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12 car insurance myths drivers really believe

Car insurance myths are widespread among drivers in the UK. To identify the most common misconceptions about car insurance, Uswitch's experts delved into all the myths to separate fact from fiction, to help people avoid mistakes and save money on their premiums.
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1. “Parking my car in a garage means my car insurance will be cheaper.”

One of the most widespread auto insurance myths is that keeping your car in a garage will result in a much lower insurance premium than parking it on your driveway.

Some 69% of drivers think that if they park their car in a garage overnight, they get a lower car insurance quote than if they parked it on the street.

But parking your car in a garage might actually cost more in some cases. This is because, statistically speaking, parking in a driveway is less likely to result in a car accident than entering or leaving a garage. If you have access to both on-street and garage parking, it is worthwhile to compare quotes for each to see which is cheaper.

2. “My quote is what I will pay.”

A quote is just that: a quote. Companies will base their car insurance quotes on the details you provide. When you’re ready to purchase the policy, your quote could well change if that data is incorrect.

Car insurers pull two reports before giving you a quote: a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report and your Motor Vehicle Record. In these reports, you’ll see your insurance claims and traffic incidents. Your final price will likely go up if you didn't include this information on your quote, or if it was incorrect.

When looking for a new car insurance plan, 70% of drivers with a household income of £15,001- £25,000 believe that they will pay exactly what they have been quoted, whereas less than three in five drivers with a household income of £65,001 - £75,000 believe the same.

3. “Lower mileage means my car insurance will be cheaper.” 

It's a common car insurance myth that fewer miles driven will result in a reduced premium, but that's not always the case. Drivers with little mileage may occasionally pay more, but this varies by provider. This is because people who only occasionally drive frequently use their car for short trips at busy times - often on unfamiliar roads - which is a greater risk than someone who regularly drives the same route to and from work, for example. 

Among the many findings of a recent study developed by Uswitch car insurance experts, we discovered that a majority of drivers (53%) believe that if you drive fewer miles per month, you will pay a lower premium as a result.

4. “I can negotiate my premium to get cheaper car insurance.”

As far as car insurance misconceptions go, this one ranks high: you are unable to negotiate the price of your policy. The amount of risk you pose is calculated by car insurance companies and the rate reflects that risk. 

If you were to receive a lower rate by another insurance company, that’s generally because they assess risks differently, but you are not able to take that lower quote to other insurers and expect them to match it. However, there are ways to lower your cost. You can affect your premium by picking the right coverage and taking advantage of discounts.

Generally speaking, there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to car insurance, and one of the most common ones is that you can negotiate with insurers in order to get a lower premium. 52% of all drivers believe they could lower their insurance if they negotiated with their insurer.

5. “Putting my policy in a parent’s name will lower my premium.”

In order to lower their insurance premiums, young drivers will sometimes say an older or more experienced person is the main driver. This is illegal and it's called "fronting”. 

If the case goes to court, you could lose your insurance, get points, get disqualified, and even be fined. You may also find it harder to get car insurance in the future. 

But parents and anyone else can be added as additional drivers to your policy, which could lower your rate. Just don't make them the main driver. If you're a young or first-time driver, you may want to consider telematics or black box insurance.

As a matter of fact, this one ranks high in regard to car insurance misunderstandings with almost three out of five (56%) drivers surveyed between the ages of 25 and 34 believing that placing a policy in the name of their parents will lower their premiums.

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6. “New cars are more expensive to insure.”

This isn't always the case, but it's still a little challenging because a car's age affects rates in many ways. First, modern safety features in new cars are more likely to lower the risk of an accident and the likelihood of serious injuries if one does occur.

Interestingly, when it comes to those who believe this misconception, age is a huge factor, as three out of five (63%) of young drivers aged 17-24 years old believe that new cars are more expensive to insure than used cars.

7. “Comprehensive cover means I can drive any car.”

It’s easy to assume that if you have "fully comprehensive" insurance, you can drive anyone else's car, but this isn't always the case. Some policies will cover this, but many will not, so the best thing to do is to double-check your policy documents to make sure you're covered.

