Tag Archive | "car insurance"

Think Before You Buy A New Car

After a while everyone gets a bit fed up with their existing car and the urge comes upon them that it is time for a change. Well, there’s an old motto that goes ‘buy in haste, repent at leisure’ and this could well have been written about the act of trading up to another vehicle. There are plenty of excellent used cars on the market so why do people select the first thing that the first internet search throws up? It’s surprising how often this happens.

The problem is that treating yourself to a new car should, not unreasonably, be an enjoyable experience and in all the excitement common sense can be overlooked. The trick is not to be talked into a rash purchase. It is all very well standing on a forecourt being impressed by big talk from a sales person but all may not be as it seems. It is a crucial part of buying a car that a decision is made with due care and attention.

For example, how many people, even today, buy a car without doing a ? It is one of the great truths that you can’t take people’s word for things. A data check costs peanuts and can be done on the spot if for no other reason than peace of mind. In the same vein, anyone who buys a car without checking and verifying the paperwork is simply asking to get duped.

The other aspects that potential buyers tend to overlook are the costs involved in running this or that car. Vehicle Excise Duty goes up every year – or so it seems – and it needs to be costed into the equation. Modern cars are good and reliable but sometimes the servicing costs can be surprisingly high and spare parts expensive. To many people ignore these figures and only find out later what it is going to cost them.

Key to ensuring the budget is equal to the spend is looking into the price of car insurance. It may not be quite so exciting as it is to buy a car spontaneously but checking with a reliable insurance company like 1st Central Insurance before setting your heart on a particular brand or model may well be the difference between enjoyment and disappointment. This is especially true of younger drivers for whom a competitive quote is vital.

Buying a quality used car is fun. No matter how modest the purchase may be the new owner will still be looking out the window at their new pride and joy sitting outside. There are right ways to buy a car and there are wrong ways. Don’t get carried away by rushing a purchase. Car insurance is an important part of this decision. It matters, so choose wisely.

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Black Box Tragedy

Following their driving test, the next hurdle that young drivers must overcome on their way to a successful driving life is the initial car insurance premium. Older, more experienced drivers must be aghast to see the sort of money newbies have to fork out just to drive a low-performance 10 year old shuttle, but there it is.

As a result, ways have been sought to mitigate what amounts to being a penalty on youth. One of those ways is the black box which monitors the driving behaviour of the new driver, the details of which are transmitted to the insurance company who base their premiums on the data received. Simply by agreeing to the strictures of the company policy the youth of Britain can see an instant reduction in their insurance quotes.

Some conspiracy theorists believe that this amounts to just another way of watching the movements of people, and that argument certainly has merit but overall most young people will and have accepted that as a way to save money.

Sadly, in one case at least, the fitment of a black box has inadvertently led to tragedy. A young driver aged 18 and his 17yo mate in the passenger seat died in a crash last November. When fitted, black box recorders collate information based on a set of rules for the driver. This is designed to promote staying within the law. In the case of these young men one of the rules was a curfew on driving between 11pm and 5am.

As is the way with young men everywhere they had cut things a bit fine on getting the car home in time for 11 o’clock. This resulted in them going faster than they usually would. This young driver, it can be proved, had never previously broken any speed limits but felt constrained to speed to make up time. The alternative would have been a £100 fine from the insurer. They crashed and both died. At the inquest the coroner stated that the curfew had played ‘a very significant factor in his driving’.

Herein lies the problem. How rigid should these constraints be? No-one for a moment blames the insurer who is just following industry trends but it does beg the question as to where the line is drawn. There was no give or take in the curfew. A half hour period of grace and this accident would most likely have been avoided.

This form of telematics based motor insurance has definitely helped to improve driving standards amongst the young. There is no reason not to continue it but young men being young men are always going to innocently make an error of judgement. Allowance should be given to this.

Editor’s Note: Motor Blogger has chosen not to name these lads but we extend our condolences to their families and friends.

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Safely Changing a Tyre on a Motorway

Any motorist who has experienced a puncture or a blow-out on a motorway knows what a terrifying experience it can be. The first essential is to get your car safely off the carriageway and on to the hard shoulder. If there is any damage then it is also important that the insurer is contacted once the immediate emergency is over, and a help-line like that is offered by Allianz Your Cover (www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk) as part of their car insurance package can be immensely valuable in providing supportive advice and guidance on next steps.

