Posts Tagged ‘Car Insurance’

Will your car be eaten alive?

Posted on June 8th, 2011 by Rob Marshall

The activities of some little things can be deadly. It is reputed that more humans have been killed by mosquitoes than in any war. Yet, the actions of the humble mouse (or rat) are starting to claim an increasing number of our automotive companions.

Picture the scene. Mr Rat is cold and wet. With nowhere to go, he shelters beneath a parked car. With warmth emanating from a recently stopped engine, Mr Rat climbs up onto the wheel, travels along the suspension leg and arrives within a cosy engine bay. Fatigued from his exploration, Mr Rat seeks a place to sleep. After making a comfy nest, from shredding some of the car’s soundproofing, Mr Rat wafts into slumber. Upon awaking, Mr Rat feels rather peckish and indulges in a nibble. Neither rubber nor plastic are to his taste but wiring insulation will sate his appetite…

Will your car be eaten alive?

Naturally, by the time the owner notices that anything is amiss, it is too late and thousands of Pounds’ worth of damage is a consequence. A colleague’s 2010 Skoda Octavia vRS has endured a wiring loom replacement as a result of rodent damage and the primary component alone cost almost £3,000, with labour charges factoring in an additional £2,000. An insurance claim had to be made, the owner having to shoulder a £400.00 excess.

So, who is to blame? We could attempt to accuse car companies for reducing their reliance on petrochemicals, to lessen their carbon footprints. They are using ‘sustainable’ crop-based alternatives, with soy, bamboo and other natural substitute materials as wiring insulation.

The environmental lobby is certainly central to the issue, for placing pressure on car firms to cut the use of fossil fuel-based products. Not only can wiring insulation be a tasty treat but soy foam seat cushions, wheat straw-filled fascia panels and natural-fibre ‘polymers’ also combine to be the perfect buffet for local rodents. Ford USA has announced that it is researching the use of dandelions to produce certain rubber components, which means that Mr Rat’s future generations can look forward to a truly varied menu.

We could also blame local authorities, for extending waste bin collection intervals and it has been reported that this, allied to the use of smaller bins, is one of the reasons that rat populations have exploded. The problem is compounded by cash-strapped councils reducing pest control services. On the other hand, the privatised water companies, which used to carry out preventative maintenance on roadside drains but no longer do so, should also shoulder some of the blame.

Although certain aftermarket accessories are available (none of which have been tested or endorsed by GEM), some car companies (such as Audi) have produced anti-rodent kits as official accessories but it appears that very few have made it to the UK market. Yet, this may change, as recognition of rodent assaults increases. One of the best ways to protect your car is to ensure that it has adequate insurance cover, before it receives a mauling.

The Equal Cost of Motor Insurance

Posted on April 21st, 2011 by David Williams MBE

The Equal Cost of Motor InsuranceMany young female motorists will be cursing the European Court of Justice following the ruling that car insurance companies will no longer be able to take gender into account when determining premium levels.  Given that young female drivers in general have less crashes than their male counterparts, premiums for females have traditionally been lower.  It has been suggested that premiums for young females will rise by as much as 25% whereas those for young males will reduce by around 10% following the new ruling.

If this turns out to be the case it will mean that the tradition of penalising groups that cause accidents will be partly ended.  Perhaps a poor result for road safety?

However, despite the headlines the truth is that gender only accounted for part of the premium calculation.  Far more relevant are the factors which include age, location, car type, occupation, driving experience, no claims record and of course who else – male or female – may be driving the car.  Given that motor insurers now have until December 2012 to implement the changes it is our belief that the above factors and perhaps some new ones will be used to better estimate the risk of car insurance customers.  The more cynical amongst us may feel that some insurance companies will use this ruling to merely increase premiums and therefore profit but GEM Motoring Assist hopes this will not be the case and that market forces will ensure that premium levels reflect only the risk associated with each individual customer irrespective of their gender.

The road casualty figures do show clearly that females have less crashes than males, however, when factors such as mileage covered and indeed the overall number of female drivers on the road are added to the calculation the situation is less clear.

More worrying still is the effect that increasing premiums generally for young drivers will have on illegal driving.  Faced with insurance premium levels in the thousands of pounds it is not hard to understand why so many young drivers decide to ‘take a chance’ and drive uninsured.  A seventeen year old friend of my family was quoted £8,000 to insure a 9 year old 1.6 litre Ford Focus worth around £2,000!

Crashes caused by uninsured drivers currently add around £40 to every insurance premium.

Women should not be sold cheaper insurance policies

Posted on March 1st, 2011 by GEM Motoring Assist

So its official, there will no longer be an option for women to go to single sex insurance companies, but rather than bemoan about it, I think ‘so what?’

Today’s news has made me remember a hilarious experience a couple of years back. 

DrivingFollowing a little spate of ‘bumps’ some years previously, I was finally back up to my full no claims discount and decided it was time to have a hunt for a competitive insurance quote.   I called the famously female oriented and rather pink coloured car insurance company and went through the telephone application with them.  They came out with a cost for me to drive my car as the sole driver.  I then asked, if I could add my bloke onto the policy too, thinking the answer would probably be no – well they are a women’s insurance company after all.

To my surprise, they said of course, and we went back through my ‘better half’s’ driving history.  I was beginning to regret it, as he had had a small claim just two years previously.   Well, I nearly fell off my chair when they girl on the phone gave me a revised quote to include my partner actually came in at around £50 less than for me on my own.

So how does THAT work?

Actually, I am long past caring.  The best thing to do is shop around for the cheapest quote and in the immortal words of the pop song by Rhianna, we probably have no option than to “shut up and drive!”   Life’s just too short and ours obviously not to wonder why (thank you Alfred, Lord Tennyson).