Had Or Need A Windscreen Replacement? You MUST Read This!

Thursday, 26. May 2016

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

If you need to have your windscreen replaced you normally check with your insurance company first who has an arrangement with one of the national windscreen replacement services such as Autoglass. The replacement is arranged between your insurer and the replacement company and all you do is pay your excess to the windscreen replacement company at the time the work is carried out.

All pretty straight forward but did you know that after a modern windscreen is replaced, in many instances these days, the driver assistance systems need to be recalibrated. In a report prepared by Autoglass it was found that 68% of motorists were not following advice to have their safety systems, such as autonomous emergency braking and lane keeping assistance, re-aligned after a windscreen has been replaced.

Following a windscreen replacement Autoglass explained that the cameras needed to be re-calibrated to ensure that they were aligned properly. They went on to explain that as little as one degree out could prevent the car from reading the road correctly. It is anticipated that accurate systems have the potential to save 1,100 lives and prevent over 120,000 casualties over the next 10 years. In 2015 just 2% of cars that had windscreen replacements needed to be re-calibrated.

However, by 2020 this is set to rise to over 40% of all new cars having driver assistance systems fitted. They also reported that when drivers were told by them that a re-calibration would be required and they contacted their main dealer the dealer admitted to knowing nothing about this requirement.

As a result Autoglass has rolled out a nationwide calibration programme that means that their technicians will be able to re-calibrate 96% of all cars. Unfortunately the 96% had not included Britain’s biggest selling car, the Nissan Qashqai when a driver recently had a problem following a screen replacement and Autoglass couldn’t fix it. He visited his local dealer who didn’t know what he was taking about.

Fortunately, according to Auto Express, Autoglass came up with their own solution and the car is now working just fine. But it’s a question you must ask after a screen replacement, does the car need to be re-calibrated once the replacement has been carried out? If it isn’t done you could be putting yours and any passengers’ lives at risk. By Graham Hill

Insider Reveals Tactics Of Car Insurers

Thursday, 26. May 2016

We all like to save money on insurance and many of us make sure that we move companies annually in order to keep our premiums down but there are still many drivers who simply can’t be arsed and allow themselves to be ripped off. In a chat to an insurance ‘insider’ recently he explained that your existing insurer will generally auto renew your policy the first time with a very modest 5% – 10% increase in premium.

This teaser leads you by the nose into a false sense of security. You think they are a fair and honest company looking after their existing customers. In fact the next time your insurance is up for renewal is when they will load the premium because experience shows that you won’t check the rate so carefully on the second renewal and just accept the increase.

My premium jumped from £400 per annum to over £700 in exactly these circumstances. However, I searched the marketplace and ended up with a much better policy for less than £300 per annum. Case proven. Other revelations from my insider was don’t go direct to the insurer, go via a comparison site as the insurance companies will offer a better deal when they are in competition with others.

I have often suggested that you put a parent, husband, wife, partner or friend onto your policy as a named driver if they have a clean licence as in many cases your premium will reduce as a result. I have only suggested that you add just one name to your policy, even though they may never drive your car, but my insider suggested several named drivers to reduce your premium even further.

It is also annoying when you see that you could obtain a lower rate as a new customer than what you are being quoted as an existing customer by the same insurance company. He suggested that you could wait till midnight when your current policy expires then a few minutes later, rather than renew, you apply for a new policy through the old insurance company claiming the new customer discount.

Another piece of advice was not to simply apply for third party cover thinking you can save money on the premium as it is now becoming common knowledge that an insurer will quote a cheaper rate for fully comp than third party, fire and theft insurance.

When questioned he explained that rather than this being a rip-off there is a solid reason. It would seem that most people taking out fully comp insurance will tend to be older, safer, experienced drivers whereas those taking out 3rd party insurance tend to be younger, inexperienced, less safe drivers. Hence the higher premium.

Finally, and this is one of my suggestions, if you park your car in the street at night as opposed to in your garage, don’t lie about it as the premium can often be lower if your car is parked in a well lit street as opposed to your garage in which a thief could take his time to steal your car once he has broken into the garage. As with many things in the motor trade they are often not as they seem! By Graham Hill

The Dangers Of Damaging Authority Property In An Accident

Thursday, 26. May 2016

Now here is something really interesting that proves you can learn something new every day! And this piece of information could affect every single driver with his own insurance as well as companies running fleet cars. It all came about after I read a question regarding 3rd party damage, following a car accident, when the damage is caused to local authority owned property.

For example if you were to hit a road sign or street light or maybe smash into a bollard or worse still damage barriers or even the road surface. I was shocked to read that a company running a fleet of vehicles was billed £46,000 for barrier repairs without realising the length of the replacement barriers.

The warning was raised by claims management company actually called Claims Management & Adjusting. They had found that in particular fleet operators were being targeted by local authorities for some obscene repair costs. As it turned out the claim mentioned was for a much shorter stretch of barrier as the authority had claimed in yards but the length was only a third as the measurement was actually in feet, not as stated in yards.

