70% of all of Europe's whiplash claims are now made in the United Kingdom and 70% of those in the Northwest of England with claims rising 70% in just 5 years. Rather uncomfortably, 70% of arrests made for fraudulent claims are the same post code areas and communities over and over again, a specific demographic partly responsible for this massive rise in compensation claims. You only need Google 'crash for cash arrests' to discover this. These false and fraudulent claims add around £100 to every car insurance policy in the UK. 1500 claims per day - some 500,000 per year- are made for whiplash in Britain and so the government has decided to act. This sharp rise is exposing obvious fraud as car safety on the roads has increased by 25% in the last ten years, especially in car seats, and so fatalities and serious injuries have fallen. In Germany you get an average 500 Euros for a whiplash claim and so only a tenth of our number of claims made in the Fatherland.
This compensation culture is encouraged by these claims companies you all know about in your email or on day time TV and the insurance companies who are supposed to foot the bill of this predatory behavior just pass on that cost to the drivers premiums. What seems to be happening is the pay-outs for what is a very difficult injury to prove are around £1500 minimum to the car driver or passenger when successful and the legal costs for the insurance companies to contest and fight the case nudge seven grand and so they just pay out to stop it going to county court and pass that cost on to you and me. Because they are doing that word gets around its easy money and so more false claims made and up the numbers go up and up. Why wouldn't you chance your arm? The legal firms who put those ads on TV and radio know they can't survive without these dodgy claims as whiplash is 80% of their business now and so defend the claims business with their lives and pour more and more money into advertising their services to maintain their profits.
But the scam doesn't end there. The law firms agree to pay a fee in return for being passed the contact details of someone who might be interested in their services after something like a car crash. The deals are usually between lawyers and insurance companies, but estate agents and trade unions often refer their customers onto law firms too. Law firms will pay up to several hundred pounds when someone who has been referred to them goes on to engage their services.
Car insurance premiums have risen dramatically in the last five years due to practices like these and we presume their profits too. If you're a young driver the premiums are crazy now. Some 17-year-olds are charged over 4 grand for their first year on the road, encouraging parents to cheat a little by putting their kids on their policies and can you blame them? One woman was quoted twenty-five thousand pounds for her son to get on the road in his new car. Unless you really know what you are doing when you tick the boxes you could be paying well over the odds. Its best to be economical with the truth to get those premiums down as certain jobs and post codes can really smash up your premiums.
Car usage has started to fall fast in younger age groups due to high fuel, education and insurance costs and high youth unemployment, losing the Treasury valuable taxes, road usage down 5% year-on-year in the recession. To be fair a big chunk of serious road crashes involve the younger riskier groups between the ages of 17-25 and so fair their premiums are higher than experienced road users, drug and alcohol abuse rampant in those prangs and smashes. I have long since championed an older legal driving age where people are more mature and not so rash, driver error the number one cause of road fatalities. Amazingly, 40% of all serious crashes in the UK now involve drivers with a criminal record, believed to equate to the fact of the amount of risks criminals tend to take in their lifestyles.
The more disturbing crashes are the ones that are staged by gangs , known as 'crash for cash' scams, which often target innocent women drivers who are more trusting it was a genuine accident and so take the hit on their insurance. These guys, often from places like Bradford, Blackburn, Leicester and Luton, target the same roundabouts and junctions up north over and over again and so well worth you guys checking online if one of those hot spots are near you. It has become an industry in certain postcodes and the shark lawyers are only encouraging it. It is out of control and the culprits should be named and shamed. But in the goodness of race relations that won't be happening any day soon.
Through complex algorithms available to both the car insurance companies and the lawyers certain locations pop up all the time with claims. One postcode in Birmingham has seen a 400% rise in claims for whiplash. This is why the lawyers can target those phishing emails and the insurance companies whack up the price of premiums in the same areas. Bolton is the 'cash for crash' capital of Europe for the fifth straight year.
Crash for cash hot spots...
Top 10 crash for cash Hot Spots
1. Centenary Way, Trafford Park, Manchester
2. Haslingden roundabout, Junction 5, M65
3. Scotland Road roundabout, Junction 13, M65
4. Gannow Top roundabout, Cavalry Way, Burnley
5. Eden Point roundabout, A34, Stockport
6. Denham roundabout, M40
7. Jarman Park, A414, Hemel Hempstead
8. Parkway Uxbridge Road A312 / A4020
9. Port Way / Strand Road junction, Preston
10. Junction 24 roundabout, M25
To deter people making an illicit claim on your insurance that will only whack up your premiums here are some tips. If you take pictures of them on your camera phone and they get agitated then you know it's likely to be iffy.
* If you suspect someone in front of you is driving erratically give them as wide a berth as possible
* In the event of an accident, record as much detail as possible - including names, addresses and dates of birth of claimants
* Make a note of how many people are in the other vehicle. British Asian men are disproportionately involved in these scams and prangs so be aware. They target all races and genders.
* If possible, take photographs with your mobile phone
* Get full names and addresses of any witnesses
* Make sure you highlight concerns to your insurer
* You can report information free of charge to the Insurance Fraud Bureau confidential hotline on 0800 328 2550 or online at www.insurancefraudbureau.org/report
Most of us believe Labor whacked up the number of speed cameras to bring in revenue, the statistics supporting that feeling, some cameras raking in a million quid before their first death on their stretch of road. Some even say it was a favor to the car insurance industry as points on the license whack up premiums, as proved the case, one-in-five of all drivers earning points on their license under Blair. When you're fining and not banning drivers for speeding and bad driving your doing that to keep them on the roads generating more fines. It was a nimbi issue that 'narked' Tory voters and Cameron has acted by cutting the money to fund camera partnerships which means many have been turned off. In some counties the big switch off it has not affected the fatality rates. But a recent survey actually listed which model of car is the most likely to be flashed for cash in the UK and it was quite surprising, not the old innocent trundlers doing 40 on a country road you would think. The Land Rover recovery topped the charts by a mile for receiving tickets, the choice wagon or farmers and drug driver's alike, sweeping pass the Gatsos without a care in the world. One-in-five were BMWs and so no surprise there and the most uninsured drivers caught speeding were the owners of the boy racer special the Vauxhall Astra 16v coupe. The drivers most likely to be caught on camera and nicked for non care and attention were the ones in the Peugeot 106 range, a chick wagon if we are honest, lipstick touched up and mobile phone calls to be made on the move for the girl about town. As the use of cameras has declined there has been a huge increase of fines for driving whilst using the phone. I think most people would agree using your phone driving is silly and that's a good thing to target them. They are the people causing accidents.
