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Car Insurance web site blog

This blog is a collection of diary entries, news, gossip and other motoring related information.

NFU Mutual Voted Top Car Insurer
Auto Express has today published the results of the Driver Power 2010 survey. 20,000 drivers filled in the 2010 Driver Power survey with NFU Mutual came out as top car insurance company; the top 10 are as follows: 1 - NFU Mutual 2 - RIAS 3 - Frizzell 4 - SAGA 5 - Royal and Sun Alliance 6 - Liverpool Victoria 7 - Fortis 8 - Adrian Flux 9 - NIG 10 - Co-op Insurance NFU Mutual has now been voted top car insurer in the Driver Power survey for 5 years in a row.
Posted : 23/06/2010 14:33:44

Car Insurance claims Champions named
Car insurance customers have named the companies that give the best service when making a claim in new research by Consumer Intelligence. The top ten motor providers were names Customer Claims Champions for 2007. These are (in alphabetical order):

  1. Churchill
  2. Co-operative (CIS)
  3. esure
  4. Fortis
  5. Frizzel
  6. Lloyds TSB
  7. Prudential
  8. Royal & Sun Alliance
  9. Saga
  10. Zurich
"The winners are companies that have made a positive effort to handle car insurance claims in a sympathetic manner at a time of great stress to the consumer." says Ian Hughes, Managing Director at CI. Over a 12 month period, Consumer Intelligence interviewed over 20,000 consumers. The 2,400 who admitted having a claim with their current insurer were then asked to rate their insurer for each of the following elements:
  1. Ease of making a claimSympathetic handling of the claim
  2. Level of information provided by the insurer during the claim
  3. Speed of resolution
  4. Quality of hire car
  5. Friendliness of staff
  6. Quality of repair
"The overall approval rating for insurance companies fell by just 1% over the year to 74%. “The trend is gradually downward, probably reflecting the increased need to manage the claims process as price pressure is placed on companies"” adds Ian Hughes. “"The results show that some companies are able to deliver excellence in claims management and control their loss ratio. Different companies approach this in different ways. Some use technology at the front end, some streamline the claims supply chain. Companies that put claims high on the priority ladder can gain substantial competitive advantage through increased customer loyalty and retention,"” concludes Hughes. The biggest area of customer disappointment was the quality of the temporary replacement car. Nearly 41% of all claimants felt they had not received a courtesy car that met with their needs. Other metrics had only 10% of people disagreeing. Clearly this is an area companies should address as research clearly demonstrates the connection between a positive claims experience and loyalty with 15% stating they would be more likely to renew.

Posted : 10/10/2007 21:37:35

Car Insurance Continues To Rise
The Sunday Times states that a Deloitte report shows that motor insurance rates have risen by 10% in the past 12 months. The report also says that car insurance will continue to rise as insurers respond to rising clain costs. According to the Deloitte report, premiums increased in 9 of the last 12 months.
Posted : 08/10/2007 12:47:36

European laws make green motoring a challenge
When two friends decided to go on holiday in Europe, they wanted to avoid the carbon footprint associated with air travel by using an environmentally friendly car, powered by vegetable oil, but they were hindered by the laws in different European countries. Kenny Tucker and Marc Tauber will be driving a Mercedes 190D, which can run on waste vegetable oil from restaurants and take-aways. This is a carbon neutral form of travel that also disposes of a waste product. It is illegal in many European countries, including Belgium, despite the obvious environmental advantages. In countries where waste oil is not allowed, the car can also run on pure rapeseed oil, such as the cooking oil available in supermarkets. This is legal in the UK, but restricted in other countries. Kenny is the Technical Director of an environmentally conscious online payroll company, The Payroll Site Ltd, who have sponsored the car. Kenny said "Vegetable Oil is a very green fuel, so it is a shame that European governments are obstructing its use. It will work out greener than flying, even if we do have to produce a bit more CO2 than we would have liked." In France and Italy it is illegal for private cars to use any kind of vegetable oil, so for these legs of the journey, the car will be run on biodiesel. Most biodiesel is made by reacting vegetable oil with methanol. The chemicals and energy involved in this process make biodiesel worse for the environment than vegetable oil. In some cases, it can be worse than using fossil fuels. Kenny said "I'm looking forward to some spectacular scenery, especially as we cross over the Alps. We are hoping to see some of these glaciers that scientists keep talking about." Kenny and Marc will set out on 24th August and over the next 17 days they plan to pass through France, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. You can read about their exploits on their website www.carbon-neutral-car.com. The site includes links to legal information for different European countries.
Posted : 24/08/2007 00:59:35

Foreign motoring convictions now affect UK licence
As the holiday season gets underway, legal expenses insurance market leader DAS is urging motorists to check whether their motor legal protection policies include foreign prosecution defence in addition to similar protection in the UK.

“If convicted abroad”, says solicitor Rhian Gait-Parker, Advice Services Manager for DAS, “new laws allow greater exchange of motorists’ details across Europe that could affect driving licences in the UK. Additionally, exercising the right to testify in a native language or coping with unfamiliar procedures and surroundings may prove difficult and costly without legal expenses insurance”.

Half of all European holidays from the UK are by car. All motor legal protection policies from DAS extend across Europe, cover every passenger, and are supported by 24-hour helplines. Prosecution defence is an optional addition to standard cover such as DASDrive Plus.

Posted : 09/07/2007 15:08:40

Insurer calls for action on most dangerous roads
Insurance provider yesinsurance.co.uk is calling for action to reduce the risks posed by the UK’s most dangerous roads, such as the A682 in Yorkshire, the A54 in Derbyshire, and the A84 in Scotland.

The installation of crash barriers and realignment of junctions, combined with improvements in traffic signing and white-lining, are identified by the insurance provider as the most beneficial improvements that can be made to high-risk stretches of road.

EuroRAP, the European Road Assessment Programme, identifies the UK’s three most dangerous roads as:

* A682: identified as the most dangerous road in Britain. From junction 13 on the M65 to the A65 at Long Preston, North Yorkshire, there were 27 fatal/serious collisions on this 24 km stretch of the A682 during the survey period (2001-3).

* A54: From Congleton in Cheshire to Buxton, Derbyshire, there were 20 fatal/serious collisions on this 24 km stretch of road.

* A84: From junction 10 on the M9 to Lochearnhead in Scotland there were 29 fatal/serious collisions on this 44km stretch of the A84.

Others in the list of the highest risk roads were: the A59 Skipton to Harrogate road in Yorkshire; the A53 from Leek in Staffordshire to Buxton, Derbyshire; the A62 from Oldham to Huddersfield; the A44 from Leominster to Worcester; the A65 from Long Preston to junction 36 on the M6; and the A631 from Gainsborough to the A1103.

Posted : 23/06/2007 19:44:07

Research shows men still they are best drivers
yesinsurance.co.uk research shows that men still think they are better drivers than women

Research published by online insurance provider yesinsurance.co.uk reveals that men think they are better drivers than women – even though statistics prove the opposite.

Conducted among 4,000 UK motorists, the yesinsurance.co.uk research shows that almost a third (31%) of men think they are better drivers than women. However, only 5% of women agree with them. Women voted themselves as better drivers, with 57% saying this was the case. Almost a quarter of men (23%) agree with them.

Insurance provider statistics and research studies indicate that men are worse drivers than women.

