Insurance policies are legal agreements. A lot of money can be involved in insurance policies, so there needs to be a way to clarify the responsibilities each party has to keep to so that any dispute or confusion can be resolved. That means there are things in place to make sure your insurers pay out the money they owe you when you need it. However, it also means that there are certain clauses and responsibilities which you are your obligations. If you don’t, you risk invalidating your car insurance.

A lot of these things are obvious; leaving your car unlocked, neglecting to carry out the required maintenance and failing to renew the MOT, on time. Nonetheless, there are some things that you might barely have given a second thought to, which can completely invalidate your car insurance.

Letting pets roam free in the car

Loads of owners do it, right? You sit your dog in the passenger seat, wind down the window and let them feel the wind whipping through their fur as you cruise along the road. Well, it might be something you should reconsider as you are potentially invalidating your car insurance by allowing them to do so. Policies can include a clause which doesn’t allow pets to “roam freely in the vehicle”, so if you do find yourself in a position where you need to travel with your furry friend, make sure that they are buckled in and secured in the vehicle. Admittedly, putting a seat belt around a goldfish might be a challenging task, but if you fail to secure your pet for the journey, you might come to regret it when you look to claim.

Not updating personal details

How much you have to pay for car insurance varies depending on your personal details. Things like your age, your job and where you live are all things that determine the price of your insurance policy, because they affect how likely you are to claim (some areas are more secure than others for example). So, if any of this information changes, you need to let your insurer know. If you go to claim and they find out that any of your circumstances changed, your policy will be considered invalid, as you’re only insured for the circumstances specified in your policy.

Underestimated daily mileage

It’s a really simple mistake that could be really costly. Again, your policy only covers you for the circumstances it specifies. If you’re driving more miles than you say you are on a daily basis, then your insurance is invalid. Some people can find estimating their mileage a surprisingly challenging task, and getting it wrong is often an honest mistake, but it is still a breach of your policy that is significant enough to invalidate it, altogether.

Wearing high heels/flip flops

Lots of us love wearing both flip flops and high heels (Not at the same time, obviously), they’re the footwear of choice for a lot of people. However, you need to think twice when slipping a pair on before getting behind the wheel. Wearing the right footwear for driving is important. Any driving instructor will tell you that you need to wear sensible, and comfortable footwear to drive. Flip flops may be comfortable, but it certainly isn’t sensible to drive in them.

You need to ensure that you have full control of the vehicle and when you wear high heels or flip flops, there is a chance that your foot could slip off the pedals. If that happens at the wrong time, it could be very costly. Bearing that in mind, it isn’t really surprising that if your insurer finds out that you were wearing flip flops or high heels while driving or when you had an accident, your policy will be invalidated.

Attached object to rear-view mirror

Yep, seriously. We’re pretty much all guilty of this, but whether it be a pine tree air freshener or the classic fluffy dice, hanging accessories from your rear-view mirror can invalidate your insurance. This might make all insurers sound like miserable killjoys, who have an allergic reaction to anything that even remotely reflects a degree of creativity or customisation, but there is a reason behind this. The issue lies in the fact that car accessories like this could potentially obscure your view, so are therefore considered to be dangerous as they could lead to an accident.

The same goes for “baby on board signs” in the rear window and similar objects. While it might seem ludicrous to suggest that a small, smelly paper tree could cause a serious collision, some objects that hang from rear-view mirrors really can be big enough to obscure your view. Making different rules for what size objects you can hang from your mirror and which you can’t would be too ambiguous and would leave too much room for interpretation. Because of this, insurers just don’t allow any objects to be hung from rear-view mirrors to prevent any confusion or debate.

This should not be construed as advice and is for information purposes, only.