Classes of use: How they affect the cost of your car insurance

Your car insurance premium can be impacted by how and where you drive your car. Find out more about what category you fall into and how you can cut the cost.

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How you use your car can affect your car insurance premiums, whether it’s for taking the kids to and from school and trips to the shops or to get to work and business appointments, it’s important you tell your insurer.

Car insurance classes of use describe how you use your car. If you use your car for your job, to get to work and for work meetings for example, you may pay more because they are deemed to be at higher risk of having an accident. While those who only use their car for short leisure trips are likely to be quoted a lower price for insurance.

What is a class of use in car insurance?

When you buy or renew your car insurance, you will be asked lots of questions about your personal circumstances and the way you drive. This includes the class of use, which means how you usually use your car. This describes whether you use your car for leisure or business purposes, or both, and the class can have an impact on the cost of your car insurance.

Drivers who use their cars for social and domestic purposes are likely to pay less for their car insurance than those using their cars for business purposes. This is because business drivers are more likely to spend more time in their cars and travel in rush hour, increasing the risk of them having an accident and making a car insurance claim.

However, if you have the wrong level of cover and you do need to make a claim, your insurer may reject your claim and invalidate your policy.

What are the different classes of use?

There are three main car insurance classes of use to choose from, which you’ll be asked about when getting a car insurance quote.

Social, domestic and pleasure (SDP)

The insured car can be used by the named drivers on the insurance policy for any driving which is non-work related. This includes any normal daily driving such as picking children up from school, going to the supermarket, or visiting friends or family members.

Social and commuting (SDP + C)

Drivers are covered for everything noted above in social, domestic and pleasure use but they are also able to commute to work. Each insurer has its own definition for commuting so check the small print first but usually it is described as making the same journey every day, such as driving to an office or to a station car park if you’re then getting the train to work.

Business use (SDPC + business use)

Business class of cover is slightly more complicated. Most insurers describe different levels of business class insurance, so it’s always worth checking the small print to make sure you’re buying the right kind of cover.

Most business class insurance will cover everything included in social, domestic, pleasure and commuting classes but will also cover drivers for using their car for business use. This includes driving to different sites for work or driving to meet clients, for example.

Is business class the same for all jobs?

There are a few different levels of cover with business class. You’ll often be asked the following before being given a quote:

  • Your job
  • How many miles you usually drive
  • How long on average each day you spend driving

There are then four main types of business class cover.

Class 1: This class of cover is suitable for those using their cars for work, driving to different offices but not for commercial driving such as a delivery driver.

Class 2: This covers you for everything in class 1 and you will be the named driver, along with anyone else who uses the car for the same use.

Class 3: If you’re travelling a long way each day, such as a salesperson, this is the class you’ll need as it includes light goods transportation and sales.

Commercial: If you don’t fit into the classes above you may need commercial insurance which covers you if you use your car for your job, such as if you are a taxi driver or driving instructor.

Can I add anyone else to my policy?

It’s usually possible to add your partner or spouse to a business class insurance policy to cover them when they use the car for this purpose.

Depending on the class of insurance you have, and your insurer, you can also add a colleague to the policy even if they don’t live at your address, if they also use the car for the same role.

Which one do I need?

All insurers define car insurance classes of use differently, but in general, the following table shows what kind of class of insurance you may need.

Class of insuranceDay to day driving such as to the supermarket or to visit friendsCommuting to and from an officeDriving to meetings and different officesDriving for work including taxi drivers
Social, domestic and pleasure (SDP)YesNoNoNo
Social and commuting (SDP + C)YesYesNoNo
Business use (SDPC + business use)YesYesYesNo
Commercial useYesYesYesYes

Does class of use impact the cost of your car insurance more than other factors?

It’s impossible to say how much class of use affects the cost of your car insurance. This is because there are so many factors that make up a car insurance premium including your age, profession and postcode along with your driving history and your car make and model.

However, it’s clear it does affect the cost and the more you drive the higher your insurance will be. This is because insurers see you as more of a risk of having an accident and claiming on your policy.

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