After pointing it out the claim was written off. The claims company also claimed a success when an invoice for £56,000 worth of re-surfacing work was challenged after obtaining information under the Freedom Of Information Act that showed a larger stretch of road had been repaired for £750.

It would seem that not only are there a few disproportionate claims for damage but Highways England has allowed certain contractors to decide upon charges and repairs without further reference as long as the claims were under a threshold, commonly £10,000. This caused me to look further into this situation and what a can of worms it turned out to be.

Most people are of the opinion that you only have to report an accident to the police and your insurance for the following reasons; if someone has been injured (report to police and insurance), there is a claim going to be made against you by another motorist (insurance only) or you are going to make a claim on your insurance for damage repairs to your own car or your contents/passengers (insurance only).

However, knock down a bollard and cause little or no damage to your car you may think that this is the responsibility of the local authority and simply drive off. In fact you have caused damage to a third party’s property so by driving off you could be committing a criminal offence. But then you may think that no-one saw you so where is the evidence but with CCTV cameras and people with mobile phones everywhere you may find that several weeks later you receive a bill for the damages.

But having not reported the accident to your insurance company within a certain period (see your policy) they may no longer be obliged to pay out. It seems  that it can take several months for a local authority to make a claim against a driver. Whilst I’m told that every car insurance policy will cover you for third party damage, that isn’t just someone else’s car or someone’s front wall, it also covers you for what is known as ‘street furniture’ which includes road signs, bollards, hoardings etc.

But if you fail to meet the terms and conditions of your insurance policy or they can prove contributory negligence you could be facing a hefty repair bill. In addition you are obliged to stop after an accident and pass your details to anyone involved or the owners of property that has been damaged. If there are no casualties you don’t have to involve the police.

However, if you have damaged privately or authority owned property you must report the accident to the police if the owner of the property is not available to take the details from you. So as you can see this is a bit of a minefield and what may have seemed like a minor accident could potentially leave you thousands of pounds out of pocket! By Graham Hill

An App That Can Make Drivers Safer – What Next?

Friday, 22. April 2016

There’s an app for that is rapidly becoming part of everyday conversation. Having created an award winning app myself that enables users to compare lease deals or simply to evaluate a deal to see if it represents good value, I know that app boundaries are limitless.

The latest app relating to motoring is aimed at younger, less than responsible, drivers that could help to prevent an accident, reduce their insurance premiums and help parents to worry a little less. The app has been created by employee tracking specialist, Romex. The app uses the driver’s phone to detect whether the car is exceeding 4 miles per hour via the phone’s GPS system.

At this point the app locks the device disabling calls, texts, emails and social media accounts, amongst other distractions. It can also monitor the speed the car is travelling at and the time spent driving. The company already has a similar product available to fleet users as part of its telematics systems to help companies and drivers to comply with legislation.

The maker has announced that the new app could be available as early as May 2016. Sales director, Steve Arscott explained, ‘It’s called distraction prevention, we’re approaching younger drivers because they’re the ones most likely to be glued to their phones.’ There will be a charge for the service and it will work alongside another of their apps called Guardian, which allows parents to monitor where their youngster is and whether they have been speeding – just as companies can do with their fleet drivers.

The company is optimistic that they will find an insurance company to partner up with, providing users with a rebate on their policy. The Guardian app can be extended to non drivers for worried parents who want to know where their off spring are. I’m sure it will lead to some very interesting debates between parents and children! By Graham Hill

Massive Difference Between Insurers’ Income & Payouts Revealed

Friday, 26. February 2016

Just to prove my point regarding my insurance premiums, law firm Thompson’s Solicitors, has produced a report that shows that over the past 5 years insurance claim payouts have decreased whilst premiums have increased allowing the insurers to pocket £7 billion since 2010.

In response the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has hit back claiming that Thompsons, a claims solicitors, are upset with Government plans to end the right to cash compensation for minor injuries like whiplash and to increase the upper limit for small claims court personal injury cases to £5,000.

Thompsons reported that premiums between 2010 and 2014 had dropped in real terms and motorists were paying less in 2014 than they were in 2010 but cumulatively premium income increased by £353 million whilst insurers saved £7 billion in payouts. There has been a net drop in the number of motor claims made of 4% but the net cost of claims incurred is down by nearly 30%.

The ABI refutes the claims made by Thompsons and suggest that savings of £1 billion have been passed on to motorists. Who’s right? I don’t know but I would suggest that much of the increased income is down to people not thoroughly checking their insurance renewals. By Graham Hill

The Auto Renew Insurance Con – Call For Action!

Friday, 26. February 2016

Having just renewed my insurance I have first hand experienced of the way that crooked insurance companies are trying it on through the ‘auto renew’ con. I had the paperwork through explaining that they had researched the market on my behalf in order to achieve the best possible rate which in fact increased my premium by a third.