Although there are only 30% more male drivers than female, male drivers are involved in almost twice as many car accidents. Latest road accident statistics from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2005 almost 172,000 male car drivers were involved in car accidents in which someone was injured, compared with just over 93,000 female drivers.

"Both accident statistics and research of driving behaviour points to the fact that women are generally safer than men when on the road," said Paul Purdy of yesinsurance.co.uk

"Men tend to drive more miles than women over the course of a year, but even when this is taken into account men still come out worst, with a greater risk of undertaking risky manoeuvres and driving at high speed," he said.

Research undertaken in 2005 at Bradford University indicates that the female hormone oestrogen could give women the edge when it comes to safe driving. The car insurance research showed that women are better at shifting their attention from one stimulus to another, making them better at activities such as driving.

The report produced by researchers Amarylis Fox, Dr Kay Marshall and Jo Neill stated that: "Oestrogens may positively influence neuronal activity in the frontal lobes, the area of the brain stimulated by tasks of attention and rule learning."

"The lower risk profile of women, which is reflected in insurance claims experience, means that they can usually obtain cheaper car insurance than men," said Paul Purdy.

About yesinsurance.co.uk
All car insurance policies provided online by yesinsurance.co.uk are designed to make available the best deals for male or female drivers with vehicles that are over 5 years old, which account for around 60% of all cars currently on the road.

Posted : 19/04/2007 11:41:53

Give London drivers solutions not taxes
"Give London drivers solutions not taxes” says car club

March 07, 2007, Zipcar, the world’s largest car club, has called for ministers and policy makers to consider alternatives to taxes as a means of controlling congestion in the capital. The move comes in the wake of The Environment Secretary, David Miliband's reported call to consider applying carbon allowances to drivers.

Paul McLoughlin, general manager, Zipcar explained: "The concept of a carbon allowance is fraught with problems, not least because it can end up being a tax for those who cannot afford a new vehicle. For the wealthy, buying carbon allowance can be another indulgence to add to the status of driving a gas-guzzler."

Paul continues: "It is important that steps that are put in place to ease congestion and pollution problems are not perceived as being merely revenue generation opportunities. We have heard a great deal about steps such as congestion charging, parking increases, road tolls and now carbon allowances. The same focus needs to be given to positive solutions, such as car clubs, which have been proven to have a significant impact without taxing drivers."

Zipcar, which has 85,000 members and 2,500 vehicles in cities around the world including London, provides cars for members to drive by the hour and includes congestion charge. Studies show that at scale each Zipcar takes 20 cars off the road, with average members reducing the amount of petrol they use by 219 gallons annually.

Posted : 08/03/2007 11:20:29

Contaminated Petrol - GalsCarGuide advice
Contaminated Petrol - GalsCarGuide will help ensure your car's fully covered.

Gal's Car Guide is dedicated to ensuring motorists are fully protected and fully informed. Therefore, we were shocked to hear about the recent petrol scare hitting the South East and wanted to take this opportunity to ensure that drivers are fully protected against incidents such as this.

The recent batch of contaminated petrol has left many motorists stranded and out of pocket. It is probable that the petrol contains silicone and this is what has been causing cars to judder, backfire and lose power. Fuel supplier Harvest Energy, which supplies Tesco and Morrison’s said "unusually high levels of silicon" had been traced to four storage tanks at a depot in Essex. The AA told the BBC traces of silicon have been found in petrol taken from the cars.

However, this had not been detected before sale at retailers including supermarkets Tesco and Morrisons because routine tests did not look for the substance. More than 5,000 people have contacted the BBC to say they have been affected.

Morrison's has stopped selling unleaded fuel at 41 outlets supplied by the depot until tests are completed.

Tesco said it was emptying its unleaded tanks at 150 outlets in South East England and refilling them with uncontaminated fuel, but continuing sales.

Asda, which buys fuel from Harvest Energy, said it was replacing unleaded petrol at 30 forecourts in the South East supplied from the affected depot as a "precautionary measure".

Harvest Energy said it could guarantee no further contaminated petrol would be distributed.

Ray Holloway, from the Petrol Retailers Association, told BBC News 24 that the issue could affect fuel prices. One industry group said the incident could force prices up by 2p a litre.

Susanna, who posted on the Radio 1 Newsbeat website, shares her story. She says that she filled up her car and when she tried to restart it later it refused to get going. She took it to a garage where they emptied the tank and refilled it - then the car was fine. But she was £175 out of pocket. She sent a sample pf the fuel to the supermarket she bought it from but says that she has been informed to take legal action as they have not got back to her within 14 days. She also says that the RAC were convinced that the problems with her car were caused by faulty fuel. She finishes by saying "Thankfully it was paid for on credit card so we have full records!"

Whereas another site user Donna writes that "I bought petrol from Morrison's within a day my car started juddering and it ended up costing me £280 to fix it. Unfortunately I paid for my petrol in cash so there for have no record of filling up at Morrison's."

From this it is clear to see that if you wish to stay protected it is important that you keep your receipts from any petrol purchases. Keep them at least until the fuel runs out.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said motorists affected by contaminated petrol may be able to claim for accidental damage if they have comprehensive cover. A spokesman urged all motorists to keep any evidence that they have purchased the allegedly contaminated petrol, such as receipts or other paperwork.

He said: "At the moment, it is still not clear where liability for this problem lies.

"Nevertheless, the insurance industry can provide this important reassurance to customers in the meantime that, provided they have comprehensive insurance, they need not lose out."

The mishap can be seen in a positive light in as far as it has reminded us to keep important documentation and ensure we are fully covered.

Information about this, and more, can be found on Gal's Car Guide.

Posted : 07/03/2007 16:35:08

Young motorists expect to drive after taking drugs
Young motorists expect to drive under the influence of drugs this Christmas

Thousands of young drivers will risk injuries and even death this Christmas by getting behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs, according to new research. Almost a third of 17-24 year-olds surveyed admitted to taking illegal drugs within the last year and nearly 100,000 could drive after taking illegal drugs during the festive period.*

In the survey carried out for Green Flag of drivers aged between 17 and 24 years, almost a third know someone who takes illegal drugs and drives regularly.

One-in-ten also said they were likely to take illegal drugs over the festive period and more than half said someone they knew would take illegal drugs. Worryingly, almost a third had been a passenger in a car when they knew the driver had taken illegal drugs.

Despite legal drugs such as tranquillizers and anti-depressants having the potential to affect the ability to drive for a number of hours, 15 per cent said they would drive within just three hours of taking them.

Almost one-in-five people killed in road crashes had traces of illegal drugs in their blood, with cannabis being the most common.**

Driving whilst under the influence of drugs - legal or illegal - is just as dangerous as driving when drunk. The affects of drugs include slow reaction times, poor concentration, sleepiness or fatigue, confused thinking, distorted perception, over confidence, impaired co-ordination, erratic behaviour and blurred vision.***

Philippa Naylor, spokesperson for Green Flag, said: "Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be the same stigma associated with drug driving as there is with drink driving, but it's crucial that people realise just how dangerous it is. Even the morning after a night out, drugs can still be in the body's system and the consequences of impaired driving can be severe. Not only could drivers lose their licence but they risk causing an accident, injuring themselves or someone else."

Drug driving carries the same penalty as drink driving. Drivers prosecuted could face a minimum one-year driving ban, a fine of up to £5,000 and six months in jail.****

If alcohol has been discounted as a reason for impairment then police can check drivers for drugs using a number of techniques. This can be done by checking the driver's pupil dilation and asking them to place a finger on their nose or walk in a straight line to test co-ordination.

