Since England entered the second lockdown rumours have begun circulating that driving for non-essential travel could invalidate motorists’ car insurance.
People have been told by the Government they should only travel for essential journeys and earlier this week a warning from a price comparison site claimed that: “Non-essential car journeys during November could result in a £200 fine. If you have an accident while you’re out, you may find your car insurance policy won’t cover the damage and you could end up paying thousands of pounds for repairs.”
This was then reported by some news outlets, causing panic that millions of people faced not being covered.
However, insurers have now confirmed that there's no truth in the claim.
Responding to the claims, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) reassured drivers: “Contrary to press reports, using your car for non-essential travel will not risk invalidating your car insurance.
“Your cover will not be affected if you drive during the lockdown period. However, all motorists should follow government advice and avoid non-essential travel.”
Insurers have also reassured motorists that their cover will remain in place even for non-essential journeys. A statement from LV= said: “Press stories have suggested that car insurance won't be valid for non-essential journeys in lockdown. This isn't true for LV= car insurance, and you'll still be insured to drive as per your policy T&Cs, as long as you have comprehensive or third party cover.”
Admiral similarly had this to say: “Your insurance will not be affected if you drive during the lockdown period, but all motorists should follow the latest government advice and avoid non-essential travel.”
According to the ABI, drivers are still covered even for non-essential journeys (Photo: Shutterstock)
However, if you are in any doubt, you should contact your individual insurer to check the status of your policy.
Using a car for commuting and voluntary work
The ABI has also cleared up some other questions regarding car insurance during lockdown.
If I have to drive to work instead of using public transport, will my car insurance still be valid?
Yes, your insurance policy will still be valid. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover.
If you work in one of the critical sectors listed by the government and you need to use your own car to drive to different locations for work purposes because of the impact of Covid-19, your cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover.
I drive for a voluntary organisation to help people who can’t leave their homes. Is my insurance still valid?
Yes, If you are using your own car for voluntary purposes to transport medicines or groceries to support others who are impacted by Covid-19, your cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover. This applies to all categories of NHS Volunteer Responders, including transporting patients, equipment, or other essential supplies.
If I have to self-isolate and need someone to drive my car to the shop to pick up supplies for me, will they be insured?
Not automatically. If they have “driving other cars” cover on their own car insurance they will be covered against third party damage. If they don’t you will need to contact your insurer and add them to your policy as a named driver.
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister site The Yorkshire Post