Can I pause my car insurance?

Can I Pause my Car Insurance?

Let’s get the all-important question out of the way – can you pause your car insurance?

The answer is – you might be able to, but if you can will depend on your personal situation.  

It’s important to note that if your car is on the road or you’re driving it you’ll very likely need insurance - UK law says that you must normally have at least third party motor insurance!

The only situation in which you don’t need some sort of insurance is when your car is off the road and has been listed on the Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) register. To do this, you’ll need to contact the DVLA. If your vehicle isn’t listed as SORN, and it’s not insured, you may find yourself penalised.

Whether you can pause your specific car insurance policy is up to your provider. Some providers might allow you to pause your cover for an agreed amount of time, restarting it when you need to use it again. Other providers might not let you do this. Bear in mind that providers aren’t obliged to let you pause your insurance, so it’s important to check the conditions of your policy before you buy.

In theory, pausing your insurance means you won’t have to pay insurance premiums for the time the policy is paused. But of course this also means you won’t be covered by this policy during this time period either.

Why Pause Your Insurance

Why would someone want to pause their car insurance in the first place? Basically, you could pause your insurance because you don’t need it temporarily, but will need it again in the future. This might be the case for a number of reasons.

  • Your car is un-drivable

If you’re not driving your car because it is being repaired, you may not need your car insurance and may want to avoid ongoing premiums and auto-renewals. If the repairs are due to take a long time to complete, for whatever reason, you might consider pausing your policy.

  • Your work or study circumstances have changed, and you won’t be using your car for a while

If you live in Norwich but find yourself on a year-long work placement in Central London, you might decide not to use your car for that time. Though it’s important to note, that even if you’re not driving your car - if it’s sitting on your drive and hasn’t been SORN, you’ll probably still need insurance.

  • You’re unable to use your car due to a temporary illness or injury

Some illnesses and injuries may require longer periods of recovery or rehabilitation. If this stops you from driving, you might not want to keep paying your insurance premiums.

  • You’re heading abroad for an extended period

Perhaps you want to go on a gap year, you plan to work or study abroad, or you’re traveling for a while. If any of these plans see you heading abroad for longer than a typical one or two-week holiday, you might think it’s worth pausing your car insurance.

What to Bear in Mind When You Pause Your Car Insurance

So far, so simple – if you won’t be using your car insurance for a bit, you may want to just pause it, then switch it back on when you’re ready to drive again. If only it was that straightforward - unfortunately, you likely won’t be able to hop back and forth between covered and not covered – or at least not without spending lots of money.

1. Pausing Your Car Insurance Carries a Cost

This is arguably the most important factor to bear in mind. If it’s an option to pause, many insurance providers will charge a fee. They might also charge a fee to restart your coverage later.

2. No Coverage Means No Coverage

While you could think if you’re not driving your vehicle, there’s no danger of colliding with anyone, things are actually a little more complex than this.

It’s likely that your insurance covers more than just collisions and accidents on the road. What if your car is damaged by fire or flood? What if it is stolen or vandalised? You’ll need cover for this too, and you’ll want to consider this before deciding to pause.

3. You May Already Have a Payment Agreement with Your Provider

If you have agreed to pay a set of predefined monthly payments for the first year of your insurance policy, you may not be able to pause this. Your provider may be working with another partner to offer this payment schedule, or they may simply be unable to pause such an agreement due to their own terms and conditions. In this instance, pausing might not be an option.

Is It Worth Pausing Your Car Insurance?

When you decide on whether or not to pause your car insurance, the most important question is this – is it worth it?

You’ll need to weigh up:

  • How long you won’t be driving for
  • How much you will save in premium costs
  • How much you will need to pay to pause and restart
  • How much you will have to pay to register your vehicle as SORN and make it safe from fire, theft and other dangers

One alternative is if you’re not sure how long you won’t be driving for, it could be worthwhile to consider cancelling (instead of pausing) your car insurance, after you’ve registered you car as SORN.

What is the car insurance cancellation fee for UK drivers? Well, that's up to individual insurance providers to decide. Make sure you know the relative costs of pausing, cancelling and keeping your insurance open before you make a decision.

A few final tips…

If you think you might need to pause in the future, make sure you read the terms and conditions of the policy before you buy

Costs and fees can add up – considering how much you’ll spend in order to save can be important

Urban Jungle is not a financial advisor and information in this article should not be taken as advice or recommendation.