Police also administer the Romburg Test to measure the driver's internal body clock. This test works by asking drivers to shut their eyes and count to 30. If they have taken stimulants, their body clock speeds up and slows down if opiates have been consumed.

In November, Britain was named the cocaine capital of Europe as use among 15 to 24-year-olds has quadrupled over the past four years. In the report by the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drugs Addiction, use among adults in England and Wales has almost tripled over the past decade.*****

Sources:-

* In the survey 3.5% said they have taken drugs and driven and are likely to do so again. According to the Department for Transport, 2,740,000 people aged 17-24 years hold a UK licence (2005) and 3.5% of this figure is just under 100,000.
**Driving for Work: Drink and Drugs (RoSPA) www.rospa.co.uk
***Department for Transport THINK! Road Safety www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk
**** Department for Transport THINK! Road Safety www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk
*****The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe Report www.bbc.co.uk

Posted : 19/12/2006 08:41:34

Prepare your car to avoid a winter breakdown
Winter is fast approaching but many British motorists will head out into the cold and wet without carrying out any maintenance checks putting themselves at risk of encountering a breakdown or accident.

After a long summer and mild autumn, many drivers could be caught unawares if the temperature suddenly drops. Research from breakdown specialist, Green Flag, found that over 75 per cent of motorists do not check their battery before winter, even though this is the most common cause of breakdown.

Non-starts due to battery problems account for almost 50 per cent of all requests for breakdown assistance. With some simple maintenance and preventative action as soon as the battery starts to fail, many of these breakdowns could be avoided. Tell-tale signs include difficulties in turning the engine over on cold mornings and after the car has been parked up for a long period.

Some 13 per cent of motorists will not conduct any checks on their car before the winter and less than half will check the battery, brakes, lights or windscreen wipers.

Adapting driving techniques for the winter roads is also advisable yet almost a third of drivers do not keep a greater distance from the car in front in winter weather conditions and one-in-five do not drive any slower.

Philippa Naylor, spokesperson for Green Flag, said: "During the winter, calls for assistance increase by ten per cent compared to the spring. It's important that people remember the number one cause of breakdown is a flat battery which could be prevented if you get it checked regularly and remember to turn off your lights.

"A few simple checks before the cold really kicks in could help prevent a breakdown. We also advise people to drive slower and leave a bigger distance between the car in front to prevent accidents on winter roads."

It is important to prepare the car for the cold weather ahead to avoid any motoring mishaps. Follow Green Flag’s top ten tips for safer driving this winter.

1. Check the region's weather forecast before setting off and throughout the journey.
2. Check your battery regularly at a garage and remember not to leave your lights on.
3. Allow for a few minutes before you set off to carry out a few necessary maintenance checks.
4. Remove ice to ensure you have good all-round visibility.
5. Ensure tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and have adequate tread depth.
6. Check the oil and water levels and top up if necessary.
7. Ensure wiper blades are in good condition and top up screen washer bottles.
8. Make sure all lights are clean and in good working order to ensure optimum visibility.
9. Carry a fully-charged mobile phone in the car with the number of your breakdown organisation stored in it in case of emergencies.
10. Keep a few essentials in the car such as an ice-scraper, de-icer, spade, torch and boots plus a blanket, some water and some food in case you find yourself stranded.

Posted : 07/12/2006 00:32:11

Motorists underestimate stopping distances on ice
Many British motorists could be putting themselves and others at risk by not adapting their driving ability in winter conditions, according to new research.

Motorists are confused how to combat an icy skid, one-in-five drivers said they would turn the steer away from the skid rather than the correct procedure of taking the foot off the accelerator and then steering smoothly into the direction of the skid. The under 24-age group were the most likely to make this mistake and potentially cause a serious accident.

More than three-quarters of drivers surveyed by Green Flag Motoring Assistance underestimated stopping distances in icy conditions. The time it takes from braking to coming to a halt increases by ten times on winter roads but the majority of motorists think it is half this or less.

Experts predict arctic weather conditions this winter which could catch drivers unawares, and after a long summer and mild Autumn, Green Flag advises motorists to remember to adjust driving techniques.

Follow Green Flag's top tips for driving in icy conditions:

* Drive slower - reduce your speed when the weather is bad as it will take you longer to stop
* Increase the distance between you and the car in front
* To avoid wheel spinning, use the highest gear you can - for example, instead of first gear, use second gear
* Avoid sudden braking or increases in speed and sharp turns
* Do not slam on the brakes - try to use gears to slow down and brake gently
* If you do hit ice, take your foot off accelerator, do not brake suddenly and steer into the skid

Philippa Naylor, spokesperson for Green Flag, said: "It is concerning that so many people do not realise the extent to which icy roads can affect the time it takes to come to a halt. We advise motorists to think about how they need to alter their driving techniques in the icy conditions by slowing down and driving more cautiously.

"Some drivers may never have experienced very cold conditions so won't have had to tackle a skid. Hopefully this advice will help motorists to be more prepared in case they do hit an icy patch."

Posted : 07/12/2006 00:29:03

Green Flag advice for Winter drivers
With the UK bracing itself for arctic weather predicted by experts* to hit the country over the coming months, Green Flag encourages motorists to prepare for the worst by carrying on board essential items useful in a breakdown.

A recent survey** from the roadside rescue service found that many motorists embarked on journeys during the winter months totally unprepared for the sudden onset of severe winter weather. Around 20 per cent of people failed to carry even the most basic items such as an ice scraper and almost half the people surveyed said they did not take warm clothes or a blanket with them in the winter.

Nigel Charlesworth, spokesman for Green Flag Motoring Assistance said: "People should be aware that while they may be protected from the elements while their car is running, in the event of a breakdown, or worse, drivers could be stranded for long periods of time which can be very dangerous if weather conditions become extreme."

"So far this year we have been lucky with the weather, however, forecasters are predicting a cold snap this winter and it should be remembered that the UK can feel the force of winter storms through February and into March.

"Our operation is geared to getting to people as quickly as possible but people should be prepared for the worst by carrying certain simple items that could become invaluable in an emergency."

Green Flag suggests the following should be carried on board to form a breakdown emergency kit.

* Fully charged mobile phone, programmed with number of your breakdown service (Green Flag will send a text message to people who call for help by mobile phone complete with the name of the provider and an estimated time of arrival).
* Ice scraper and de-icer
* Torch and spare batteries
* Warm clothes and a blanket
* Simple high-energy food like chocolate and if possible hot drinks and water
* Wellington boots if you need to go for help
* Shovel for digging car out of snow.
* Anti skid mat or a piece of carpet for tyres to grip in snowy conditions
* First-aid kit

Charlesworth added: "The survey shows that people tend to prepare better for a journey when they know inclement weather is on the way. However, we would recommend that the safest way to drive is to be prepared at all times."

To help start creating a breakdown kit Green Flag are offering readers the chance to get their hands on a first aid kit that can be kept in the car for use in an emergency. To get a Green Flag First Aid Kit suitable for the car email your request to Green Flag on greenflag@smartassoc.co.uk*** or write to Smart Association, Blayd's Mews, 9 Blayd's Yard Leeds LS1 4AD.

