Tag Archive | "car insurance"

Kit your car with the latest tech

Put your money where your motor is. Top tech to invest in.

These days, car manufacturers use all kinds of gadgets and technical wizardry to make your car safer, and let’s face it, slicker. Here’s a list of the latest in-car tech that should be on every driver’s wish list.

Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)

Perhaps one of the most important innovations in car safety, AEB works by helping to prevent nose-to-tail collisions or the ‘rear-ender’. According to Thatcham Research, experts in car safety, “It’s probably the most significant development in car safety since the seat belt and could save an astonishing 1,100 lives and 122,860 casualties in the UK over the next 10 years”.

How does it work? AEB uses sensors to monitor your environment; the speed you’re driving at; the traffic flow ahead and the distance between you and the car in front. If the system senses that you’re about to crash, it will apply the brakes, avoiding or at least minimising any impact

Lane-keeping assist

This relatively new technology is so important because it helps to prevent head-on collisions at high-speed. Given that these collisions result in more fatalities than low-speed shunts, this technology marks a real watershed in car safety. Lane-keeping assist technology can detect if your car is about to cross into the next lane without signalling and will then actively steer your car back into lane. Clever eh?

Blind spot detection

Many new cars now offer blind spot detection. These systems use cameras and radar to detect if there’s a vehicle or pedestrian in your blind spot. If this happens, the driver is alerted by a flashing LED light in the side-view mirror or dashboard and with some systems, an audible alarm will be triggered.

Adaptive headlights

Unlike traditional headlights, adaptive headlights can angle themselves to follow the road as the car corners. They work by using tiny sensors inside the headlight casing, which track the cars movement, speed and elevation. As the car turns, so do the headlights, illuminating the road ahead, rather than blinding approaching drivers. Some newer systems can even adapt their brightness levels according to factors like the weather and the presence of oncoming traffic.

Dash cam

This clever little device records your journey while you’re driving. In light of the recent ‘crash for cash’ claims, dash cams can be used to prove who’s responsible in the event of an accident – helping to protect you from any fraudulent claim. Most dash cams range from £30 to £500. However, you can get yourself a free dash cam by downloading the Aviva Drive app.

The free Aviva Drive app has an in-built collision detector that auto-records in the event of an accident. The app also monitors your driving, reviewing how you brake and accelerate. After 200 miles, it gives you a driving score and the chance to save money on Aviva car insurance. https://www.aviva.co.uk/insurance/motor/car-insurance/

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Avoid Buying Sports Cars If You Want Your Teenager Drive It

It takes time, money and planning to buy a new vehicle for families. There are a few things to consider before making the decision. Parents may want to buy a nice car even before their children comes to driving age. Children grow really fast and before you know they have their driving license and want to drive. Having a safe family car for them to practice on would reduce the immediate pressures to buy them a car of their own.

Even though you may be comfortable with your child driving your car this may prove to be problematic for certain models. One of the problems may be adding the newly qualified teen driver onto your existing policy. If you want to avoid such problems you need to think about who will drive the car when you are looking at certain models with high insurance ratings.

Sports cars and teenagers are two high risk combinations for auto insurers. They usually charge high rates for both owning a high performance vehicle and having a teenage driver in the family. When these two combined you may face serious problems. You may have to pay extortionate premiums if you want your teenager drive a sporty looking auto. In some cases, it may actually be impossible to insure the teenage driver.

There are cars that are clearly sporty and there is no argument about it. And there are the ones that have powerful engines but they may not be considered sports car by many people. In some cases, people buy those automobiles for family use and advanced safety and security features they come with.

For example, BMW X3 and Porsche Cayenne are great cars for families. They have spacious and luxuries interior, large boots and generally considered safe cars in terms of protection they provide in accidents. However, they have powerful engines and take off really fast.

You can understand why families buy them. In the same time you can see why insurance companies would consider them to be riskier.  Most companies not only wouldn’t want a teenage driver included in the policy but also they would impose a condition that any driver allowed should be over the age of 25 years old.

Keep this in mind when you are considering a new auto for your family. CheapAutoInsurance.net says “families should look for more modest automobiles when they want their teenage daughters or sons drive it, too”. It is always a good idea to look at insurance ratings of a new car and it is even a better idea to get a few quotes before making the final decision.

Otherwise, your insurer may exclude young drivers from driving the insured automobile. This will force you to buy another auto for your children to drive and improve their skills or you may have to accept that they cannot drive for some time. Understandably, this will result in resentments and disappointments within the family. And it would cost a lot of money to sort it out with another automobile and insurance policy purchase.

