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.
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.
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.
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.
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.