Archive for category Car Insurance
For a young driver buying your first car is a pretty big deal. It gives you a level of independence you might never have had before. You’re no longer reliant on family, friends or public transport to get where you need to be. It also means you’ve got to figure out which of the hundreds of cars on the market is right for you, which can seem overwhelming.
When you first get a car it’s important to remember that you’re still pretty new to the road, and that good drivers never stop learning. It takes a while to get really comfortable driving, especially on the motorway or long journeys, and it’s important that you never get complacent. Driving is always risky and there is a lot that is out of your control no matter how good a driver you are.
The first step in choosing a car is to work out what your budget is. How much can you afford to spend on the vehicle? As well as the initial outlay you need to be aware of the additional costs of fuel, road tax, yearly MOTs and insuring the car (which could be quite a bit of cash while you’re still young), plus you need to account for unexpected maintenance. You can visit Compare the Market to get car insurance quotes, and find the right policy for the car you choose.
If you buy a brand new car it will be subject to an increased road tax for the first year called “showroom tax”. This is one of the reasons it’s well worth considering a second hand car. Modern cars are generally very well made, so as long as you buy from a reputable dealer and make sure it has all the necessary paperwork there’s nothing to stop you getting a great deal on a decent and reliable car. A head’s up though – although it would be awesome to have a retro car like an old Mini or Beetle, those cars were made to much less rigorous safety specifications and won’t hold up well in a crash with a modern car. Hopefully that won’t ever an issue but it’s important to put safety first.
Once you’ve sorted your budget and you know what you can afford to spend on fuel ask yourself what you’ll mostly be using the car for. Diesel engines are more fuel efficient on long journeys or when driving fast on the motorway, but they cost more to buy. Petrol engines are cheaper but they’re only really efficient if you use your car mostly for short trips and driving within a city. You need to figure out whether you’ll be better off making a bit of an investment in the beginning to save in the long run, or if you can get away with spending less on a petrol engine because you’re not going to need the fuel efficiency.
Knowing your budget and what kind of a driver you’re going to be really helps to narrow down the choices, and you can start thinking about which models are right for you in terms of size and comfort. Make sure you take a car out for a couple of test drives before buying it, and find a dealer you’ve been recommended by someone you trust. When you finally get your wheels remember – stay safe and enjoy your new found freedom!
The cost of going green – Insuring a hybrid car
We are all aware of the problems affecting the current climate. Environmental issues have been a hot topic for decades but the last ten years have seen a sharp increase in promoting ‘eco-friendly’ movement and in reducing our carbon footprint. Endless amounts of research have pointed towards a global warming scenario with possibly destructive results and the need for reducing fuel consumption has never been greater than it is today.
The automotive industry has come under a lot of pressure from environmental groups as fuel guzzling cars have been labelled a prime suspect in the sudden increase of carbon monoxide which has contributed to the global warming crisis. In an effort to combat this issue and progress to the next stage of automotive evolution, the Honda Insight was introduced to the market in 1999 as the first carbon neutral hybrid car.
Hybrid cars combine two or more power sources to power the vehicle, effectively reducing fuel consumption by supplementing the motor engine with an electric or renewable gas engine. They have been gaining popularity recently although a full transition from regular fuel consuming cars to a more eco-friendly hybrid seems to be a long way away as drivers are still hesitant to make the change. With the rising costs of fuel however, it may not be long before drivers consider the savings they could make in fuel consumption as well as the obvious benefits to the environment.
But can hybrids save money elsewhere? What about insurance?
One of the main concerns amongst drivers is that hybrids are a lot less safe as they are made of lightweight materials which have been designed to make the car easier to run on electric power. This has people worrying that hybrids may be easier damaged than normal cars, increasing insurance premiums as well.
Recent tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) however have found that hybrid cars are no more fragile than regular fuel only cars. Yet insurance premiums on hybrid cars are still more excessive than larger, fuel consuming motors.
The main reason behind this has nothing to do with the fact it is a hybrid, and much more to do with that fact that most hybrids are small vehicles. Smaller vehicles have always had a propensity to have higher insurance as they are more easily damaged and involved in more road accidents. As well as size, hybrid cars also pack in a lot more technology than average cars as they need specific components for running hybrid engines. This not only bumps up the cost of the vehicle but also the insurance premiums as they cost more time and money to repair.
If you are buying a hybrid purely for money saving reasons then it is important to research thoroughly and weigh up the costs as well as the savings. For the best deal on hybrid car insurance you can check out a price comparison website such as comparethemarket.com for a comprehensive overview of all the latest and most up to date insurance deals.
