A leading insurance comparison website is warning that some motorists may end up with a new bill for their current insurance policy if they exceed their estimated mileage.
Quotezone.co.uk’s warning comes as new Department for Transport figures show that traffic levels are now back to 70% of pre-lockdown levels – the first time car use has hit this level since restrictions were eased across Christmas week 2020.
Traffic volumes have gone up by 10% since mid-February, in part boosted by schools reopening on 8th March, which resulted in a 5% increase in car use compared to the previous week.
Quotezone.co.uk says motorists who renewed their insurance during lockdown may not have been able to accurately predict the increased time behind the wheel over the course of the year due to the changing covid restrictions.
More miles on the clock increase a driver’s risk of an accident and failure to keep insurance providers up to date with accurate details can lead to an unwelcome bill where mileage is concerned.
A second bill or an increased monthly premium is possible if the actual mileage is more than several thousand miles higher than predicted – and will come into effect during the renewal process or if the driver needs to make a claim. Of course, it is impossible to estimate how much the driver will be charged as each premium calculation is based on that particular driver’s unique risk profile.
Those most at risk of getting a second bill would be people who have changed their policy fundamentally throughout lockdown, for example, previously using a car for business purposes or a long commute and they now work from home. Once these drivers start clocking up the miles again, they will need to keep their insurer informed of any changes in their circumstances and increase mileage predictions accordingly. Note, if you overestimate your mileage you may be paying too much for your premium.
Drivers can use their vehicle log books or MOT certificate to get an idea of previous mileage and increase accuracy.
Greg Wilson, founder of Quotezone.co.uk, one of the UK’s leading car insurance comparison platforms, says: “With lockdown measures on the cusp of easing and the staggered return of schools in place, mileage estimates are going to be a likely query for many motorists.
“Insurers obviously understand that the mileage you quote when taking out a policy is an estimate, and will accept a degree of divergence from your initial figure.
“If and when a driver realises they’re likely to exceed their mileage estimate before their policy is due for renewal they should contact the insurance provider to make a revision. While this may well result in a second insurance cost, it’s always better to inform the insurance company upfront rather than having to resolve the discrepancy while trying to make an insurance claim.
“Those drivers found with a huge difference in their estimated mileage, may be classed as providing inaccurate details which could see the policy deemed invalid and the driver left uninsured. If the insurer can prove this was done deliberately, the driver may struggle to find an insurance provider that will cover them in future and if they do, it will likely be expensive.”