But if you are facing a straightforward puncture, then the next question is whether to attempt to change the tyre yourself? The advice from motoring organisations, the police and the guidance in the relevant section of the Highway Code, strongly suggest that you should not. If its night-time, or the light is poor, you will be placing yourself severely at risk if you attempt to change a wheel yourself. The hard shoulder is one of the most dangerous places to be on a motorway, with approximately twelve people killed and 200 injured annually.

Before taking any other action, the responsibility of the motorist is to make sure that they and any passengers are safe by parking the car as far to the left on the hard shoulder as possible, with the wheels turned to the left. Passengers should be moved out of the car from the nearside to keep them away from fast-moving traffic on the carriageway, and they should stand well back on the far side of the safety barrier. The next essential is to make the car as visible as possible by turning on hazard lights and placing a reflective triangle a good distance back from the vehicle to give oncoming traffic enough warning of a hazard ahead. A reminder at this point – every car should carry a warning triangle and a high-viz jacket as part of its essential equipment for use in exactly this sort of situation.

Once the driver has made sure the passengers are safe and the parked car is as visible as possible, the advice is to contact one of the motoring organisations (if using a mobile phone, standing on the safe side of the barrier when making the call), or to alert the motorway unit by calling from one of the emergency phones on the hard shoulder. If you are having to walk on the hard shoulder to the nearest phone, always face oncoming traffic, and wear a high-viz jacket.

Even if you are determined to change the tyre yourself, it is still wise advice to alert the motorway unit to the fact that your car has a puncture and is parked up on the hard shoulder. Then make sure that you line up everything that you need before beginning to take the wheel off, so that you can do so as quickly and efficiently as possible. Always work on the nearside of the car, and have the handbook, jack and wheel wrench, spare tyre, and locking wheel nut adaptor ready to hand. When you set off again, remember to build up your speed on the hard shoulder before safely rejoining the carriageway – and make sure that you check the tyre pressure and wheel nut torque as soon as possible after fitting the spare wheel.

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How to Cope With Physical and Psychological Injuries after an Accident

Being the victim of an accident is never pleasant. The immediate consequences are pain and discomfort and depending on the severity of the accident, this can range from mild to extreme.

However, it’s not just the immediate consequences that need to be addressed. Sometimes long-term effects, both psychological and physical, can be experienced and these can be the most debilitating. So, how do you cope with them?

Enter rehabilitation

Physical rehabilitation can be a long and difficult road. Physiotherapy is often helpful and in some cases, essential for regaining the control of your body and range of movement you experienced before the accident.

Take it slow

In some cases, surgery may be required to repair damaged tissue or ligaments and in these instances, your physical recovery may take longer. It is important to follow the guidance you are given by healthcare professionals and not attempt to rush your recovery. Doing so could actually push your progress back further, leaving you struggling to get back on your feet.

Attend counselling

Recovery is often slow and hard, so you need to be prepared for it mentally. Often the psychological impacts of an accident or injury are overshadowed by the physical, but it is the mental scars which can take longest to heal. Speaking to others about your ordeal is always recommended and this is where counselling can help.

Whether you attend one-on-one consultations or attend group sessions, talking about your experiences and sharing your feelings can help you cope with the mental stress of the incident. There are many support groups for people who have been victims of accidents and realising you are not alone or isolated can really aid your physical and mental recovery.

Seek compensation

It can also help to remove anxiety and concern about other areas of your life. If you are worried about money and your inability to work following an accident, then there are numerous steps you can take.

It might be a good idea to see if you are entitled to some form of compensation. If the accident was not your fault then you may be entitled to claim for damages and lost earnings. Experts at http://www.injurylawyers4u.co.uk can help establish whether you have a strong case and may even operate on a no win no fee basis for added financial security, in case your claim is unsuccessful.

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Autonomy In Oxford

Over the last couple of years there has been much talk and some demonstration of the so-called autonomous car – cars that drive themselves. The thinking is that we don’t really like driving at all and is a function best left to the vehicle itself. Once considered a sort of Jetson’s science fiction, the reality is now coming closer.

