Legal guide to UK motoring, sections for law enforcement, Driver licensing, learner and new drivers, buying and selling, speeding fines, owning a vehicle, wheel clamping, traffic information
Car Insurance Guide
1. Motorists must ensure that they have appropriate motor insurance in place.
2. The Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE) scheme to tackle uninsured motorists was launched in June 2011. Under the scheme it is an offence to be the keeper of an uninsured vehicle. Information is cross checked between the Motor Insurance Database (MID) and DVLA keeper records.
3. Under CIE, keepers of vehicles which appear to be uninsured are sent reminder letters. Those who take no action receive a fixed penalty notice of £100, followed by enforcement action – wheelclamping, impounding and ultimately prosecution by the courts (the maximum fine in Court is £1,000).
4. For the offence of driving without insurance the police can offer a fixed penalty of £300 plus six penalty points, or prosecution (maximum fine of £5,000), discretionary disqualification and mandatory endorsement of between six and eight penalty points. Since 2005 the police have had the power to seize uninsured vehicles. In 2011 they seized 140,000 vehicles.
5. Drivers and owners can check their vehicle is on the Motor Insurance Database at www.askMID.com.
6. The removal of the insurance check applies to motorists in GB; the removal of the need to SORN each year applies to all motorists in the UK.
If your car is stolenIf Your Car is Stolen?
Tell the police immediately then tell your insurer and ask for a claim form.
Be prepared to wait a while in case your car is recovered. A great many cars taken without the owner's consent are soon found abandoned.
If property is stolen from your car tell the police immediately and then tell your insurer.
Most comprehensive policies protect you against loss of or damage to rugs, clothing and personal belongings which are in your car. Policies set a limit on the value of such property. Check your own policy for details. See back page for advice on beating the car thief.
Making a claimWhat to do When Making a Claim After the accident get as much on the spot information as possible. Get hold of the names and addresses of independent witnesses before they lose interest and leave the scene. If you have a video or camera in the car, get pictures before vehicles and property are moved. Also, make a sketch plan of the accident while the details are fresh in your mind. Ask the other drivers involved for their names and addresses and make a note of their car registration numbers together with the make and model. Ask for the name of their insurers and also, if possible, their policy number or certificate number. If anyone is injured, produce your certificate of insurance. If you cannot do this at the scene you must produce it at a police station within 24 hours. There may be injury to people or animals or damage to vehicles or property. If so, you are required to give your name and address, the name and address of the owner of the car you are driving and its registration number to anyone with reasonable grounds for wanting them. Tell your insurers about any statement made at the scene by any of the parties. Do not discuss whose fault it was. If you do, you could create problems for you and your insurers in the handling of your claim. You must tell your insurers as soon as possible - even if you don't intend to make a claim. This is a condition of your policy. Ask your insurers for an accident report form. When completing the form include as much information as you can.
Driving Other CarsMost policies cover the policyholder in person while driving a car which belongs to someone else. However, cover will be limited to third party only, even if you have a comprehensive policy. Accidental damage to the borrowed car will not be covered by your insurance. Make sure you have the car owner's permission to drive it and that they have arranged comprehensive insurance to cover you as a driver under their policy. If they have done this, then accidental damage claims to their car, while you are driving, will be met by their policy. Similarly, before letting someone else drive your car make sure your policy does not have a restriction on who may drive it.
No Claims DiscountNo Claims Discount The discount is usually reduced by two steps after a claim. Whenever a claim is made under a motor policy, the discount will always be affected unless your insurance company can recover its costs from another party. If your insurer can make a full recovery or is only stopped from doing so by a knock-for-knock agreement, your no claim discount may not be affected. Similarly, if you recover all your uninsured losses (such as accidental damage excess) then your discount may not be affected. Sometimes your no claim discount will be reduced at policy renewal time if a claim is expected to come in, or is still waiting to be settled. The discount may be reinstated if your insurer subsequently doesn't have to pay out under the policy. Source: Association of British Insurers
Age MattersThe young drivers car insurance directory aims to highlight companies or brands who offer young drivers car insurance. Included within each listing are details of product features and benefits currently being offered*.
Alternatively, read our insurance information guide below for young drivers, or car guide pages, and find out all you need to know before getting a competitive quote.
Young Drivers Car Insurance GuideAs a young driver there are two options available to you that will enable you to drive your car on the roads fully insured. Most young drivers who have just passed their test and are lucky enough to be allowed to drive their parent’s car are likely to have been added as a named driver under the parent’s car insurance policy. An added bonus could be that your parents will pay the additional cost for you! The second option which is more applicable for young drivers who have recently purchased their own car, is to take out insurance cover themselves under their own name.
