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Families could invalidate their car cover this half term with roof racks, tow bars and trailers

22 October 2015

Gocompare.com warns drivers to check their car insurance to avoid a half-term headache

While the school holidays can offer an opportunity to spend quality time with the family, new research from Gocompare.com Car Insurance has revealed that some must-have equipment for family road trips may not be covered, and could even invalidate your insurance.

Roof racks and tow bars

Typically insurers consider roof racks and tow bars as a modification and may expect you to declare them, even if you have fitted them yourself.

Failing to declare modifications, no matter how minor, could lead to any claim you make being rejected, regardless of whether they played a part in the incident or not.


Fitting everything in the car on a family trip can be a logistical nightmare, so for many hitching a trailer to the back of the car is a necessity. However, Gocompare.com found that the vast majority (78%) of insurers do not offer trailer cover as standard
Only 22% of the 233 insurance policies analysed offered trailer cover as standard with a further 3% providing it as an optional extra.

Cover levels can also vary significantly with 43% of policies willing to pay out between £1,000-£2,999 and just 3% covering £5,000 or more.

Car seats

The use of a car seat is required by law for children under the age of 12 (or under 135cm tall), which means that for many families a car seat is an essential part of any family outing. However, in Gocompare.com’s study, it was found that 68% of comprehensive car insurance policies would not cover the cost of a replacement car seat following an accident.

Of those that do provide cover for car seats, 51% offer to fully reimburse the cost of the car seat, while 38% only pay out a fixed amount for a replacement. 11% of policies only pay out should the car seat be damaged in an accident.

Matt Oliver, car insurance spokesperson at Gocompare.com, said: “The logistics and traffic that usually accompany a half-term family road-trip can be stressful at the best of times, and for most of us, the consequences of having an accident is the last thing on our minds. However, making sure you know the level of cover you have before you set off could help avoid any unexpected financial surprises.

“Car modifications extend far beyond alloy wheels, body kits and spoilers and not informing your insurer of a roof rack or a tow bar could result in your claim being rejected. If it wasn’t there when the car left the showroom, it’s worth checking with your provider.”


Notes to editors:

**Source: Defaqto Matrix of 233 car insurance policies - instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial researcher Defaqto (correct as of 25th September 2015)