Tag Archives: Car Insurance

Mobile Phone Use While Driving Gets You 6 Points from Today

Driver using Mobile Phone

Driver using Mobile Phone

I’m a day late I know, but I’ve been a busy bee with surgery issues and winding up business for my down time. The law came into force on Wednesday 1st March 2017. From Wednesday, using your mobile phone while driving, means 1 text can get you 6 points and a £200 fine on the spot, scrolling your music, making calls etc will all get you 6 points and £200 fine. It used to be £100 and 3 points with an optional retraining scheme. 

Its bad for experienced drivers who are allowed up to 12 points within any 3 year period before you receive a ban, but its even worse for new drivers like myself, if you get 6 points in the first 2 yrs then you lose your license.

The mobile phone retraining scheme where you could choose to a do a safety course instead of the points has been withdrawn, so its points, points or points oh and a fine. I’m not sure the seatbelt and speed awareness course are still running or not. Best to drive on the assumption that Tullocks Going to Get Ya. 

This legislation were brought in after Polish Driver Tomasz Kroker killed 4 members of the same familey while he were playing with his mobile phone. From memory he claimed he weren’t using his phone but instead were scrolling through his musical playlist. 

Police Crack Down

Police Crack Down Barrier

Police Crack Down Barrier

The police are reportedly doing 7 day crack downs, the first of which runs from 1st-7th March 2017, with another rumoured to start 22nd March 2017, a similar week long crack down in February 2017 resulted in over 3600 motorists given points, a fine or retraining scheme. With the scheme now withdrawn and the points doubled and fine increased, there is a world of pain heading to 1000s of motorists in March. 

According to government figures there about 2 dozen people killed per year and 100 seriously injured my motorists using their phones every year. A survey I saw reported that about half of young drivers think its acceptable to use their phone for short calls or quick texts. With many young people unable to stand switching their mobile phones off, its a recipe for disaster. 

Insurance Punishment

I phoned my insurance just for giggles (and fuck yeah I lied about who I was) and asked them how much it would increase my premium if I were banned within 2 years of passing. It really would be pointless me driving, it nearly tripled the premium. With a clean license having been driving 6 months the quote on a 1.4T Astra SRI were £1,200. Now add 3 points and the premium shoots to £1,800, next add a ban (non drink driving) raised the premium to £3,500. A driving driving ban they said they wouldn’t insure me.

They also pointed out that mobile phone use penalties are a CU80 Penalty and put you at more of risk than someone who were 5mph over the speed limit. Given there are reasons you could be caught speeding, but there is no excuse for using your phone, so your wallet will get more abuse for such a penalty. The official figured being bandied about suggest a CU80 will get you 30% insurance increase, which is quite close what I were told. 

Mobile Phone using Driver image by Breakingpic and Police Car image by Unsplash.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Ex-Police Car Insurance Tips

KP10NXY Vauxhall Astra

KP10NXY Vauxhall Astra

I have had a nightmare getting insurance for my last car, I no longer have the car since Ex Police Car Specialist in Manchester who sold it me, basically sold me a lemon and were dicks about the Consumer Rights Act, more on that another time. Lesson learned, if a dealer won’t, or can’t take credit card, I’d walk away.

I’d already started writing this article, and figured it contained some useful information for others buying ex-Police cars from honest dealers. So I went ahead and posted it anyway. 

Almost ALL the main comparisons websites didn’t carry my car’s Trim and Spec (Astra Special 1.3 CDTI) hell most of them couldn’t even find my number plate (KP10 NXY).  When I visited the main dealer (Bristol Street Motors), they put my number plate in and were sure it weren’t a real car plate.

I don’t think a single one of the the big boy comparison sites got it right straight off the bat, and only Mustard.co.uk off the top my head found it at all, I think Asda were able to manually look it up.  The story were the same with most of the major direct insurance companies, only a handful actually found the car.

Average Quotes

KP10 NXY Barebones

KP10 NXY Barebones

Most my pre-purchase quotes were around £800-1000 on a provisional license, and around £1,800-2,400 on a full license. I decided given my previous experience hunting quotes that I would tweak the options a little using the many accounts I had made until I found the best combination. 

There were some outside the above range quotes, my biggest quote were around £5,000 with a £3,000 Compulsory Excess but with some fiddling and jigging, I managed to find an Excellent Deal.