Boffins at Oxford University, amongst others around the world, have been working on this for some time. Up to now they have only been able to test their experiment on private roads at the Begbroke Science Park but David Willetts MP, the minister for science, has been on at the Department for Transport to relax the rules and allow testing on public roads.

This all stems from the fact that in California the operation of autonomous cars on public highways was legalised last year. The demand for this was lead by mighty Google who have been working on a fleet of computer controlled vehicles for some time and are saying they could have a viable model on the roads in just five years. Mr Willetts, who has tested the Google motor, believes that this has allowed the American company to steal a march on British efforts to develop similar transport.

As a result he has persuaded the DfT to relax the rules – although they say no final decision has been reached – and allow the Oxford RobotCar team to do the same thing. The long term strategy seems to suggest that we could see driverless cars on our streets in twenty years time. Right now the experimentation is based on a Nissan Leaf which has been suitably modified with cameras and laser sensors. An on-board computer controls all the usual functions. As with America, for now, a real human being has to be in the car as well to take control if necessary.

Although the driverless car is sure to become a reality, there is still a long way to go. We already have camera and sensor technology in the cars we buy today. What needs to be achieved with absolute certainty is the ability of the car to understand and react to all the many and various different circumstances that drivers presently encounter on a daily basis.

Once that has been achieved the next stage has to be for an autonomous vehicle to navigate its way around a route that it has never travelled before. Pre-programming is all very well but it is the unknown which brings forth the challenges faced by the scientists. The feeling is that by taking away the human element, the use of cars on the road will reduce or even potentially eliminate death and injury on the road as well as aiding fuel economy.

This can only be a good thing but whether motorists will go for it is another matter. It is clearly of no interest to politicians but a great many people enjoy the experience of piloting a car and will no doubt take great exception to being told they can’t do it. It remains to be seen if our Dear Leaders will listen. Then of course there’s the insurance…

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P Is For Probationary

The trouble with young people is that they will insist on going out and enjoying themselves by having fun and so on. Sometimes though they enjoy themselves a bit too much and the results can occasionally be tragic. An 18 year old driver is three times more likely to have an accident than, say, his parent.

The under twenty five age group are, according to statistics, responsible for one third of all motor accidents despite comprising only one eighth of the driving population. As an understandable consequence, young drivers are penalised by hugely expensive insurance premiums.

For this reason the Department for Transport is reviewing a number of measures to try and cut down the amount of youth related accidents and deaths. In a rather sweeping statement a government spokesman stated that young drivers were prone to “immaturity and reckless driving” and were “easily distracted by others”. That’s tarred them all with the same brush, then, although it is true to a certain extent.

Measures being considered include a ban on novice drivers carrying ‘young passengers’ and the need to display probationary plates on their cars. These are sometimes used on a voluntary basis by new drivers, probably at their parent’s behest, and seem like a good idea. After all, learners have to use L plates prior to passing their test and – since most people would agree that newbies only really learn to drive after the official examination when they are out on their own – a P plate would seem a natural progression.

The government believes that introducing youth calming measures would in the long run bring down the accident rate and the punitive insurance premiums that young drivers have to presently endure. The insurance companies would, one suspects, want to see a long and consistent reduction in claims for this to actually happen.

They have a similar system in Northern Ireland where novices have to display an R (for restricted) plate for the first twelve months after their test pass. They are also required to keep speeds below forty five miles per hour. Overall, it makes sense. Young drivers might not like it but if ultimately it saves their money and their life then it’s probably a sensible move.

Maybe it could be extended to other various classes of motorists. There could be, for example, be an I for ‘irritable’ driver plate or a W for ‘woman driver’ plate. Hey; just throwing out suggestions here – don’t shoot the messenger.

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Car Repairs Overlooked As Households Struggle

A total of sixty people have just been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, one of the UK’s biggest ‘cash for crash’ scams. Drivers living in the area of these scams have had to pay up to one hundred pounds more for their car insurance as a consequence of this criminal activity.

The cost of these inflated premiums is just another burden for struggling motorists who are battling to balance the books at home and on the road. It has now been estimated that a million car owners are driving around in accident damaged vehicles because they are wary of losing their no claims discounts and, as a consequence, having to pay much higher premiums as the insurers seek to recover their outlay.

