Is your vehicle insured? There may be reasons that it is not.

With Car Insurance Day (1st Feb) highlighting the need for appropriate cover on your vehicle, Iain Robertson contemplates some of the helpful ways by which to avoid falling into a trap of not being insured, especially as it might not be your fault.

Do you know when your insurance is due? Use National Insurance Day to check. Much like road tax, relying on your memory can be a costly error, as I discovered a year ago in forgetting to re-tax my own car. What should have cost £20, actually cost me £165, which included the fine for late payment. Of course, not having valid insurance on your vehicle is an offence. I diarise both road tax and insurance renewal dates to avoid repeating my error.

To some motorists, the desire to upgrade and modify their cars can be irresistible. Some of them look and sound very special too. However, unless you have notified your insurer of any alterations, which can be as minor as fitting non-standard alloy wheels, the insurance may be invalidated. You may have noticed that, whether you search online for competitive insurance quotations, or continue to use the same insurer that you have for years, one of the renewal questions is always related to how you use your vehicle. Not informing the insurance company that you use your car to drive to and from work can also invalidate any claims made.

Due to the fact that a number of Mr Clutch Autocentres are also MOT Test Stations, another aspect related to ensuring that your car is insured deals with its roadworthiness. The MOT Test is a means to obtaining an annual roadworthiness check on vehicles over three years of age. Without a valid pass, your vehicle insurance would be invalidated (mrclutch.com/mot).

Be aware that a ‘Fail’ incurred during an MOT will render your vehicle ‘unroadworthy’, even if it is fully insured. A ‘Fail’ may be the result of a ‘Dangerous’ defect being spotted. Of course, the most positive way to ensure that you are meeting the required safety standards and roadworthiness is by having regular and more in-depth servicing carried out on your vehicle. If you book both servicing and MOT together at a Mr Clutch Autocentre, you will receive the Test at a reduced price (mrclutch.com/car-servicing).

You may have heard from recent news reports that a high percentage of motorcars are being stolen by ‘clever’ criminals armed with the latest code-reading software on their computers. It seems that several popular brands are more susceptible to theft than others, although a common factor lies in the electronic key-fobs in use by many of them. Yet, there are additional anti-theft devices that can protect your investment, including steering wheel and road wheel-clamps, to deter even the most determined criminal. As long as your car is fully insured it will provide some peace of mind.

When you buy a replacement vehicle, one of the best ways to ensure that you are not inheriting someone else’s problems is to carry out an historical MOT mileage check, using the MOT History Database, as it can highlight any discrepancies that might make future insurance claims difficult. Not having valid insurance protection is illegal, so use National Insurance Day as your means to ensure that your vehicle is covered.