We all know that where there is fine print, there is the potential for issues. Every year millions of people find themselves tripped up by the issues that fine print causes; they experience an issue, then discover that the terms and conditions make it clear they have no possibility of recompense from the company. You have undoubtedly experienced a similar situation— and it’s always incredibly infuriating.
However, there is one area where you have to be particularly careful when it comes to ensuring you understand the car fine print: your car. Houses aside, cars are probably the most expensive thing you will ever buy, so you need to be sure that you’re going to be able to keep on the road despite the potential potholes in the fine print.
If you want to be sure you can keep motoring without any problems, here’s a few areas of fine print you’re going to want to keep an eye on…
Have you ever really read your car insurance policy? If you’re anything like the vast majority of citizens, the answer is… absolutely not. Insurance policies are not exactly exciting documents, but you may want to go and find yours and have a read. Why? Because a surprising number of things can invalidate your insurance— and you may have been doing them without even noticing.
For example, the following can void some insurance policies:
- Driving into flood water will often void your insurance, as the insurer will argue that you were not taking due care and attention while driving. If your region is at particular risk of flooding, it is possible to find coverage for this eventuality, but you will need to ensure you choose the right policy.
- Failing to report modifications to your vehicle; for example, if you install an enhanced speaker system and don’t inform your insurance, this could void your entire policy.
- Certain occupations may void your insurance; for example, if you use your vehicle as part of your job, especially if you do deliveries. This could mean that your vehicle is no longer classed as being used for domestic use only, which voids your insurance if you have an accident while using your car for work-related business. While it’s fine to use your vehicle for your commute, anything that involves the collection/dropping off of packages (or people— for example, if you use your vehicle as a taxi), then you likely need to upgrade to business insurance.
The above are just a few examples of how you can void your car insurance in fairly mundane ways. So even though it’s not the most exciting task you will ever experience, every time you renew your insurance policy, sit down with the literature and make sure you know what you can and can’t do.
When you buy a warranty for a vehicle, you need to be sure you understand exactly what you’re buying. There is a huge range of variation in what is available, so it’s important not to assume that just any warranty is going to be suitable for your needs. Take your time to understand the ins and outs of your policy, as the nuances can be particularly troubling. If you were to choose a powertrain warranty from Carchex or similar brands, then you need to ensure you understand the definition of powertrain is. This is just one example of a type of warranty that is incredibly useful, but it’s not a complete coverage— so you have to be sure you always know exactly what you’re buying.
There’s no harm in buying non-complete warranty coverage, of course. Powertrain warranties, for example, provide coverage for the absolute essentials you need to keep your vehicle on the road. However, you just have to be sure you know that’s what you’re buying— so spend some time reading the fine print to cover yourself..
Your driver’s license
Although not specifically related to your vehicle itself, this is a driving-related finer point that’s still worth mentioning. It’s important to know that while you may have a driver’s license, that doesn’t mean that you’re qualified to drive any vehicle. If you’re going to be driving any vehicle outside of a standard car — for example, when you hire a van to move home — then you need to check that your license entitles you to drive it.
Studying the fine print is always going to be a beneficial exercise in life, but it’s particularly helpful when it comes to your vehicle and driving. By keeping the above in mind, and digging out a magnifying glass to scrutinize your documents, you shouldn’t go far wrong.