Unfortunately, the cost of insuring your own car under your own name means you will probably pay a higher premium in the initial period of having your own insurance policy. This is because as a young driver new to the roads you are less experienced at driving and decision making. It is a process all drivers have to go through, but the good news is that within one year you earn your first year’s no claims bonus. That means you may get a cheaper young drivers insurance premium for your second year. The more years no claims you build, the possibility of cheaper premiums!
In addition, you may have a friend who is on his parent’s policy as a named driver and paying less than you, but eventually he will have to get his own policy and face the higher costs you are facing now.
Why are car insurance premiums higher for young drivers?
You may feel discriminated against but in fairness to the companies they are not deliberately trying to rip you off. Car insurance companies have to pay the claims and young drivers are responsible for the majority of claims, hence the higher insurance premiums. Statistics show that young drivers have more accidents and they also suffer more from incidents of theft, fire and vandalism. You cannot control your age or your driving record so remember that the single most important factor that you can control is the car you want to insure. A fast car and young driver equals a high insurance premium
Information for young drivers who have just passed their driving test
Read our guide on the Pass Plus scheme and find out how to qualify for additional discounts on your car insurance
Car Repairers GuideIf you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident the first thing to do is report the accident to your car insurance company and especially the police if injuries have been suffered. If another party was involved ensure you collect their contact and car insurance company details, so that your insurer can contact them to organise the claim.
If your car has been damaged as a result of an accident you will need to send it to a garage for repair. Depending on the company and the car insurance policy cover you took out, your insurer will send your car to a repairer approved by the insurer. Large insurance companies tend to build large networks of approved car repairers across the country so that their customers do not have to travel far to get their vehicle fixed.
An approved repairer will provide the quickest way to get your car back on the road after an accident. Insurance companies also negotiate contracts with approved car repairers to ensure their customers receive the highest quality of service at low prices.
If you don't want to use an insurer approved car repairer, you can use your own garage. If you decide to use your own garage be prepared to provide repair estimates. Insurance companies will inspect the car themselves before the repairs are authorised or not, dependent on the price. If you use your own garage you should expect the repair to take longer than if you were to use an approved car repairer, who can normally start the work straight away.
If you decide to use a garage not approved by your insurer it is vital that you contact your insurance company for advice. If you are supplied with a replacement hire car you may not automatically be covered under your policy.
Car RepairersThe Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the UK's competition watchdog, recently announced it was to launch an investigation into the car repair industry in an attempt to stamp out rogue traders and poor workmanship. The investigation comes after a rise in the number of complaints from disgruntled customers who feel they have had to pay too much to have their cars repaired.
£8.9billion a year is spent on servicing cars each year and a staggering 27,381 complaints about the standards and cost of car repairs have been received in the last 12 months.
The is also worried that a lot of the insurance work done on vehicles is not needed and owners are overpaying for routine car repairs.
Tips for consumers who should consider the following:
1. Go to a recommended garage.
2. Read car manual for the standard safety check list.
3. Give a clear description of the work to be carried out.
4. Ask for a quote in writing before agreeing to the work.
5. Ask to be consulted before any additional repair work not originally agreed is carried out.
6. Ask for a detailed invoice.
7. Ask for a timescale for the work to be completed.
8. Ask how the garage will want to be paid and when they will expect payment.
9. Leave your contact details.
Also, consider garages who belong to theRetail Motor Industry Federation. One of the aims of the organisation is to raise standards throughout the industry through quality control procedures and training.
Information ChangeYou must tell your insurer of any changes in the details given on your proposal form such as address, occupation, type of car and motoring convictions including fixed penalties.
Remember - not only is it an offence under the Road Traffic Act to make a false statement or withhold information for the purposes of obtaining a certificate of motor insurance, but it may also invalidate your policy.
Insuring your performance car
As a young driver you're are always looking for ways to help reduce your performance car insurance premium. This article will discuss a few ways for you to lower your performance car insurance.
Choice of Car - The choice of car can make a dramatic difference on the cost of your car insurance premium. You should make sure that the car you choose is suitable. The higher the power and spec of a car the higher the car insurance will be, therefore make sure the car will suit your needs, don't let your heart rule your head. High performance cars can often be unsuitable for certain drivers due to increased running costs and the higher car insurance premium.
