February 22, 2024

3 surprising things your car insurance won’t usually cover

By Bethan Harper

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All UK drivers know they need standard motor insurance to legally drive on British roads. However, for many, that’s where their motor insurance knowledge starts and ends and as a result, they only have cover for the bare minimum.   

While opting for the minimum amount of coverage is a perfectly acceptable choice, it should be an informed one. This is where the problem begins, as many people don’t opt for the bare minimum because that’s what they want, it’s just all they know.   

As a result, many drivers don’t really know what types of incidents they’re covered for and might assume they have more coverage than they actually do.   

In this article, we’ll cover some of the surprising things your car insurance won’t usually cover, as well as where you can purchase add-on policies.  

Jump straight to a specific section or read on for the full piece:     

Scratch and dent insurance

If you drive frequently, it’s almost impossible to avoid getting a scratch or dent here and there, and when you do, they quickly make your car look unloved and unkempt. This superficial damage can even make your car lose value.   

But this type of damage is covered by standard motor insurance, right? The simple answer is yes; this damage is typically covered by standard motor insurance. However, it’s whether claiming your standard policy is worth it.   

When you take out a scratch and dent insurance policy, you’ll usually have a compulsory excess payment that you’ll pay with every claim. The price of your excess for comprehensive motor insurance can often be far higher than the cost of repairing small scratches and dents, meaning it’s not worth claiming against your policy. 

scratch and dent insurance
Small scratch on a car

Breakdown cover 

Contrary to popular belief, motor breakdown insurance is not a standard feature of most motor insurance policies. Of course, some more comprehensive standard motor insurance policies might cover this type of incident, but this is not always the case. And, even if breakdowns are covered by your motor insurance, often mechanical failures are still not covered.  

Also see: What are the benefits of motor breakdown insurance

Personal belonging cover

It might be a surprise to discover that your standard motor insurance policy typically doesn’t cover the costs of personal belongings left in the vehicle. This means that if your car is stolen or your belongings are stolen from inside your car, you won’t be able to make a successful claim. The same applies to belongings lost in a car fire.  

In some cases, comprehensive motor insurance might cover belongings left inside your vehicle. However, there are likely to be restrictions on this coverage. For example, there might be a limit on the value your policy will cover, so more expensive items are likely to be exempt. You might also find that belongings must be kept in a concealed compartment to qualify for coverage, so any belongings left in the view of passers-by may not be covered by your policy.   

A car that's been broken into
A car that’s been broken into

Aftermarket customisations 

Have you ever considered modifying your car? You might want to think twice if you haven’t considered the insurance implications of aftermarket customisation.   

Many insurance companies stipulate that to qualify for a claim, your vehicle must remain in line with manufacturer regulations. So, any non-approved modifications could invalidate your insurance.   

So, before making any adjustments to the appearance of your vehicle, it’s best to check whether the changes you wish to make are manufacturer-approved.   

Filling your car up with the wrong fuel 

Filling up your car with the wrong fuel is a motorist’s worst nightmare, but the nightmare only gets worse if you think your insurance would cover the charge when in fact it doesn’t.  

Far too often people believe this is a common feature of even the most basic insurance, but it’s rarely included.  

And, if you’re thinking, “Surely, I won’t put the wrong fuel in my car!”, think again. According to What Car (2023), more than 150,000 UK motorists do this every year! 

Also see: Is scratch and dent insurance worth it?

How much does additional cover cost? 

So, now that you know the types of incidents that may not be covered by your standard insurance, what can you do about it? 

Well, there’s no legal obligation to insure yourself or your vehicle against any of the incidents previously mentioned in this article. However, if you’d rather not take the risk against any of these eventualities, you can take out additional insurance.  

The cost of these add-ons will vary depending on your personal circumstances, the extent of coverage you require and the provider you choose. However, to give you an idea of the price you could expect to pay, motor breakdown cover could start from £24.88 per year (Save More Money, 2024), while scratch and dent insurance starts from £15 per month (Save More Money, 2024).  

scratch and dent insurance

Where to purchase a policy like scratch and dent insurance 

The best place to purchase cover will depend on the type of policy you’re interested in, the type of vehicle you have and the features you’d like included.  

To help you find the right cover for you, you can use third-party comparison sites like Money Supermarket. These types of websites will help you compare prices as well as what’s included in each policy, helping you make the right decision for your vehicle.  

Alternatively, if you’re interested in a scratch and dent policy with low-to-zero excess options or you’d like affordable and comprehensive breakdown cover, you can purchase your cover from Save More Money.


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