For many of us, sorting out the car insurance is a once-a-year job. But if your circumstances change during the year, you may need to let your insurer know.
So what life changes must you notify your insurer about? And can it wait until renewal time?
Change of job
Believe it or not, a change in your work circumstances can have a significant impact on your insurance. As a result, you need to inform your insurer immediately.
Your career is one of a number of important factors that an insurer takes into account when determining the level of risk you present as a customer, and therefore the price of your premium.
For example, you might do a job which means that you spend a lot of time on the road. The more you’re behind the wheel, the more likely it is that you will be caught up in an accident, and so chances are you will face a higher car insurance premium.
But it’s not just the dangers associated with the job itself, but also the sort of people that are likely to do those jobs, and what indication that gives about their driving habits.
A GoCompare study a couple of years ago found that actuaries for example - the people who manage risk and uncertainty for financial firms - are likely to enjoy cheaper than average premiums, as they have much lower than average conviction rates for motoring offences. Other professions with low rates include driving instructors and child minders, while at the other end of the scale oil rig workers and sales directors have much higher conviction rates and so are likely to face higher premiums.
If you move from a job which is classed as low risk to a higher risk one, then your insurer will need to be informed immediately. Failing to do so could see your policy invalidated.
Change of address
Your address is another crucial element of your car insurance price. Your car may be at far greater risk from vandals or thieves in one postcode compared to another, and that risk will be a significant factor in the pricing of your car insurance premium.
As with a change of job, it’s vital that you inform your insurer of any planned change of address as soon as possible. If you don’t, you may end up driving around with an invalid policy.
Your annual mileage
When you take out your car insurance policy, you’ll be asked what your annual mileage is likely to be. Put simply, the more miles you are driving in a year, the more insurers assume you are likely to be caught up in an accident and need to make a claim.
If you have significantly underestimated what your annual mileage is likely to be, then you need to inform your insurer as soon as possible, otherwise you risk invalidating your policy.
Tying the knot
You might wonder why your insurer cares about your relationship status, and on the face of it that’s understandable. What has the ring on your finger got to do with your car?
But statistically, married people are involved in fewer accidents, and so tend to enjoy cheaper average premiums. As a result, it’s well worth letting your insurer know if you do get married.
However, it isn’t an essential circumstance change to inform your insurer of; this one can wait until renewal time.
That said, if you change your name after getting married you will need to notify your insurer immediately. You’ll also need to notify them if your marital status changes in the event of a bereavement, or a separation.
If you commit some form of driving offence, then you may have points added to your driving licence.
This is bad news from an insurance perspective, as points will mean higher premiums. And you will have to inform your insurer, though this does not need to happen until you reach renewal time.
Make sure that you do inform the insurer though, as withholding information like this when applying for car insurance is actually a crime.
Will I need to pay?
It’s worth remembering that there will often be a fee for updating your details, even if they don’t lead to a change in your car insurance premium. It’s generally pretty small though, usually around £10-£30.