Now, when it comes down to speed actually causing a crash by breaking the speed limit it's negligible. Most serious accidents happen inside the speed limit but driving too fast for the conditions. 70% of all insurance claims are made on the slow city roads. The biggest groups of drivers who die or sufferer long term injuries are the ones that crash in the countryside when it takes longer for the emergency services to arrive. If you crash on a Sunday then forget it, the day A&E are the least likely to be fully staffed. Most crashes are caused by driver error and that is what the real insurance risk should be, not false claims and unneeded speed cameras.
A chap in Nottinghamshire got so fed up with speeders racing through his village he built his own fake speed camera. It looked the part and began to work immediately. But the council, who refused to put a camera in place due to budget cuts, has warned the chap that if a car slows down and crashes because of the camera then he could be libel. I would agree with that ruling but the fact a council who was once raking it in from speed cameras, admits that they may cause crashes is all you need to know about why they put them there in the first place. Money. Again, a speeding fine can put three points on your license and whack up your insurance. One million drivers have been caught in the last two years.
Because councils have lost speed camera revenues they can no longer afford to run speed partnerships and so they have moved back to parking to make their money. In nearby Bedford to me they have introduced camera vans, mobile CCTV units that photograph illegal parkers, however long they have been there, be it half-hour or that instant, one guy done for backing out of his garage! So far one van has issued 1000 tickets in just 6 weeks of the experiment, not surprisingly tempers raised with locals and business owners. In Bedford, like Northampton, the council have already put yellow lines and meters in all the gaps so drivers were eventually caught out with a ticket as that just leaves the multi-storey's, miles away from where you want to be for that nip into town trip. We have just two minutes to fill the meter or refill it in Northampton town centre or the warden is there. Now, with these vans and smarter CCTV systems, the council has every inch covered and the parking ticket revenue is exploding again, killing local trade and shops in the process.
When shopping around for insurance online be weary that these comparison sites are often owned by insurance companies and so likely to offer favorable quotes to the owners and higher ones for the competition. Confused.com is owned by Admiral Insurance, for example. I guarantee that if you tap exactly the same info in five different ones you will get five different quotes on each site. The fact neither Aviva nor Direct Line use any of the sites means you may get a better deal with those guys. In fact it's always worth calling up the companies and quoting online prices to try and get better deals. Some cash back deals can really tumble the costs.
These sites often 'negotiate' special deals with car insurance companies to push their deals to the top of the drop down lists, regardless of the value. And, of course, these are quotes and not the actual agreed premium. Be warned, once you click so far into the search and press 'yes', that may automatically send your address and phone number to the call centre and so pestering calls to come.
Insurance, particularly motor, gets bad press. The Sun has recently unleashed shocking headlines claiming insurance has risen by 40% in just the last year. This is down to the vast majority having little idea about the thought processes behind their premiums and do not understand the market. However, some of this criticism is deserved, with some companies trying to exploit the complex nature of the subject by baffling clients with jargon and raising renewal premiums in the hope customers won't notice and blindly renew.
I am employed in the insurance industry and have seen both ends of the market. Previously, I worked at a very popular provider currently topping many charts in the comparison website market. The competition in this sector is fierce, and some companies have dramatically exceeded their expansion expectations. However, greed dictates that they expand their sales teams much faster than customer service/claims departments thus leading to a host of bad reviews and battles with the Financial Ombudsman.
The number one consideration for the majority of customers is price, which is a mistake when considering insurance for the most powerful weapon you own. Many of these companies will offer little assistance in a claim, and deliver stripped-down policies that actually give little cover, even under the guise of "fully-comprehensive" - a very loose term which does not refer to the additional benefits of the policy.
I now work at a major insurance brokers who offer much better assistance, but at a premium. They have a very different clientelle and are not competitive financially. The problem is the rapid expansion of comparison sites has made everyone an expert, and customer's ring fiddling with various factors trying to reduce the premium blissfully unaware of the pitfalls. For example, a customer at a previous company decided to insure his BMW M6 (worth around £50,000) as being kept in the garage. This saved him about £5 on a £1000 policy, as where the car is kept (i.e.: driveway, garage, on the road etc. as opposed to postcode) generally makes very little difference to the premium. When his sleek German saloon was pinched during the night, the insurance company refused to pay out as the car had been taken from the driveway.
The moral is be truthful. Don't omit details - even non-fault claims need to be disclosed and can impact on the premium. Don't try and second-guess insurance either, as factors which you believe may make the insurance cheaper may actually increase the premium. For example, someone with a low no claims bonus may actually benefit from declaring a claim, or in some circumstances a car kept on a driveway is viewed as a lower risk than one kept on the driveway.
I have been studying for CII qualifications for a couple of years now and the reasoning behind the pricing is impossible to explain in a short article. My advice for choosing the right motor insurance policy:
1/ Consider the cover - cheapest is not always the best value for money
2/ Do not disregard optional cover. Sometimes the add-ons are almost worth more than the insurance policy itself, though beware those that are in place just to squeeze extra profit for the company.
