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Could taking a speed awareness course invalidate my insurance?

Many of us probably think it’s acceptable to undertake a speed awareness course and never tell our insurer, but this could mean you are uninsured.

That’s according to a report in the Telegraph, which said insurance brokers treat speed awareness courses in the same way they would treat penalty points, but police are allegedly failing to make this clear.

The option of a speed awareness course is given when a driver breaks the limit by a small amount. They can either pay a fine and have penalty points added to their licence or pay for and undertake a speed awareness course and avoid the points ─ usually to avoid an increase on their premium.

Campaigners said the current system lulls many motorists into a false sense of security, hence why they never declare the speed awareness course and could see their insurance invalidated in the event of a claim.

Dorset anti-speed campaign head Ian Belchamber said: “The police’s actions are potentially resulting in people driving uninsured because they haven’t told motorists to tell their insurers about the speed awareness course.

“I would make sure your insurer knows you’ve been on a course regardless of whether they specifically ask for that information.

“If you are involved in an accident and the insurer looks into your history and sees you’ve been on a speeding course they could say ‘You didn’t tell us about this, you’re not covered’.

“The police don’t want people to know this because they make a lot of money out of the courses.”

Deputy chairman of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association said insurers were entitled to hike premiums: “They have still broken the law on the road but are just taking their medicine differently.”

“Drivers might avoid penalty points on their licence but car premiums could still leap significantly, which insurers are perfectly entitled to do,” he added.

A spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) insisted the courses are good for drivers. “Driver retraining courses have been well received by motorists and contribute to reducing deaths and casualties on our roads.

She added: “Police forces do not make money from the courses. The scheme’s financial model is designed to provide police forces with cost recovery only… Each offender attending a course returns £35 to the force initiating their offer.”

This flies in the face of Bedfordshire Police force, which recently said it would be using motorway speed cameras to raise as much as £1 million in funds for keeping its officers in the job.

Best to check with your insurer on their stance on speed awareness courses to see how your insurance is affected, or never break the speed limit in the first place.

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