Notes:
*Metcheck.com
**Survey sample base : 1,690, survey conducted via Tickbox.net October 17-23 2006.
***Free gift terms and conditions

Posted : 07/12/2006 00:26:14

Greater transparency around speeding fines
Northumbria Safety Camera Partnership today announced the success of a local project to improve the transparency of the speeding fine process, following the roll out of a new online system.

The 'Public Access' system, provided by Northgate Information Solutions, allows individuals who have received a penalty notice for speeding to view all the evidence relating to it online and free of charge. Through logging on to the secure system, people are able to view photographs, speed and site details along with the calibration certificates of the speed camera.

The system was made available in a limited number of sites from October, and this month has rolled out to all areas covered by the Safety Camera Partnership. Users of the site have already welcomed the ability to access a wider range of information directly, and have voiced their support for the openness of the system.

Speaking today, Ray King, Project Manager for the Northumbria Safety Camera Partnership, said: "Recent research has found that 85% of people in the area are supportive of the use of safety cameras, but we remain committed to giving people access to information on their use. We want to give people the opportunity to see for themselves how penalty notices serve a public safety purpose.

"The new service has also increased the number of visitors to our Safe Speed for Life campaign website, which seeks to educate drivers, and we are delighted to be working with Northgate to put transparency at the heart of the safety camera process."

Dave Meaden, Managing Director of Public Services, Northgate Information Solutions, added: "Speeding fines form a part of an effective road safety strategy, and safety camera partnerships across the country and now seeking to demonstrate openness and transparency in the operation of the system.

"Northgate's online penalty notice software helps to speed up the service provided to the public through offering access to information at any time and reassures people about their use as part of a system of fair enforcement."

Posted : 30/11/2006 21:00:21

Two-year MOT could encourage risk-takers
A review of the MOT tests could encourage more motorists to drive badly maintained and uninsured cars on British roads, according to research commissioned by Green Flag.

It emerged this week that the frequency of MOT tests – currently every year after the car's third year of registration - could be reviewed following an examination of European legislation by Lord Davidson QC.

Research carried out by breakdown and rescue service Green Flag found that last year more than one-in-ten motorists (12 per cent) admitted to having driven without a valid MOT certificate.

Green Flag spokesman Nigel Charlesworth said: "We were concerned to see that so many drivers were prepared to risk driving without an MOT. Apart from the risk of getting a hefty fine, many could be driving vehicles that are uninsured and unroadworthy.

"Although a move to two years would not affect those people who comply with legislation and maintain their vehicles on a regular basis, it could encourage more people, such as those highlighted in the survey, to take to the roads in vehicles that are both dangerous and illegal - without the need to dodge annual checks."

The MOT test is a legal requirement for cars aged over three years and driving without a valid MOT certificate carries a maximum fine of £1,000 and possible disqualification. It was introduced in 1960 to ensure basic safety standards were maintained in vehicles over ten years old.

Posted : 30/11/2006 20:55:52

Young drivers rely on others when they breakdown
Thousands of young drivers could be unprepared if they breakdown on the motorway putting their lives at risk. According to new research, the majority would rely on other people to come to their aid, with a third saying they would call their parents to come to their rescue and one-in-ten phoning a brother or sister.

Asked what they would do if they broke down on a motorway, 40 per cent of the 17-25 year-olds questioned in the Green Flag survey, said they were not a member of a breakdown organisation but would try to call one from an emergency telephone.

Not only do the charges for being recovered on an ad hoc basis vary considerably, more importantly, some 50 motorists are killed and over 600 motorists are injured while stopped on the hard shoulder each year*.

Only a quarter of the 4,200 surveyed were members of a breakdown organisation and one-in-ten said they would attempt the repairs themselves and potentially putting themselves at risk on the hard shoulder.

Almost one-in-ten would take the Who Wants to be a Millionaire approach and phone a friend.

Green Flag spokesperson, Philippa Naylor, said: "As a leading motoring organisation, safety on the roads is of great importance to us, which is why Green Flag is advising all motorists to be cautious when driving and be prepared if they were to breakdown."

The survey was carried out as part of the Road Safety Week campaign which this year highlights the dangers posed by young drivers and the risks they face in their first years of driving.

Cathy Keeler, head of campaigns at Brake, said: "We hope that Green Flag's survey will act as a wake-up call to all drivers - young and old - to plan ahead and make sure they know how to protect themselves if they breakdown on a busy road."

Sources
* Casualties from road accidents while on the hard shoulder/lay-by: Department for Transport

Posted : 15/11/2006 16:42:43

Monsoon weather leades to motor insurance claims
Insurance Broker Swinton Reports 8% Increase In Motoring Claims Due To Torrential Rains

The increasing frequency of freak weather conditions in Britain has led to a rash of motor accidents caused by drivers failing to respond quickly to sudden downpours.

Leading high street insurance broker, Swinton, is advising UK drivers, most of whom are not used to extreme weather conditions, to take extra care. The move comes as Swinton reports an 8 per cent rise in motor accident claims during the recent round of tropical-like deluges.

Monsoon-type rain is a particular problem, with sudden torrential downpours causing localised flooding and with it, a flood of claims. Gusting winds are also a problem at this time of year, bringing down trees and power lines.

Swinton believes that the increase in claims is caused by motorists driving too quickly, and responding too slowly, to the sudden loss of visibility and the rapid build-up of road water during tropical downpours.

The Swinton warning echoes a similar call from researchers at Newcastle University in September, who said that extreme rainfall events have become more frequent and intense over a 40-year period in Britain. They said the examination of weather records from 1961-2000 proved further evidence of climate change occurring.

Swinton Marketing Director, Nick Bowyer, warned: "Monsoon rain conditions are now a reality in the UK. They can occur with frightening immediacy.
Drivers must take more care when extreme weather conditions are forecast or occurring.

"We have seen a significant rise in minor accidents where we believe that the rain impaired stopping speeds and reaction times. The problem is that British drivers are not used to travelling in these sub-tropical conditions which unfortunately appear to be happening more frequently."

Swinton has now produced a "Monsoon Motoring Mantra", which it is advising drivers to adhere to:

* Switch on headlights
* Check wipers are effective front and back
* Avoid overtaking
* Slow down, using a lower gear if appropriate
* Keep wing mirrors clean so that rain water drips clear
* Keep your mobile phone to hand
* Listen to weather updates
* Pack water-proof clothes in case of breakdown
* Ensure inside windscreens are grease-free and so they don't steam up
* Plan unfamiliar routes and identify places to pull over such as service stations
* Make sure tyres are regularly checked for tread and pressure
* Stop vehicle in very poor visibility and apply hazard lights

In recent months torrential rain and heavy thunderstorms have raged across the UK.
Extensive flash flooding was reported across the regions, with Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Wales and the north west particularly badly hit.
Two women had to be rescued from their cars after they became trapped in their vehicles because of flooding in east Devon.

Posted : 13/11/2006 12:04:28

Look after your windscreen this winter
Glass damage needn't chip away at no claim discount.

Privilege Insurance is urging drivers to put safety first this winter by getting any windscreen chips repaired straight away - and is reassuring customers that their no claims discount will not be affected.

A chipped windscreen is not only an annoyance, it can also be a safety hazard leading to driver distraction and potentially weakening the glass. But, despite the evidence in front of their eyes, many motorists choose to ignore windscreen damage, mistakenly believing they will be penalised by their insurance company if they make a claim.

To encourage drivers to act quickly, Privilege stresses that windscreen repair will not affect no claim discounts. Privilege also pledges to waive the excess on any chips which can be repaired.