3/ Do some research on the company. Reviews on the Internet are unlikely to be accurate, as you are only reading one side of a story and all insurance companies have had unhappy customers at one stage or another. Instead, examine an insurance companies place in the market, and ring their claims/policy support department before buying. Whilst you may be able to get through to the freephone salesline in seconds, the other departments may have lengthy waits on premium-rate numbers.
4/ Don't second-guess what will make the insurance cheap - be brutally honest. E.g.: if you move house to a more affluent area, don't assume your premium will reduce.
5/ Shop around. Whilst my job is to try and retain customers, outside work I would always recommend checking the rest of the market before renewing, as generally there are better discounts with other companies than your own, but make sure you are getting like-for-like cover. That said, some companies e.g.: brokers will look to reward customers and will look after long-serving clients
6/ If you don't understand insurance, it is unwise to leave your long-serving insurer and get a relative/friend to get a quote online for you. Chances are they won't get your details accurate. Instead, try an insurance broker. They will do the same job for you, but ensuring your cover is valid and will not necessarily charge a premium for doing so.
I hope this is helpful. Feel free to leave a comment if you need any help with finding a quote.
Each year when it comes to renewing my car insurance I try a number of tricks to try and get the best deal and thought I would share these tips with you. I adopt a 4 pronged strategy and although it does take a little bit of effort, it does result in lower premiums:
STEP 1 - COMPARISON WEBSITES
About a month before the renewal date I enter my details onto a couple of comparison websites such as moneysupermarket.com or comparethemarket.com. To avoid getting a lot of unsolicited phone calls I usually enter a fictitious telephone number such as 01234 567890. I have been caught out by this in the past and ended up receiving a barrage of sales calls as a result.
The sites will generate a list of prospective insurance companies based on the details that you have entered. Normally a number of little known insurance companies are displayed first and I tend to avoid these as I personally prefer to go with the larger providers. I take a look at the cheapest well known companies just to check that the policy is a like for like comparison.
STEP 2 - CONTACT INSURANCE PROVIDERS DIRECT
My next step is to check the websites of those provides that I have identified through the comparison sites, just to check that I cannot get the policy cheaper by going direct. Some providers such as Direct Line do not use comparison sites, so it is always worth checking these separately.
STEP 3 - RENEWAL PRICE
When the renewal notice comes through from your existing insurance company, check the renewal price against the cost that you paid for the policy last time. Most insurance companies provide a really good introductory offer to hook you in for the first year and then hike up the renewal price and hope that you will just renew without doing your homework - easy money for them!
STEP 4 - CONTACT YOUR EXITSING INSURANCE COMPANY
The next step is to go on-line and get a new quote from your existing insurance provider to see what you would be offered as a new customer. If this is significantly less than your renewal, contact the company and ask them to honour this price. If they say no, you can cancel your existing policy at the end of the term and take out the new policy.
Some insurance companies have got wise to this now and won't let you obtain another on-line quote while you have a policy with them. A good way to get around this is to check if the insurance company has a sister company and then obtain a quote from them instead.
If the new quote is the same as your renewal notice, compare this to the prices you found using the steps 1 and 2 above. If you are able to get the policy cheaper with another company contact your insurance company and ask them to price match on a like for like policy. After all it is a lot less hassle for you to stay with your existing insurance company and ultimately more profitable for them to keep you as a customer.
It definitely pays to shop around to get the best deal every time your policy comes up for renewal. When buying your policy it's best to do so on-line as this usually ensures a cheaper rate. If you can afford it, pay the annual premium upfront as opposed to paying monthly which should save you a little bit more.
I have been amazed at how much I have saved on car insurance, let alone before applying this approach to buying house, contents and travel insurance.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article, I hope it helps to save you some money!
I recently had fortis insurance and they have been a total nightmare from day one, my car was made a right off last year, and im still fighting with Fortis 6 months down the line im still battling with them, they refuse to settle this and are making excuses if not lying to me and others involved.I wouldnt recomment Fortis to anyone now, there service was the worst and still is, they may be cheep but it certainly shows in there service.Done touch fortis with your money and your safety, they are not to be trusted in any way shape or form!
What can i say?...insurance asbolutely stinks, and i just cant help but get the feeling that the minute a young driver calls up for a quote, the guy on the other end of the line is rubbing his hands together in preparation for the doing-over that the innocent caller is about to recieve. However, as bad as this sounds, if you know the "tricks of the trade" as it were, youll come out not half as bad as you expected.
Age & Gender...
Firstly, if your young, your going to get shafted. By young i mean under 25. And secondly, if your a guy, youll get shafted twice. Its damn expensive insuring a car on your own when your younger than 25, the best solution is to take out a policy and add older, preferably female drivers to your policy. The more the merrier, but more than three and it stops reducing.
For some reason insurance companies like to up/reduce your premiums based upon your occupation. And by the way, if you are a journalist/reporter, then insurers will happily take a hefty sum of money from you, however, if your a supply teach in a primary school, you will have one of the lowest premium paying occupations going. After reading an article on lowering your insurance on moneysavingexpert.com, i found that you are able to "alter" your occupation ever to slightly. You obviously cant blatantly lie, you cant say your a supply teacher if infact your a fireman. But it is suggested that if you are a university lecturer for example, and occasionally fill in for other lecturers, then you would be permitted to state that you are a supply teacher. (I dont condone this, i am simply passing on information)
Currently i drive a MG ZR160, which is a nice, speedy car, unfortunately it also happens to be group 17 as far as the insurance is concerned, so i pay a fair bit to keep it on the road. My friend however has an MG ZR 160 Express, which is the van version of my car...the only difference being there are no rear windows or seats, meaning this one actually weighs less meanign ti is infact faster that my car, yet being a commercial vehical, it is only classed as group 5. And my friend and 18, on his own policy with no other drivers on this policy is only paying £900 a year for insurance. Look out for these little loop holes.
