Car insurance classes explained

Social, domestic, pleasure SDP use
Social, domestic, pleasure SDP use

When you search for car insurance, you’ll be asked to choose your car’s ‘class of use’. This is simply an insurance term to describe the way you use your car. Crucially, it’s also one of the key factors insurers consider when it comes to working out your premium, but that also means there are serious consequences if your class of use isn’t right.

To help you decide what you need, explains what each class of use covers and offers some practical tips on how to get cheap car insurance.

What are the different classes of use

For most of us that use our cars for general everyday activities, there are two classes of use to choose from. If you travel a lot for work, you also have the choice of a third option known as business use, which is then split down into three further categories.

Here’s what each class of use covers:

Social, domestic, pleasure (SDP)

This class of use covers you to drive for personal or domestic reasons only. For example, dropping the kids off at school or doing the weekly food shop. It’ll also cover you for longer car journeys, like driving holidays and day trips.

Social, domestic, pleasure, and commuting (SDP+C)

This covers all the types of activities under SDP and will also cover you to drive to a single place of work. You’ll also be covered if you drive to a station and continue your journey to work by public transport.

If you give someone a lift to the station or to work each day, then you might need SDP+C too. It’s worth checking with your insurer just to clarify where they stand on this as insurers set their own policy conditions.

Business use

If you’re constantly out and about and visit numerous clients or visit multiple work locations, you’ll need to choose the most suitable class within business use; they are:

● Class 1 business use — this is suitable if your work is spread over different sites and you need to travel to various locations like regional offices.
● Class 2 business use — this extends your class 1 cover to a named driver added to your policy (such as a work colleague).
● Class 3 business use — this is aimed at heavy road users and will cover you to drive to an unlimited number of locations for work, for instance, if you work in sales and visit different clients.

Is commercial traveling the same as business use?

Commercial traveling is usually just another way to describe class 3 business use. Nevertheless, it’s worth clarifying with your insurer what they mean if this is something mentioned in your policy.

On the other hand, business use and commercial use, are two different classes. In most cases, commercial policies are aimed at anyone whose car is an integral part of their job (including couriers, takeaway delivery drivers and taxis). These policies often combine other types of insurance that also cover the goods being carried.

Confusingly, some insurers use the terms business use and commercial use interchangeably, so just be sure you know exactly how your insurer defines each term.

What happens if I choose the wrong class of use?

It might not sound like a big deal but choosing the wrong class of use can have serious consequences if you need to make a claim.

This is because your class of use helps insurers understand what the risk of you making a claim is. For example, if you’re on the road almost all day, every day, you’re more likely to make a claim compared to someone who only drives to the supermarket once a week. That increased risk is reflected in your premium.

If you don’t have the right class of use set out on your policy, your insurer can void it. Fundamentally, this means your policy never existed and you won’t be compensated if your car is damaged, destroyed or stolen.

Not only could you be left holding the bill, if your insurer cancels (voids) your policy, you could struggle to find car cover from another provider. Policies that are available to you may also be more expensive.

How do I get cheap car insurance?

Any policy you choose should accurately reflect the way you use your car, but that doesn’t mean it should break the bank. To help keep car cover costs as low as possible, you can:

● Pay for your policy in one go to avoid interest fees
● Keep your car as secure as possible, investing in an immobiliser can help
● Keep modifications to a minimum
● Add a more experienced named driver to your policy
● Choose a less powerful car as these cost less to insure

Of course, one of the quickest and easiest ways to find great cover at the best price, is to compare car insurance which you can do right now at