Top Tip: Make a second account with a fake name, who lives nearby (same postal code range, same age, date of birth, job etc, but diff email). The reason for this is, insurance companys record EVERY quote you make. If you test the price for parked on the road, then try parked on the driveway and its cheaper.  If your car is broken into it, and it were on the road but you choose on the drive they can cry about it and refuse to cover it. Experiment with a fake account but very very similar details. Remember don’t enter your drivers license number on this accounts 😉 

Now if you have an Ex-Police Car this list will save you a heap of time as it gives you an order to work again, an save you a heap of time. 

Insurance Companies Break Down

Its set out in order of most useful down to shocking and couldn’t help at all. I’m going to have a little rant about Hastings Direct and a Kudos to the company I chose in the end, but here’s the run down. Good Luck!

Detected The Trim AND All Engine Sizes
This means they had the make, model, trim and its selection of engine sizes (1.3, 1.7, 2.0).
Admiral (and Bell, Elephant), More Than, Asda, Mustard and Tesco Bank.

Had The Trim but Not All Engine Sizes
These were unable to detect the reg plate, but manually did have the make, model, trim but usually only the 1.7 engine size, not the other two. If you have the 1.3 of the bigger engine, no point trying these.
Zurich, Liverpool Victoria, uSwitch, Go Skippy, Swinton Insurance, Co-Operative Bank, Kwik-Fit Insurance, Quote Me Happy, Swift Cover, Diamond and John Lewis.

Had Car but Unable to Quote or Didn’t Do Online Quotes.
I can’t say don’t try these, only that you need to phone them or them phone you, but were too much hassle.
TheAA and Allianz

Comparison Sites Failed Catastrophically
Confused, Compare The Market, Money Supermarket and Go Compare,

Didn’t Have The Trim FULLSTOP!
Hastings Direct, 1st Central, RAC, Direct Line, AXA, eSure, Churchill, Endsleigh, Sainsburys, Adrian Flux, Post Office, Marks and Spencer, NatWest, Prudential and Privilege.

As you can see I literally spent hours upon hours trying to find a bargain, and I found one in the end, just not the one I expected before I purchased the car. 

Hastings Direct Sucks

Hastings Direct Logo

Hastings inDirect Logo

I’m giving Hastings Direct a special mention / kick because this were the company I really wanted to go with, their Hastings Direct Premier Insurance ticked all my boxes. The key fact were I was assured that provisional drivers could earn no claims bonus with them. I were quoted around £700 as a provisional, and then up to £2,100 the day I pass the test. I would have to pro-rata this, since I intended on passing in about 6 months at the time (September 2016), my first year would cost me £1400. This £1400 would be made up from 6 months as a provisional and 6 months as a qualified driver, the break down is below for completeness.

Provisional Driver: £58.33 per month multiplied by 6 months = £350.
Qualified Driver: £175 per month multiplied by 6 months = £1050

On the same phone call I confirmed the Provisional NCB, I were told the fact the insurance couldn’t find my actual trim, but the Reg Plate returned the Exclusiv Spec, which had the correct transmission, engine size, bhp, etc I were told “We’ll be able to cover you, we’ll just need to add the ‘special’ name to your policy.”, so I worked on the basis of this being accurate and would be plain sailing.

I regrettably bought the wreck of a car, I get an estimated delivery date, all I need to do now is call to get my car insured. This is where it all went to hell. On this second call, I were told “Underwriters don’t speak to customers directly, sorry nothing we can do to help, its not something we do”, they wouldn’t even ask the underwriters or whoever themselves or pass me to someone who could.

F*#k You very much Hastings, I spent 2 weeks thinking I had it all planned and were ready to roll before you kicked the stool from under my feet.

Tesco Rocks

Ask MID (Motor Insurance Database)

Ask MID (Motor Insurance Database)

Since I kicked Hastings in the nards, I thought I would give Tesco a special mention. In the end it were them which saved the day. A provisional license holder, parking the car on the road, on a 2010 Astra Special 1.3 CDTi and the quote was a mouthwatering £540.

A whole £160 less than Hastings Direct, which I thought were a good deal.

I nearly snapped their arm off before they changed their mind, an off I went happily insured… so I thought.

The day the care were delivered, I’m sat in the gym, cooling down before a shower. I thought I’d tax the vehicle it showed me the link for Motor Insurance Database (MID) and suggested you check the insurance status before you pay. When I did this, it came up with the wrong trim. It showed Vauxhall Astra Exclusiv CDTi (see right), which meant technically my insurance were invalid. 