Another strange loop-hole ive come across over the years...After a few years of driving i purchased an MG ZR 105, which only has a 1.4 engine, albeit the most powerful 1.4 engine around today (non turbo of course), i decided to do and engine conversion on this car, and the common conversion at that time was a Rover 220 2.0 Turbo engine conversion. So this engine produced between 190-220 bhp, alot more than a ZR160, yet it cost me less to insure the conversion than a 160. This is because the conversion was classed as a modified 1.4, whereas the 160 was a 1.8. Strange loop holes that make no logical sense, but then again insurance rarely is. Another thing to watch for when modifying is that slight modifications increase your premium, very large modification can actually reduce it...the insurance company sometimes takes the point of view that if you take time and effort over your car exemplified by the amount of modifications, the belive you are less likely to be brash and cause an accident.
I hope this helps some of you out there...ill add more over time when i come across them.
A few tips I have discovered whilst finding insurance over the years:
Put another person on your insurance
This is a simple tip for younger drivers, especially under 25's. Find an older person and put them as a second driver on your insurance. This works best if you can find a female in her 40's or 50's.
Why is it cheaper? Simple; you tell them you do 12,000 miles a year and they price the policy at 12,000 miles of high risk.
Put your mother on there as a second driver and they assume she will do 3,000 miles. You now pay for 9,000 miles at high risk (since you are the policy holder) and 3,000 miles at low risk (your mother).
I saved £300 off a £1200 one year using this and my mother never drove the car once.
Up your excess
Try upping the excess, the amount you have to pay in the event of a claim. Sometimes it brings a lot of money off, sometimes it doesn't, but it doesn't cost anything to ask.
Price comparison but shop around as well
Price comparison websites are all well and good, but they do not cover every insurance policy or company. Direct Line are not on any of these comparison sites, for example.
Insurance companies may give you offers. For example, after 10 months they will give you a 1 year no claim bonus. These can only be transferred to other companies when you have built up 12 months of driving so to transfer 1 years worth of no claim bonus, you need to be with that company for two terms (20 months) as only complete and "real" years can be transferred.
Confused? Avoid them, it is that simple.
When filling in forms on the internet for insurance quotes, don't put in 15,000 miles per year, put in 14,999 if possible. This may not make much different but since companies band mileages, this one mile may drop you down a price band.
Some insurance companies claim to be specialists. Most are not, they specialise by targetting certain categories of people. Get a price from them, but get prices for standard insurance companies as well. I have never found a specialist cheapest. Not once.
Third party cover
Third party fire and theft is not worth the money saved when you are over about 21ish. You may save £30 or £40 a year on your insurance, but you lose plenty of cover.
Two examples of third party against fully comp:
1) You crash your car into someone elses car, it's your fault. You lose your car or have to pay for repairs. On top of this you have to pay the excess as well. The excess paid goes toward the other person's car.
2) You get a chip in your windscreen from a stonechip. Third party does not cover this, fully comprehensive insurance will either cover this or perhaps only a small excess for windscreen cover. This happened to another friend of mine and he had to pay £250 for a windscreen. It wasn't a flash car, a Renault Clio.
Don't skimp on legal cover. One accident or liar and you may have to pay solicitors bills to defend yourself. For £20ish, this is worth having, just in case. They are also much better than the 'no win, no fee' solicitors and lawyers.
Free courtesy car
If you have a specialist car and know where you want the car to go for repairs, go to the garage and ask which insurance companies they deal with.
If you take your car to a 'non-authorised' repairer by the insurance company, they do not get the discounts from the garage and you lose your right to a courtesy car (even if you have paid for it). Read the terms. It's in there.
It is price that is important, not discount
Forget no-claims bonuses being worth 30%, 40% or whatever. Only get the final price since the percentages mean nothing when all the starting prices are different.
Declare all modifications. I had a friend who bought a new car, a diesel. She decided to take the diesel badges off and stick on the Cupra R badges (top of the range, sportswise).
Someone crashed into her and she wasn't insured. That badge change means you have made your car appear to be more upmarket to theives and therefore you are uninsured for everything. She did get them to pay a percentage of the cost in the end (they wouldn't pay the full amount). She didn't get a courtesy car and the car was in for about a month whilst the disagreement was sorted out, before the garage could start the work.
Don't upgrade without telling them. Don't want people to know it's a 1.2 petrol? Take the badges off. Don't put any replacements on.
Don't pay their interest
The interest on monthly payments are very expensive. Get a 0% credit card to buy your insurance (but make sure you pay it off!). Another choice may be a bank loan, again these are much cheaper.
Remember what you are insuring
How many times have you heard that the price of insurance is ridiculous, that his car is only worth £1000 but his insurance is £2000? I have heard this many times and some people think this is disgusting.
Just imagine though, the very next day, this lad drives way to quick around a corner and crashes into a run of supercars and writes them off. He writes off his own car, a Bugatti, a McLaren SLR and a Lamborghini Gallardo. That's pushing for £1,500,000 worth of cars, but no worry, you just have to pay your excess. Not bad for just £2,000, if it happened!
Remember your insurance is to cover everyone else as well as yourself.
I decided to try www.confused.com after seeing the TV advertising.
It works really well, and you can use it for most of the sorts of insurance you would want. I have tried it for House and Car so far.
One great thing about it is that you don't have to keep on filling in your personal details. You register with the site, and it keeps them for you.
You then select the type of insurance you want to be quoted for and complete the easy forms. It takes between five and ten minutes to do. Press the magic button, wait for a couple of minutes and wait for the quotations to be stacked up for you. They come in ascending order of price, after which you can look at each one in a bit more detail.
If you decide to go ahead to look at the policy properly, then you press a link to the insurance company's own website, and then deal with them. Confused.com takes a commission, but you don't pay any extra for using them as it comes from the insurance company whose policy you take up.
It does look at a very good number of companies although it doesn't go everywhere. However, it gives a very good idea of market prices, and saves you a lot of time, as well as brokers' commissions.
You have to be renewing within a month of asking for a quote, or at least say that you are. The quotes remain valid for varying amounts of time, according to which company you use, but this is usually one to three months.
