How your job affects your car insurance

Your occupation affects the price you pay for car insurance, whether or not you drive as part of your job. Find out why and see if you can save money.

Derri Dunn

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You have to state your employment status and job when you take out car insurance and the cost of your cover will be affected by your occupation.

Key points

  • You have to tell your insurer about your employment when you take out cover and it has an effect on the cost of your premiums
  • If your occupation legitimately fits several of the available descriptions – for instance, are you a hairdresser or barber? A chef or a cook? You might find some descriptions are cheaper than others
  • Always be honest - if you lie about your occupation you’ll invalidate your insurance

Car insurers collect data about past claims and use it to predict how likely it is that people in different occupations will make a claim in future.

If the insurer judges your job to be higher risk than another one, you’ll pay more.

Is your job making your insurance more expensive?

We checked which occupations were paying the most and least for insurance and found that those in certain medical professions enjoyed some of the lowest premiums.

‘Nursing sisters’ got the cheapest quotes, with medical secretaries and occupational therapists the third and seventh cheapest respectively.

At the other end of the scale, Fast food proprietors had the most expensive quotes.

People with car-related careers also tend to pay more, with car salesmen, mechanics, car valeters and car body repairers all featuring in the top 10 most expensive occupations.

Insurers judge people in these professions to be riskier drivers and price their premiums accordingly.

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Can I change my job title to make my insurance cheaper?

Don’t lie when you describe your job to your insurer.

Putting down the wrong job could mean you get cheaper insurance quotes, but it’s pointless because your insurance would be invalid.

But when you get a quote, you have to choose from a pre-defined list and you might find that several job titles accurately describe what you do for a living – for example, ‘mechanic’ and ‘vehicle technician’.

If that applies to you, try running quotes for other jobs on the list that are also an accurate description of your occupation - you might find some are cheaper than others.

Expert opinion

Donna Ferguson was named Insurance and Risk journalist of the Year in 2017, so she knows a thing or two about cutting the cost of cover - here she talks about her own experiences of her job title affecting her premium

“Everyone wants to get the cheapest possible quotes for their car insurance. But did you know the way you describe your occupation can affect the price of the car insurance premium you pay?

“Take me for example, sitting at my desk at home in Cambridge every day, writing articles about car insurance.

“If I were to describe myself to my car insurer as a ‘writer’, data collected by GoCompare suggests I would pay £497 on average for my policy in 2018. But if instead, with perfect honesty, I describe myself as ‘journalist’, the average premium jumps to £610.

“So it looks like - at least in the eyes of insurers - writers as typically glued to their desks, while journalists often get up to all sorts of mischief outside the home.

“It’s not just journalists. GoCompare’s figures show that in 2018 someone who described themselves as a ‘chef’ paid £278 more, on average, than someone who put down ‘cook’. ‘Hairdressers’ paid an average £309 less than ‘barbers’. ‘Solicitors’ paid £159 less on average than ‘lawyers’.”[1]

Insuring your car for commuting to work

It’s not just the nature of your job that affects your car insurance price - if you use your car to get to work and back or you use it for business, that’ll affect the cost of your insurance too.

Insurers split car usage into three types: social use, social and commuting, and business.

If you buy insurance for ‘social use’, you’re saying you don’t use your car to travel to and from work, or for any other business use. If you commute to work - even only very occasionally - you must choose ‘social and commuting’ or you won’t be covered if you need to claim.

But if you don’t use your car to commute ever, make sure you choose social cover only so you don’t pay for cover you don’t need.

If you use your car in the line of business, you’ll also need to specify what category of business use you need cover for.

Those who drive to work or at work are likely to spend more time on the road, particularly at peak times, so insurers deem them more likely to have an accident - and charge more.

In fact, Admiral Insurance found that 43% of claims by its policyholders were recorded during weekday ‘rush hour’ traffic.[2]

Car insurance guides and tools

[1]Using car insurance quotes made by customers on the site between 1 January and 31 December 2018, average best premiums for various occupations were: Journalist - £609.75. Writer - £497.29. Chef - £1,008.67. Cook - £730.55. Hairdresser - £819.50. Barber - £1,128.96. Solicitor - £581.99. Lawyer - £741.24

[2]According to Admiral insurance in June 2018, 43% of car accidents made by its policyholders took place in peak rush hour times

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