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Guide to Motor Insurance

Applying for a Motor Insurance Policy

Applying for a motor insurance policy can require you to answer a lot of questions to tailor the motor insurance policy to your needs, and also help reduce fraud by ensuring you are who you say you are. However, a large part of this is done at the quotation stage so by the time you've found a quote that suits you a lot of the leg work should have already have been done.

When you apply for motor insurance you'll be asked to outline your driving experience. Once you get past the age of 25 in the standard motor insurance market, your premiums start going down, in the high performance insurance market people over the age of 30 start to pay less. Your experience is important for lowering your premiums, older drivers offer less risk to insurers.

Whether you are applying online or via a broker or insurance specialist at a bank or insurance company you will need to provide personal information for yourself and all the users of the vehicle and details of the vehicle itself, including:

  • Name(s)
  • Date of birth
  • Profession (and employment status)
  • Average annual mileage
  • Length of existing no claims bonus
  • Driver's licence and history
  • Home address details including postcode
  • Vehicle registration number, age, make, model and engine size

Insurance companies differ slightly in the information they require, some can automatically source the vehicle information they require from just it's registration number or year of manufacture, but if not, you should be able to get everything you need from your vehicle registration documents, log book and MOT certificates, so have these handy.

Some insurers can accept your application and provide cover immediately, others may take 48 hours or longer to process an application.

Look very closely
at your insurance policy before you accept it!

You will be issued with a Certificate of Insurance and a motor insurance policy document. You must have a valid insurance certificate to meet your legal requirements in the UK. While your certificate of insurance is being prepared you will be given a temporary cover note. Until you have a temporary cover note or the certificate has been delivered to you, your insurance is not in force. Unless you have a valid certificate, you are not permitted to use the vehicle.

Check that your Certificate of Insurance and policy document show the correct:

  • Policyholder's name
  • Vehicle registration mark
  • Cover commencement date
  • Date of expiry
  • Class of persons allowed to drive the vehicle
  • Limitations in terms of use.

In all cases make sure that you are adequately insured. Being under insured does not mean cheap insurance, if something happens you could end up having to pay a large amount of money when you claim, in the form of an excess, or the cost of repairs which are not covered, or worse, personal liability to anyone you may have injured. So you should read the policy details as carefully as you can. Every company also has a different claims procedure and you should also understand it before you accept a policy.

In the event that you need to make a claim most insurers have 24 hour claim lines so you are able to report an insurable event as soon as it happens. Once you call the claim line, you will be sent an accident report form. During the call, find out from the insurer exactly what they need from you, including what evidence they expect. Try and keep a disposable camera in the vehicle, the best pieces of evidence you can provide is a picture of the scene of the accident. Photocopy any documents and correspondence related to your claim, keep any receipts.

The quicker you can get evidence and documentation to your insurer the quicker your claim can be processed. If your vehicle is damaged your insurance provider will recommend a garage to you, where you should take your car. This gives you the advantage of having your repairs paid for directly by the insurer, rather than you having to pay for it and be reimbursed. If you use a repairer who isn't recommended, you will need to send the estimate to the insurer for approval first. Until your insurer has agreed to pay the repair costs for the car, those costs are your responsibility.

Remember that whatever your claim is, you will be expected to pay the agreed excess. Your insurer will pay the cost of your repairs, but will not include the excess amount, and you will need to pay the garage the excess amount first. If you only have third party insurance and an accident wasn't your fault then you will need to claim from the other driver.

Download the Motor Insurance PDF Guide here - see our other free PDF guides here

Guide Contents

What is motor insurance cover?
Why should I consider a more comprehensive motor insurance policy?
What are the different policy types of UK motor insurance?
Motorcycle insurance
What you can do to get the cheapest motor insurance premiums
Low cost motor insurance premiums by shopping around
Applying for a motor insurance policy
Motor Insurance Information - FAQ
Where can I go to get more motor insurance advice

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