If your insurance does cover this, you will only be covered for third-party liability, which excludes damage to the car you are borrowing. You must also first obtain the owner's permission.

The results of a recent survey indicate that almost 40% of drivers think that having comprehensive car insurance ensures that you can drive any other person's car if you have comprehensive cover. Northern Ireland, Wales, and Greater London are the top three regions in which this misconception is the most prevalent, with totals of 50%, 48%, and 46%, respectively.

8. “My credit score has no effect on my insurance rate.”

Many insurance companies evaluate your credit score when you are looking to purchase, switch, or renew your car insurance policy because it shows how well you manage your finances.

Being good at managing money has been proven to be a solid predictor of whether someone is more likely to make an insurance claim, so those who have excellent credit scores and therefore good insurance ratings often pay less for insurance.

Despite the fact that many people consider it trivial, we recently revealed that almost a third (32%) of drivers surveyed believe that your credit score will not have any impact on your car insurance, in spite of the fact that other factors can affect it.

9. “If someone else drives my car, they cover any damage.”

There is a misconception that insurance follows the driver rather than the car. False; the opposite is true. Car insurance follows the car, not the driver.

If a friend borrows your car and gets into an accident, your policy will act as the main insurer. Only if the limitations on your policy are exhausted can your friend's policy take over. Make sure you know how your insurance works before you let someone drive your car. There may be driver exclusions in some plans, so no one else can drive your car.

According to a survey of 2,000 drivers, a quarter (25%) of those surveyed believe that in the event that someone else is driving their car, and they get into an accident, they will be covered by the other driver for the damages.

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10. “Personal auto insurance also covers business use of my car.”

Having personal auto insurance won't cover you if you're self-employed and use your vehicle for business. Make sure your employees' driving records are up-to-date if they use your vehicle.

Even though this isn't one of the most common misconceptions about car insurance, it still catches people out, with nearly two out of five (38%) of drivers aged 17-24 claiming that their personal car insurance will cover the use of their car for business purposes as part of their personal insurance policy.

11. “I don’t have to tell my insurer about an accident that wasn’t my fault.”

You might think that your insurer won't need to know about an accident for which you weren’t at fault—for example, if your car was parked when it happened. Any incident, however small, must be reported.

It's worrying to see that a quarter (25%) of drivers think you don't need to tell your insurer about an accident you didn't cause. Your insurer may cancel your policy or refuse to pay if you make a claim and fail to disclose important information. Your no-claims bonus shouldn't be impacted by reporting a non-fault accident, but it might still affect your renewal premium.

12. “Red cars cost more to insure.”

It's helpful to know that, despite popular belief, the colour of your car has no impact on the cost of your car insurance. There are a few variables used to determine your premium - such as your address, age, driving history, make and model of your car - but the colour of your car isn’t one of these factors. 

On the other hand, your insurance premium will almost certainly be affected by any modifications that you make to your vehicle - and getting an after-market paint job or car wrap counts as a modification to many insurers.

A more expensive type of paint can also make a difference sometimes - as it costs more to repair scrapes and scratches - but the colour isn’t a factor. 

Among drivers aged 25-34 years old, about a quarter (23%) of those surveyed said they thought red cars were more expensive to insure, while only one in fourteen (7%) said that red cars were more expensive to insure for people over 55 years old.

How to avoid misconceptions

Given the complex nature of car insurance, misconceptions often get passed on as 'common knowledge', which can result in you paying more for car insurance than you need to. Here are a few tips on setting the record straight on these myths about car insurance:

Tips on how to avoid these misconceptions:

Do your research: By using trusted sites when looking at car insurance quotes or even general faqs you are ensuring that the information you're getting is fact not fiction. Trusted sites can be anything from the DVLA to 

Speak to your insurer: By speaking to your insurance company you will be able to clear up any uncertainty you have with renewing your policy or any other concern you have.

Compare quotes: Renewing with your insurer has no real benefits. It's a myth related to car insurance. It might be possible to save money by switching to a different insurer that offers the same level of coverage. You can also transfer your no-claims bonus.

Get a car insurance quote

See a range of car insurance quotes in just a few minutes when you compare with Uswitch

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