Do you save money? Sometimes it's excellent: we virtually halved our car insurance - twice! (House insurance came out less well for us, but we still got about £50 off.) And if you don't take it up, all you've lost is a bit of time.
I had my own insurance up to 2.5 years ago but since then I have been driving on my wifes insurance to built her no claims up as I had full no claims, Now what I want to know is how long can I keep my full no claims discount before having to getting my own insurance?? if anyone can tell me it will be much appreciatedRegards Nigel Nigel555@yahoo.com
I experienced real problems trying to insure an imported car a Mitsubishi Pajero - from Southern Ireland. As soon as I told an insurer the car was still on an Irish number plate and that I would need a covernote with a chassis number for the DVLA they couldnt help me. I was recommended to a company called A J Insurance Service (0870) 444 3511 who specialise in imported cars, chassis number covernotes etc. The guy I spoke to was really helpful and explained the registration process to me clearly in plain English. The cost of the insurance compared well with quotes Id had from other 4x4 and import specialists. If you are getting knocked back by the red phone or the mouse Id definitely say this lot are worth talking to.
Please dont be put off by the fact that I am a new member I am trying to help you out. I have previously worked for a well known motor insurer and I would like to pass on some information to help you get the full market value for your vehicle if your vehicle is written off, otherwise known as a TOTAL LOSS. Once it is established if your vehicle is a total loss start looking around in magazines such as Autotrader, local papers etc. Take a peek at the Parkers Guide. Try and find out how much your vehicle is currently worth (how much it would cost you to replace) this is valuable information you need to make photocopies of these details. Once youy receive your settlement figure from your insurance company compare it to what you have written down on average from your findings. Im not saying insurance companies are trying to give you a lower value, this doesnt always happen millions are happy with what they receive but many are not satisfied as the local garages etc are trying to get X amount of profit. If you are disputing the value write a detailed letter to your insurance copmpany outlining what you have found (try to get as many examples as possible within your area) send in the evidence, photocopies, the actual ads etc. Your file will be reviewed and your insurers will get back to you. If your insurers cannot increase ask them to research the same sources as yourself and get back to you to show you that they are nearer the mark. Dont be put off many insurers will let you have your settlement without prejudice meaning you have the cash for your new car and you can continue the dispute and any additional monies can be forwarded to you at a later date. Hope this helps :)
Motor Insurance is something we give little thought to until either we have an accident, theft or renewal. When you are looking for a quote there are certain things that you should bear in mind that might help to lower the premium yet grant you the same level of cover. Insurance company’s calculate the cost of your premium based on the probability that you will have cause to make a claim. The salesperson you speak to will enter your information into their database and it will take a base cost of insurance and use multipliers to assess the risk to the insurance company. The greater the risk the computer assesses, the more they charge for the policy. There are a few ways of reducing your insurance policy however. TIP 1: Taking a Voluntary Excess -------------------------------- If you have an excess on your policy, this is basically you saying to the insurance company that if the cost of damage to your vehicle is below a certain amount, you will not make a claim on your insurance. Or if it is a lot, you will pick up the tab on the excess part. This lowers the risk considerably so by way of thanking you, they lower the premium since you are taking on some of the risk yourself. There are two types of excess, compulsory and voluntary. The compulsory excess is usually applied to young or inexperienced drivers as defined above and has already been taken into account in the premium price. However, if you ask the insurance company to add on voluntary excess – the more you increase your excess, the smaller your premium will become. There is a limit to how high you can set your voluntary excess, the highest voluntary excess on a private insurance policy that I have heard of is £400.00. The upside of taking a large voluntary excess is that you keep your premium low, the downside is that if your car is damaged or stolen you have to pay the excess or have it deducted from any claim you make. TIP 2: Direct Insur
er over Broker? ------------------------------------------ I usually change my insurance company every year and personally I would never use a broker again. The reason is that apart from the above calculations, one other factor involved is profits. The insurance companies have special deals with brokers that mean the brokers get paid a fee for getting the customer insured with them. I have no doubt that the brokers are independent but the fee paid to them by the insurance company comes out of their profit. Therefore, this fee is taken into account when calculating the cost of my premium. When there are so many Direct Insurers, I don’t see the point in getting involved with a middleman who may well get me a policy with a company who would be glad to insure me directly. In addition, it slows down and increases the paperwork in the event I have cause to claim. Instead of reporting the accident directly to my insurers, I would have to report it to the brokers and they would then report it to the insurers. The insurers would then contact the brokers for further information and the brokers would contact me. Thus I would be paying for an unnecessary extra link in the chain – better to get insured directly and deal with the insurers directly. It will save on paperwork and also it will be one less factor to be taken into account when calculating the cost of my insurance. Tip 3: Protect your No-Claims Bonus ----------------------------------- No claims bonus is generally 30% for the first year, 40% for the second, 50% for the third, 60% for the fourth and 65% for five. Once you reach full no-claims bonus 65% or more depending on the company, you will be given the option to pay for a no-claims protection policy. This is an extra fee, but in my opinion well worth it because in the event that you have an accident, most insurers will knock two years no claims bonus off. This can be quite costly if your base insurance is sa
y £1000.00 and you have full no claims, you are obviously only paying £350.00. If you had an accident, you would go to 50% no claims and have to fork out £500.00. With no-claims protection you would be able to make one claim a year without the claim affecting your no-claims bonus. No-claims protections cost varying amounts but usually not more than £50.00. As an added bonus you can have two claims in any three years without it affecting your no claims as long as those two are not within the same insurance year. TIP 4: Guarding against Injustice. ------------------------------- If you have an accident, regardless of whether you are at fault are not, your no-claims bonus is stepped back two years until the matter is sorted out. By sorted out, it is not enough that the other side accepts responsibility. As the insurance company is fond of saying it is not a “no-blames bonus”. As long as the insurance company has an outlay that they have paid out that has not yet been recovered or as long as there remains the threat that a claim will be made on your insurance the no claims remains affected. Therefore, even if the claim is settled on a 50/50 basis your insurance company will recover half of their outlay but they will also have to pay 50% of the other sides outlay. There is no such thing as “Knock for Knock” anymore that was disposed of many years ago although some people still believe it exists. There is nothing more annoying than losing your no-claims bonus because of an accident that wasn’t your fault because the other driver lies about the accident. There are ways of lowering the possibility of this happening to you. 1. Carry a camera in your car and providing it is safe to do so, take a photograph of the position of the vehicles before they are moved. It only needs to be a cheap happy snapper type camera, which cost less than £10.00. These are particularly useful in cases where you have b
