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Can car insurance overlap?

To help you understand how car insurance can overlap, why this may be more common than you realise, keep reading.

Why overlapping happens

Renewal date error

A car insurance overlap may be deliberate, such as if someone is planning to attempt fraud by making more than one claim. More often, though, it is accidental. It can happen because people make a mistake regarding their renewal date, so that two policies overlap by a few days or more.

Automatic renewal

Another way this doubling up can occur relates to the automatic renewal of policies. When you sign up for any insurance policy, the insurer may offer the option of automatic renewal. This may be made explicitly clear, or it may be hidden somewhere in the small print. If your current insurer takes payment automatically for the next month or year’s cover and you have already taken out a new policy with a different insurer, then you may be covered twice without realising.

You’re already covered

Sometimes customers double up on insurance simply because they don’t realise they already have cover for a particular feature with another policy. One example of this is breakdown cover. Some insurers include this in the premium, but if the driver does not realise this, they may take out a separate breakdown policy and thus be doubly insured.

 

Is it illegal to have overlapping car insurance?

No, it’s not illegal to have overlapping insurance policies. However, this does not mean it is a good idea. It will cost extra money, for a start, but this is not where the problems end.

One claim only

If you have two insurance policies, you can still only make one claim, because making more than one is fraud. Contribution clauses mean that both cover providers would be in touch with each other to establish how much they each needed to pay - and they may disagree over this. In cases like this, your claim could be significantly delayed.

It will cost you more

You would be likely to have your renewal price increased significantly if you made a claim from more than one insurer. You would also lose any no-claims bonus from both providers.

How do I avoid overlapping?

Check the small print

It’s best to closely examine the small print of any relevant documentation when it comes to renewing your motor insurance. After all, why would you want to pay more than you have to for cover?

Bank accounts and credit cards

As well as the terms and conditions of your insurance cover, it’s also worth checking those of any bank accounts or credit cards, as these do sometimes include certain types of insurance cover.

Beware breakdown

As breakdown cover is included as standard by many insurers, make sure you’re not doubling up by checking if this is already covered. There’s no need to pay for breakdown service cover if your existing policy already protects you in the event of a breakdown.

Renewal date

Check your renewal date very carefully to ensure there will be no overlap. Usually, your insurer will post or email you a renewal quote a few weeks before the new policy would be due to start. This should state your renewal date.

Continuous cover

Be aware that no grace period applies to car insurance. Your current policy expires at the exact time specified, so ensure you do have continuous cover if you are taking out a policy with a different insurer.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

The vast majority of insurance companies will let you choose between paying monthly or yearly for your policy. Your policy will therefore expire at midnight on the expiration date, unless your policy auto renews.

Don’t panic if you can’t remember who your car insurance is with. The best way to find out is by checking your paperwork – but if you don’t have it to hand, you can look at who your monthly payment is made to through your banking app or search your emails for electronic copies of your documents.

In the UK, car insurance is a legal requirement to have a policy in place if you own a vehicle. It provides you with financial protection if you have an accident.

The majority of UK car insurance companies will automatically renew your cover when it ends so you don’t accidentally end up uninsured. By law, your provider must notify you that your insurance will renew – and they must show you last year’s price too – so you can decide whether you’re getting a good deal.

As long as you have made a Statutory Off-Road Notification for the car in question, you don’t need SORN insurance – but you might decide you want to insure it; depending on your circumstances.

Yes, car insurance can be paid monthly. In fact, many people pay for their car insurance by monthly instalments.

It’s important to keep track of car insurance expiry dates – so you never find yourself driving without adequate cover. To find out when your insurance ends, you can check your paperwork, call your provider, wait for your renewal notice to arrive, or check the Motor Insurance Database.

Yes, your no claims bonus (NCB) can expire – and will do so 2 years after your last car insurance policy comes to an end. If you want to make sure you keep your NCB, you’ll need to take out a new policy within 2 years.