Type of Car Insurance - The two most popular types of car insurance in this country are third party fire and theft (TPFT) car insurance and fully comprehensive car insurance.
TPFT car insurance covers the insured for loss of the vehicle by theft or fire and damage to a third parties property when involved in an accident. Fully comprehensive car insurance covers the insured for everything that TPFT does with the addition of the insured car in the event of an accident.
The type of cover you decide to take out can change your car insurance premium dramatically. You can Reduce your performance car insurance by taking out a TPFT policy as these are generally less expensive due to the fact that the insured car is not covered in the event of an accident. Be sure that you have taken this fact into account when insuring your car, because for the saving you may make when opting for TPFT cover, and not fully comprehensive insurance could backfire if you are involved in an accident.
Excess - The amount of excess on your policy has an effect on the cost of your performance car insruance premium so varying it can reduce your car insurance costs. Excess is the amount of money that the insured will have to pay out before their insurance policy will cover the rest. When taking out a policy this excess is usually set, but by increasing it voluntarily you can reduce you car insurnace. You should remember that the more you increase this excess the cheaper your policy will become, but the more money you will lose in the event of a claim.
Additional Drivers - Adding drivers to your policy will usually raise the cost of your car insurance depending on the driver. In order to keep your car insurance premium down reduce the amount of additional drivers on the policy to only those who will need to frequently use the car.
Security - Fitting approved immobilisers and alarms to performance cars is also a good way to bring down the car insurance costs. By reducing the risk of theft to your vehicle by fitting these approved security devices your insurance company will often reduce the cost of your premium.
With a combination of all the factors above you can greatly reduce the cost of your sports car insurance, but the cheapest way to keep your insurance premiums down is to be a conscientious driver and make sure you keep a clean driving licence
If you were the innocent victim of a road accident – either as a driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian – you are almost certainly entitled to compensation. In most cases, the compensation is paid by the other person’s insurance company but it is often possible to claim even where there was no insurance and in ‘hit and run’ accidents. Our legal team will be happy to provide more details about this.
The Police and Road Traffic Accidents
What should I do if I am involved in an accident? If you are the driver you MUST STOP and give the vehicle's registration number, your name and address, and that of the owner; to anyone who needs it. In addition, you should : Ensure the safety of yourself and others. If necessary, warn other traffic without putting yourself in danger. Ensure the police, fire and ambulance services are called to attend the scene if they are required. If you or anyone else present feels able to assist, treat any injured person or animal. Obtain the details of any witnesses. Note and record the positions of the vehicles. What is the role of the police at a road traffic accident? To ensure the scene is safe and prevent further accidents.
To co-ordinate the work of the emergency services. To investigate the cause of the accident and take appropriate action. In appropriate cases, record the details of the accident. Restore the flow of traffic. What details of the accident will the police need? Some constabularies will only record details and carry out initial investigations in the following circumstances: Where a person is injured or killed. Where one or more drivers have failed to stop. Where they consider there is sufficient evidence to support a prosecution of one or more parties.
Where a driver has obviously lost control. If damage is caused to any road sign or crash barrier. Where a vehicle defect has significantly contributed to the accident. In all other circumstances the police will take no further action. What insurance details will the police require? The policy number and the address of drivers Insurance Company is all that is generally required. These details are contained on every insurance certificate. As a driver you must give your insurance details to anyone who has been injured or to anyone who wishes to make a claim against you, even though you may feel you are not to blame for the accident. Likewise, you may ask for another person's insurance if you have been injured or you wish to make a claim against them.
Failure to provide insurance details in these circumstances may constitute an offence, which should be reported to the police. The police will only record insurance details where a person has been injured or killed in a road accident. Your insurance company should be informed of any accident you are involved in and will offer you assistance and advice. If my vehicle is damaged in an accident, who is responsible for moving it? If you are a member of a motoring organisation they will arrange removal. Alternatively a garage nominated by you or a garage contacted via the police will remove the vehicle.
The cost of removal is the responsibility of the owner and/or driver. Will any driver be prosecuted? The police do not apportion blame nor investigate accidents on behalf of insurance companies. The police will only investigate further those accidents involving fatalities or serious injuries and those which involve an element of aggressive behavior, impatient driving, or the misuse of speed. Any incident where a prosecution is decided upon will be forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service who will consider whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute and whether or not it is in the public interest to do so. Some constabularies operate a Driver Improvement Scheme whereby any driver who has driven carelessly, contributing to or causing an accident may be offered a one-and-a-half days' driving course of refresher training instead of prosecution.