een stationary at a junction and the other driver hits you whilst trying to cut a corner. If they then decide to say that you actually pulled out on them, without photographs showing where the vehicles were, you might be faced with a case of one persons word against another and the claim might get settled on a split-liability basis. This would affect your no-claims and may cost you hundreds of pounds. If you could have saved the headaches and financial cost by having a £10.00 camera in your glove box, wouldn’t that be worth it? 2. Do not assume that because the accident is straightforward that you do not need any witness details. Take them anyway, just in case the other driver decides to change his story later. Too many people think that because the other driver hit them in the rear, the facts speak for themselves and don’t bother taking witness statements. Then the other driver turns around, lies and says that they didn’t hit anyone in the rear, they themselves were reversed into. Better that they argue and get 50% than admit responsibility and get 100% of the blame. TIP 5: Paying The Insurance Company -------------------------------------- One last tip is if you damage your car and lets say it’s a very small amount of damage and the insurance company outlay is £100.00 or so. Because they have an outlay, they affect your no-claims bonus by two years. If you actually decided to refund their £100.00 outlay, they would no longer have any reason to affect your no-claims bonus. Say you have a £1000.00 insurance policy with four years (60%) no-claims bonus. If your insurance company has an outlay First Renewal - Your no claims would be at 40% - you would pay £600.00. Second Year - Your no claims would be at 50% - you would pay £500.00. Third Year - Your no claims would be at 60% - you would pay £400.00. Total Premiums in three years - £1500.00 ***************
*************************** If you refunded the £100.00 outlay First Renewal - Your no claims would be at 65% - you would pay £350.00 Second Year - Your no claims would be at 65% - you would pay £350.00. Third Year - Your no claims would be at 65% - you would pay £350.00. Total Premiums in three years - £1050.00 + £100.00 Reimbursed to Insurance Co. = £1150.00 Total saving over three years £350.00. If the insurance company only has a small outlay which is affecting your no-claims bonus, you will have to work out whether it is going to be cheaper for you in the long run to pay their outlay and preserve your no-claims.
When it comes to buying car insurance, there are a few different strategies. 1. Take the easy way out. Sign the renewal forms for your existing insurer, or if you haven't had a car before, sign up with the first company that you contact. Positives for this approach are that its easy. Unfortunately, the insurance companies know this and its very likely that you will be able to get a better quote from somewhere else. After fifteen years insuring cars, I've found the renewal quote to be cheapest once. 2. Get quotes from every insurance company and broker that you can find. You might get a great price like this. Unfortunately, the cost in terms of your time and possibly telephone bill might make it more expensive. 3. Find a company or broker targetted to your specific needs. Some insurers choose to specialise in niche markets, aiming to be able to offer cheaper deals by knowing their particular bit of the market better than anyone else. Most insurance companies run a mile from a seventeen year old with a 1.0L Vauxhall Nova that has £600 of alloy wheels and an exhaust system the size of a drainpipe. However, if you look in the classified adverts of Max Power, you'll find insurers who won't crack up laughing halfway through the quote. Similarly, if you want to insure an MGB, then the MG owners' club is worth trying, the NFU can be cheap for Land Rover insurance etc. Personally, I've never found internet-based car insurers to be that good. The best WWW interfaces can get you a quote reasonably quickly, but the worst ones are awful, and the majority are still slower than getting a quote by telephone. A few places (eg the AA) give a discount to WWW quotes. For these, I would be tempted to ring for a quote first, and then go for the WWW site if the first quote is competitive. I usually try a selection of direct sales insurance companies from adverts in the yellow pages as well as one or two broke
rs. Having tried half a dozen places, I'll get back to the best quotes and see if they can drop their price a little more. If you are comparing several quotes, then you need to make sure that you are getting a quote for exactly the same level of cover. Check details like the voluntary excess, the compulsory excess, the level of no claims bonus, has uninsured loss recovery been included, are you covered for business use or for travel to work, You then need to make sure that the quote that you get is right for you. You may find that you are already covered for legal expenses with existing insurance policies. The traditional advice has been that comprehensive insurance isn't worthwhile if your car is worth less than £1000-£1500 or so. However, sometimes you can get comprehensive cover for very little more than for TPF&T (I've had it quote as £2 more), and this could then be worthwhile even for a banger. For instance, you often get better windscreen cover with a comprehensive policy, and you might also get a hire car whilst your car is off the road for repairs (even if it ends up being written off). If you are a single young man looking to insure a car, then it often reduces your quote if you get a woman named driver added to the policy. In theory this would be your girlfriend, who will nag you and stop you from having lots of accidents. However, it could be any woman. If you make a claim on your insurance, then you will lose your no claims bonus unless you can get your claim paid by someone else's insurance company. To do this, the claim has to be caused fully by someone else, they need to be insured and you need to get their insurance details. If you pay for a protected no claims bonus, then some companies will not honour the NCB protection from another company. Even if you don't lose your no claims bonus, you will have had an accident, that you will need to mention to insurers, and this is quite likely to bump
up your premiums. A no claims bonus can make a huge difference to the cost of your insurance. Think carefully before you claim as to whether it really is worth your while to make a claim damage that will be cheap to repair. Don't be tempted to be economical with the truth when getting an insurance quote. If you are and you happen to run down a bus queue, then you can be sure that the insurer will hold any deception against you. Insurance that costs 10% less than the rest of your quotes might turn out to be less of a bargain if the company goes bust before you need to claim. In this situation, it helps to have paid with a credit card. Remember that with insurance you pay them money - this is only worthwhile if they will agree to pay you money when something nasty goes wrong.
