Ok, we know travelling abroad is still extremely limited. We also know some of you may be chomping at the bit to get away. To open up the engine of that brand new drop-top you impulsively purchased in a fit of lockdown excess and/or boredom! The lure of those long French roads, no other motorists in your mirrors for miles… azure waters lapping at the edges of ocean drives… wind in your hair, freedom at your pedals…
Well the whole process of taking your wheels abroad has just been made a whole lot easier. With a post Brexit boost for Blighty, it has been confirmed recently that the EU has ditched the car insurance green card. Drivers will no longer need to apply for this internationally recognised document confirming valid third party insurance, when travelling abroad to EU countries. The green cards were set to cause travel chaos for drivers looking to head across the continent as restrictions begin to ease.
Any driver without a card driving in the EU could have faced fines, prosecution or having their car impounded. However, the Commission decided to drop the card in an effort to reduce tension around the Northern Ireland protocol – a welcome change, making it easier for them to travel freely into the Republic of Ireland. The MIBI had protested against the cards, saying ‘It was not a sustainable solution, considering the estimated 43m cross border vehicle trips per annum”
Huw Evans, Director General at the Association of British Insurers said:
“This is excellent news. We have long campaigned for the UK to be part of the Green Card Free Circulation Zone so we warmly welcome the decision by the European Commission today. The Commission has taken a pragmatic approach on the matter. UK drivers will no longer need to apply for a green card through their insurer which will help reduce bureaucracy for drivers and road hauliers travelling between the UK and EU. It will be especially welcomed by motorists in Northern Ireland driving across the border to the Republic of Ireland.”
The move to remove the Green Card has been welcomed by the insurance industry who have campaigned to see an end to the practice.
Kirby De-Gray Birch, Director at Airsports Insurance Bureau, said:
‘It’s fantastic news and a sensible change although it still needs to be fully endorsed and rubber stamped by the European Union. Once fully approved though, this will make things a little less complicated for Britons who prefer to travel to Europe by road rather than flying there.
If you are travelling into the EU within the next three weeks we would encourage you to call us and order a green card if you haven’t already, but any travelers travelling after this date, hold tight until it’s all ratified.’
Be aware though, if you’re eagerly kitting out your camper for a road trip to remember, you will still need the document in place for the rest of this month. While the commission has confirmed it is ditching the card, the rules haven’t come into force just yet.
Until the EU has fully implemented the change, anyone taking their car to Europe will still need to get a Green Card from their insurer before they head off abroad to countries that require one. Post-change, your certificate of insurance will be enough to head out on the highway. Bon Voyage!
After a very strange, uncertain few months in a quieter world in lockdown, we are now seeing a slow return to normality. One thing that has remained certain however, is the need to keep your vehicle taxed, insured and properly maintained.
If you have been driving less and it looks like your vehicle use is still going to be much reduced, we have come up with a few tips and guidance points to help you navigate your way through a post-lockdown gear shift.
WHAT CHANGES SHOULD I FLAG UP WITH MY INSURANCE?
THE DAILY COMMUTE
Yes, you may be enduring or indeed loving, working from home at the moment. Trying to juggle home schooling or conducting business meetings over video calls (wearing business attire from the waist up of course) might mean your weekly commute has shrunk. Whilst saying a temporary goodbye to traffic jams and the daily grind is welcome, if your insurance covers SDPC (social, domestic, pleasure and commuting) you may want to call us if your vehicle use is going to change.
Let us know if you are going to be keeping your vehicle somewhere different to that specified on your policy.
Again, let us know if your anticipated mileage for the year is going to be much lower.
TO SORN OR NOT TO SORN, THAT… IS THE QUESTION…
If the pandemic means you’re not going to drive your car at all, you might want to consider taking it off the road altogether. A SORN is a Statutory Off Road Notification. Once a car has been declared as SORN, it must not be driven or even parked on a public road. You will need to keep your car on your driveway, in a garage or on private land. Otherwise, if you intend to drive your car at any time, even if it’s just to the local shop to get those all essential home working items (basically, tea/coffee/biscuits and lots of it), then usual rules apply: pay your vehicles tax, either through the Government portal – you will need the reference number from your vehicle tax reminder form (V11), or the vehicle code from your V5C or green ‘new keeper’ slip.Or pay at your local Post office.
