Car insurance jargon befuddles 42% of drivers

07 December 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

Nearly half of drivers in the UK do not understand all of the terms in their car insurance policy, research from Swiftcover car insurance has found, so they are unaware of what exactly they are covered for.

Some of the things that leave car insurance customers confused when perusing their policy document include voluntary excess, the meaning of comprehensive car insurance, and material facts.

Swiftcover car insurance says that many drivers increase their voluntary excess to reduce the cost of their premiums – the amount they have to pay towards the costs if they make a claim on their policy – but for 23 per cent its meaning eludes them.

Comprehensive cover has been misinterpreted by 17 per cent of drivers, who think that it means they can driver any car, and a further nine per cent wrongly believe that anyone else is insured to drive their car – instead of what it actually means: that the cost of repairing or replacing their car is covered, in addition to any damage caused to third parties (other drivers, their cars and property).

When informing their car insurance provider what they use their vehicle for, 13 per cent of drivers incorrectly assume that ‘social, domestic and pleasure’ use covers any journey, provided they are having fun, while four per cent think it means that only journeys after 6pm and on weekends are covered by this term, when in fact it means that the car can be used to commute to and from one place of work.

Half of motorists do not know what the term ‘material fact’ means, that it is the information they are required to provide their car insurance provider with which could affect their policy, such as having penalty points on their driver’s licence.

Nearly a quarter of drivers have no idea what a ‘non-fault claim’ is, that it means the insurer can claim back the full cost of the claim from another driver involved in the accident which led to the claim.

A significant proportion of driers – 18 per cent – believe that car insurance policies are full of confusing jargon to intentionally confuse them, the research revealed.

But, sometimes drivers bring ignorance upon themselves, the study also found, as 17 per cent of motorists do not bother to read the insurance document in the first place.

Tina Shortle, marketing director of, explained: “Some drivers struggle with the terms used in their insurance, but it’s vital that they read and understand their insurance policies so they know exactly what they are covered for.”

© Fair Investment Company Ltd

Written by Editorial Team