Thursday, May 23, 2013

Insurance Do's and Don'ts


Drive carefully pretty obvious but if your are reckless and drive badly you will pa the price either through injuring yourself or others or higher premiums!

Try adding a responsible named driver or two

Always inform insurers of changes or special circumstances/ conditions

Check different variations of your job description as there could be a dozen that describe your role but one could save you £££'s.

Protect your NCB - pretty useless if you already have 2 claims in last year or two, which I will explain in another post.

If you are unemployed but look after kids or a carer put down househusband or carer. Insurers will charge you more for being unemployed.

If adding a temporary driver always check how much it would be to add on as a named driver, as majority of time there will be no charge, the insurer will charge you more per person for the number of days being covered and lump on admin fees on top! But just tell them you will cancel and go elsewhere and that you refuse to pay the charges!


Don't assume you have 3rd party cover for driving other cars, as you risk a ban an IN10 and a fine.

Don't over estimate your mileage, you pay for mileage, but also be wary of very low mileage they also may charge you more for it.

Don't modify your car.

Never lie to insurers or not disclose all material facts or your insurance could be voided or additional premium charged our insurance is not worth the paper its written on - OH AND IT'S FRAUD!

Don't auto renew policies or you will pay greatly inflated premiums.

Don't front as it's illegal and can cost you and the fronter a lot of money and again its FRAUD 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Many of us go online to shop around and use sites that offer cash back, nectar points and even meerkats. When we realise that our current insurer is cheaper at new business than renewals we phone them to give them hell and rightly so advise them they are ripping you off! 

The issue is some of these sites offer things like meerkats, £50 cash back etc but you will never get them as you did not buy the quote through the site instead the insurer matches the internet price bypassing the comparison site all together.

Not only is this ripping of the comparison site as they provided the lead, the quote and perk to attract you in the first place! But it is also ripping you off as you have lost out on the freebie that you could have claimed.

In short never accept a renewal price without checking online or with the direct insurers such as direct line who are not on comparison sites, if everyone shopped about the insurers are more likely to make new business rates and renewal rates the same, BUT that doesn't mean they are the best price for you search for the best quote always, otherwise millions will go to the insurers unnecessarily and line the pockets of shareholders and fat cat ceo's.

Monday, May 20, 2013

If you're budgeting for a new car, you'll need to consider the cost of insurance before you can get the full picture. Follow our guide to car insurance ratings to find out what they mean and how they are calculated.

Like it or not, if you want to drive a car, you've got to be insured. It's illegal to drive without cover. Whether you have a third-party or fully-comprehensive policy, a range of things, including where you'll keep it, previous claims and your age can bump up your premiums. The type of car you drive is also key.

What Do the Ratings Mean?

Most new cars fall into an insurance group. Ratings range from 1 to 20, where 1 means you pay lower insurance premiums because they are low-risk cars for insurers. These ratings don't cover specials, such as kit cars, imports and conversions. 

Insurance group ratings are purely for guidance though and insurers don't have to follow them. However, most insurers will take them into account alongside their own records of any previous claims and risks when they set your insurance premiums.

All else being equal, the insurance group assigned to a particular car model can give you a good idea of the relative cost of insurance. So, if there's more than one car on your shortlist and you're on a tight budget, the insurance group may be an area to look at.
Quotes graphic Whiplash to both the driver and to passengers accounts for around 80% of all personal-injury claims following car accidents. Quotes graphic

What Difference Does it Make?

The truth is, it depends on the insurer, your personal details and the car you ask them to quote for. As a rule of thumb, add on roughly £30 to the cost of comprehensive cover every time the insurance group number increases by 1, up to around 15. For higher groups each step could cost nearer £200. 

Who Decides?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) allocates groups to new cars based on research by the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre (Thatcham). 

The insurance group for a particular model takes account of:
  • the car's price when new
  • performance – image, top speed and time taken to go from 0 to 60mph
  • repair costs – labour and parts following a standard low-speed (15km/h) impact test
  • body shell – availability and price
  • parts prices – associated with more severe collisions

Theft Deterrents

To encourage car manufacturers to fit more effective security systems to their cars, the group-rating process also takes into account locks and security devices fitted to the car as standard. Insurers' standards are more testing than the basic legal requirements and increase with the group rating. For example a car in group 15 is expected to have more robust security features than a car in group 5. 

