Why going over your mileage can make your car insurance invalid

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Mileage and price
Going over your mileage
Updating your mileage
MOT history
Estimating annual mileage
Mileage refunds

Insurers often use annual mileage to work out your car insurance price, so it's important to be as accurate as possible.

Going well over your annual mileage could mean your car insurance gets invalidated. Here's what you need to know.

Annual mileage can affect your car insurance price

Insurers usually ask for an estimated annual mileage when you buy a policy to get an idea of how much you'll be driving.

Car policies tend to be more expensive if your mileage is high because you're more likely to get into an accident.

Drivers with a lower annual mileage generally get cheaper car insurance because they're less likely to make a claim.

But this isn't an exact science. Insurers take lots of other things into account when working out your insurance price too, including your:

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Going over your annual mileage could invalidate your policy

Your insurer could invalidate your policy if you go over your annual, which means that they won't pay out if you need to make a claim 🚫

This is because car policies will only cover you for the annual mileage estimate you gave. Any journeys outside of this are (technically) not insured.

Sometimes, that means you won't get a payout at all if you claim after going over your mileage. Other times it will mean you can't claim as much as you thought.

In some cases insurers will also charge a lump sum to cover the difference between your current policy price and what you would have been charged if your mileage was correct.

You have to tell other insurers about any cancelled policies when applying for new car cover in the future, which could make it harder and more expensive for you to find insurance. So it's worth sticking to the rules 👼

Generally, a higher estimated mileage results in a higher car insurance premium
Generally, a higher estimated mileage results in a higher car insurance premium

Updating your annual mileage

It's really important to tell your insurer if you go over your annual mileage or think you might before your policy ends.

They may charge you an "adjustment fee" to update your details which could cost anything between £15-£30.

The cost of your car policy may also increase, to reflect the additional miles you need insurance for.

Sometimes, this will add quite a lot to the price of your car insurance. If your premium becomes too expensive it may be worth considering cancelling your policy and buying one with higher mileage.

Insurers often charge a cancellation fee so you should weigh this up against any savings you might make by switching to a new policy.

You'll usually end up with additional cancellation fees if you pay for your policy by direct debit.

This is because traditional car insurance policies cover you for the year so paying in monthly instalments is like paying back a loan, and companies often add interest to your payments.

If paid annually for a policy, you'll still pay a standard cancellation fee but your insurance company will refund you the months you haven't used on your policy, except for the remaining two.

Normally, you won't get a refund if you've made a claim.

Insurers can check your MOT history to validate your mileage

Your MOT history includes lots of details about your car including your total mileage from the last three years.

Insurance companies can check your MOT to see if your estimated annual mileage matches official records.

So if you lie or significantly underestimate your annual mileage your cover could be invalidated.

Reasons why your annual mileage might increase

Changes to the way you drive or unexpected trips could affect your annual mileage, for example:

1) Commuting to work

Driving to get to work will increase your annual mileage.

Your commute also includes driving to get another mode of transport as part of your journey to work. (For example, driving to the train station and leaving your car parked outside.)

Some insurers include dropping someone else off at their workplace as commuting too.

If you start using your car as part of your job, rather than just commuting, you'll need to make sure business trips are covered. 👔

2) Adding a named driver

The estimated annual mileage takes into account all journeys made in your car, even if you're not the one driving.

That includes trips made by any named drivers on your policy.

3) Lending your car to someone

Similarly, letting someone else borrow your car will increase your yearly miles.

So, even if they buy temporary car insurance or have driving other cars (DOC), their journeys will also count towards your mileage total.

Check your MOT certificate to work out your annual mileage

Your MOT certificate shows lots of details about your car including the total mileage at the time of getting your MOT.

It'll also show your mileage history over the last three years.

You can get an idea of your annual mileage by comparing the difference between the total miles travelled in your car each year.

For example, if your total mileage is 20,000 in year 1, 40,000 in year 2, and 60,000 in year 3, you know you're driving roughly 20,000 miles per year.

Working out your annual mileage accurately

Your MOT certificate can help you estimate your annual mileage because it includes your mileage history from the last three years.

Comparing the difference between the total miles travelled in your car each year can give you an idea of your annual mileage.

Using an annual mileage calculator or conversion table can help you get an accurate mileage estimate for the year too.

Estimate your mileage accurately to make sure your insurance is valid
Estimate your mileage accurately to make sure your insurance is valid

Let your insurer know if you're driving less to save money

You should also update your insurer if you're driving less than expected because they could lower your insurance price and in some cases offer you a refund.

It may be worth considering limited mileage car insurance if you don't drive regularly.

For some policies you'll get a set mileage limit and will earn discounts or rewards if you stick to your allowance.

Others offer pay-as-you-go style insurance. This is where you pay a monthly flat fee and are only charged for the miles you drive.

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Updated on 3rd April 2023