Each time you request an insurance quote, the company will ask you for personal information. Whether you use a comparison site or go direct to the insurer, you will need to provide certain details that allow it to calculate the premium. This is the same information that will be used by a bank or building society for credit checks and the insurance company will look at your credit file to confirm the information.
The information you must disclose
When you are asking for a quote, you must reveal your address, occupation, age and marital status, and you also need to say whether you have made any claims against car insurance policies in the past, as well as giving details of any driving convictions.
The insurance company will then use this information, along with other details, to calculate the premium. That’s why it’s essential to be completely accurate and honest when you ask for the quote.
The effect on your credit score
Each time an insurance company looks at your credit record to make sure your personal information checks out, this will register as an inquiry. However, it will only show on your personal credit file in the same way as a check by an employer. That means you will see the check by the insurance company on your file if you ask to see it. However, it is what is known as a ‘soft’ search and won’t be visible to anyone else.
That means that any company that looks at your credit file in future will not see it. As a result, it won’t damage your credit score. It will be ignored in future if you apply for a bank loan, credit card or any other finance agreement that is treated as credit, including a gas, electricity or mobile phone contract.
The need to access your record
Before agreeing to provide insurance cover, the company needs to confirm that you have been completely honest with them in terms of the information you have disclosed. Although the company will state that it has conducted a routine check, it will be logged on the file. If you subsequently request details of the information registered on your file, you will notice the insurance company’s name. That search will disappear from your file after 12 months.
When a credit check is registered
Although the request for a quote does not show as a credit check, the method you use to pay the premium may affect your credit score. If you pay the full premium in a single lump sum, it is not regarded as credit. However, if you want to pay the amount by instalments, it will be treated in the same way as taking credit. As a result, you will be taking out a credit agreement for the number of months over which the payments are spread. The insurance company will carry out a credit check before agreeing to accept payments in instalments. That effectively leaves a credit footprint and can influence any future applications for a loan. If you don’t want a credit check to be carried out, ask to pay the premiums in a single amount.
For further details on this topic, or other issues relating to car insurance, don’t hesitate to contact our expert team.