From Exceptional to Unacceptable

Where security has been rated, the insurance group number, from 1 to 20, is followed by a letter, which shows the results of the assessment.

E = Exceeds the security requirement for a car of this type and the group rating has been reduced – so a group 10 car that exceeds the standard is listed as a 9E. 
A = Acceptable security requirements for the car's group. 
P = Provisional – incomplete data when the model was launched. 
D = Doesn't meet the security requirement for a car of this type and the group rating has been increased as a result – so a group 8 car that doesn't meet the standard is listed as a 9D. 
U = Unacceptable – the level of security is significantly below requirements. The car won't be uninsurable, but some insurers may insist on a security upgrade before they cover you. 

The Future

One day, group ratings may be based on your protection as a driver or passenger if you're hit from the front or side, plus whiplash protection if someone goes into the back of your car.

Euro NCAP, the programme that crash tests new cars and awards star ratings for occupant protection, has shown that different models offer different levels of protection. Put bluntly, the best will allow you to walk away from a severe impact, the worst won't. 

Personal-injury Claims

Whiplash to both the driver and to passengers accounts for around 80% of all personal-injury claims following car accidents. Some seat- and head-restraint designs offer better protection against whiplash than others. 

The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre (Thatcham), along with foreign partners, has developed a rating system that predicts the whiplash potential of different designs. These ratings could become part of the insurance group rating, possibly as an extra letter alongside the security-rating letter. 

Source: The A.A

Car insurance premiums are expected to fall up to 15 per cent this year as the authorities crack down on Britain’s compensation  culture. 

However, it seems that insurers are not ready to let go of their lucrative links to the personal injury claims industry.

Admiral has led the way by setting up a joint venture with a law firm, but many other insurers – including the one behind Tesco’s  car insurance business – are doing the same.

LEADER: Admiral has led the way by setting up a joint venture with a law firm, but many other insurers are doing the same

LEADER: Admiral has led the way by setting up a joint venture with a law firm, but many other insurers are doing the same

Insurers and the claims industry became entwined through referral fees in which insurers passed on details of accident victims to lawyers, who then contacted the claimant, offering to sue on their behalf. 
The system gave insurers an extra source of income, but because it added to legal costs and damages – including a boom in whiplash injury claims – it also made car cover more expensive for everyone.


Referral fees are now banned under reforms that became law earlier this month. Experts expect a ten to 15 per cent drop in premiums over the next 12 months as the changes take effect.


Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said: ‘The reforms should go some way towards bringing no-win, no-fee type whiplash-injury claims under control and will thus reduce the costs of claims.’

The rules may already be playing a small part in the recent falls in the cost of policies. The AA’s insurance premium index, released last week, showed the average quote for annual comprehensive cover is £746.75 – which is 4.1 per cent lower than at the same time last year.

Admiral, the UK’s second-biggest car insurer, said last week that premiums had fallen by up to ten per cent. Market leader Direct Line will reveal on Friday how much it has been hit when it releases its first-quarter results.

Changes: Car insurance premiums are expected to fall up to 15 per cent this year

Changes: Car insurance premiums are expected to fall up to 15 per cent this year

But many insurers are now trying to sidestep the ban on referring claimants to lawyers by becoming law firms themselves under separate rule changes that allow people other than lawyers to own and run law firms – known as an Alternative Business Structure (ABS).

The Mail on Sunday revealed in January how Admiral was looking to tie up with a law firm to ensure that it could still refer clients to claims lawyers.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority, the body charged with approving the new law firms, earlier this month rubber-stamped the creation of Admiral Law and BDE Law, two joint ventures between Admiral and law firms Lyons Davidson and Cordner Lewis. Meanwhile, Ageas, the insurance arm of Belgian bank Fortis and which jointly underwrites Tesco’s car insurance policies, has set up a venture with

New Law, a personal injury claims specialist based in Cardiff.

Direct Line has submitted an application for its own legal venture. The SRA has been inundated with such applications. It says it has 104 in the final processing stage and has ploughed cash into speeding up the process.

Hugh Price, a professional negligence lawyer who advises law firms, said the legal reforms would enable insurers to get round the referral fee ban. 

