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Car insurance mistakes that could make you an illegal driver

Car insurance mistakes that could make you an illegal driver

When applying for, or renewing, car insurance it’s all too easy to make innocent mistakes which could in the worst case scenario leave you facing criminal prosecution.

Providing the wrong information, or failing to notify insurers of changes to your personal circumstances or vehicle, could not only cost you money, but potentially land you with a criminal record.

From incorrectly adding the wrong main driver, to fitting customised tyres, here are some of the car insurance mistakes which could land you in hot water:


Car usage

The reason you use your car is also crucial to cover as it can affect cost and your ‘risk’ profile for insurers.

If you use it for a daily commute, but put that you only drive for ‘leisure purposes’, you could void your cover if you subsequently make a claim, or face charges of fraud if proved to have done it deliberately.


Registering at the wrong address

As postcode impacts on policy price – it’s higher in a high crime area, for example – some drivers deliberately register a parent’s or friend’s address, which is different to where they actually live. Or you might simply move and forget to tell your provider.

Either way, it can mean a claim is denied or, worse still, you’re accused of fraud.


Annual mileage

The annual mileage you drive allows insurers to assess your ‘risk’ profile as it affects the wear and tear on a car and your chance of being in an accident.

Again, giving the wrong information, knowingly or not, and saying you drive around 5,000 miles a year when you actually drive 15,000, could land you in hot water.


The ‘named’ drivers

Naming a more experienced driver as the ‘main’ driver on a policy, if it’s not true, makes a policy null and void.

If done deliberately this is known as ‘fronting’ and you could end up in court facing criminal charges. Some people try it on as it usually reduces the cost of cover.



Many drivers don’t realise that insurers expect pets to be ‘suitably restrained’ as they can distract drivers. This may even include the need for seat belt harnesses or pet cages.


Vehicle changes

There are a number of modifications to a car insurers generally won’t accept. Having tinted windows put in, for example, or certain types of tyres added. Other changes include lowering the suspension and adding ‘racier’ seats.

A car’s ‘risk’ to an insurer is obviously very much associated with it’s specification, so providers have to be very careful about anything that could alter this, even slightly.


Job title

The job you say you do also impacts on price, so you must tell your insurer if you change jobs, and not get it wrong when you first apply for cover.


Letting someone else drive your car

Even if a friend or family member tells you they have the sort of cover that allows them to drive any vehicle, it can spell trouble.

Your own policy might have restrictions regarding this, and, in any case, the chances are they’ll only be covered for ‘third party’ damage.

If they turn out not to be covered at all, you’ll also face a fine, points and disqualification.


Car sharing

Many policies ban car sharing as it means, from an insurer’s perspective, that you’ll regularly have people in the car that aren’t named on the policy, increasing the risk of potential pay outs if you’re in an accident.

Check carefully if you enter into such an arrangement.


Unclaimed for accidents

Many drivers choose not to claim for minor accidents, or even more major ones, as they know it could affect their no-claims bonus and usually mean they have to pay the excess on the claim; scraping the car against a wall, or knocking the wing mirror off, for example.

However, even though you may not have claimed, you must still tell your insurer about any such incidents.



Policy Expert

Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, so we have a team of experts with a real passion for making sure people get the cover that’s right for them. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit for more ways to reach us.


Published 23rd November 2018