The problem is that although the damage may appear superficial it could in fact be compromising the safety of the car. It’s understandable of course; with household expenses fighting with high fuel prices and other motoring costs for supremacy, somewhere, something has to give. As a result car repairs are being ignored because drivers are selecting the highest possible ‘excess’ offers on their policies – some as high as £750 which greatly reduces premium cost – and then finding they don’t have the funds to effect the repair privately, unless it is of a very minor nature.

National average mileage has dropped significantly as motorists cut down on driving to save money but the number of accidents has remained largely static. What has changed is that the percentage of accidents reported to authorities has fallen by 2.2% and, crucially, the number of recorded repairs has dropped by an scary twenty one percent.

The safety risk is that the damage done by minor prangs may be more than cosmetically skin deep. The structural integrity of the vehicle may have been affected in some way. There are components at the front of the car; the structural ‘crash box’ (a zone in the front of the vehicle designed to collapse under heavy impact thus reducing the consequences of the crash on the passenger cell), radiator, hydraulics or airbag sensors could all have received part of the impact which could at a minimum have moved them out of true. The worry is that, in the event of a further unfortunate accident, the car may be less able to withstand the collision.

There seems to be no let up on the populace. Bills continue to increase even as income drops. It is therefore unsurprising that desperate drivers look at further ways to save. The trouble is, how long will it be before an accident becomes a tragedy as a consequence?

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Whiplash – New Car Insurer Proposals

The Association of British Insurers tell us that there are some fifteen hundred whiplash insurance claims every day. As a result Britain is known as the whiplash capital of Europe and the effect on individual car insurance premiums is to raise them by around £90 per annum on average. Now that really is a pain in the neck.

We all know that a lot of this is down to criminal activity or the interest in short term gain by the terminally stupid but some claims are also legitimate. We all want something done about this scourge but at the same time the solution has got to be fair. To put our plight into perspective the figures quoted by the ABI state that 70% of road accident personal injury claims in the UK are for whiplash, compared with 47% in Germany, 32% in Spain and, intriguingly, only 3% in France.

The ABI have put forward a set of proposals for discussion. They suggest that all such claims undergo a rigorous medical assessment by an accredited expert who would have to show their complete financial independence from solicitors. The assessment should take into account the circumstances of the crash rather than just taking people’s word for it. Because whiplash is so hard to diagnose, the examiners should be trained in the very latest diagnostic techniques.

The accreditation of the medical experts should be handled by a board comprised of government, judiciary, claimant interest groups, insurers and other medical experts. This sounds suspiciously like a committee that could grow into a quango but it does seem the best course of action for now. This board of luminaries would standardise the procedure.

The ABI also suggest that the threshold for Small Claims rise from £1000 to £5000 as a speedy and effective way of settling smaller amounts. Finally, there should be a prescribed and unbreakable scale of damage awards, set independently. Any exaggerated or spurious claims would be dismissed automatically and completely.

The problem is that whiplash is hard to diagnose so any system could still be open to abuse or, conversely, treat honest claimants unfairly. It is a tricky path to tread but the ABI is not wrong when it says that something must be done. At least with a system like this everyone knows where they stand and anything that cuts fraud and reduces (hopefully) insurance premiums has got to be a good thing.

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Claiming For Pothole Damage To Cars

It’s an ongoing saga. Every year the harsh winter weather damages our roads and causes the dreaded potholes. Every year motorists complain and every year little or nothing is done to alleviate the problem. Government and Councils cite lack of funds blah, blah, and the saga continues.

The root cause of this problem is the neglect of our roads over decades as money that should be spent on maintenance has been diverted to other areas, thus ensuring a plentiful supply of premium biscuits at council meetings and town-twinning trips to somewhere nice and warm. Fact finding is vital to the running of local councils, clearly.

Well, here’s a couple of facts. At the time of writing this, it is reported that there are 19,000 different sets of road works currently ongoing around the country. Also during 2013 some two million potholes will be attended to. This is being used as evidence that action is being taken on roads – which is good – so why is that British drivers are reporting that road quality is not improving? Twenty two percent have further stated that highway repairs actually make the road surface worse and sixty one percent still reckon that road quality is declining! Something’s wrong.

The answer can surely only be that the repairs themselves are being done on the cheap to dress up the ravages of time, wear and tear, like cheap make-up on an ageing drag queen. Nothing will change until some major investment takes place and in the meantime hard-pressed motorists must present their claims for compensation to the implacable stone face of local government.