AIB offer 3 levels of breakdown cover, To speak to one of our team you can call us on 02380 268351 for a competitive, tailored quote.
Both the AA and RAC have made it clear they are fully operational. By strictly following government and public health advice they have adapted their ways of working, including social distancing and the use of PPE. In the event of your vehicle needing to be towed, you can now travel safely within their vehicles again, however they are encouraging drivers to always carry a face covering. If you are self isolating/shielding or come into contact with the virus, bottom line, let the company know when you call them and they will do their upmost to get you back on the road as quickly as possible, armed with the correct knowledge of your situation.
DRIVING EXPERIENCE, POST LOCKDOWN
If you haven’t driven for a while during lockdown, you may want to familiarise yourself with driving again on quieter roads that you know well before attempting a longer trip. Be aware of other road users, particularly the increase in cyclists and walkers. Expect possible road modifications in cities to accommodate more cyclists or widening of pavements to accommodate social distancing and bus/cycle corridors.
Reassure yourself that your car is in good working order after being used less. MOTs due from 30th March 2020 have been given a 6 month extension but are still expected to be kept in a roadworthy condition. Giving your vehicle some TLC and carrying out some routine checks will ensure you feel confident about it’s safety. Here are some quick tips on what to check.
Ensure your car operates to the best of its ability by checking on it’s essential fluids: brake fluid, coolant, oil and windscreen wash.
Keep on top of the tread and condition of your tyres. There should be no cuts, or cracking visible and they should have at least 2mm of tread as the legal limit is 1.6mm. If you haven’t driven for a while, check your tyre pressures as it’s likely they will have gone down somewhat over time. Under inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption and affect braking performance.
To ensure your battery doesn’t go flat through lack of use, get into the habit of periodically starting the engine and leaving it running for a little while. Another option to consider is investing in a trickle charger to keep your battery topped up. A trickle charger is a car battery charger designed to be left on a car for a long period of time to re-charge the battery. You would need proximity to a mains supply to use one so consider this before purchasing from a range of options online. Keep some jumpstart cables in your car in case of a flat battery whilst out and about.
LIGHT THE WAY
Part of any vehicle’s basic checks include the lights. Check your high beams, dipped and indicators and buy bulbs to replace them if any are out. If possible, ask someone to help you, including checking the brake lights are active, or park in front of a reflective surface such as a window, to see for yourself.
PUT THE BRAKES ON
Try your brakes gently before setting off to ensure they’re working properly. Whilst driving, listen for any crunching or grinding noises which may indicate corrosion.
DRIVING SOMEONE ELSE’S VEHICLE
You may have elderly parents, relatives or friends, or acquaintances that are vulnerable or high risk and are self isolating, or cautious about making their first foray back to the shops.
They ask you to do their shopping. You scan their shopping lists and then have to make that all important decision on Waitrose or Aldi… can you get away with a quick trip to the local corner shop… how far are you prepared to drive to find that rare type of spice they simply must have for their Friday stay-at-home curry recipe… however far you intend to go, if you’re not listed as a named driver on someone else’s policy, you can only drive their vehicle if you have their permission. You’ll also need a comprehensive insurance policy which includes ‘driving other cars’ (DOC), giving you the minimum legal standard of insurance (third party cover) in emergency situations only.
You could face strict penalties if you’re caught using another person’s vehicle without insurance or the owner’s permission so don’t risk it!
Additional safeguarding whilst filling up has been recommended by Public Health England. Despite clarifying that motorists are at no greater risk of getting coronavirus from a pump than handling any other hard object, it’s wise to wear gloves and wash your hands after using the pumps to lessen any potential risks.
Individual fuel retailers are free to enforce their own rules on their forecourts, including use of face coverings so just be aware when you pop into the shop for that much needed travel snack and drink.
You can also pay by contactless at many pumps around the country, meaning you don’t have to go into the store itself and the limit on card use has been upped to £45.
Keeping a car on the road has always been a costly thing to do but is particularly expensive for young drivers who tend to be faced with having to pay more for their car insurance than the more mature driver. Research by the price comparison website Compare The Market has revealed some interesting statistics in this respect.