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Car Problems? Take Cover.

One of the great lies perpetuated upon us all is the one that says it is always other people’s cars that break down. The fact is that an automotive breakdown can happen to any of us at anytime, anywhere. Cars have no sense of timing. This is a problem for all of us and can be especially daunting for people who have little or no knowledge of how cars work.

The list of things that can go wrong is something that most of us don’t really want to think about. There’s the usual problems, obviously, but what happens if your battery dies or if – it doesn’t bear thinking about – you put the wrong fuel in the car?

Of course, the stricken driver could call out their local garage but life’s not like that. The chances are that the breakdown will occur miles from home. Thanks to mobile phones it’s straightforward to summon local help and, if necessary, get the car towed in but the car owner doesn‘t know who he is dealing with or how competent they are. It’s all a bit of a lottery. Then of course, there follows the need to get the occupants home or to arrange for onward travel.

Fortunately, it is possible to get the security of breakdown cover at very reasonable rates so that when it happens to you, you know you can get moving again quickly thanks to the efforts of properly trained technicians, without it costing the earth. Of course, some cars never break down but what price peace of mind eh? When it does happen the consequences will not only be inconvenient, the cost of rescue is likely to be expensive.

Luckily, it is easy to match breakdown cover with the driving budget. For example, some policies will even cover issues that occur before the car has even left the driveway. There’s a whole raft of ways to spread coverage from the basics to car hire when something goes wrong.

Not wishing to be alarmist, it gets worse if driving abroad. Language barriers, different currency and simply a different way of doing things all serve to exacerbate the situation. Fortunately, it is also possible to purchase European breakdown cover for when  travelling in on the Continent. This is normally the highest level of cover and will include benefits such as repatriation back to the UK if you car can’t be fixed abroad, and a hire car so that you can continue your holiday.

So, it’s easy to obtain breakdown cover and equally easy to set the terms to suit the budget. One day, someday, you’ll be glad you invested.

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Say Goodbye To Coolant Leaks

Historically, one of the things that made you glad you owned a really reliable car was the sight of some poor unfortunate soul standing at the roadside next to a car with steam coming out of the engine.

Overheating, possibly because of water leaks from faulty or damaged radiators or other engine coolant issues were relatively commonplace in days gone by and can still plague those who by choice or necessity run older motors.

Modern cars, it is commonly believed, are less prone to this sort of thing but this is absolutely no reason to become complacent. Today’s vehicles, when they do malfunction, do so in a much trickier way because they are considerably more complex than cars from days gone by.

When air-conditioning first became popular on cars, drivers began to notice the little pools of water that could gather under their vehicle. A frisson of fear would run through them because they did not know what the problem was or, indeed, how to fix it. Now, of course, we all know that it is a harmless by-product of running air-con systems and not a fault at all, but that moment of doubt should serve as a timely reminder about reliability issues.

There are things car owners can do to minimise the possibility of leaks. In addition to keeping the water/coolant level where it needs to be, a driver can prevent trouble in the car’s cooling system by keeping an eye out for mysterious leaks before they get troublesome and by replacing old or damaged hoses. The common trouble spots in the cooling system can be identified by a few minutes of research. Good maintenance practices are vital and this is especially true the older a car gets, particularly if it is a classic model.

This is why the sensible driver carries a little pack of useful safety items in case of breakdown. Most motoring outlets carry these as ready assembled kits. It doesn’t hurt to have a little tool roll to hand as well. The trouble is there is no way that every eventuality can be taken into consideration. Fate has a strange way of dishing it out.

There exists out there on a shelf near you a range of products that can fix most leaks in all types of water cooled engines – including cracked cylinder heads, head gasket failures, cracked blocks, radiators, heater cores and water pumps. One easy-to-use and respected product, called K-Seal, can have your vehicle up and running, leak-free, within minutes with the added benefit of not having to flush the system before or afterwards. Finally, drivers can say goodbye to coolant leaks.

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Employers who provide Employees with Motoring Insurance – The risks….!

Providing motoring insurance to your employees creates various responsibilities and risks.

Risks for the Company

If it’s a company car and the driver is stopped for driving without insurance the company (or an individual within the company) can get a summons for permitting them to drive without insurance. If the company is summonsed it’s a fine. If an individual is summonsed it’s a fine and 6-8 penalty points. If the car belongs to the employee it can result in the company being accused of causing them to drive without insurance.