This initiative does not affect an insurance claim, but will clearly address a probable cause of the accident. Rather than punishing the offender it ultimately reduces the likelihood of a careless driver being involved in a similar accident. What will the police do after the accident? If the accident is recorded, the police will always tell you of the result and if they propose to take any further action. Depending on the circumstances, the result may not be known for several months.
If you need to enquire about any relevant matter relating to the accident, telephone the nearest station, leaving at least five working days after the date of the accident.
Securing your motor car
Don't leave papers lying around - especially private mail with your address on it and documents like vehicle registration. And take your house keys, cash, cards or chequebook with you.
Have your car's registration number etched onto all glass surfaces - including the headlights. Or have the last 7 digits of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) - unique to your car - linked with a recognised, secure database, etched in this way. Most manufacturers are now bonding VIN plates to the dashboard in plain view - check it out if you're buying a new car.
Get an approved dealer or installer to fit an alarm - you can find one through the Vehicle Systems Installation Board. If you're buying a new car, check if it's got an alarm as standard.
Get a stereo you can remove and take with you. Mark it with your registration number or postcode. Make a note of the serial number. Some manufacturers are fitting stereo equipment with different parts spread around the car - check it out when you're buying.
Lock all the doors when you leave your car and even while you're driving. Keep the windows rolled up too, especially when you're making slow progress in traffic. It only takes a few seconds at a stoplight for a thief to reach in and take whatever you've left on a seat.
Get a lockable petrol cap. Some new cars have these as standard - check it out if you're buying.
Locking wheel nuts - cheap and easy to buy and fit, difficult to get off without the key. If you're buying, look out for new cars that have these as standard.
If you've got a garage, use it and lock it. If you haven't or you're away from home, park where there's plenty of light and life. Or park where you see a sign for a car pack that is a member of the Safer Parking scheme and displays the Park Mark placque. These are designed and managed to keep your car safe.
If you're buying a very special car, it may already have a tracking device or your insurance company may want you to fit one - it's worth finding out.
Don't leave anything on show in your car. Even an old coat can be too much to resist. Most car criminals 'smash and grab' first and think about how much it's worth later.
An electronic immobiliser means your car won't start unless you want it to. Get an approved dealer or installer to fit it - you can find one through the Vehicle Systems Installation Board.
When you leave your car, always take the ignition key with you. Don't pop back into the house, leaving the engine running on a cold winter's morning. At home, never leave your car keys, or house keys, near a door or window. Some thieves use a fishing rod or magnet on a stick to steal them through the letterbox.
Always make sure you outsmart the car criminal
Securing your caravan
Immobilise your caravan, even if you're stopping only for a short time. Use good quality padlocks, heavy-duty chains and hitch locks to secure your caravan. Fix lock nuts or wheel clamps to the wheels and padlock gas cylinders to fixing clamps.
Fit an alarm and switch it on every time you leave your caravan - even if it's just for a short time.
Lock windows, doors, rooflights and the gas compartment when you leave the caravan, for any length of time. Always keep the keys with you.
Take all your valuables with you when you leave the caravan. If you can't, lock them away. Never leave anything on display - even an old coat can tempt a thief to have a closer look.
Never leave the vehicle registration documents in the caravan. They can help a thief to sell the caravan on.
If your caravan does not already have a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) etched onto the windows you should use an ultraviolet pen to mark it inside with an identifiable number. Security mark all the valuables you usually take on holiday with you too.
If you're buying a new caravan, ask about built-in security features. All caravans manufactured since August 1997 should be electronically tagged for added security. Check it out.
If you're buying a second-hand caravan, try to verify the seller's identity and make sure the number plate on the caravan matches the one on the tow car. Also ask if it's registered with the Caravan Registration and Identification Scheme (CRiS) - if it is, you can check its history through this scheme. If it isn't, call 01722 411 430 and get it registered. If you purchase the caravan call CRiS to register the details.
Get to know your neighbours on the site when you're on holiday and think about joining a vehicle watch scheme at home.
10. You could fit a tracking device so that your caravan can be tracked by the police or a system operator if it is stolen.
Safe parking guide
If you have a garage, use it. Always lock both your car and your garage. If you don't have a garage, always try to park in a well-lit, open place.
Try and park your car in an attended car park. Look for a public car park that is part of the police-approved Safer Parking scheme that displays the Park Mark Safer Parking award plaque.
If you can't find a car park, try to avoid parking in places that are hidden from public view.
Never leave anything on display when you park your car. Even an old coat or a plastic bag can tempt a thief.