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Ways you could make your car insurance void without knowing it

Full coverage doesn't mean you're covered for everything.

Updated

Fact checked
Car peeling out

Even a policy with high limits and full coverage can leave you uninsured in certain situations. But understanding your policy and talking with your insurer to find out if you need special coverage can help you stay financially safe.

Mods

Modifying your car can mean lowering it, adding large aftermarket rims, applying window tints or anything else that changes how it looks or works.

You’ll need to notify your insurer if you plan on making any modifications to your car, even if it’s something small. Any changes could affect the likelihood of your car being stolen or becoming involved in an accident.

If you modify your car without telling your insurer, you might not be covered.

Giving incorrect information

When applying for a policy, car insurers will ask you a number of questions. Lying on your insurance application or even misrepresenting certain facts can void your policy.

For example, telling your insurer that you park your car in a locked garage or compound, when in reality you leave it on the street, could you land you in trouble. If the car is stolen and it’s discovered that your car wasn’t left where you said it would be, the insurer can cite one of their insurance exclusions and void the policy.

Racing

Competing in or practicing for rallies, street races, track races, time trials or any other kind of racing can void your coverage. If you like to legally drive your vehicle fast on race tracks, you might want to take out a motorsports car insurance policy.

Alcohol/drug use

Drunk driving is behind almost one-third of accidents that involve fatalities, according to the NHTSA.

If you’re foolhardy enough to get behind the wheel while under the influence, your insurer may refuse to pay for damage and injuries by claiming it was an intentional act because you chose to drink. And even if they do cover it, your rates will likely skyrocket — or your policy will be canceled altogether.

Be careful if you’re taking prescription medication too, as some of these can cause side effects like dizziness, aggression, drowsiness and light-headedness, impairing your judgement and responses. Check with your doctor and fully read all labels/safety literature to see if you’re fit to drive.

Using the wrong fuel

It’s easily done. You’re filling your car while your mind is on something else. Then, you look down and realize that you’ve topped up with the wrong kind of gas.

It’s called misfueling, and it can be a costly exercise that won’t be covered by your insurance. You’ll need to pay for your vehicle to be recovered and to have the tank drained and the fuel pipes flushed through. Under no circumstances should you start up the engine.

Renting out your car

Carsharing apps have been skyrocketing in popularity, and insurers are adding them as specified policy exclusions. If you rent out your car on a carsharing app, or rent it out casually to friends, your car may not be covered in an accident.

Using your car for work

This means any kind of work, including both full and part-time positions like delivering pizza and transporting goods and independent contractor gigs, like ridesharing. If you use your car for work, you’ll need to take out a commercial car insurance policy if your company doesn’t already provide additional coverage.

Storm and natural disaster damage

Even if you have comprehensive coverage, a new policy may not cover damage from natural disasters. Insurers often have a waiting period before this coverage kicks in so that car owners don’t buy a policy just before a storm hits.

Compare car insurance providers

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Accident forgiveness Safe driver discount Available states
Progressive
Optional
30%
All 50 states
Discover coverage that’s broader than competitors, valuable discounts up to 30% off and perks like shrinking deductibles that reward no claims.
Clearcover
Optional
Yes
AZ, CA, IL, LA, OH, TX, UT and WI
Get instant online support and score a low rate thanks to online data that sets premiums automatically.
The AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford
Optional
Yes
All 50 states & DC
Drivers over age 50 can enjoy low rates and perks designed for mature drivers, plus freebies and AARP member perks like free replacement cost coverage.
Allstate
13%
All 50 states
Your dedicated agent can help you find the best savings with multiple discounts and rewards programs.
Metromile
Optional
49%
AZ, CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA
Pay only for the miles you drive, plus enjoy app services you won’t find everywhere like claims and car health updates.
EverQuote
EverQuote
Optional
Yes
All 50 states
Roll in a variety of car insurance quotes from top insurers despite a high-risk driving profile, and view possible discounts while you’re at it.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

A full-coverage policy doesn’t mean you’re covered for everything. To make sure you don’t end up with a bill you can’t afford, make smart driving decisions, read your policy documents before signing and compare car insurers to find one that offers the coverage you need.

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