Damage to the front windscreen accounts for a large proportion of work carried out each month on cars belonging to Privilege customers. However, the windscreen is repaired in only a quarter of cases. This number could be much higher, as often a chip has been left too long and developed into a crack that renders the entire windscreen unsafe. This is especially dangerous if it happens while driving.

Research shows that over one in ten vehicles on the road have damage to their front windscreen. During the winter months the number of damaged windscreens is expected to rise, as is the severity of any existing damage.

Not only could prompt action save money - it could also benefit the environment. The waste from each repair is about the size of a car key - significantly less than the waste created by a windscreen replacement.

Chips smaller than a £1 coin can usually be repaired in around 20 minutes, and the repaired windscreen will be as strong as a new one, with the work virtually invisible.

Kate Syred, Marketing and Commercial Director of Privilege Insurance commented: "By taking prompt action when they notice a chip in their windscreen, motorists can save money as well as ensuring their car is safe. The longer a small crack or chip is left, the less likely it is to be repairable - and that means paying the excess towards the cost of a replacement."

"Whether windscreen damage can be repaired or requires replacement, no claim discount will not be affected, so there is really no reason for not acting quickly to get the damage assessed by an expert."

Posted : 08/11/2006 12:29:14

Diesel car care
Today, more and more people are choosing to buy diesel cars. In the last ten years (1996-2005) sales have increased almost three-fold*. But does looking after a diesel differ from a petrol car? Breakdown specialist, Green Flag Motoring Assistance, offers some advice.

Regardless of engine type, most breakdowns attended by Green Flag are caused by poor maintenance*, however regular inspections can minimise the risk of breaking down. And although petrol and diesel engines are different, the basic checks are the same.

However, it is important to remember that the service periods for diesel cars are longer so make sure checks are carried out more regularly:

* Have the car battery checked at a local garage, as battery problems are the number one cause of breakdowns*
* Check the tyre pressure and tread depth each week
* Ensure all lights are working inside and outside the car, and give external ones a clean to ensure good visibility
* Check the oil and water and top up if necessary
* Make sure the screen washer bottle is topped up
* Check wiper blades are in good condition with no tears or cracks
* Remember to fill it up with diesel and not petrol!

"Many of the breakdowns we attend could be avoided if people carried out some basic maintenance checks on their vehicles. As the service periods for diesel cars are usually longer than petrol cars, it is important drivers remember to check their cars regularly," said Green Flag spokesperson, Philippa Naylor.

Misfuelling remains a constant fear for new diesel car owners. Green Flag attends more than 20,000 breakdowns each year due to people choosing the wrong fuel at the pumps*, despite increased signage on pumps and nozzles.

"None of us are perfect, and when we are in a hurry to fill-up, there's always the possibility of putting in the wrong fuel - especially if diesel car owners were previously used to filling up with unleaded," added Naylor.

"Simple reminders could include placing home-made stickers on the dashboard, or on the petrol filler cap. Another good way is to ask your children to remind mum or dad when they stop for fuel. With these constant reminders, motorists will soon get the message!"

Although some people may think diesel cars are sluggish and noisy vehicles the newer models are anything but. Diesel cars provide a better fuel economy as their engines are more fuel-efficient and contrary to popular belief, diesels omit some 30 per cent lower carbon dioxide emissions, and on balance, cleaner emissions**.

Sources:
*Green Flag capacity planning statistics
** www.4car.co.uk

Posted : 04/11/2006 00:24:00

Message from 25000 injured motorists to Downing St
Message from 25,000 injured motorists to 10 Downing Street : "DON'T PUT THE BRAKE ON OUR LEGAL RIGHTS" 25,000 road users injured in motor accidents have come together to sign a petition delivered to 10 Downing Street today.

The petition, which is supported by the Labour MP, Austin Mitchell, states that, under proposed changes to small claims court limit, they would not have been able to proceed with their compensation claims.

The government is currently considering whether to make most motor accident injury compensation claims a matter for the small claims arbitration system, just like simple claims currently made where goods or workmanship are in dispute. The changes mean that injured parties will have to pay their own legal fees or else represent themselves against an expert lawyer employed by the insurance company contesting the claim.

The 25,000 people from across England and Wales said they valued the work of specialist motor accident solicitors in securing compensation on their behalf and have signed the petition because they are concerned that road accident victims in the future will be seriously disadvantaged in seeking the compensation they need to recover from their accident.

Helen Blunt, a secretary in an orthopaedic practice, who was injured in a motor accident in 2001 and who presented the petition to No. 10 today said: "Because of the current injury claims procedure, I was able to claim compensation that helped me overcome my injuries and return to work as soon as I did. If I hadn't had access to a solicitor, I wouldn't have been confident, or well enough, to represent myself against a legal expert and that would have had a major impact on me and my family."

Tim Gorman from the Motor Accident Solicitors Society said: "It's clear that many claimants are totally bewildered by the hurdles in the claims process and struggle with the need for insurance companies to test claims to satisfy themselves that a claim is genuine. Solicitors understand the process in a way most consumers will not and are able to address the issues raised by insurers."

"The public needs independent representation to ensure fair outcomes when dealing with insurers paid for representing motor vehicle users. Any removal of effective professional representation, whether through changes in the claims process or the raising of the current small claims limit, runs contrary to what is in the best interests of the public and what the public have told us they want to see."

Posted : 01/11/2006 10:17:25

The older the easier...for car thieves
Headlines of falling car crime hide the fact that at least THREE times every minute in England and Wales, some form of vehicle theft takes place... and every three minutes a car is stolen, according to the British Crime Survey. Add in vehicle vandalism, which is not included in those car theft figures, and the total car crime figure almost doubles.

Car crime may have fallen in many areas, but quite the reverse has been true in some regions, according to Home Office statistics. In Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Durham, North & South Yorkshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, London, Hampshire, Kent, Dorset and South Wales, recorded car crime increased between 2004/5 and 2005/6 - by up to 11 per cent.

If you have an older car you are most at risk. Over three quarters of the 20 or so cars stolen every hour are over 5 years old, so if you haven't taken action yourself to improve your car's security, you can count yourself lucky that you still have it!

If you think your particular 'oldie' is just not worth stealing, think again. An old car can be worth more than three times its book price when stripped down for parts and these long, dark winter evenings give thieves plenty of time to do just that.

You don't need to spend a fortune to get top security for your car. In fact, it could be a choice of fuel up or lock up as one of the simplest and most cost effective options is to fit a steering wheel lock, such as the Autolok 2000 Plus or EXS Plus. These have been vigorously attack tested by security experts to resist combined attacks for over 15 minutes.

They differ only in colour; the Autolok 2000 Plus is a highly visible yellow while the EXS Plus has a smart chrome finish. Both are very simple to fit straight from the box - just slide over the steering wheel and push a bar to deadlock. The semi-circular shield protects all vulnerable parts of the steering wheel from attack while the hardened steel security arm stops the steering wheel being turned.

Normally costing around £70, these are currently on special offer on the Autolok website at www.autolok.co.uk along with a whole host of security ideas and hints and tips on keeping you car secure. Alternatively, you can contact the company on 0161 624 8171.

Posted : 30/10/2006 12:57:18

Car insurance on the rise
According to the AA, car insurance premiums have risen for the second successive quarter.