This is a problem that all aggrieved drivers come up against. Tell your local council that their negligence has caused costly damage to your car and they will if at all humanly possible absolve themselves of responsibility based on Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980. (Note: It’s too long for this article but you can read it here).

Claimants have to persevere and keep their cool. Don’t immediately rush to court or hire a solicitor – if you are going to get anywhere it is going to be a long hard road. Ensuring safety as a priority, take a photo of the pothole, measure it, and, if possible, show the proximity of the car and also the damage to your car. Report the whole thing to the council. Submit a Freedom of Information Act request to ascertain how frequently the road is inspected and maintained. There are standards that councils must abide by. You will also want to know how many previous complaints there have been about that pothole and that stretch of road.

If the powers that be have stuck to the rules then your chances of making a successful claim are supermodel slim. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it your best shot. A trawl of the internet will quickly highlight a number of organisations devoted to helping you fight the scourge of potholes. Read avidly.

The knowledge that the people responsible for the job can so easily absolve themselves of blame is a hard thing to take but paying possibly hundreds of pounds for damage not of your making is also a bitter pill. Motorists have rights too. Make sure you stand up for yours and also make sure your local Member of Parliament is kept fully informed. It is only by keeping up the pressure that we can achieve the goal of enjoying decent roads which we do, after all, pay for.

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A Look At Lamborghini’s Top Models

Italy is famous for many things – fashion, football and beautiful women, among others. Something I always associate the country with, however, is high-performance cars, with Lamborghini a brand that has a longstanding reputation for producing fantastic vehicles.

The company was established half a century ago and, since that time, it has manufactured thousands of great-quality automobiles. In fact, if you’re looking to buy a high-performance car I really don’t think you can afford to not check out what the latest Lamborghinis have to offer.

Whether you’re buying a Lambo for the very first time or keen to expand your existing collection, you can be certain you’ll find a model suitable for you. To help make your decision that little bit easier, I’ve put together some information about a few of the firm’s top vehicles.

Gallardo LP 560-4

Got the need for speed? I’m pretty certain you’ll find the Gallardo LP 560-4 is a great choice. With a top speed of 200 mph and capable of going from zero to 62 mph in just 3.7 seconds, this is a great vehicle for petrolheads.

Powered by a ten-cylinder engine that has a maximum 560 horsepower capacity, I’m sure that this will have all the performance you need, whether you’re going through a city on your way to work or enjoying a leisurely drive in the countryside at the weekend.

The Gallardo LP 560-4 also has an aluminium double-wishbone front and rear suspension system and dual-stage driver and passenger airbags, so you’ll get behind the wheel of a car that isn’t just powerful, but is also safe and comfortable to drive. Other features include 19-inch alloys – that are painted in matt black and have polished silver spokes – as well as external heated mirrors.

Aventador LP 700-4

With its carbon-fibre casing, the Aventador LP 700-4 is certainly worth considering if you are after a high-performance car made from the finest materials.

The supersport vehicle also comes with a carbon-fibre engine bonnet and, as it can go reach 62 mph in three seconds flat, it’s bound to be a good choice if you hope to get something that’s quite nippy.

Other features that I think are worth pointing out are the dual-hydraulic circuit brake system, Pirelli tyres and a seven-speed gearbox, with the Aventador LP 700-4 capable of reaching a maximum speed of 217 mph.

Sesto Elemento

For something really extraordinary, the Sesto Elemento is one Lamborghini you might want to look into. Although, as the company points out that it’s only available on a “very limited special edition” basis, you might need to act quickly to purchase one.

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on it, you’ll certainly have a car that’ll be the envy of all your friends. Not only does it go from zero to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds and features a permanent all-wheel drive system, but it’s also very light – weighing just 999 kg. In comparison, the Aventador LP 700-4 has a weight of 1,625 kg.

Whichever car you choose, you definitely will need to protect your investment. That’s why I recommend you always store your car in a locked garage when not in use, while investing in Lamborghini car insurance should ensure you’re covered in case your pride and joy needs to be taken in for any repairs or modifications.

Do you own a Lamborghini or are thinking about buying one? Either way, we’d love to hear which models you like the most, so please get in touch!

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