill. You will also face higher car insurance premiums in the future.

Is my car insurance valid if my licence has expired?

No. To be insured as a driver on UK roads, you must have a valid driving licence. If caught driving without a licence, even with insurance, then you may face the double whammy of a fine and criminal conviction for driving unlicensed, with a conviction for driving with no insurance, as this will automatically be invalidated.

How does an invalid car insurance policy affect my premium?

Whenever you take out a new policy, you’ll need to declare if you’ve had any voided policies in the past. As a result, some companies may refuse to insure you while others might push their premium prices up, costing you more.

In the UK it’s illegal to drive without insurance, so if your policy becomes invalid but you continue to use your vehicle, you’re breaking the law and could face serious charges.

How to check your car insurance is valid

If you’re unsure whether you car insurance is still valid or not, finding out is very simple. All you need to do is head over to the Motor Insurance Database and enter your vehicle’s registration number. It will then tell you whether your car is insured or not, and if so, when the insurance expires.

For more guidance, have a look at our page on how to check if your car is insured.

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