‘The SRA will not approve ABSs which are obviously trying to overcome the referral fee ban, but as the regulatory law firms recognise this, they are able to create ABSs which are compliant,’ he said.

The insurers say the new set-ups are simply to improve the service they offer. Experts say that even if the insurers can grab back some of the income they have lost from the ban on referral fees, the situation that led to bogus insurance claims is being stamped out.

One of the major reforms introduced on April 1 was a scheme to limit the fees paid to lawyers on small compensation claims from about £1,200 to £500 – dramatically reducing the profitability of claims. Price said: ‘The “fat” on claims costs has been significantly reduced, which obviously will affect profit margins.’

Claims lawyers also say whiplash payouts have fallen in the past year.There were 488,281 in Britain in 2012-13 compared with 547,405 in 2011-12, according to figures obtained by the Association for Personal Injury Lawyers through a Freedom of Information request.

The falls in premiums may be  the result of bigger forces too, according to Barrie Cornes, an  analyst at stockbroker Panmure Gordon. ‘The bigger driver is overcapacity. There’s too much competition,’ he said.

After years of underwriting losses, in which claims surged, premiums are almost covering payouts. That is drawing capital into the market and depressing premiums.

The Commons Transport Select Committee is still reviewing the situation and the Lloyd’s Market Association said last week that reforms should be made to the way claims were processed through doctors and lawyers – saying that many of the medical agencies rubber-stamping whiplash claims were themselves owned by personal injury claims lawyers.

It also recommends reducing the time limit for making a whiplash claim.

The MPs will come back with recommendations later this year. If the compensation culture hasn’t already been slain by then, they will hope to deliver the final blow

Source: this is money

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Drivers and homeowners are being duped into renewing pricey insurance policies — and then are clobbered with financial penalties when they threaten  to cancel.

In their latest tactic to boost profits, insurers are misleading tens of thousands of customers into taking out expensive cover for another year.

Following the end of the ‘days of grace’ on motor insurance around five years ago and the introduction of continuous insurance enforcement last summer, it has become more important to ensure there are no gaps in cover. And with so many people using monthly direct debits to pay, it is no surprise insurers are increasingly renewing automatically.

Not child's play: Drivers can be duped into taking out expensive cover for another year

Not child's play: Drivers can be duped into taking out expensive cover for another year

This is perfectly legal — and, in the case of car insurance, stops drivers breaking the law accidentally. However, when the customer’s annual policy comes up for renewal, they should be given the choice to cancel.

A Money Mail investigation has found that insurers are failing to make it clear to customers their annual policy is about to end and will be renewed if they  do nothing. 

This means many motorists and homeowners accidentally take out two sets of insurance for the same thing; face shock cancellation fines of up to £50; and, in the worst cases, are chased by debt collectors for a bill they didn’t know they’d incurred.

‘Many insurers are guilty of poor communication and a lack of transparency in the way they handle the renewal process,’ says a spokesman for consumer group Which? ‘A lot of insurers will state in their policies that the policy will be auto-renewed, but this isn’t always made clear, causing great confusion.’ 

Insurers are desperate for existing customers to renew their policies because typically these are 20  per cent higher than those offered to new customers.

On home insurance policies, this can leave customers an average £140 a year worse off; and for drivers, £175 a year poorer.

The only rule about renewing policies automatically is that customers must still be told when their policy is going to end — typically, three weeks before it finishes — and whether they should do anything to renew it.

Readers, unaware of a clause in their policy, have told us of their horror at being misled into taking out their insurer’s expensive cover for a second year.

In some cases, letters saying their policy was expiring simply say: ‘Thank you for renewing.’ 

Others customers say they called to cancel a policy, but were still charged for the insurance regardless — and had to pay a charge to annul it.

And some having policies renewed automatically ended up paying twice for the same insurance because they took out a new cheaper policy elsewhere.

The independent Financial Ombudsman Service says it deals with about 500 complaints like this every year. Typical of these are consumers who didn’t realise their policy would renew automatically and they would be charged.

‘We also sometimes receive complaints from people who didn’t realise their insurance policy would renew automatically,  so they have taken out additional insurance — meaning they  are doubly insured,’ says  a spokesman. 

