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Coronavirus: Can I cancel my car insurance?

People have been asking us whether they should cancel their car insurance if they can't drive their car during the coronavirus lockdown. Here's what you need to consider.

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As the coronavirus lockdown continues, and looks like it may restrict our lives for several months yet, people are looking for any opportunity to cut their monthly spending – especially if they have lost their jobs or are at risk of doing so in the near future.

Car insurance payments can represent a fair chunk of your household expenses and, with the country locked down for potentially the next few months, it might seem like a pointless waste of money to be insuring a car that you can’t actually drive.

Yesterday, we talked about your options when it comes to cancelling your car finance in the current environment. Today we’re looking at whether you should consider cancelling your car insurance, and what the implications might be.

Should I cancel my insurance?

If you still plan on driving your car, then the short answer is no. Even if your car is parked up on a public road and you’re not driving it anywhere, it needs to be taxed at all times and you must have at least basic car insurance. Fail to keep your car taxed and insured and you could be disqualified from driving for up to 12 months, with a massive fine to boot. Remember, if you need to get behind the wheel then you need insurance.

If you’re taking your car off the road, though, it may be a viable idea, but make sure you read the small print. Cancelling your insurance could incur charges, so make sure you know how much they would be to make sure it’s worth it. You might not actually end up saving as much as you thought.

Car insurance and your car finance agreement

Most car finance agreements require you to have the car comprehensively insured at all times. Some finance providers require proof of insurance before you can drive off in your new car, and after that it is your responsibility to ensure that your insurance remains valid. So if you have a PCP (personal contract purchase) or HP (hire purchase), you will almost certainly need to maintain your car insurance even if you’re not driving your car.

Covering your car when it’s off the road

Even if you’re not driving it, your car could still be stolen from your driveway. Or broken into, or damaged in some way. If you cancel your car insurance, you won’t be covered in any of those scenarios. While the risks may be low, that’s the whole point of car insurance.

How do I take my car off the road?

If you don’t need your car, taking it off the road may be a way to reduce your motoring-related costs. You’ll need to apply for a statutory off-road notice (SORN) and make sure the car is stored on a driveway, garage or private land – it can’t be parked on a public road, even if you have no intention of driving it.

Additional reporting by Darren Cassey

Stuart Masson
Stuart Masson
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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