Tesco definitely showed the correct spec and trim searching with my number plate, and it still does right now. I checked my quote emails, and confirmation emails and they all matched up saying Astra Special. I checked my documents, and blow me if it didn’t say Exclusiv on the certificate of insurance, GRRRR. 

Tesco Insurance Correction Letter

Insurance Correction Letter

I phoned Tesco Insurance up, which has a UK Landline phone number (01332093098), the advisor on the phone checked all my quote references, and said it shows Exclusiv on their side. He checked it on MyCarCheck and it showed as Astra Special, and he checked Tesco’s customer site and agreed it said Special. So assured me now I had notified them I were fully insured until its sorted and safe to drive. I would need to send in documentary evidence of the cars specification, and the quotes saying special so they could add it to the system.

At this point I were expecting a repeat of the Hastings Fiasco and finding I had no insurance. I emailed in photo’s of the documents, the Tesco quotes, Tesco emails and everything else, and waited nearly a week before a letter arrived from Tesco.

This letter (see left) basically confirmed although the MID says Exclusiv, Tesco has added a note on their systems to ensure the correct model is insured and I’m legal. 

This is effectively what Hastings Indirect had promised they would do, so I have no idea why they couldn’t do it, but kudos to Tesco for actually sorting it out. 

The Bottom Line

If you’re buying an Ex-Police car, Tesco, Admiral (Bell/Elephant), More Than, Asda and Mustard are the top pics, given mustards best price promise, it should be a no brainer. Earlier I mentioned their lowest price promise, and as best I can find, this is provided by Adrian Flux who usually are the go to for modified cars. If I had added a DTUK or other tuning box along with a K n N air filter etc, I’d have probably tried them, so maybe worth a look.

I also found it dropped the price by about 20% by adding an experienced named driver, in my case my poor old Mother were added as a Named Driver, this dropped the insurance about £100 for me. So adding a more experience driver, may save you big money, just use one with no convictions, no accidents, no points, basically a clean license.

 

KP10NXY Car image by Cobalt271, who has a hell of a collection of service vehicle images. He also has quite a bit of information about the cars usage, due to the stream of images. If you’re considering a car which appears in his images, a polite message via Flickr may be invaluable.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Non-Fault Accident Increases Your Insurance Premium

Firefighter Extinguish Car Fire

Firefighter Extinguish Car Fire

I have been looking in to this since one of my friends reported a no-fault accident. In their case, they have a double dash cam set up, they had a cam attached to the rear of the car, they drilled this near the reg plate and it doubles as a reverse camera to their tablet. They also have a camera facing forward, which has GPS, Lane Detection and some other gadgets, I don’t know.  

They were hit, and it were all recorded. The other person admitted it were their fault, which was also caught on the cameres complete with audio. 

Open and Shut Claim

This would seem like an open and shut claim, accident happened, video showing admission, other driver admitted fault to insurance, and it should not impact his insurance at all. This isn’t the case come renewal time, he didn’t know why, I didn’t know why, and we just assumed the insurance companies actively seek out any way they can to help themselves to your hard earned cash.

Because accident data is shared between insurance companies, you can’t simply decide you’re unhappy with Insurance A, and get a better quote from Insurance B, because both of them have penalised you and factored it into your quote. Of course shopping around will save you some pennies since most insurances hide their mystical formulas of risk which gives you some variance, so always a deal to be had, if you shop smart. 

I had forgotten about this until I saw an article in The Telegraph about the same sort of incident, so I sent it to my mate who told me, his premium dropped the following year by about £200 but were still about £200 more than before the accident. 

The AA British Insurance Premium Index keeps and eye on insurance rises, and currently shows comprehensive premiums this year are £82 more expensive than last year, Assuming last year increased the same, it could explain why his insurance increased approx £200, including IPT (Insurance Premium Tax) increases on top. 

The article in The Telegraph has some interesting quotes from Sheila’s Wheels “While a claim on the other persons insurance is outstanding, liability can still be contested.”, they continue to say “In these circumstances, and when a policy renews when there is an open claim, the premium would be temporarily increased while we wait fro the case to close.

Once its settled, the premium would be recalculated and any additional premium paid would be returned.” This means that if you’re renewal comes up before the other insurance companies pays out, even with iron-clad evidence, and an admission of guilt you’re still penalised. The fact that data is shared between insurance companies means, you’ll be penalised everywhere else too.  

My friend went on to tell me, he were never refunded anything, but says he’s going to contact his insurance and ask what the hell. I’m putting my money on his insurance company suggesting he like a long run off a short pier or something along those lines. 

