Small print: Roof rack could void insurance

February 25, 2015 | By | In News

Insurance policy small print could mean that insurers can claim that undeclared modifications as small as adding stickers or a roof rack to your car invalidate your insurance cover. One driver even had a claim overturned recently as their vehicle had a religious sticker added to back window, new research has found.

As a result, drivers could find that claims on their car insurance are refused if they have breached the terms and conditions of their policy – whether they are aware that they have or not. Highly specific clauses in policies could mean that the most minor and innocuous of changes to a car can allow insurers to withdraw cover.

The driver who added the religious sticker to their car was told that this sticker was deemed a modification to the car that they had not been made aware of. Ian Crowder, insurance specialist at the AA told This is Money that drivers should be aware that even items that do not affect performance, such as roof racks, can cause problems.

Consumers should make sure they answer all insurer questions honestly and to the best of their knowledge.

Consequently, drivers are urged to declare any additions to their car which aren’t standard, rather than taking the risk of insurers invoking small print to wriggle out of paying out, should the owner need to make a claim. There are several other things that motorists should be aware of when changing car or filling up; numerous insurers will not cover the cost of repairing a car that has been filled up with the wrong fuel – which happens 150,000 times in the UK every year. Buying a new car can also bump up your premium, as insurers assume that drivers who are less used to their car are more likely to crash.

An Association of British Insurers spokesperson said: “Consumers should make sure they answer all insurer questions honestly and to the best of their knowledge.”

Picture: wojtek

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