The average car insurance premium for an annual comprehensive policy rose by 1.24%

Third party, fire and theft car insurance policies rose by 4.62%

Posted : 21/10/2006 17:46:59

Reduce half-term motoring hassle
As school half-term approaches, many families are planning to get out and about and spend some quality time together before the cold weather really kicks in.

But motoring assistance expert Green Flag warns bad weather, heavy traffic and poor journey planning can scupper a fun day out, as motorists find themselves stranded at the roadside, or stuck in endless jams.

During last October’s half-term, Green Flag responded to almost 40,000 calls for help throughout the week from motorists who had encountered common faults such as flat batteries and tyre problems. The busiest day for breakdowns was the first day of the holiday, Monday, with calls up a third.

On average, daily calls for assistance were up by 17 per cent each day compared to an average day in October and Green Flag expects another hectic half-term week this year.

Philippa Naylor, spokesperson from Green Flag said: "Almost half of the breakdowns we attended last October half term were due to flat batteries so it's important for motorists to check their batteries regularly, especially with the weather starting to get colder. Spending a few minutes carrying out a few important maintenance checks before setting off on your journey could save time and hassle in the long run."

Green Flag advises it is a good idea to regularly check the oil, water and screen wash is at the correct level and top up if necessary. It is also important to ensure tyres are in good condition with no tears or cracks, and check they are inflated to the correct pressure level.

Remember to check the fuel levels regularly on long journeys too, as Green Flag responds to hundreds of calls every week from motorists who run dry.

Planning your journey beforehand is also advisable, check the route as well as local news for traffic updates. An online routeplanner at www.greenflag.com can direct drivers from their front door to anywhere in Europe, and unlike a map it is updated continually, so it will never be out of date.

Posted : 20/10/2006 16:06:22

Norwich Union 'pay as you drive' car insurance
Norwich Union, one of Britain's biggest motor insurance providers, looks set to roll out its "pay as you drive" car insurance policy after a successful trial. Cars will be fitted with black boxes which use satellite tracking to record details of journeys. Policy holders will then be sent an itemised bill each month. Full details are yet to be confirmed, but we believe that journeys between 11pm and 6am (when young drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident) would be charged at a higher rate to reflect the increased risk. Drivers could also be asked to pay up to £200 for the black box technology to be fitted to their car.
Posted : 01/10/2006 19:53:24

Technical error means thousands could be uninsured
Two thousand motorists could be driving illegally after Co-operative Insurance (CIS) failed to renew their policies due to a technical error.

The insurer said it sent out letters and certificates to these customers but did not take the money to renew their motor insurance cover, this leaves them technically uninsured.

The company is writing to the customers concerned warning them that their policies have lapsed and they must now make contact to renew their insurance. CIS says it will pay any claims that are made but confirmed that technically the drivers are breaking the law by driving without valid insurance.

The problem applies to people whose policies would have been renewable from mid-July to mid-September of 2006.

Anyone who thinks they may be affected should call CIS on 08457 464646.

Posted : 23/09/2006 11:44:39

Consumers back role of Motor Accident Solicitors
In an address to the first ever Motor Insurance Conference held by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), Tim Gorman, Chairman of the Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS), revealed that overwhelming survey feedback from road users injured in motor accidents was that they valued the work of specialist motor accident solicitors in securing compensation on their behalf. The overwhelming majority stated that they would not have pursued their claims without such support to navigate the legal process.

Addressing the conference, Tim Gorman said: "It's clear that many claimants are totally bewildered by the hurdles in the claims process and struggle with the need for insurance companies to test claims to satisfy themselves that a claim is genuine. Solicitors understand the process in a way most consumers will not and are able to address the issues raised by insurers."

"The public needs independent representation to ensure fair outcomes when dealing with insurers paid for representing motor vehicle users. Any removal of effective professional representation, whether through changes in the claims process or the raising of the current small claims limit, runs contrary to what is in the best interests of the public and what the public have told us they want to see."

The ABI Motor Insurance Conference took place on 20 September 2006 in the City of London.

Posted : 20/09/2006 23:35:57

Norwich Union cuts 4000 UK jobs
Aviva, the UK's biggest insurer, has unveiled plans to cut 4,000 jobs at its Norwich Union business by 2008. About half of the job reductions would come through compulsory redundancies.

And up to 1,000 jobs will be shifted to India.

Posted : 14/09/2006 12:04:36

Experts help parents take on new child seat law
Parents across the country face the difficult task of coaxing children as old as 12 back into child booster seats with the new child car seat regulations coming into force this month (18 September).

In support of the new laws, Norwich Union has teamed up with Claire Halsey, clinical psychologist and expert on ITV1's 'Driving Mum and Dad Mad', to develop a series of fun, easy tips to help parents get older kids back into booster seats and make for an altogether safer car journey.

Claire said: "If your child has been used to using an adult seat belt, but as a result of the new regulations needs to go back to a child seat, the challenge to a parent will be in finding ways to encourage this without tears and tantrums!"

- WORK IT OUT TOGETHER - Encourage your child to research whether they need a booster seat. Finding out the facts together will help prevent them from feeling they are being treated like 'babies'.
- KEEP THEM BUSY! - Have a selection of books, magnetic or computer games to play with in the car which will keep them entertained and will distract them from the fact they are in a car or booster seat
- PERSONALISE THE SEAT - Let your child choose their booster seat from a selection that meet the new guidelines. By choosing the colour and style and allowing them to decorate it with stickers this will encourage them to feel happy to use their seat and they can enjoy showing it off to friends and family
- EXPLAIN SAFETY TO CHILDREN - Keep it simple and say: "We all put our seat belts on in the car to keep us safe." And remind them that being safe in the car is a lot like wearing a cycle helmet when they are out on their bikes!
- MAKE IT A RESPONSIBILITY - When there is more than one child in the car, encourage the older ones to teach younger ones by example. This differentiates them from younger siblings and will make them feel more adult and responsible
- PULL OVER IF CHILDREN UNBUCKLE - Park and wait until all seat belts are safely fastened again. Keep on stopping every time they unbuckle, until children get the idea that belts off means a very slow trip!
Brian Bridges, motor underwriter at Norwich Union, comments: "As a leading provider of motor insurance, Norwich Union is aware that too many children are killed or injured during accidents on the road when the appropriate child restraint isn't used. Our research shows that children as young as 6 may have moved to using an adult seat belt and this simply isn't giving them the protection they need.

"The new regulations are a welcome revision and Norwich Union gives full support to the Government for taking the issue of child car safety seriously. We advise parents to familiarise themselves with the new changes due from 18th September and take onboard our recommendations to ensure their children are as safe as possible."

Current regulations are significantly outdated and insufficient, only advising people to use child seats or boosters if they are available. The new regulations are estimated to save up to 2,000 child deaths or injuries each year and include:

- Child up to 3 years - must use correct child restraint in front and rear seats
- Child from 3rd birthday up to 135cms or up to 12th birthday - must use correct child restraint in front and rear seats. In rear, adult seat belt must be used if correct child restraint is not available
- Child over 135cms or 12 years plus - adult seat belts must be worn if available in front and rear seats
- Adult passengers (14 years and over) - adult seat belts must be worn if available in front and rear seats

The appropriate child restraint is determined by the height and weight of the child so it can provide protection during different stages of a child's development.

Posted : 11/09/2006 12:14:09

Norwich Union launches Simple Cover
Norwich Union has launched a motor insurance product called 'Simple Cover'.