‘In cases like these, it is common for both of the insurers to agree to refund half of the premiums paid.’

Consumer group Which? is calling for firms to let consumers opt-out of auto-renewals at any stage of the policy.

If your old insurer does renew you automatically, you have 14 days to cancel the policy. 

Once you have passed that 14-day cut-off, though, many insurance providers will charge you a sum to cancel your policy.

My insurer threatened me with debt collectors

Most say they will take each claim on a case-by-case basis.
Retired Ken Mulvihill, 68, from Portsmouth, was threatened with debt collectors after accidentally ending up with two sets of insurance cover for his car.

He got a renewal quote from Admiral for £296, but found other cover for £70 cheaper and took this out.

‘But I’ve since had several letters from Admiral saying I owe  the money because they carried on insuring me. I never even realised,’ he says. 

‘They have been threatening me with debt collectors, but — unbelievably — the amount they’re demanding from me, £67.82 for cancellation and time on the policy, is about the size of the saving I originally made.

‘How can they do this? For all they know, I could have got rid of the car. It’s ridiculous.’ 

After Money Mail got involved, Admiral agreed to waive the fee as a gesture of goodwill. 

Well done for renewing - but I hadn't

Another reader, Helen Darsely, 33, from London, was congratulated by her home insurer AA by email for renewing her policy, when, in fact, she’d done no such thing.

‘What an outrage, to be thanked for renewing when I hadn’t — it was worded so confusingly that, for a few minutes, I couldn’t work out if I’d agreed to renew or not. It’s a very unfair system.’ 

An AA spokesman said it constantly reviews the way it informs policyholders of  automatic renewals.

A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers says: ‘Automatic renewal of insurance policies provides important protection  to consumers.
‘For example, in motor insurance, it means the consumer  does not unknowingly break the law by driving a motor vehicle without insurance. 

‘Or, in the context of travel insurance, it means the consumer enjoys continuous protection for their overseas travel.

‘Insurers should make it clear in policy documents that, by doing nothing, the policy will be renewed automatically.’

Source: This is Money

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Couldnt resist this one - insurance add ons

If you do buy these extras such as car hire, legal protection etc the insurers will automatically renew you with all of these extras on! If you add up the cost of these extras can amount to over £100 !! You may have had a discount on all of them last year so that they could lump them on and earn some much needed profit. But when it comes up to renewal they will be full price, be sure to phone them and demand that they take them off. This will instantly trigger them to offer you a discount on each add on, saving you £££'s. even say that you are getting certain benefits they charge for free with another insurer, they might even give one to you for free, always haggle on price even when you are happy with it and even id the price has gone down since the year before. Insurers always have a discount that can be applied no matter how low the premium is to attempt to save business.


Day Off

Car insurance insider is taking some well earned R and R in an undisclosed location, so no updates today but will be back on the game tomorrow 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Half of youngsters would swap PRIVACY for... cheaper insurance

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More than half of UK youngsters think being tracked is a small price to pay for cheaper car insurance, and 26 per cent will be actively seeking a pay-by-the-mile policy in the hope  of saving a few quid.

The numbers come from by YouGov and O2, who asked 2,000 drivers how they felt about being spied on every day - only to establish that the yoof simply loved the idea.


O2 has something of an interest of course - it's hoping to drag all that telematic data back over the 2G network that it has committed to maintain for at least the next decade - but the numbers show that far from worrying about the privacy implications the British public can't wait to get GPS-tracking installed.

Parents seem to care more about their kids' privacy than the kids themselves. Only 16 per cent of grown-ups said they would be seeking to track their offspring in exchange for a few quid off the bill, compared to the 55 per cent of 18-to-24-year-olds who said they'd be happy to be tracked in exchange for some money off, perhaps demonstrating again that privacy is only a problem for the last generation.

But across the generations, more than half think drivers need a bit of Big Brother's attention, reporting that the quality of driving would improve if drivers (other drivers, we assume) had a computer monitoring, and reporting, their every move.

The fact is that telematic tracking is going to happen, within a few years it will be economically impossible to insure anyone under 25 without spying on them too, and the traditional rite of passage - rolling the family car into a ditch and lying about it - will be consigned to the history books, and that's probably not a bad thing.

Source: The Register