If you normally use your car for work but are stuck at home during the coronavirus ‘lockdown’ and it’s sitting idle outside, the thought may have crossed your mind to cancel your car insurance. While it may seem like a viable option for saving some money, is it a good idea to actually do it?
The pros and cons
Although cancelling your car insurance may be tempting and can certainly save you a few pounds in the short term, there are a few practical (and legal) reasons to consider before taking the plunge and ringing your insurance company to cancel your policy. The first and foremost factor you need to consider is whether or not your vehicle is parked on a public road. If you don’t have a garage or a driveway and can’t park your car on your own private land, you’ll need to leave it on the street. If this scenario applies to you, you definitely shouldn’t cancel your insurance policy. According to the Citizen’s Advice website, there are only a few reasons where it’s legal to NOT have a valid policy in place. These are:
- you’ve SORN’d (Statutory Off-Road Notification) the vehicle
- your vehicle hasn’t been kept off a public highway prior to 1st February 1998
- if you’ve had your car scrapped, it’s been stolen or you’ve exported it abroad (and have given notice that it has)
- if it’s between dealers or held in stock by an authorised dealer
However, if you do have your own piece of land available to store your car, e.g. a garage or driveway, you can cancel your insurance policy as long as you register it as SORN. You can do this by contacting the DVLA and letting them know the date that you will be moving your car onto your own land. If you don’t, you must carry on paying for your car insurance and have third-party insurance as a bare minimum. If you think about this logically, your car could still be involved in an accident even if it’s parked and you’re not in it; someone may crash into it and if it’s not covered by a valid policy, you’d find yourself in hot water.
Emergency trips or an unexpected need
Even if you do have a place to park your car that’s not on a public highway, you may still need to use it in an emergency. This could be due to a friend or relative in trouble or you may even need to make an emergency trip to a hospital, and if it’s the dead of night, you won’t be able to get your car re-insured until the morning.
What about my car’s MOT?
Fortunately, we’ve already written in more detail about this, so click on the link for more in-depth information regarding this. In short, if your MOT expired on or after 30th March 2020, this won’t be a problem as you’ll be given an exemption for several months and your MOT should automatically be extended. You can also check your MOT history online to confirm the exemption although your vehicle may not have been updated yet so you should check it periodically. We should point out that even with this extension, it’s still a legal requirement to keep your car roadworthy at all times, even if the next MOT test date has been extended. If this applies to you, make sure you keep the battery in good order and brush up on a few ways to extend the life of your car.
What if my car is on finance?
Again, from a money-saving point of view, you may be able to get a “payment holiday” on the repayments so it’s worth asking them if they offer this; for the sake of a phone call, it’s certainly worth enquiring as it can save you a tidy packet in the short-term if they do – especially if you’re struggling to keep up with the repayments or are concerned that you won’t have a job to go back to once we’re through these tough COVID-19 (coronavirus) times. Also, since so many people are struggling to pay their bills right now, some car manufacturers in the UK are assisting their customers by relaxing their agreements, so you could end up with a 3 month payment holiday on the repayments.
We hope that you’ve found this blog useful and have picked up a few handy hints along the way, regardless of whether or not you decide to cancel your car insurance.