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Different Types of Insurance Policy
Social, Domestic and Pleasure Use
Insurance policies often contain restrictions that will only allow a vehicle to be used for ‘social, domestic and pleasure purposes’. Below are some common examples of what would constitute use for ‘social, domestic and pleasure purposes:
- General day to day driving e.g. .driving to the supermarket, collecting children from school, commuting to and from work
- Lending you vehicle to a friend for pleasure purposes, even if they pay you for the petrol they use
- Carrying furniture, without payment, for a friend
- The activities of charity workers, magistrates and elected councillors, who receive reimbursement of their expenses only
Driving in the course of your employment is a primary example of business use.
Business use does not always cover any form of business use. Restrictions are normally put in place where a specific company is named in the policy. The policy holder would only be covered when conducting business on behalf of the company that is named in the policy. If the vehicle is used in respect of a different business, cover may not apply.
There is often confusion between motorists as to what constitutes business use and social and domestic use. Take for example the part time pizza delivery boy who has a weekend job delivering pizza. Not many people know that in this situation a policy that permits ‘business use’ must be in place.
An unfortunate situation that often arises is where an employee is driving in the course of his employment and they subsequently find out that they are uninsured.
Under these circumstances you would be required to prove that on the balance of probabilities (more than 50% chance) you did not own the vehicle and it was not in your possession under a contact of hire or a loan - if the car was yours, the court's view will be that you should have arranged suitable insurance.
You would also have to prove that you were using the vehicle in the course of your employment and that you did not know or have reason to believe that there was no insurance in place for that vehicle.
Ordinarily, the court would require some evidence from your employer that this was the case. There is however the risk that your employer could be prosecuted for causing or permitting you to drive a vehicle without insurance.
Partner and Head of Department
Business Crime, Regulation & Driving Offences