Classes of use for car insurance – how to choose the right cover
Many factors count towards the cost of car insurance, and one of those is Class of Use. This basically defines the main purpose for which you use your car. Your insurance policy will provide cover for a specific class of use, but if you get it wrong, you could accidentally invalidate your insurance.
Insurers may differ slightly in how they classify the different classes of use, but here’s a broadly recognised explanation of each category, and how to choose the right one.
Social, Domestic and Pleasure use
Choose this class of use if you only use your car for non-work-related travel. Examples:
- Driving children to and from school
- Visiting friends
- Recreational use, e.g. to a sports centre, cinema or football match
Social, domestic and pleasure use does not cover you for commuting to and from work, even if your journey is only to the train station, where you catch a train to your place of work.
Social, Domestic and Pleasure, plus Commuting
Choose this class of use if you want all the benefits of Social, Domestic and Pleasure use, with the added benefit of cover for travelling to and from one permanent place of work.
Commuting between more than one work site is not covered in this class of use. So, for example, if you travel between different regional offices for your job, or you use for car for visiting customers or business colleagues, Social, Domestic and Pleasure plus Commuting isn’t the right class of use for you.
Class 1 Business Use
The next step up is to include cover for business use, so if you do use your car to travel between multiple work sites, for external business meetings as well as travelling to and from your normal place of work, Class 1 Business Use is the right option for you.
Most insurers include a spouse on this type of policy, but other named drivers on the policy wouldn’t be covered for business use.
Class 2 Business Use
As for Class 1 Business Use, but both you (as the main driver) and any other named driver on the policy will be covered for business purposes.
Class 3 Business Use
This is the most suitable class of insurance when work-related driving is a permanent feature of your job, and the mileage really clocks up, e.g. sales people.
- Neither Class 1 nor Class 2 Use includes cover for the kind of business travel that involves extensive annual mileage, or when driving is a regular feature of your job, e.g. travelling sales people for goods or services.
- Depending on the insurer, Classes 1 and 2 may also have thresholds on the number of business miles travelled, so check the details of your policy carefully.
- Commercial use of your car is not covered by Class 1, 2 or 3 Business Use, e.g. using it to transport goods, or providing paid rides as a taxi or minicab.
- Van insurance is much stricter than car insurance for commuting: even if your van is used solely as a private vehicle, if you use it to commute to work, you’ll need business van insurance. Read more about the differences between Business Van Insurance and Private Van Insurance.
Business use differs from commercial use. If you primarily use your car for your job, for example a delivery driver, courier, driving instructor or taxi driver then commercial car or van insurance is the right type of policy.
Remember, it’s very important that you check your insurer’s definition of the different classes of use, because they may vary.
Why do premiums vary for different classes of use?
When you’re only driving your car for social, domestic and pleasure uses, you’ll probably be on the road far less than someone using their car to drive to work. You’re also more likely to drive in areas that are familiar to you, and in off-peak times.
Statistically, this makes you less likely to make a claim, so premiums are cheapest for the class of use for Social, Domestic and Pleasure.
When you commute to work, or your job involves a lot more driving for business reasons, the risk of a claim gradually increases through the different classes of business and commercial use. You’ll find that premiums for these classes are usually more expensive.
What would happen if I chose the wrong class of use?
The consequences can be serious. Your car could be uninsured if you’re commuting to work in a car that’s only covered for Social, Domestic and Pleasure use. This means that in the event of a claim, your insurer wouldn’t pay out. Being uninsured is classed as an offence for which you could be prosecuted.
If you’re still unsure what class of use you should get, why not speak to our friendly team of experts? They can answer your questions and help you through every stage of your quote.