For a lot of us (excluding my sister), driving is a part of everyday life and is as simple as breathing. And aside from the anxiety I get when I’m asked to reverse park, driving can be quite enjoyable and therapeutic. However, silly – and avoidable – mistakes happen everyday to even the most responsible drivers. So before you next get into your car, here are seven things that can void your car insurance.
Being under the influence of drugs and alcohol
Kind of an obvious one, but it still needs to be said. Trying to find a provider that will cover you under the influence is like looking for a vegetarian in a steakhouse – highly unlikely. L or P plater license holders need a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0%, so only mocktails for you. Full licence holders need a BAC of 0.05%, which is still risky business if you’re deciding to drive.
Not keeping your car insurance provider in the loop
If you’ve decided to treat your ‘baby’ to an upgrade with some car modifications, let your insurer know beforehand – even if you’re only giving it a spiffy paint job. This is because to your insurer, once you make an unauthorised change, your car is no longer the vehicle originally insured.
Deciding to use your car for business purposes is also grounds to call up your provider. If you get into an accident while using your car for a roadshare service like Uber, your claim may be rejected as you were using the car for monetary motivation.
Lack of upkeep
Like I said, to some motorheads, their car is their baby, so it often needs a checkup. It’s also about making sure your car is constantly safe to drive by taking it for regular services. Another thing to keep an eye out for is anything that needs a bit of a boost, like old spark plugs, which bring us to our next mistake.
Driving with old tyres
When you think about, your tyres cop a beating each time you hit the accelerator, which is why they deteriorate very quickly. Luckily, you’ll be able to tell when your tyres need to be changed. ‘Tread wear’ indicators are located at the normal intervals of your tyre and help to identify when you need new ones.
The minimum tread depth should be 1.5mm across the width of the tread – you can measure this with a ruler. Once you reach this, then it’s time to spring for a new set of rubber!
Forgetting to pay your premium
This is one of the easiest and silliest things you can to do to void your car insurance. Put it this way, if you get into an accident and ask your provider for help, they’ll need to see you holding up your end of the bargain. One way to make sure you never miss a payment is by setting up a direct debit through online banking.
Leaving your car unlocked
According to a survey by Budget Direct, 18% of car thefts occurred when the driver left their keys in the ignition. And while you may be ducking into the service station for ‘just a second’ to pay for petrol, it also takes a thief ‘just a second’ to steal your car. Play it safe by always locking your car and yes, even if you’re parking it in the garage.
Lending your car to friends
We all want to be a good person and sometimes that means helping a friend out in times of need. But handing the keys over to your mate can make your car insurance claim a bit more tricky if they get into an accident.
If they are listed as a nominated driver under your policy then you can rest easy knowing that they’ll be covered. But it’s also worth checking out the excess you could be expected to pay if an accident occurs at their hands. Plus, if they’re going to be behind the wheel for a while it might be worth adding them to your policy, but keep in mind that this may increase your premium.
And if they aren’t listed on your policy, you’ll face an ‘unnamed driver excess’, which can cost up to $850! Oh and if they’re under 25, you may be asked to cough up almost double the amount.
Overloading your car
Giving your car more than it can handle in terms of carrying more passengers or load is not only illegal but can void your car insurance. You also need to make sure that your load is properly secured before travelling. And if you’re planning to use your car for towing, check with your car manufacturer about the legal limit you are able to tow.
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