Drivers urged to check their insurance as lockdown cover extension ends

Free cover for additional uses expires at the end of April

Car use is returning to normal with the easing of lockdown

Motorists who took advantage of free extended insurance cover during lockdown have been urged to check their policies as the scheme comes to an end.

Drivers who use their own car for commuting or work purposes need to check that they still have the appropriate level of cover after the Association of British Insurers (ABI) confirmed that temporary measures put in place during the first UK-wide lockdown would come to an end on 30 April.

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The measures introduced in March 2020 saw insurers offer cover for commuting and work use to drivers whose policy did not usually cover such purposes. The additional cover was applied automatically and free of charge by members of the ABI in an effort to help those who faced transport difficulties at the height of the pandemic.

However, with lockdown ending around the country and more motorists’ car use returning to normal, the ABI has said that the extension will end this month. As a result, drivers whose policy only covers social, domestic and pleasure use will need to update their insurance if they want to continue driving to work or use their car for work purposes.

The ABI said: “As restrictions change and travel to workplaces becomes more routine, it will again become necessary for drivers to check their insurance cover is appropriate for their needs.

You will need to speak with your insurer or broker if there are ongoing changes to your working and driving activities since taking out the policy. This includes using your own vehicle to commute to work or driving to different locations for work purposes. As was common practice before the pandemic, this will apply to all roles.”

The 2020 extension also covered those using their cars for volunteer work such as delivering medicines or groceries to vulnerable people in the community. The ABI has said that in the vast majority of cases this cover will continue but urged drivers to double check with their own insurer and make sure their insurer is aware of how they are using the vehicle.

Ryan Fulthorpe, motoring expert at comparison site GoCompare, commented: “How a car is used has a bearing on the risk perceived by insurers and, therefore, the premium charged. Drivers using their cars for commuting or driving between workplaces are likely to be on the road at busier times of the day and spend more time in their cars, than motorists simply driving for domestic reasons or for pleasure purposes. Following the end of insurers’ pledges to automatically extend cover during lockdown, it’s essential that drivers make sure their car insurance covers them for their new normal usage. If a motorist fails to declare that they drive to work, or drive as part of their work, this could invalidate their insurance and driving without insurance carries severe penalties.”

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