Firefighter image courtesy of Pexels/Pixabay.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Risky Locations Could Increase Your Car Insurance Premium

Ghetto Area High Insurance

Ghetto Area = High Insurance

In the UK “Black Box” or “Telematics” devices are used as a way to reduce the cost of insurance for new or young drivers by tracking how they drive. Its hoped by having an “all-seeing-eye” watching how you break, corner and accelerate will make you a safer driver, and apparently its proven to improve the drivers skills. The Discounts are up to 38% and even 40%, when you consider the average new and young drivers insurance can be £2,000+, a 40% discount is substantial.

You may not know this, but some Telematics policies actually track WHEN you drive, so if you regularly drive between 11pm-7am, your discount is reduced. If you regularly exceed the speed limit. If you regularly drive during rush hour, it can also reduce your discount.

Its worth pointing out that the Telematics box won’t increase your premium for THIS year. It will reduce your discount / refund, when you drive or how you drive.

What Do Telematics Boxes Track

Geotab Go7 Telematics Device

Geotab Go7 Telematics Device

If you look at the list of what telematics box can track:

  • Time of day or night you drive.
  • Speeds you drive.
  • The type of road (A, B, Motorway).
  • Your Location.
  • If you brake hard or accelerate sharply.
  • If you take regular breaks to rest on long journeys.
  • Your motorway miles and usage.
  • Fuel Level.
  • Seatbelt Usage.
  • The way you handle corners.
  • The total mileage.
  • The total number of journeys you make.
  • Vehicle Maintenance and Condition.
  • Anything else the ECU knows, such as remapping or mapping out egr/dpf etc.

You can see there is quite a lot of information there, and many ways this can be interpreted and analysed.

Next Years Premiums Could Increase

Its fairly openly stated in the small print that it could (read as Will) affect your renewal or next years premium, and its sketchy if the data is shared with other insurance companies. More so even if shared within the same company for example Bell Insurance shares with its parent Admiral and sister Elephant for example.

Insurance companies have been trying to standardise the systems  data since 2014, so its coming soon that companies will share, less clear how UK data protection laws will see that.  

What they don’t officially track is your geographical location, but I believe this data is logged, I mean they are using a GPS tracker, so your location must be tracked but its not used yet. My research tells me there are (currently) no plans to change that. 

Driving In Risky Locations

Car Price IncreasesSome insurance companies in America are starting to use the Geographic location data in the calculation of your insurance premium, so if you routinely drive through down town Detroit at midnight where more than 1 person in every 2,000 people will end up dead in any given year, you can expect your insurance premium to rocket.

Same if you routinely park your car in the ghetto or rougher parts of town. 

I’m not sure how Risky Location would be defined in the UK since we don’t really have “hoods” or “motor city” type things, but I’m guessing they will use the same data they use to assess your home risk factor.

If you live in a low crime area, with high value homes, your insurance is cheaper, than if you live in a high crime area with low cost homes, or overspill estates etc then your insurance costs more. Since this data already exists, I suspect they will use this same type of data to determine if you’re driving / parking in “rough” areas. 

Its interesting times ahead as far as insurance goes, and its not the first time something altruistic has taken a more sinister turn.

Ghetto Area image courtesy of boldizsar csernak, Geotab Go7 Telematics Device image courtesy of Geotab, and Price Increase image by Svilen Milev.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.

Car Shopping and New Driver Insurance Tips

Broken Car Insurance

Broken Car Insurance

I officially only own a car now, one were sold recently. It still seems bizarre, since I passed my theory test, I’m now looking at a car for me to drive. I am juggling between a few ideas…

Update: I now own 2 cars again, Just bought another Car.

Short Term Plan

Buy an older car, perhaps a 2004-2007 plate, keep it for a year rack up the no claim bonus and experience. This will be a smaller car, and not as useful to lump my gym weights, kegs, logs and other stuff around. Once the year is up, I’ll have a year under my belt which reduces my insurance by approx 8%, the no claims discount will take approx 20% off, nearly cutting a third off my insurance.

I can then buy a more suitable car with the reduced insurance.

Medium Term Plan

Buy an decentish car, perhaps a 2008-2011 plate, keep it for 2-3 yr, rack up multiple no claims and years of experience.  This will be a larger more practical car, able to move all that I need to move but not quite my ideal car.

By the my current estimates 3 yrs experience knocks approx 12% off the insurance and 3 yrs no claims knocks 35% off. These aren’t applied concurrently, so its not like £1000-47%=£530, its more like £1000-12%-35%=£572.

