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Guide to Motor Insurance

Motor Insurance Information & Frequently asked questions

See below for more motor insurance information and frequently asked questions which may assist:

Puffin Car InsuranceQ. Are there any legal exemptions to having to have third party insurance?

A. Under the Road Traffic Act (RTA) 1988 and 1991 the only way you can avoid having third party insurance is to keep an amount of £500,000 deposited with the Accountant General of the Supreme Court as security against any loss or damage you may cause on a public road while using a vehicle.

Puffin Car InsuranceQ. What is Gap Insurance?

A. GAP Insurance (sometimes also known as Shortfall Insurance) is an optional insurance plan that supplements your main motor insurance. It is usually only required if you have a loan or finance for your vehicle and is designed to provide additional cover to repay your remaining loan or finance balance in the event that your vehicle is stolen or written off. Your motor insurance is based on the value of your vehicle but your loan or finance will usually be for more than the value of the vehicle after interest and charges are applied. Gap or Shortfall insurance provides protection when your main motor insurance pays out for the loss of a vehicle but does not cover the full amount you may still owe on your loan or finance agreement.

Puffin Car InsuranceQ. What should I do if I have a driving accident abroad?

A. If you have an accident abroad the process is the same as if one occurs in the UK. Stay calm, don't admit fault, check for injuries, and contact the emergency services should injuries have occurred. If a police officer comes, make sure you note his number. Get the details of the other driver as well, note their registration plates and their vehicle details as well as their name and address. If you have any witnesses then you should get their details too. You might be presented with a document in a foreign language that you don't understand, and asked to sign it, if so, sign it but also write in as large letters as you can: "I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS DOCUMENT". Take photos of the accident, you may need to complete an accident statement. If the damage to your motor vehicle is minimal then you can wait until you get back to the UK before contacting your insurer. Should the damage be serious, call your insurer's emergency claims number.

Puffin Car InsuranceQ.What is subrogation?

A. Should your car or other vehicle be damaged by another car, your insurer normally has to pay for it, then their costs are reclaimed from the responsible driver or insured user of the other vehicle. This process is called subrogation.

Puffin Car InsuranceQ. What is 'proximate' cause'?

A. Insurers look at something called 'proximate cause' when assessing a loss. If there was a chain of events that led to a loss, insurers will only consider the immediate (proximate) cause(s), not any remote causes which have not been detailed in your insurance policy.

Puffin Car InsuranceQ. What is commercial motor insurance?

A. Anyone intending to use their vehicle for anything other than private affairs, for example an HGV driver who spends the working week going up and down Europe 's motorways or a minibus driver helping out on the occasional school trip, will need to take out commercial insurance cover, which provides different levels of cover for the more complicated legal and financial aspects of running commercial vehicles. A number of high-street insurance companies won't insure commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes or haulage vehicles, so using a specialist commercial motor insurance broker in these cases is usually the best approach.

Puffin Car InsuranceQ. Why are young drivers seen as high risk?

A. People aged between 17-25 years are classed a ‘young or student drivers' for insurance purposes. Being newly qualified with a lack of insurance history, reduced no claims bonus entitlements and statistically more likely to have an accident, means these drivers are seen as high risk by insurance companies. However if you build up a good no claims bonus and if you're female use a specialist female driver insurer you can reduce your premiums and improve your risk score.

Puffin Car InsuranceQ. What should I be aware of if I want to insure a high performance car or kit car?

A. Insurance can cost from £2,000 to £10,000 a year or more for high performance or sports cars, so look into this before you buy the car of your dreams. Make sure the insurer has good relationships with specialist repairers who know where to source the right parts and fix these types of cars. Go to a specialist for insurance. Non standard vehicles which have been modified or are not built to UK build specifications cost more to insure. It can be difficult to find parts and repairers for imported cars. But if you import a UK specification model, imported car insurance won't be as expensive. You usually have to go to a specialist for insurance in these cases.

Puffin Car InsuranceQ. Will my premiums be affected by driving convictions such as drink driving?

A. Yes, things that can increase your premiums can be put into two categories. The first one is who you are as a person, including your job, location of your home and your medical history. The second category is about the way you drive, and your behaviour. Driving convictions include being stopped for driving through a red light or speeding. Once you have these you will have to pay larger premiums and probably a larger excess before you can get insurance. So it is in your interests to carefully watch your speed and not take risks with traffic lights. The most serious conviction is for drink driving. Insurance companies take this very seriously, you may find it very hard to get any insurance at all. If you do get insurance, you are unlikely to get a discount or comprehensive cover, only third party insurance. Driving convictions can lead to your insurance options being restricted for several years.

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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