Apparently, as at September 2018, the average annual cost of someone aged 17 to 24 running a car was £2,442. That figure has gone up in the last 6 months by an average of £60 per annum. In the last 2 years it is concerning to read that the average cost of a young motorist running a car has gone up by in excess of £140 per annum.
The average cost of a young driver insuring a car has risen to £1,324 per annum meaning that insurance costs make up over 50% of running a vehicle. Fortunately, car insurance premiums have been falling in recent months –since February 2018 premiums have dropped by an average of not far off £24 per annum.
Another factor that has added to the increase in the cost of running a car is the increase in fuel prices that we have seen at petrol stations here in the UK. In the space of 12 months this has risen by an average of 9.9% to £891 per annum.
Other things taken into account in the average cost of running a car are Road Tax at £115, breakdown cover at £56 and MOT at £54.
The 5 most popular cars owned by young motorists are: –
It was found that the cheapest car to insure by a young motorist was the Dacia Sandero at an average of £882 per annum. As you can see, this is significantly lower than the average cost of insurance. This was closely followed by the Fiat 500 at an average of £898 per annum to insure.
It should be borne in mind that the above figures do not take into account young drivers who need to arrange finance to fund the purchase of a vehicle. The monthly outlay in this respect can be quite significant.
The motor insurance market is extremely competitive here in the UK with numerous insurers providing cover ranging from standard car insurance to telematics cover and even pay per mile insurance. Unfortunately, not enough people bother to shop around for their cover such as when they receive their renewal notice from their existing insurance company. If they did then some may find that they could have got the same level of suitable cover but for a lower premium.
So, if you are looking for car insurance either for the first time or if your existing policy is coming up for renewal, why not get in touch with us here at AIB Insurance on 02380 268 351 and speak with a knowledgeable member of our team who will discuss your requirements and obtain a competitive quotation from our extensive panel of insurers for your perusal without any obligation.
Many people will be surprised to hear that you are more likely to be involved in a road traffic accident if you are driving down a country lane than on our motorway network. This is despite the fact that you are probably driving faster on the motorway than on a B road through scenic countryside.
The Department of Transport run the THINK! campaign and they have done some research that reveals you are 11 times more likely to be killed due to being involved in an accident in your car on a country road than you are to die in a motorway accident. In fact, sadly, an average of three people are killed on roads in the UK countryside every day – that is 60% of deaths happening on our country roads. In 2013, there were 9,104 serious injuries and 1,070 deaths on such roads.
The Government has just released a new campaign to bring to people’s attention how dangerous it is to drive on country roads.
So, what can you do to reduce the possibility of being involved in a road traffic accident whilst at the wheel of your car when you are enjoying a Sunday jaunt in the countryside?
The first thing to do is to make sure that you keep within the speed limit for driving on the road you are on bearing in mind that the maximum legal speed limit quoted is not necessarily the speed you should be travelling at – adjust your speed to suit the conditions. Did you know that 60mph is the maximum national speed limit for driving a car that is not towing a caravan or trailer on single carriage roads?
One of the reasons why country roads are more dangerous to drive on than motorways is because you have sharp bends on them whereas motorways tend to be straighter. You tend to have a clearer view ahead of you on the motorway enabling you to take evasive action more quickly. Therefore, when driving in the countryside, you should look ahead and brake before coming to a potential hazard like a bend or a hidden dip in the road so that you are travelling at a reasonable speed when negotiating the bend or dip.
Just because you regularly travel on a country road, don’t get complacent. The conditions could frequently vary.
If the road is wet or slippery perhaps due to rain or a heavy frost overnight then slow down in case you have to stop suddenly.
Beautiful as the countryside is with tree-lined roads and bushes, they can block the view that you have of the road ahead and, possibly, an approaching hazard so adjust your speed accordingly to give you more time to react.
Only overtake slow moving vehicles such as tractors when it is safe to do so and give cyclists, ramblers and horse riders a wide berth when going by them at a reduced speed.
We hope that the above has given you “food for thought” and should you require car, bike or van insurance give the team a call on 02380 268351.
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