Using your phone whilst at the wheel has been illegal since 2003 but drivers should be aware that in addition to the fine and penalty points that come with the offence an additional insurance disaster could face those caught gabbing at the wheel.
One of the country’s biggest insurers Allianz recently announced that drivers caught using their mobile phone whilst driving would face a 30% hike on their insurance premiums.
With the average fully comprehensive insurance premium coming in at an already expensive £624 your phone misdemeanour could see you having to fork out an additional £187 on top of this.
The price of your car insurance is based on a large number of factors. If you know what they are then it’s possible to take steps to reduce your policy.
Tinted windows, tainted policy – car insurance risks
The TV show Pimp My Ride has boosted the popularity of modifying your car. But by tinting your windows black or by adding a spoiler to your car you could be setting yourself up for a car insurance nightmare further down the road.
By making modifications to your car you could find that you make your car insurance policy void unless you have informed the insurance company about the changes. The insurers do this for two reasons. Firstly if you add or remove parts of your car then technically it’s a different vehicle to the one that the insurers based their quote on. Secondly they view many of these modifications as potentially dangerous.
Improvements that add value
If you are going to make any modifications to your car then there is one way to lower your premium: add security features. If you have a security device approved by Thatcham, the industry standard, installed then your insurer is likely to lower the premium.
Other factors that could lower your premium include being able to park the car on a drive or in a garage, driving fewer miles in a year, having a no-claims bonus, and even being female – women are statistically safer drivers than men.
Know the process
When you go to insurer your car there a couple of basic points worth considering, in particular what sort of policy do you need? Fully Comprehensive insurance will protect your car against everything from accidents to theft to fire damage, but it’s also the most expensive form of insurance and if your driving a car that isn’t worth more than a couple of thousands pounds then it might not be worth the cost.
Instead it could be worth considering third party insurance. It provides you with the minimum cover necessary to drive on the road. If you cause an accident or passengers in your car are hurt then the policy will pay out. If this doesn’t sound like enough protection then you could normally add fire and theft cover to your policy and it will still cost less than a comprehensive policy.
The time to claim
It’s also worth considering whether you should claim on every scratch and scrape that your car encounters. If the damage is only going to cost a couple of hundred pounds to repair then the chances are that it will be cheaper in the long run just to pay for the garage to sort it rather than your insurer. If you make a claim you’ll lose any no claims bonus that you’ve built up and could end up paying a significant amount in excess for making the claim in the first place.
In the driving seat
There’s no getting around it, car insurance can be complicated. To get the best value policy and to keep it cheap there are a number of things you need to consider, everything from the modifications you make to your car to when you actually make a claim. Stay informed about the car insurance market and read up about what’s on offer. That way you should get yourself on the road to a good deal.