If the employee is driving for business purposes then they need business use cover. Otherwise they are still driving without insurance if they only have social and domestic cover.

Risks for the Employee

The employee is relying on the company to get it right and make sure the insurance is correct. The driver gets 6-8 penalty points and a fine for using a vehicle without insurance if they get stopped.

Statutory Defence for Employees

If insurance is not in force, a statutory defence is available to an employee in accordance with S143(3) Road Traffic Act 1988 if it can be shown;

1. the vehicle did not belong to him,

2. it was being used in the course of his employment at the time of the offence

3. and he neither knew nor had reason to believe there was not in force in relation to the vehicle such a policy of insurance.

The individual has to prove the criteria on the balance of probabilities. If however he does not fulfil or prove all the above criteria, he will be convicted of driving without insurance.

Special Reasons Arguments

In these circumstances, a Special Reasons argument may be available if to both the employer and the employee if they can show that they genuinely and honestly believed there was insurance in place and that this belief was reasonable.

The full criteria for Special Reasons are set out in the case of R v Wickens (1958). Special Reasons is not a defence but if found, no penalty points will be imposed. The burden is on the defendant to prove on the balance of probabilities that it was reasonable for him to consider he was insured. If the Court does not consider the belief was reasonable, they will impose between 6 – 8 points.

An example of this would be a delivery driver, driving their own van but being employed by a company. Prior to them commencing work, they discuss insurance with their employer and are reassured that they are covered under the company’s trade policy. It transpires that this is only the case if the vehicle is named specifically on the policy. This did not happen, as the employer did not realise, and the police stop the employee for driving without insurance. This would amount to a good Special Reasons for the employee.

Causing An Employee To Drive Without Insurance

If employees do not have insurance, employers also risk between 6 – 8 points for causing or permitting their employee to drive without insurance. Equally, they may have a Special Reasons argument if they can show they genuinely believed insurance was in place. In the above example, the employer would have to show it was reasonable that they did not realise they needed to add the vehicle to the insurance policy. If it was a simple case of the employer not reading the paperwork correctly, the argument is unlikely to succeed, however if the employer was told otherwise by the insurance company for example, this would amount to a good argument.

Types of Insurance Cover

It is not sufficient for insurance just to be in place. The employee must be covered for the driving purpose in question. This depends on the business type and why the employee is driving the vehicle. Some employers for example will allow an employee to take the company vehicle home of an evening and drive back to work the next day. Commuting and business cover is therefore required but the employer would also have to stipulate whether the employee is authorised to drive the vehicle outside of business hours. If agreed, social domestic and pleasure cover is also required. If not, the employer needs to make it very clear that the employee does not have permission to drive the vehicle for this purpose. To avoid potential prosecution, it would be advisable for the employer to provide written confirmation of the position.

If you have any questions or problems in relation to this or any other Motoring Offence Issue then contact Patterson Law.

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Drivers Must Be More Vigilant

Anyone who has seen the television public service film about the motorcyclist crashing into the side of a car that has pulled out of a junction can’t help but be alarmed at how easily and suddenly accidents can happen. As drivers, it is easy to become complacent and we forget the constant need for vigilance on the roads.

It seems that fifty-eight per cent of drivers say they have been cut-up by another road user who didn’t look properly, according to a recent Institute of Advanced Motorist’s poll. Forty per cent of these near misses took place in 30 mile per hour zones, apparently. Fifty-eight per cent of drivers are most likely to blame others for not concentrating. These incidents have become known as SMIDSYs – ‘sorry mate, I didn’t see you’. The usual reaction when an accident occurs.

The Cyclists Touring Club have been campaigning for years about SMIDSYs – other driver’s negligence – when it comes to bikes. They say, rather hysterically, “Bad driving intimidates and harms innocent people. Cyclists and pedestrians are particularly endangered by negligent or aggressive driving because we’re not encased in a few tonnes of metal every time we set out on the roads.”

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) have analysed the figures and note that failure to look is a contributory factor in 29% of serious collisions and 36% of minor accidents. Often it is cyclists, motorised or otherwise, who come off worse. 83% of drivers said that these accidents would decrease by improving drivers awareness of two-wheelers. This is rather stating the obvious and, on the other side of the argument, 59% of drivers thought that there should be more enforcement of the law for cyclists. Fair comment.

