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How your job affects your car insurance

Drivers heading to work

Your occupation and the way you describe it will impact on the price you pay for car insurance premiums, as will the sort of work use the vehicle is put to. Find out more...

Key points

  • The type of job you do and how it's described will impact on car insurance premium prices
  • Be clear on whether you need your policy to cover social, domestic, pleasure, commuting, business and/or commercial use
  • It's vital that what you tell your insurer is honest and accurate

You might not be keen to admit you're an accountant or a traffic warden if you're meeting new people for the first time.

But what if you're talking to your car insurer?

They'll want to know what job you do - and your answer might make a surprising difference in terms of pounds in your pocket.

Your occupation is one of the factors taken into consideration by car insurance firms when setting your premium.

The price you pay could be higher or lower depending on whether or not you travel regularly as part of your job, or if you carry expensive equipment or stock in your vehicle.

And even if you don't actually use your car for business purposes and simply commute to and from work, what you do for a living can still make a big difference to the way you're perceived by car insurers.Car

Whilst it goes without saying that racing car drivers might face higher premiums, it's perhaps less well known that journalists, chefs and entertainers are likely to pay more than workers in other professions and trades.

Nurses, on the other hand, have traditionally benefited from lower car insurance costs. This is because nursing tends to be a female-dominated profession and, until a European Court of Justice gender ruling in December 2012, women's car insurance generally cost less than men's.

The gender directive made such differentiation in pricing illegal, but research from Newcastle University Business School has suggested that some insurers are getting around the ruling by charging less for motorists in female-dominated jobs (such as dental nurses and social workers) and more for those in male-dominated ones (such as civil engineers and construction workers).

Car insurance for commuting

Many drivers need their car to commute to and from work, even if they're not required to drive it for business purposes.

If this is you, it's likely a social, domestic, pleasure and commuting policy could suit your needs.

This means that you're covered for day-to-day driving such as visiting family and friends and going to the shops, as well as driving to and from one fixed place of work.

It also insures you to drive to and from a railway station as part of your daily commute.

This type of policy is different from a social, domestic and pleasure policy, which doesn't cover your commute to work.

Be careful if you own a classic vehicle and want to use it for your daily drive to work. You might have difficulty finding a classic car policy which covers commuting, or you might see a significant hike in your premium.

If you're not sure whether you can use your classic car for commuting or not, speak to your policy provider.

Business use Class 1:

This allows you to drive to multiple sites or offices and may typically cover your spouse, but not another named driver, for related business driving.

Business use Class 2:

This allows you to drive to multiple places of work and may typically cover your spouse or another named driver for related business use.

Business use Class 3:

This covers the above use as well as some selling (such as door-to-door selling) and the delivery of light goods, such as flowers.

Commercial insurance:

This covers vehicles used primarily for commercial purposes, such as taxis and delivery vehicles. As there are different definitions of commercial travelling, you should check with the insurance company before you buy. For more details on van insurance, read our guide to business or private van insurance.

Describing your job when applying for insurance

Think carefully when filling in your details. Always be honest and as accurate as possible, but bear in mind that the way you describe your job can affect your premiums.

For example, saying you're a cook working in a cafe could lead to a different premium price than if you were to say you're a chef working in a restaurant, and describing yourself as a writer can lead to a different quote than if you're a copywriter.

Insurers themselves won't have every single occupation listed on their database and may, for example, ask you to use 'events organiser' if they have no option for 'wedding planner', or 'commissioned or non-commissioned officer' if they have no option for 'army officer'.

But tweaking the wording is not the same as playing fast and loose with your job description! Telematics car insurance

Saying you're a teacher when, in fact, you're a professional sports player is a different matter, and could land you in hot water if you have to make a claim.

Car insurance if you're not in work

It's also worth noting that not being in work could have an impact on your premium, one way or another.

Being retired may well go in your favour, as retired drivers are generally seen as experienced and reliable. But it could be bad news if you're unemployed, as your car insurance might cost more.

UK's most accident-prone professions

Research conducted by Gocompare.com suggests that medical professionals are the most accident-prone drivers in the UK, and car dealers the least.[1]

Stress can dramatically affect a person's health and cognitive functions
Professor Andrew Smith, Cardiff University

In the study, 28% of general practitioners (GPs) had made at least one car insurance claim in the past three years, the highest proportion - in fact, the figure was almost double the national average for all professions (12.71%).

What's more, nine out of 10 of the proportionally most accident-prone jobs were in the medical profession.

In contrast, just 3.95% of car dealers had made claims in the past three years, while couriers, car valets, van drivers, painters, plasterers, and professional footballers all had fewer claims than the national average.

"It's not surprising to see that medical professionals had the highest proportion of claims," said Professor Andrew Smith, expert on occupational and health psychology from Cardiff University's School of Psychology.

"Healthcare is typically considered a highly stressful occupation, which could explain why GPs and other health professionals seem to make more insurance claims than others. Stress can dramatically affect a person's health and cognitive functions."

Gocompare.com's Lee Griffin added: "It would appear that a stressful job is a common link between drivers with a high proportion of claims, and that these accidents are due to distraction or breaks in concentration while on the road rather than reckless driving.

"This study highlights the importance of being in the right state of mind while behind the wheel.

"Driving when stressed or angry can lead to accidents, so if you find yourself particularly frustrated, it might be a good idea to take some time to calm down before driving, or find a safe place to pull over for a while."

By Rebecca Lees