The driving holiday is something of a British tradition, and one that has newfound popularity in recent years, as families look for less expensive alternatives to holidays abroad in the face of an uncertain economic climate. There’s no shortage of picturesque locations to explore on these fair isles – from the Yorkshire moors to the beaches of Cornwall and the ancient castles of Scotland This year many holidaymakers are taking the opportunity to experience as many of them as possible on an extended driving tour. But to ensure you get the best out of your trip, it’s important to make a few preparations…
Paper Still Has A Place!
If you’ve booked a week off to drive around the country, you don’t want to spend half of it trawling up and down the same country roads, or stranded at the roadside in the middle of nowhere. Make sure you have your route well planned and carry a spare road map in case your sat-nav starts playing up. If you’re driving outside cities and motorways, you might have to travel long distances in between petrol stations, so be sure to fill up before you set off. Print off the phone number, address and map for any accommodation you have booked!
Upgrade Your Insurance
Nothing is more likely to ruin a driving holiday than an unexpected breakdown, particularly if you have to pay through the nose for repairs. To protect yourself from the unexpected, make sure you have comprehensive motor insurance with breakdown cover. With a good insurance policy through a company such as www.rias.co.uk, you can count on roadside repairs, transport to the nearest garage if necessary and money back for overnight accommodation, as well as cover for caravans and trailers (terms and conditions apply). If you have a breakdown the small increase to your premium will save you substantial amounts and the assistance provided mean your holiday will not be ruined.
All-day driving can be a draining experience. It can also be dangerous if you get tired behind the wheel. If possible, share the workload. Make sure anyone who can drive the car is insured to do so. Alternatively, you could plan out your journey to try to ensure that you’re never on the road for more than 4-6 hours without the opportunity for an extended break.
As the old saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. So make sure you check your car thoroughly before your journey. If you’re heading into the countryside, the roads might be rougher than you’re used to, so it’s particularly important to make sure your tyres are in good shape. If you have a spare make sure it is in good shape. Check your oil, water and tyre pressure remembering to adjust for any increase to the normal load caused by additional people and roof racks.
If you’re renting a car for the journey, make sure you choose a vehicle that’s suited to harsher terrain and it has basic tools like a wheel changing kit and a spare tyre before you drive off.
The European economy on the whole might be experiencing a crisis, but the same cannot be said for the illegal car trade, an industry operating right across Europe. Exports to the Middle East and Africa in particular often involve highly sophisticated, multimillion pound operations.
A London-based gang, which was responsible for an average of 120 car thefts per month, was arrested in 2011. Three men from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, were arrested this April on the charge of having stolen cars which were worth a total of £100,000. Three men from Bradford were sentenced for a total of twenty years for being part of a well-organised ring of car smugglers.
How to Protect Yourself
Firstly, an excellent insurance policy, especially for top end cars, is crucial.
Britain’s most frequently stolen car is the BMW X5 SUV, however cars of all shapes and sizes may be targeted for parts, from a Mercedes Sprinter van to a Fiat Panda to a Volkswagen Touareg (which is another car amongst the top ten stolen vehicles in Britain).
The use of common sense does help; not leaving an empty car unlocked and running whilst quickly withdrawing money is always a good idea. Double-checking that your car is locked, even inside a locked garage, also helps to reduce the risk of theft.
In addition to insurance and basic common sense, anti-theft devices are absolutely worth their money. Generally speaking, these are devices designed to make car theft a more difficult, slower process. By doing this, cars equipped with those devices a less attractive object for thieves, as the risk of detection increases proportionally to the time it takes to remove a car. From the list below, visual deterrents are probably the ones which are most worth investing in, as they are the easiest to install, the cheapest, and will nevertheless yield good results.
Proof that these devices really are effective lies in the fact that installing anti-theft devices also tends to reduce insurance premiums. Since insurance companies are not known for throwing around their money, anything endorsed by them must be a good idea!
Devices which lock the steering wheel are an excellent visual deterrent, as well as being a physical barrier to the removal of a car. Signage on windows, even in the absence of a sophisticated alarm system, can be enough and can be purchased cheaply.
Devices which slow down a thief
Killswitch circuits are often hidden, so that a thief, once inside the car, may have to spend additional time on figuring out the location of the switches without which the target car cannot be started.
Identification of stolen cars
Microdot identification tags are designed help the police identify (parts of) stolen vehicles. These also are often not visible deterrents, and become useful only during the tracking process.