The IAM wants drivers to signal clearly and be more alert to two-wheeled vehicles by checking mirrors carefully, both behind and down the sides of cars, especially when making a manoeuvre. Many cyclists in particular have been cut up by cars turning left. IAM‘s head honcho, Simon Best says:

“SMIDSY moments are happening far too often, and very few people are prepared to take responsibility for their part in them. It’s always someone else’s fault. All road users need to be more aware of who they are sharing the road with, and the risks they present. Other road users’ intentions can often be guessed by their body language and position on the road, so drive defensively, and leave room so that if somebody does do something unexpected, you have time to deal with it.”

All good advice, of course, but all road users whether on foot, two wheels or four, need to be vigilant. You can’t always blame the driver for your own stupidity.

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Keep Your Virtual Eye On The Road

Most drivers by now will be well aware of the ‘crash for cash’ scams that are rife in some parts of the country. To combat this, thanks to modern technology, motorists are installing video cameras in their cars to combat these fraudulent and dangerous claims. The cameras, popularly known as ‘dash-cams‘, record the view through the windscreen and capture events before, during and after a collision.

The recorded footage can also be used by defendants against accusations of lane-hogging or tailgating on motorways following new fixed penalty legislation which came into force a couple of months ago.‎

Increasingly, retail outlets are beginning to stock these devices as demand increases. This sort of technology has been found for years in police cars and other emergency vehicles. Thanks to the crooks it now seems almost essential that drivers record their journeys for their own protection.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau reckons that some 30,000 ‘crash for cash’ incidents take place every year. That’s an incredible number. The scam costs insurers around £350 million and inflates premiums for honest, innocent drivers by around £44 each.

To counter this, the bandits have a new and even more dangerous tactic that all drivers need to be aware of. They flash their headlights to give victims the impression they are being allowed to join a main road but then accelerate in order to hit the unsuspecting driver side-on. They then claim that the poor victim had pulled out in front of them and it is almost impossible to prove otherwise.

Thanks to the range of devices now on offer, motorists have the means to produce hard, irrefutable evidence as to how an incident occurred and who in truth was to blame.

There is a very wide range of cameras on offer ranging in price from around fifty pounds up to a couple of hundred. Buyers need to inspect the merits of each and decide what is best. A wide angle view would seem best, for example. Also, these days apps are available for smartphones which can be rigged in cradles and can do a similar job for very little money. They won’t be quite as good as a device made for the job but it is better than being held responsible for something that isn’t your fault.

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Crackdown On The Uninsured

Having a car accident is bad enough; having a car accident with an uninsured driver is worse. Some of these people will claim poverty in which case how can they afford to run a car; others just couldn’t care less about other people’s property and treat society with contempt.

Apparently, the actions of this, it has to be said, large minority group leads to an effective surcharge of £33 on all our insurance premiums. Not for the first time there is a bit of an uproar about this. Despite it being a known problem it is still going on. A reduced number of traffic police doesn’t help but, with the added advantages of modern technology like ANPR cameras, you’d think that this is something that should pretty well be eliminated.

In short, four out of every five of Britain’s law abiding drivers are fed up and want a crackdown on these misery makers. According to a leading insurance provider around one in twenty five drivers are not insured. There are millions of cars on our roads. Think about it. This statistic means that the chances of being hit by one of these people is greater than almost all other European countries. How come they can do it and we cannot?

New rules have recently come into force raising the fixed penalty for driving without insurance from £200 to £300. Big deal. Uninsured drivers know their chances of being caught are slim and even if they are, £300 is hardly a deterrent. Many of these illegal motorists have a string of convictions anyway and, even for those that don’t, the fine still will probably be less than they would pay for a premium! For example, offenders are often young men, but the typical cost of car insurance for a man aged between 17 and 22 with a clean licence is four times the size of the new fixed penalty at £1,211. So, in insurance terms that’s a pretty good deal.

It is sobering thought that uninsured drivers are responsible for the deaths of around one hundred people every year. Thousands more are injured. It seems that a majority of drivers favour prison and even more believe electronic tagging is also a viable choice. Obviously cars should be confiscated and crushed. Of the 11,000 illegally driving individuals that were actually prosecuted last year most had already been banned from driving! No wonder safe drivers in the UK are up in arms!

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Motoring Issues That Affect Us All

With the excellent news that car insurance premiums are starting to come down, the time has come to keep up the pressure of complaint. Naturally, we peace-loving folk at Motor Blogger do not advocate revolution but surely motorists must keep speaking up against those things which blight their lives. This is why (astonishing as it may seem) we have Members of Parliament – to speak on our behalf so maybe it is time to contact yours.

