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Motor insurers have given the green light to volunteers who want to use their cars to help out their local communities by promising not to charge extra premiums.


The commitment, which covers 54 insurance brands representing over 85% of the motor insurance market, comes after talks with the voluntary sector showed that some volunteers found barriers to ‘Big Society' work either through extra charges or bureaucratic requirements.


The commitment applies to private car insurance policies.  Policyholders must be using their own vehicle and will be allowed to accept expenses up to the HM Revenue and Customs mileage rates, currently 45p per mile, but will not be permitted to use their vehicle for hire or reward.


Insurers will make all the necessary information publicly available so that volunteers can be fully covered to take part in community activities, such as taking old and sick people to hospital appointments or on day trips, without such trips being classed as business use.


The ABI's website has details of the motor insurers who have joined the commitment, setting out details of who to contact if necessary.


 Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society, said:


"We've made it very clear that we want to tackle the obstacles that get in the way of people getting involved as volunteers. That's why we commissioned Lord Hodgson's red tape taskforce.  This was one of the recommendations of the report and I am delighted the insurance industry has responded so positively to that challenge - making it easier for people to do more for their communities"


Otto Thoresen, ABI Director General, said:


"Volunteers are a critical part of our communities. Motor insurers have given a clear commitment that they do not want to stand in the way of volunteer driving, by not charging extra premiums. They recognise the tremendous benefit that this work brings to local communities and society as a whole.


"This commitment follows very positive discussions with the voluntary sector and government, and we have recognised where the problems may come for volunteers.  They told us that there are sometimes extra charges and unnecessary bureaucracy. Insurers have responded swiftly and clearly to ensure volunteers can continue their vital work."


Justin Davis Smith, Chief Executive of Volunteering England, said:


"This is a great step forward in helping communities meet their own transport needs. The cost of insurance can be a real barrier for volunteer drivers, so I'm delighted that the industry has made a clear commitment to support them."


Alastair McDougall of volunteering charity, WRVS, said:


"This marks real progress. Over 10,000 volunteers use their cars to help older people for WRVS. Last year they covered over 3.5 million miles. We know there are going to be a lot more older people in Britain in the years ahead and WRVS is going to grow to meet that need. Overcoming isolation is one of the targets to help older people, and that often involves driving."


Keith Halstead, Chief Executive of the Community Transport Association UK, adds: 


"Thousands of volunteer drivers across the UK, and more importantly, the communities which they serve by providing access to healthcare and other local services, will be delighted to hear this new commitment from the motor insurance industry".



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Last updated 01/07/2016