When you're taking out a car insurance policy, you'll be asked to pick a 'class of use'. This tells insurers how you use your car and is used to determine what you're covered for and how much you pay. Here's how it works and how to find out which one you fall under.
What is a car’s class of use anyway?
Your class of use basically categorises what you use your vehicle for. For example, it might be that you need your car for work, for your own private use or maybe a bit of both. This information contributes towards the information insurers use to calculate your premium (how much you pay) and the conditions of your policy.
It's vital that you tell your insurance provider the correct class of use for how you actually use your car. If you need to make a claim and it turns out you're using the car for purposes that you're not covered for, you might find yourself in hot water.
And make sure not to confuse it with type of insurance coverage, which can be easily done. Class of use does not refer to the type of coverage level you have, such as fully comprehensive, third party, or third party, fire and theft. Instead, it's all about how you use your car. This means when you're taking out car insurance you'll be picking what type of coverage level you want, and also stating what you use your car for.
What are the different types of use class and what does each involve?
There are three main classes of use, one of which will apply to you.
1. Social, domestic and pleasure
This is the class of use for everyday driving needs such as visiting family or friends, shopping, going to the cinema or taking the family for a weekend getaway. It covers all drivers included on your insurance policy.
2. Social and commuting
This policy covers you for all social, domestic and pleasure needs mentioned above, but it also covers your work commute. It doesn’t include any driving you do on-the-job.
This is the use class for you if you need your car for daily journeys but also for travelling to and from a single place of work. It usually also includes leaving your car at a train, bus or underground station as part of your work commute, or giving someone a lift to their place of work. But, if you commute to more than one location, social and commuting probably won't cover you.
If you need your car as an integral part of your job, then you'll need to make sure you have 'business' cover. This covers you for all of the above (day-to-day driving and commuting) but it also covers you for any driving that you do that is specifically for work.
Within this, there are actually a few different types of business cover and you need to make sure you’re insured on the right one. They are:
Business use by you
This applies to drivers who use their car to drive to different locations related to their job. For example, an area manager who visits different office branches, a local restaurant that picks up supplies, or a freelancer who drives to different locations would all fall under this class use.
Business use by you and other drivers
This option extends the above cover to all other named drivers on your policy in relation to your business. So for instance, a local family gardening business where each member needs to use the car to visit clients would need to make sure they have this policy.
Business and commercial use may sound similar, but they’re not the same. Confusing, we know. Commercial use applies to drivers who need their cars on a constant basis for work. They are on the road a lot and so their premiums tend to be higher. If you need your car to sell goods or services, or if you make deliveries with your car, for example, then this is the class of use for you.
What happens if I have the wrong class of use on my car?
It is important to tell your insurance provider the correct class of use for your car or you might find that your cover is invalid.
For example, let's say you occasionally use your car for business purposes but only have social cover. If you get into an accident when you're using your car for what is deemed as a business (or commuting) purpose, and try to make a claim, the insurer is very unlikely to pay out.
So it's definitely worth getting to grips with the types of uses and working out which you fall into. That way you'll have peace of mind that you're properly covered whenever you get behind the wheel.