This week, I have been trying to sort out my car insurance for the next year. It's one of those things that is about as much fun as kick to the privates but it has to be done. I believe my story will help others to save a great deal of money on their car insurance, especially youngsters like myself, by following a few simple principles. ***MY STORY*** I am 21 years old and a post-graduate student and I have been driving for 4.5 years without an accident, claim, points, etc. I have a Ford Fiesta 1998 Zetec LX, and I had this car on fully comprehensive insurance last year for the first time. It cost me about 880 pounds for 1 years cover with 17to40 direct, which is a branch of Endsleigh insurance and makes special deals for NUS members. This sounds expensive but, considering my original quotes from other major companies were well over 1000 pounds, it was a good offer. This month, I was shopping around again for the cheapest fully comp cover I could find. I started off on the net and looked up a lot of the major insurance companies and major online only companies and filled in forms to obtain a quote. Despite trying alledgedly cheap companies like elephant.co.uk, direct line, churchill, etc., the best quote I recieved over the net was around the same as last year, over 800 pounds. This isnt good enough thought I, and the phone was my next strategy. Firstly, I phoned up Norwich Union Direct, since I recieved a mailing from them offering discounted rates for my postcode. It was a freephone number and, after giving my life story to a salesman, and saying my best quote so far was 800 pounds, I was offered a 'discounted' rate of about 750 pounds for a fairly standard package of cover with better excesses than last year (250 accident, 50 windscreen, 100 fire and theft), as well as legal cover and a courtesy car. Not bad, I thought, for just making one free phone call. But I still had to make some further enquiries. <
br> So I phoned up my previous insurer (17-40 Direct) and mentioned my previous quotes. Taking into account my loyalty bonus and no claims bonus, they gave me an almost identical form of cover, but they said they would manage it for 695 pounds. I was tempted to accept this since it was 200 pounds less than the original quotes I was getting on the net. But I noticed that they were undercutting eachother by quite large margains and decided to give it another go. I tried a few others who stated that they could not match that quote and they could offer no better than 800 pounds. I stumbled apon LLoyds TSB and my ears perked up when they managed to bring up a figure of 627 pounds. I was giving this some serious thought until she mentioned that I could pay in 10 monthly installments. This was odd, so I asked how long the cover was for, and she says 10 months despite clearly leading me to believe up till then that it was for a year (or certainly not mentioning that it wasnt!). So bye-bye LLoyds TSB if only for deceipt. So back to NU Direct with my tale of the 695 quote from my previous insurers. The chap on the phone is refreshingly honest and says 'look, I am going to undercut that because I get a percentage if I sell this to you' So he offers me a quote with the same conditions for an improved 663 pounds. Again, tempted to take it, but decided to give my old insurer one last chance to keep me as a customer. I subtly said 'look these guys have offered me the same level of cover for 663, you will have to beat it if you want me to remain with you guys'. So they went away and I think she searched for some special offers or some rubbish, but she came back with 'great news', she could reduce the original 695 quote down to 649. I gave this a little thought, checked out the terms of the quote and accepted (you have to draw the line somewhere before all the companies tell you to stop annoying them). But I had succ
eeded in getting a more attractive policy than last year for 230 pounds cheaper and also saving over 150 pounds on the best quotes I was getting on the net (some were quoting more than double this!) So there we go, its still expensive but I am happy. But the purpose of this review is to help other people, so here is some advice from my experiences: ***ADVICE*** 1. Don't accept any quote you get on the internet. The chances are that you will be able to get it cheaper by phoning. 2. Phone up numerous companies and 'play them off against eachother'. Most are freephone so it only requires a bit of your precious time to save a lot of money. Dont lie, just say what you have been quoted by previous companies and they will tell you whether they can beat it. The salespeople will be very keen to do so, if at all possible, so they can take their commission. 3. Make sure you get the main terms of the quote and the level of cover you recieve. CHECK THAT IT IS FOR A YEAR!! Also, check out the excesses they are quoting you and whether you are getting adequate protection in case of the worst. Things to look out for include legal cover, courtesy cars, etc. 4. After you have phoned round all the companies, phone the second cheapest quote you get, and tell them if such and such a company have beaten their quote. Just ask directly if they are able to match it. 5. If they manage it, go back to the original cheapest etc. But you have to know where to draw the line, since they are bound to get a little bit annoyed if you keep phoning up asking for better quotes and they may tell you where to go!! 6. Dont let them pressure you into taking anything. If they offer you a special discounted deal that may only be available for a few minutes or whatever, dont take it for this reason. Ask for the details of the quote and say you will phone them back when you have thought about it (or tried to get
other companies to beat it!) 7. Relax and dont get stressed! There you go, hope this has been helpful for young drivers like myself who have to suffer extremely high insurance prices because of a stupid minority of drivers, but thats a different story. Insurance is a service, makes sure you get the best possible service for the least possible amount of cash!