The insurance policy, which is only available online, includes fully comprehensive insurance, protected no-claims discount and a 24 hour claims team. The Simple Cover policy doesn't include personal accident cover, medical expenses or cover for driving other cars.

Posted : 03/09/2006 16:47:02

Norwich Union motor insurance up by 40%
Norwich Union, Britain's biggest insurer, has announced it's motor insurance premiums are to rise by up to 40%.

Norwich Union includes peronal injury claims among the reasons for the rise.

Posted : 03/09/2006 16:25:21

Privilege puts an end to cramped car blues
Car accidents are stressful enough without finding yourself forced to squeeze into a car far too small for your requirements while your own is off the road.

That's why Privilege Insurance is now providing customers with a car similar to their own, all the way up to a large family car such as the VW Passat or Honda Accord - and this cover applies whether the customer's car has been stolen, written off or is simply being repaired.

Although Privilege customers already enjoy a free courtesy car while their own vehicle is being repaired by an approved repairer, the Guaranteed Hire Car option - which ensures motorists are not forced to squeeze into a car much smaller than the one they are used to - will appeal to those drivers with young children or large families, or those who use their car for business or clock up high mileage on long journeys.

Kate Syred, Marketing and Commercial Director at Privilege Insurance, commented:

"For some customers, a small courtesy car is all that is required. But for many of our customers, whether they need the space for the school run, a set of golf clubs or for extra comfort on a long business trip, the extra room in a full-size family model could make their own car being off the road a little less inconvenient."

"When it comes to car insurance, a competitive price is important, but so is cover that meets your needs. Many mainstream insurers don't even offer a courtesy car to customers - something which Privilege provides for free. Our Guaranteed Hire Car option gives customers the opportunity to upgrade this cover to ensure they not only get back on the road quickly after an accident, but are behind the wheel of a car which meets their lifestyle needs."

Privilege's new improved Guaranteed Hire Car option costs an additional £26.25 and is available as an optional extra to all Privilege car insurance customers.

Privilege specialises in offering highly competitive insurance for safe drivers, with a guarantee to beat renewal quotes for any drivers with four years+ no claims discount.

Posted : 14/08/2006 13:47:16

Drive away car theft
Your car is 40 times less likely to be stolen or broken into if it is in a garage rather than on the street according to Home Office statistics, yet only 41% of motorists who even have a garage, use it for their car.

Research by the RAC Foundation found that most drivers use their garage as a utility or storage room, leaving little room for a vehicle. Not all modern cars even fit into older garages!

As a result 65% of the 214,000 cars stolen every year in England and Wales are being taken from outside the home - with over 1000 cars a week stolen from semi-private areas such as household drives.

"Over 75% of car thefts happen at night, so if drivers want to be sure their car will be there when they wake up in the morning, they should take additional security measures. The more layers of security a thief has to penetrate, the more he is likely to look elsewhere," pointed out David Brearley, managing director of security experts, Autolok.

A security post in the drive is a good first layer of security and may persuade a thief to drive on by without even stopping. Lots of different types are available including ones that fold down, can be removed or even telescope into the ground when not in use. Autolok have an extensive range on their website (www.autolok.co.uk).

Extra security fitted to the car is also a good idea - the more highly visible the better as the quicker it's spotted, the less damage is likely to be done to your car. Wheel clamps are one option. A good steering wheel lock is another. Look for one such as the semi-circular Autolok 2000 Plus, which has been attack-tested and approved by the experts. Again, the Autolok website is a good place the start your search as they have regular special offers.

Whatever you finally decide on, remember that theft of car keys is one of the biggest growth areas so don't keep all your keys on the same keyring and keep them well out of site of windows and doors.

Posted : 09/08/2006 15:49:45

FFW advises on landmark motor insurance case
Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP (FFW) has been instructed by the widow of a passenger killed in a car accident to bring a unique claim for damages against the uninsured driver and the Motor Insurer's Bureau (MIB). The widow's husband died from catastrophic injuries sustained in a road traffic accident in August 2002. He had been travelling as a passenger in his own car which was being driven by an uninsured driver. FFW's client brought claims for damages arising from the uninsured driver's negligence. The MIB was joined as a defendant to the claim because the driver was uninsured.
A preliminary hearing took place on 11 May this year in which The High Court ruled that the MIB would be liable to satisfy judgement against the uninsured driver. In its defence the MIB unsuccessfully argued that it should not be liable because the claimant's husband, who was the owner of the car, knew that the driver was not insured. As the claimant's husband had this knowledge, the MIB argued he would have been unable to recover damages from them had he survived by operation of an exclusion clause in the Uninsured Drivers Agreement 1999.
However, the Judge held that the exclusion clause clearly applies to passengers who know that their car is being driven by an uninsured driver.
The claimant in this case was not a passenger and so the exclusion clause did not apply to her.

Paul McNeil, clinical negligence partner at FFW, comments: “This has been a fascinating case to work from a legal perspective. The case considered the wording of the Uninsured Drivers Agreement and in particular on exactly what was meant by the word 'claimant'. We successfully argued that the term applied to the widow, rather than the husband.”
Although the Defendants were refused permission to Appeal by the Trial Judge His Honour Judge Seymour QC, the MIB have decided to seek, much to the widow's disappointment, permission to appeal from the Court of Appeal.

Posted : 05/07/2006 18:08:12

Back-seat passengers can be killers
The Driving Instructors' Association has said that on average one person is killed every week in the front seat of a car after being hit by a beck-seat passenger not wearing a seatbelt.

Despite becoming compulsary in 1991 for back-seat passengers to wear seatbelts, only 54% of adults belt up according to recent research.

In a 30mph car crash an unrestrained back-seat passenger will hit the front seat with a force of between 30 and 60 times their body weight.

Posted : 06/05/2006 14:39:15

TRACKER car security - Price reduction
Tracker is tightening its grip in the fight against vehicle crime with two significant announcements this week.

The UK's leading stolen vehicle recovery system operator is reducing the price of its systems by up to £200 and unveiling a new, fully-interactive, product that enables customers to view their own vehicle – live – from anywhere in the world.

The introduction of the new range-topping TRACKER Response – based on a unique combination of GPS and VHF technologies and utilising GSM communications – ensures TRACKER provides an unrivalled entry into the vehicle tracking marketplace.

The latest product not only provides a driver validation system to help in the recovery of a stolen vehicle taken by key theft also includes a bespoke customer website, incorporating 3D mapping, that ensures full customer interaction.

Parita Patel, marketing manager at TRACKER, said: "Fortunately, these are dark days for the car thief. By reducing the price of our systems and introducing a fully interactive product that enables the customer to tailor their own 24/7 surveillance, we are effectively ensuring there no excuses if a car owner wants his or her pride and joy monitored around the clock."

TRACKER Response customer website
Now with the new truly interactive TRACKER Response system, customers can personally keep an eye on their vehicle, as well as enjoy a host of additional benefits including:

Personal Reminder Alerts
In the instance where a car is regularly left unattended, by daily commuters parking in a train station car park, customers can set an alert to notify them of any vehicle movement. Another major function includes a speed monitor which instantly alerts the owner when their vehicle exceeds a set speed limit, ie by an over zealous son or daughter let loose on their parent's pride and joy. There's also a function that notifies customers of birthdays, anniversaries etc. All alerts are received by the customer via SMS text messages or email.

