Insurance companies charge premium rates for parking

Home is where the heart is – but it’s not necessarily the place where you park your car at night.

To a motor insurance company, your home doesn’t matter as much as where you park when the underwriter is working out your premium.

How much car insurance you pay depends on what the insurer calls your ‘risk address’ and that’s the place where you park your car for 50% or more of the time your policy runs.

It’s a strange world where your parents don’t need to know where you are but your car insurer gets all mumsy about where you leave the car when you are sleeping.

So why does it really matter?

It all comes down to money. Motor insurance costs include working out the risk of damage or theft based on the crime rate in the postcode area where the car is kept overnight.

If you put down mum and dad’s address and it’s a leafy suburb, but you actually spend most of your time staying round a mate’s place in a rougher area, then the risk address postcode changes along with how much you should pay for your cover.

The small print for your car insurance policy probably says you need to tell the insurer about any material changes that might affect the terms, but often doesn’t say what these are.

To play safe, tell the car insurer if you are in any doubt because failing to do so means your car insurance might be invalidated and the firm might not pay out if your car is vandalised, stolen or broken in to.

The same can apply to permanent night workers who park their cars overnight away from home.

Tell the insurer, because they might argue where you park at work and not your home is your risk address, and not telling them where it is could invalidate any motor insurance cover because it breaches the terms of the policy.

It’s a good idea to tell your car insurer where you park your car overnight anyway, especially if it’s not your home address, before you take the policy out.

That way everyone is clear about the terms of the policy and the insurer can’t make excuses about you failing to keep them informed about material facts if you need to make a claim. Car insurance firms are not really bothered where you live, what’s important to them is that they have calculated the risk for where you park your car at night – and charged you the premium to match that risk.

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