I’ve been driving for about 17 years now and have had my own car and been responsible for my own insurance for the past 7 of those years. Despite this, I think I’ve learnt more about car insurance and the possible pitfalls in the past month than in all those 17 years put together. Why have I learnt more? Sadly it’s because my car has just been written off as a result of an accident which was not my fault and which happened a month ago as I was driving my children and a friend to my eldest son’s birthday party. I’ve always shopped around for the cheapest insurance deals I could find. I was particularly pleased with the deal I got from Dial Direct (not to be confused with Direct Line!) last year and duly changed from my previous insurers to buy a policy form them. The problems started immediately, although I’ll save those for an opinion on Dial Direct. What I want to talk about in this opinion are some things I wish I’d known and which I’d like to pass along as tips when you’re next looking to buy car insurance. What price you are quoted depends on many variables such as your age, no claims bonus and the area you live in, but are you getting the best deal by going with the cheapest company? Check exactly what your insurance will cover in the case of a claim. Did you know, for example, that although the insurance company will tell you that they’ll provide you with a courtesy vehicle should your own be off the road, they will in all likelihood not do so should your vehicle be a write off? I found only one company which said they would cover a hire vehicle in the case of your own vehicle being written off. If this matters to you, ask this question when finding an insurer. What about buying legal protection? Many companies now automatically include this in their initial quote, but do you need it? I bought separate legal protection with my insurance from Dial Direct, but found
when it came to the crunch (pardon the pun!) that in fact I was covered by the RAC as one of their members, and that the legal company they use and from whom I have free cover, were far far better and quicker than the one whose cover I had purchased with my insurance. Think about checking whether you already have cover with (for example) the RAC and in exactly what circumstances they will cover you. Will they offer you protection if the accident is your fault, or just if it isn’t? You may also feel you don’t need legal protection – I can only say that I have been and still am extremely grateful for the free RAC cover which I have. As I mentioned above, you will not tend to get a courtesy car if your car is written off, and at least legal protection can arrange hire for you in a clearly non-fault incident and so get you mobile again. It takes a day or so, and they do not tend to work weekends, but within a few days I was in a hired vehicle which I kept for a month while I sorted out a replacement vehicle. The costs of this have been covered by the legal company until they can be reclaimed from the third party insurers. I will also be making a claim for personal injury and for all my uninsured losses, eg cost of physio etc, and this is all taken care of by the legal service who put you in touch with a solicitor who will handle your claim. All the costs are claimed from the third party insurers, and you do not need to pay any legal charges. If this had been a fault accident, I’m guessing that I could have needed the legal protection to defend myself if a claim such as my own had gone to court, however you would need to check this out. A friend of mine who used to own a car yard told me never to accept the first amount proposed by an insurance company in a write-off claim, but to send copies of any documents relating to any work, especially recent work you have had done on your vehicle to them. I kept phoning the in
surance company to ask whether they had had a chance to look at the documents, and found that they upped their initial offer on my car from £800 to £1000 over the phone without having even seen the documents. At this point it’s worth noting that you may lose the hire car unless you accept the initial offer. A way around this is to say that you will accept it as an “interim payment” but wish to continue to negotiate. Apparently the second offer is usually the best you’ll get, but the insurance company further upped my offer to a final one of £1200. If I had not persisted in negotiating I would have had 50% less than I finally accepted in settlement for my vehicle! I refused to allow them to take my vehicle for salvage until I had agreed a settlement for the claim. The disadvantage of this is that I have had my damaged vehicle on my drive for a month now, but I’m told it’s being collected tomorrow! The hire vehicle can be kept until the day when the cheque paid by the insurance company in settlement of your claim is cleared by your bank. All of this must be a lot easier if you have access to another vehicle or are not car-dependent, but living where I live we need a car for almost everything, and the written off vehicle was out only car. It can therefore take quite a bit of juggling to find and put a deposit on a vehicle while waiting for the insurance cheque to clear, knowing that you need to be ideally driving your new vehicle by that day. My car insurance expired a week after my accident and I was sure that I did not want to renew with Dial Direct, so I have been calling insurance companies only to find that because the claim has not been settled as non-fault yet, despite my protected 6 years no-claims bonus, many treat it as a fault claim and so it affects the premiums I’m being quoted. I’ve found that this does differ immensely and that there are companies who will treat it as a non-fault claim if
this seems obvious by the circumstances. Again it seems to pay to shop around. If you are unfortunate enough to have a car written off as we have, be aware that you can claim a refund of road tax paid for that vehicle. You can not transfer remaining paid road tax to another vehicle, but can claim a refund for each whole month remaining on your disc. In addition ask the RAC (I presume it’s the same for the AA) to suspend your membership until you need it again on a new vehicle. You can add this remaining RAC membership onto a new membership on your new vehicle or even transfer it to another family member should you wish to. I realise that this information may not seem very relevant to many of you reading this, but the whole point of insurance is to cover yourself for unforeseen circumstances. I wish I had been better prepared for the consequences of having my car written off, and should we ever be unlucky enough to be in this situation again, at least we will be well-informed and know our way around the system a bit better. My hope for you is that you will never need this information, but if you ever do, you will at least have been better informed than we were.
Two years ago, my son bought a Vauxhall Corsa on hire purchase terms. It had a 1.2 litre engine. For some reason the look of the Corsa or the speed, didn't do anything for him. So he spend most of his money on alloy wheels, music systems, etc etc etc. As I've said he wasn'y content with the speed, so he had a bigger engine put in, so it would go faster. I can't understand why anybody would do this, but who knows what goes on in peoples head. If you want a fast car, you buy a car with a big engine. With it being an almost new car, he had it was insured fully comprehensive. The premiums were very expensive because of all the modifications. He could afford to pay it, because he has a good job, and he got plenty of overtime. Anyway the overtime stopped, and he couldn't afford to pay the insurance. So he got rid of the breakdown, but he still couldn't afford to pay it. Next he downgraded the insurance to third party fire and theft. Thinking that in a few weeks the overtime time would pick up. Anyway it wasn't to be, a few weeks later he was involved in an accident, he lost control of the car, and ended up smashing into a barrier. The car was a write off. Because he wasn't insured properly he wasn't entitled to one penny. Worst still he has to continue paying for a car that he doesn't own. Now he is driving about in an old banger. The moral of this story is that if you buy a new car, make sure that you can afford the insurance, if you can't try and buy a cheaper car. If it goes wrong, you lose anything, don't risk it, it is not worth it.