But by expressing the new premium in monthly terms on the face of it the figure could have easily been overlooked and being lazy I could have continued on with the same insurer. But having checked the previous year’s premium I was staggered and immediately jumped on comaparethemarket.com (free cinema ticket every week for a year – there’s my dates off match.com sorted for the next year).

When I saw the premiums I was staggered. I was about 40 quotes down the list before the premiums were anything close to the quote from my existing insurer. In fact the quote I went for with the RAC was about £100 a year less than the premium I paid last year. I had a similar experience with Mcafee for my computer protection insurance. I paid the Argos shop £19.99 for one year’s protection last year.

When it came up for renewal they were going to hit my credit card to the tune of £89.99. When I phoned to say I didn’t want it they said they would reduce it to £45.99. After checking with Argos I told the lady to shove it. I believe that if you sign up to auto renew a policy of any kind, if the premium increases by more than say 5% for whatever reason it should be clearly explained and you have to opt in rather than opt out. Rant over! By Graham Hill

Big Hike In Insurance Premiums For Over 50’s

Wednesday, 27. January 2016

We all know that putting a sub 25 year old behind the wheel of a car is a little like walking into a lion’s den filled with lions that haven’t eaten for a week with half a pig over your shoulder and a cut on your finger. It isn’t sensible. But it happens, not the lion thing, young drivers behind the wheel, so it isn’t surprising that young drivers don’t take out a loan to pay for their insurance they take out a mortgage – and as an older driver I believe rightly so.
But I was shocked to read that the insurance companies have imposed the biggest increases on the over 50’s in the last year. Their premiums increased by an average of 16.4%, the largest of all age sectors. So if you are about to renew your insurance and you are over 50 make sure you look around for the best deal and take my advice and include legal cover, it doesn’t cost a lot but could save you a fortune if a dispute followed an accident and could even be used to sue your own insurer if you have difficulties getting a payout. By Graham Hill


Something That Could Cause Your Insurance Claim To Be Refused

Thursday, 19. November 2015

Has anything changed in your life that you feel could affect your car insurance? Have you had an accident or managed to clock up some points on your driving licence. Maybe you have had your eyes tested and been told you are as blind as a bat?

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All of these things are pretty obvious but what about the not so obvious. I read recently about a spate of damage caused to nearly a hundred cars in Bournemouth by vandals.

If any of the owners were like me and managed to fill their garage up with junk, forcing them to park their cars in the road but didn’t tell their insurer that the car was now parked in the street overnight they could find themselves having a visit from their insurance company to see if they could park their car in their garage overnight, if not the insurer could refuse the claim.

You must advise the insurance company of any changes that could affect the premium, even if it is lower. If you move house you might remember to change your driving licence but what about the insurance? Where you live can affect your premium as can the job you do.

You may get a promotion or change employers in which case you should tell your insurance company. uSwitch carried out a survey to see how many drivers were potentially at risk because the information held by your insurer is out of date or inaccurate. The figure was a staggering 60%. When asked 41% of drivers were unaware that they had to tell their insurance companies about changes of circumstances.

They were also unaware that with most insurance companies every time you change details there is a charge of, on average, £22 but it can be as high as £50, something uSwitch suggest you check before you take out a new insurance policy, especially if any changes are imminent such as moving jobs or home. By Graham Hill

Could This Be A Reason Why Uninsured Drivers Don’t Get Insurance?

Tuesday, 13. October 2015

I only found out recently that the fine for driving an uninsured car is just £300. No wonder so many young drivers drive without insurance because the fine, if they get caught, is considerably less than it would cost to take out insurance in the first place.

Even with the cheapest car the premium could be many times the fine. It must be time to increase the fine to a minimum of £5,000 for driving without insurance along with compulsory confiscation of the vehicle. Sadly we don’t seem to have punishments in this country to fit the crime. By Graham Hill

Does Your Car Have The Right Number Plate?

Monday, 12. January 2015

Having a blog means that I get to hear some very dopey stories. The latest was a car that was delivered by transporter to a customer. As excited as he was about driving his new car something wasn’t right.

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He couldn’t put his finger on it but each time he walked towards the car a bell was ringing in his head but what was it? He walked all around the car trying to find a dent or something obviously wrong but could find nothing. After two days of driving the car he realised what it was, there was something wrong with the registration number.

He checked his agreement and realised that the car had been issued with a different number to his agreement. As it turned out there were two identical cars on the transporter, delivered on the same day to two different customers. Whether the dealer had issued the paperwork incorrectly or the delivery driver dropped the cars off to the wrong owners I couldn’t get to the bottom of, but as both cars were insured by the drivers on the other’s registration neither were insured to drive the car they were driving.

The fact is that they may never have known until the cars were returned or sold – how crazy is that? The other driver didn’t have a clue but apparently went loopy when he was told! And I don’t blame him!

The two drivers had their cars swapped and received a free first service. So when you have your car delivered check that the registration number agrees with your documents. By Graham Hill