Drivers remain beset by unfair practices, sky-high costs and potentially dangerous roads. For years the average motorist has held his tongue but, and this is now apparent, increasingly we are beginning to speak up aided by sensible voices from the motoring organisations.

We already contribute a very large amount of money to the government’s coffers through taxation and duty. We contribute even more through over-zealously applied fines for very minor infractions. We have to fund repairs to our cars, often through expensive insurance companies, thanks to dangerous potholes and road surfaces that are increasingly becoming the norm.

Because of ‘cuts’ we now have so few traffic policemen that those who truly transgress on our roads often go unpunished yet unwary drivers are still – despite all the talk – subjected to unfair penalties and actions by unscrupulous parking companies or greedy councils.

What’s worse is the fact that the goalposts keep moving as if they’ve been erected on quicksand. A driver might buy a new car based on a zero road tax decision only to find the following year that his car has slipped into a tax paying status. Penalties are rising across the board. A motorist who fractionally over-steps the speed limit and is caught by a speed camera which has no decision making capabilities will pay the same fine as the speed merchant who drives badly at an accident black spot. Cameras should be about road safety.

Fuel costs too much and that is down to allegedly fiddled pricing and to successive governments increasing duty as an easy way to bolster their previously profligate spending. We didn‘t make the mess we‘re in. Car insurance remains too expensive, still partly due to fraudulent activities. Thankfully, we are now seeing some movement on this front.

Drivers are penalised for being drivers, it’s as simple as that. We are treated as a cash cow by authorities who seem to be bereft of fresh economic ideas. The groundswell is growing. Motoring organisations and magazines are lobbying the government about all these issues. Time to speak your mind – repeatedly if necessary.

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5 things you don’t want to hear from a mechanic

Going to the garage can be a bit nervy at the best of times, but here’s some of the post-check-up news you don’t want to be hearing…

A car is a complicated machine, albeit one that has very much become part of our daily lives. With over 28 million cars on the road in the UK, it’s the mode of transport for more than half of us adults.

After a small dip in 2010, it seems we’re back in love with the automobile but all that time spent behind the wheel can have some damaging effects. Given how much the technology and mechanics of modern cars have improved on the models of the 1950s, you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s barely any work that needs to be done to keep them in shape.

Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk) provides you with 5 nightmare mechanic responses to a ‘tickle’ in the engine which are usually the result of overlooking a basic maintenance task for your automobile.

1. Seized engine due to lack of oil
This is one of the nightmare situations. It means that your engine has fused and failed due to a lack of lubrication; the heat of the engine’s movements, combined with the lack of oil to smooth their journeys, causes them to melt together into a metal lump. You could be looking at up to £10,000 for a new or re-manufactured engine.

2. Hydrolocked engine
Also not news you’ll be desperate to hear: a hydrolocked engine is caused by water getting into the cylinders. This usually occurs when attempting to cross deep puddles in low-slung cars, or through flooding. It means that this expensive piece of machinery, which has the power to expel excess droplets and air molecules, cannot expel the load of water dumped into it. Again, you’re looking at several thousand pounds.

3. Broken timing belt
This one is embarrassing; you’ll notice that, if you read your guidance manual for the car, the timing belt is something that should be checked and changed around every 30,000 miles. If you have an interference engine (these are a modern invention: they allow the valves to open further and breathe into the oncoming piston), they rely on one of these to work. But the timing belt wears down and, if it isn’t replaced, you’re looking at £1,000 worth of damage to your valves and pistons.

4. Overheated engine
Sometimes a little smoke coming from the engine is fine, right? Be vigilant here. Catching an overheating engine early is fine but ignoring it, pretending it will go away, can lead to a blown head gasket, a cracked head or a cracked block. These three problems get respectively more expensive – heading up over the nasty side of £5,000.

5. Broken computer
Many cars these days have up to 20 computers inside them working away at once. Whilst we pay little heed to them, and some of the protective circuitry goes, it’s easy for one to blow the whole system and fry all its computer friends. If the problem is small, fine, maybe you can fix the one computer; otherwise you could be looking at getting a new car.

The takeaway:

If you conduct regular maintenance checks on your vehicle you will be able to avoid most of the issues mentioned above and spend your money on more enjoyable things such as taking your family on a road trip around France over the summer or getting the latest accessory for your car.

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