Monthly Archives: July 2012

How insuring your car hire excess may save you money

If you are planning to hire a car on holiday or have already arranged your rental, then it may be in your interests to pay particular attention to the details of the insurance cover for the hire car.
You may be inclined to think that if there is insurance included as part of the hire car package, then that’s all there is to it and that you are adequately covered.

The fact is though that the insurance offered by many rental companies may be only part of the story and you may find that in the event the vehicle was damaged or stolen, you would still be responsible for at least some of the repair or replacement costs.  Reading through the terms and conditions of your cover is vital if you are to understand the extent to which you may be liable for costs.

That’s because the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) with which the car rental company relieves you of financial responsibility for the car during the rental typically has an excess which could be as much as £1600.

In the event of an incident the car hire company would simply just debit the required amount from your credit card. You would typically have no involvement in the estimation of the damage to be repaired or who would be carrying out the work.

There is a form of rental hire insurance cover which you could buy to protect yourselves against these costs.

The rental company may even try to sell some to you and they may typically refer to this cover as Super CDW.  Their sales pitch may typically only come when you are picking up your keys, at which point you won’t really have much choice.  There is no competition and their premiums may reflect this.

On the other hand you could buy rental car excess cover from an independent third party specialist provider. You do this in advance of your rental. Then if there is an excess charge made on your credit card, you simply make a claim on this insurance policy for reimbursement.

Another feature of CDW cover to take note of is that it may typically exclude the tyres, windscreen and undercarriage of the rental vehicle from cover so that any damage to these areas would be your responsibility.

You may find though that with an independently sourced excess policy any costs for these areas would also be covered.

This could provide you with significant peace of mind that you were not going to be landed with a repair bill for someone else’s car.

Top tips on insuring your holiday home

Here are some useful pieces of advice relating to holiday home cover:

  • don’t ignore the risks your property faces.  However idyllic its surroundings and however low crime is in the area, your property may still be hit by misfortune in the shape of things such as natural disasters, burglars or vandals etc.  Contrary to some myth, these problems are not restricted to the United Kingdom;
  • check your local legal obligations.  In some countries it is a legal requirement to maintain certain minimum levels of property insurance.  If you are using a mortgage provided by a local lender, you may find that the loan agreement requires you to maintain insurance cover to the full replacement value of the property.  Failing to do so could cause you serious difficulties and result in you being in breach of contract;
  • think about language.  In any country it is particularly important that you understand the finer detail of your insurance and essentially just what you are getting for your money, what is covered and what is not covered etc.  Make sure that you have translations of your documents if you purchase insurance locally or alternatively consider purchasing your holiday property insurance from a UK provider in English;
  • watch out for currency fluctuations.  If your income is in Sterling but the costs of your insurance are in a foreign currency, then the insurance that appears to be very cost effective when purchased locally, might not seem so should Sterling sink in value relative to the local currency.  Of course, this concern would not apply if you have purchased your cover in the UK and had paid for it in Sterling;
  • pay attention to the terms and conditions.  Linked to the language issue mentioned above, if you are purchasing your cover in a foreign language make sure that you completely understand the terms and conditions.  These may link your continuity of cover to your compliance with certain practices, something that you may find it difficult to achieve if you didn’t know that the requirement existed in the first place;
  • take note of mandatory policy terms (period of cover).  In some countries you are not free to simply cancel your insurance and take out a new policy if you are not happy with the one you have.  In some legal environments you may be obliged to stay with your policy for a full 12 month term and even then give two months’ notice in writing of your intention to change it;
  • if you purchase a policy locally and subsequently need to make a claim, make sure that you do so in writing and with expert translation assistance.

You may well have invested a substantial proportion of your available capital in your holiday property.

Making sure that it is correctly and fully insured may be a sensible step to take.

Why do the armed forces pay more for their car insurance?

If you have ever served in the HM Forces then you know that, in general, you will end up paying more for your car insurance . This tends to be the case for the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and the Army. Even if you are a reservist and you mention that you volunteer your time to serve your country, then you tend to get charged more for your car insurance. But why?

The reasons are varied and depend on the individual insurer and their claims experiences with the HM Forces. It is fair to say, that the proportion of individuals within the HM Forces whom have, for example, a drink drive conviction are far greater. This is under stable when you consider that returning from a 7 month deployment often means there is a great deal of unwinding to be done. Of course, this does not excuse getting into a car having consumed too much alcohol. The problem is even greater when you consider the accident statistics involving individuals whom have consumed too much alcohol.

Another reason why people in the HM Forces tend to pay more for their car insurance is owing to the fact that customers in the aforementioned category often will purchase a higher spec vehicle as HM Forces personnel often have additional disposable income, especially if they are living on the barracks. These more expensive vehicles often come with a higher vehicle group meaning that as a customer you will pay a higher premium for your car insurance.  Put some vehicle modifications into the mix and the premiums will quickly creep over the £1000 mark!

Another common issue that individuals find who are in the HM Forces is transferring their no claims bonus discount from overseas. For example, you may have been driving your Focus ST220 for 4 years in Germany without any incident at all, yet you will find that when you come back to the UK, that 4 years hard-earned no claims bonus will ignored by most insurers. There are some companies, such as KeyWorkerInsure.com that can take into account overseas no claims bonus – but it is not guaranteed.

The best thing to do, is spend a bit more time searching around for a specialist provider. Using the usual key words on the search engines is a start. Remember to save yourself some time by phoning up the insurer and asking them what they can do BEFORE you start filling out the 6 pages of forms. Having a bit of a heads up, and knowing the right insurance companies can often save you a few hundred pounds on your car insurance if you are in the HM Forces.

Check out Insurance Over a Grand who specialise in arranging car insurance for Armed Forces.

Get the right insurance for your community minibus

A minibus can bring huge benefits to a local community.  Offering clubs, care homes, schools and charitable organisations the ability to travel around can be invaluable to many different types of community group.

Now, after two years, a Lincolnshire town has managed to raise enough to buy a minibus for use by all local community organisations.  Keep reading to learn more about this heartwarming story and why it’s vital you get the right minibus insurance for your vehicle.

Sleaford gets its own community minibus

In 2010, Andrew Crawford, then chairman of Sleaford and District Round Table, told fellow members: “When I was a boy I remember Sleaford having a community minibus, run by The Sleaford and District Lions Club.  In my year as chairman I want to do something different. Rather than nominate a single charity for which to raise money, I want to see if we could bring back the Sleaford Community Minibus”.

Now, two years later, Mr Crawford’s dream has been realised. With help from charity event and support from a local optician, Sleaford now has a new community minibus.

The minibus will be run by Sleaford and District Round Table as a non-profit venture. The vehicle is available to local clubs, groups and organisations which could not afford to hire one from national hire companies.

Current Round Table chairman Neil Freeman said: “We want the vehicle to be accessible to as many local schools, groups and clubs as possible.  We cover insurance and maintenance so all they need to cover is hire and fuel.  It’s really that simple”.

Get the right minibus insurance

If you own or run a community minibus, it’s vital that you get the right minibus insurance for the vehicle.

For example, you will need to be sure to take out a policy which allows a range of people to drive the vehicle.  If the minibus is to be used by different organisations, you will need a minibus insurance policy that covers a number of named drivers.

In addition, you will need to ensure that the minibus is protected against theft, and includes cover for theft of contents.

And, you’ll also need to take out the right minibus insurance depending on where groups intend to travel in your vehicle.  For example, if some of the potential users of the minibus planning to travel outside the UK you will need to consider a minibus insurance policy with European coverage (www.minibus-insurance.net is a great place to start).