I at this point, would be able to buy a lower trim/spec ideal car, with affordable insurance.

Long Term Plan

Buy the type of car I want, with a lower trim and slightly older registration to reign in the insurance.

I would need to bite the bullet on the insurance, VED and initial costs, but solves all my problems with the other plans. The numbers make it clear, this is a really really bad idea.

Its likely I will need to do Short Term, Medium and Long, or at best Medium and Long plans and progress.

Costing Projections

Ford SuperDuty F450 Super Ranch 2017 Model

Ford SuperDuty F450 Super Ranch 2017

Current costings on an average run of the mill “dream region” vehicle, not allowing for price increases, inflation and blah, based on “fake” information entered into various comparison sites. So I basically set the years of experience, and pass date back 1 yr and increased NCB by 1 yr each step. The figures are levelled off between 2-3 comparison sites, but don’t allow for cashback or other incentives or my age increasing, which in retrospect I should have increased my age by 1 year as well.

Costing Chart

Year 1: £3,700, 0 NCB, 0 yrs XP.
Year 2: £2,900, 1 NCB, 1 yrs XP.
Year 3: £2,200, 2 NCB, 2 yrs XP.
Year 4: £1,900, 3 NCB, 3 yrs XP. (I have no idea why the drop seems small).
Year 5: £1,2o0, 4 NCB, 4 yrs XP.
Year 6: £1,000, 5 NCB, 5 yrs XP. (again not sure why the drop is small, but seems to be a pattern)
Year 7: £800, 6 NCB, 6 yrs XP.
Year 8: £750, 7 NCB, 7 yrs XP.
Total: £14, 450 over 8 yrs.

From Year 7, the drops are small, about £50 per year and it floats around that same price. Not much difference really, I anticipate, about 10% rise each year on top as well. The medium term price cuts the long term prices down about 40% off the top leaving £8,670, the short term plan, into the medium term plan, into the long term plan gives me about 60% off the long term plan leaving £5,780 over 8yrs. Hefty savings to be had with some shopping around and compromises.

Realistic Plan

I think I’m going to have to find a sub group 6-8 vehicle, which fits my absolute basic needs, which is a little like short term plan 2.0, perhaps a Honda Jazz, Toyota Yaris and at an absolute push Toyota Corolla or an older Gen 8 Civic perhaps, maybe even a Vauxhall Astra. I could make do with a VW Fox, but oddly not a Polo, shoulders are just too wide.

So I think I will have to bite the bullet on an older car for the year, and possible move on again.

What is amusing is, I can get insurance on a 1999 plate, 4 litre, Convertible Chevrolet Camero with a custom reg plate, for LESS than I can on a 1.6 litre Ford Focus, the minimum excess is £3,000 but still, how does that happen. A 4 Litre Red Convertible Sports car costs less than a bloody baby engined Focus ? Its actually cheaper to insure the Camero on a provisional than the Focus too.

Final Thoughts

Unless your 6 n a half feet tall, with huge shoulders and a bit of a gut, the trick is go for an old around 15-16 yrs old, group 3-4 car, like an V/W/X-Reg polo/fiesta, you can get that insured for about £500 on provisional, and about £1,400 first year insurance.

Failing that a 2009 plate Kia Picanto, 2009 Toyota Aygo/C1/107, VW Fox, 2012 Skoda Citigo, will all come in around 600-800 on provisional and 1300-1600 on fill license.

A 2006 Honda Jazz, 2007 Toyota Yaris, 2009 Toyota Corolla, 2010 Vauxhall Astra will all hit 1,000-1,100 on Provision and £2,000-2,200 on full license for the first year.

Its also worth waiting about 3 months after you pass before you get a car. I took a quote on a 2010 Vauxhall Astra Active 1.4L, and assumed I had a provisional, passed that very day, and passed 62 days previous, and passed 125 days ago, and all assumed no named driver experience, and 0 NCB, here’s how it worked out…

Provisional: £1,220
Passed Today: £2,470
Passed 62 Days Ago: £2,200
Passed 125 Days Ago: £2,097

All on the same car, the same is also true on various cars I tried. Once you go above insurance group 15 or below group 4, the differences are way smaller but still apply. But waiting a few months, could save you 8-17% off the top depending which car I tried.

Ford F450 Image Courtesy of Ford Motorcars.

Red Crash Images Courtesy of Duchesssa.

A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.