Car Insurance Classes Explained

Social, Domestic, Pleasure, Commuting & Business Use.


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By Cai Bradley
Updated on Tuesday 23 June 2020

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How you intend on using your vehicle can impact the cost of your car insurance quite significantly, as it changes the ‘class of use’ that you need.

Your car insurance class is just one of the many factors taken into account when calculating the cost of your policy, but it is a highly important one.

Here, we explain the car insurance classes available, which one would be suitable to you, what happens if you choose the wrong class, and how it could impact your premiums.

What are the main car insurance classes?

Here’s a list of the three main car insurance classes to choose from when taking out cover:

  • Social, Domestic and Pleasure (SDP)

  • Social, Domestic, Pleasure and Commuting (SDP + C)

  • Personal Business use (SDPC + business use)

What does Social, Domestic and Pleasure (SDP) car insurance cover?

Social, Domestic and Pleasure (SDP) insurance is for those who only use their vehicle for social and every-day purposes, such as visiting friends and family, shopping, and taking their children to school.

Does Social, Domestic and Pleasure include commuting? SDP-only insurance does not cover commuting, so you will need to opt for SDPC if you plan on using your vehicle to drive to work.

Read our guide to learn more about the different types of car insurance available.

Social, Domestic, Pleasure and Commuting (SDPC) meaning

SDPC insurance covers the same as SDP policies, with an additional clause that includes driving to and from work.

You may find that just one place of work is covered with SCPC car insurance, meaning that anyone travelling to two or more locations for work may need the next level of cover, SDPC and business use.

What does commuting mean on car insurance? Commuting essentially refers to the drive to and from a permanent place of work, but it can also include the drive to a bus or train station, as explained below.

What counts as commuting for insurance? Taking your vehicle to and from your workplace is considered a commute, as well as some other situations. For example, driving to a train station to get the train to work will also count as a commute. For more information about your specific circumstances, be sure to get in touch with your insurer and they will be able to clarify whether or not your situation is considered a commute.

What is Personal Business use (SDPC + business use) car insurance?

Personal Business use (also referred to as SDPC and business use) includes everything covered by both SDP and SDPC, with the addition of business-related driving. This includes driving to two or more different locations for business purposes.

In order for the best insurers to provide you with a fair premium, you will be required to provide them with information about how often you will be driving, where the businesses are located, your mileage, and so on.

Note that this class of insurance doesn’t include making business deliveries – you may need to take out courier or delivery driver insurance for that.

As it usually requires the most driving, business use will often be the most expensive ‘class of use’ for car insurance.

Read more: Hire and Reward Insurance

Car insurance commuting or business use – what's the difference?

Insurance that covers commuting (SDPC) protects you while you are driving to and from work, but it doesn’t include driving for work purposes beyond commuting.

SDPC insurance is adequate for those who simply need cover for the commute to their workplace, while those who travel to various locations for work will need business car insurance.

Why is the class of use important for car insurance?

When your car insurance premiums are calculated, the main factor considered by the provider is your risk of being involved in an accident.

What you use your car for inevitably has an impact on your likelihood of having an accident, which is why it is an important factor for insurers to consider.

Does commuting increase car insurance?

Commuting to work can involve a lot of driving, more mileage and requires you to be on the road during busy times, which puts you at higher risk of an accident than those who only drive for social reasons.

You are also more likely to drive on motorways, where you are again exposed to more risk.

This means that those who commute in their vehicle typically face higher premiums than people who only use their car for social purposes, due to the higher chance of being involved in an accident.

How much does commuting add to car insurance?

How much your car insurance premiums rise after adding commuting cover depends on your personal situation, as there are a range of different factors at play.

It’s difficult to say exactly how much the cost of your car insurance would increase without knowing your personal details, so you will need to contact your insurer to gauge an accurate idea.

For example, a 35-year-old man who drives a Skoda Octavia could see his premiums rise by 6% if he upgraded his cover from an SDP policy to one that includes commuting (SDP+C), but the change to your costs could be either more or less, depending on your situation.

Read more: Why Has My Car Insurance Gone Up?

Driving to work without commuting insurance

If a driver uses their vehicle for a class of use not covered – that is, if they drive to work without insurance that includes commuting – then the vehicle is uninsured during that journey.

Read more: How Can Car Insurance Become Void or Invalid?

There have been several cases of drivers being stopped by the police on UK roads because their insurance does not cover commutes, such as this one in Huddersfield in 2017:

Many commuters are simply unaware of these rules and mistakenly opt for Social, Domestic and Pleasure policies when they should be getting Social, Domestic, Pleasure and Commuting insurance, while others purposefully avoid SDPC as it is usually more expensive.

Remember, the police can easily spot uninsured vehicles with their ANPR technology or via AskMID, so it really isn’t worth the risk.

For more information on a variety of topics concerning motor insurance, be sure to browse our resources and take a look at our related guides:

The Types of Car Insurance

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost?

How is Car Insurance Calculated in the UK?


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