Driver Validation
TRACKER Response includes a driver validation tag-system that detects whether the person is authorised to drive the vehicle. If the tag cannot be detected, an alert will be generated by TRACKER asking the car's owner for verification. If the car has been stolen, TRACKER will set in motion its unique recovery process involving the police.

Route Planner Functionality
TRACKER's use of advanced mapping/GPS technology enables customers to not only see exactly where their car is parked, it allows them to plan a journey and, thanks to detailed and regular updates from the Highways Agency, provides a thorough feedback on traffic conditions.

Historical Travel Information
TRACKER Response logs every journey the vehicle travels over a six month period, a vital asset for drivers who use their cars for both business and pleasure. The in-built calculator instantly calculates journey statistics including miles and duration.

The introduction of TRACKER Response coincides with the new product price alignment with savings of up to £200.

TRACKER's new product line-up consists of the TRACKER Monitor, reduced in price by £80 to £219*, TRACKER Horizon, formerly £499 but now priced at £299*, and the all-new TRACKER Response, costing £499*.

* Prices include VAT but excludes installation and subscription.

Posted : 20/04/2006 11:49:56

Recent survey highlights car driving lawbreakers
A recent survey has discovered that the average person who drives backwards and forwards to work each day breaks the law around 400 times per year.

Common offences include driving into yellow box junctions before the exit is clear and driving over mini-roundabouts instead of going around them and travelling above the speed limit

Posted : 27/02/2006 17:18:19

Direct Line offer additional drivers no claims
Direct Line Car Insurance, one of Britain's biggest car insurers was the first to offer no claims bonus discounts to drivers named on others' car insurance policies recently.

Could this spell the end of traditional car insurance?

Other copmpanies such as Admiral have also introduced new car insurance products to the market. The Admiral MultiCar policy will cover multiple cars within a household and should work out cheaper than insuring each vehicle on its own motor insurance policy.

The new Direct Line car insurance product will benefit the many young drivers who start off their motoring life as a named driver on their parent's car insurance policy, as traditionally this meant that the young driver was not building up their own no claims bonus.

It will be interesting to see whether Direct Line's gamble to introduce this new product pays off. And if it does expect other major car insurance companies to follow.

Posted : 08/02/2006 15:24:26

Are you an honest driver?
One in two motorists would drive off without leaving their details if they collided with an unattended vehicle reports The Sunday Times.
The paper reports that the number of drivers who would drive off without leaving their details has grown significantly over the last five years.

The Times was reporting on a study carried out by Cornhill Insurance that found that women are less likely to stop than men. It also found that the younger the driver the less likely they were to stop.

In 2003, 29549 people were prosecuted for failing to stop, report or provide details of an accident.

A spokesman for Cornhill insurance said that people are forced to pay £30 a year more for their car insurance policy to cover damage and injury caused by uninsured or untraced drivers

Posted : 28/11/2005 10:42:36

Honda S2000 tops Top Gear poll
The Honda S2000 sports car has finished top of the Top Gear magazine customer satisfaction survey. Lexus models finished 2nd and 3rd with the IS200/300 and RX300 filling these places. Skoda completed the top 5 line up finishing 4th and 5th with the Superb and Octavia models.

The bottom 5 was dominated by French cars with the Renault Laguna, Renault Espace, Peugeot 307 and Peugeot 807 filling the bottom four places.
Over 76,000 people took part in this year's survey

Posted : 02/11/2005 23:30:41

Research shows you are judged on your car brand
Research commissioned by online insurance specialist Insure And Go has found how judgmental drivers are.
The research, which questioned more than 5000 drivers, found that BMW is the car make most drivers would refuse to let out at a junction. BMW was followed by Jaguar, Mercedes, Land Rover and Volvo. In fact, 37% of those people questioned said that they never let certain makes and models of car out at junctions.
But it is not just the make of car that you drive that could stop people showing goodwill towards you. The research also found that speaking on a mobile phone, looking like a boy racer and driving a flash car could cause other drivers to be less than polite towards you. And if you have a baby on board sticker, tinted windows, spoilers or a personalised number plate.... forget it!
What a judgmental lot we are.

Posted : 25/10/2005 12:44:57

Self steering car no longer science ficton
A car that can steer itself could be on sale in the UK as early as next year. Although the system is available in Japan, we are yet to have the technology available in the UK. But Honda looks set to beat rivals and be the first to offer the system outside Japan.
The system will stay between the white lines on motorways and dual carriageways with the help of a small camera mounted behind the rear view mirror. If the system detects that the vehicle is straying then it will make a gentle adjustment to the power steering.
The system will be available as standard on the Honda Legend in summer 2006 and will be a £2000 option on the Honda Accord in Britain in Jaunuary 2006.
For those of you worrying that drivers will be travelling at speed up the motorway with their hands behind their head, you will be pleased to hear that the system requires drivers to keep contact with the steering wheel. If it detects that contact is broken for more than 10 seconds then a warning sounds and the automatic steering system shuts down

Posted : 23/10/2005 16:37:57

Car of the year 2006 contenders
The final seven cars in contention for the 2006 Car of the Year are the Alfa 159, Mazda 5, Volkswagen Passat, Citroën C1/Toyota Aygo/Peugeot 107 and the Renault Clio
Posted : 23/10/2005 14:43:04

Mitsubishi announce new Outlander model
Mitsubishi are to launch a new version of their compact 4x4, the Outlander, in the Britain. The new model will be availble with a diesel engine for the first time. There will also be a foldaway third row of seats.
The new Outlander will go on sale in Britain in January 2007

Posted : 23/10/2005 14:31:07

British Medical Journal Slates 4x4s
A new report in the British Medical Journal claims that 4x4s should carry health warnings for pedestrians.
The co-author of the article says that if you hit a pedestrian with a 4x4 you increase their chance of dying by two to four times.
The problem with 4x4s is that the positioning of bumpers and bonnet, usually much higher than standard cars, means they are more likely to collide with the head of a pedestrian and upper body. Cars tend to hit pedestrians lower down the body causing less serious leg and knee injuries.
But The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has said that the researchers have used American crash test data that is irrelevant to the European market.
The latest road accident statistics from the Department for Transport show a 35% drop in pedestrian deaths between 1995 and 2004 and at the same time sales of 4x4s have more than doubled.

It is also reported today that poorly designed bumbers are costing drivers in the UK £250m per year in unnecessary bills.
The Thatcham centre has said that a 10mph bump could lead to a £4000 bill because of different bumper heights and widths. The BBC web site quotes the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders as saying that bumpers were designed to strict safety standards and should not be changed to save money

Posted : 18/10/2005 10:28:12

Honda Swindon celebrates landmark
The 1.5 millionth Honda rolled off the production in Swindon yesterday. 20 years ago Honda moved into Swindon with a workforce of just 100. Now they employ 4000 workers (who they call associates) and produce almost 200,000 cars per year. It was a triple celebration for Honda in Swindon as manufacture of the European Honda Civic began, and a diesel engine production line opened
Posted : 14/10/2005 00:47:35

Leading insurer to scrap 3rd party cover
A leading motor insurer has announced that they are removing the benefit of third party cover for other vehicles from their comprehensive insurance policies. The third party cover that allows drivers with comprehensive insurance to drive any other motor vehicle with the permission of the owner on a third party cover basis will no longer be offered
Posted : 12/10/2005 17:51:23

 

 
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