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A guide to 4x4 insurance

If you already own a 4x4, you’ll be well aware that they’re hardly cheap cars to run, but there are ways to make sure that you’re not paying over the odds when it comes to your car insurance policy. 

Why is insuring 4x4s more expensive than insuring smaller cars?

Insurers consider many factors when deciding how much to charge you for your car insurance policy. One of these factors is the car insurance group[1] of your car. 4x4s are usually in the higher car insurance groups because they have larger engines, more power and cost more to repair/replace than the average car. 

How much you will be quoted will also depend on the type of insurance you’ve asked for (comprehensive, third party or third party fire and theft), your age, how many years’ no claims discount you have, your occupation, your driving needs, your driving history (including any prior convictions), the value of your vehicle, the number of seats in your car and where you live. Insurers use these factors to determine the likelihood of you making claim in the future. 

What type of insurance do I need?

The type of 4x4 you drive will determine whether you need car insurance or van insurance. If you do take out a policy, make sure you read your policy documents so you’re aware of any exclusions regarding towing, greenlaning and off-road cover. You must ensure that your insurance policy is valid. 

Using your 4x4 for competitions usually requires you to have specialist insurance, so it might be worth asking a 4x4 owners’ club for recommendations. 

Unless your car is SORN (has a Statutory Off-Road Notification), it must be insured at all times. If the 4x4 is owned by someone else and you just want to drive it occasionally, you may be able to get a temporary insurance policy that lasts up to 28 days. 

What is greenlaning cover?

A green lane is as an unpaved rural route. It’s also known as a Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT) or Unclassified Road (UCR). If you want to drive your 4x4 on bridleways and country footpaths, you must make sure your policy includes greenlaning. 

How can I save money on my 4x4 insurance?

Shopping around for quotes could save you money. Don’t presume that third party and third party fire and theft policies will be cheaper than a comprehensive policy. Often, opting for third party and third party fire and theft policies can make insurers consider you higher risk as the chances of you making a claim are higher. 

Try to boost your security by parking your 4x4 in a garage overnight. This may be looked on favourably by insurers. You could also add a steering wheel lock or another anti-theft device to your car. 

If you’re tempted to modify your 4x4, don’t. Insurers will want to know if your 4x4 has a modification and can make you pay more, and not informing them of a modification could invalidate your insurance. Some insurers will class adding a tow bar as a modification and place restrictions on the size and weight of the vehicle you’re allowed to tow, which is something to bear in mind. 

If you have made modifications or added high spec parts to your 4x4, you might want to opt for an agreed value insurance policy, so that you’d get a bigger pay-out if you ever needed to claim.  

Always make sure that you’re upfront and honest when applying for any car insurance policy. Don’t bend the truth or you could find that your policy is invalidated later. This could be a costly mistake. If your car was in an accident that was your fault, for instance, and was written off, you’d want your insurer to pay for a replacement. If your claim was turned down, you could be left without a car. 

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