Key things every driver should budget for
Keeping a car on the road can cost drivers thousands each year, so along with safety and reliability, running costs are often a top consideration for many when choosing a car.
Warranty Direct has put together its guide on the most expensive outgoings that come with owning a car and how to keep them as low as possible…
Begin with your insurance
In the UK, it is illegal to drive without insurance and if get caught you could face an unlimited fine and disqualification from driving.
Prices for car insurance can vary massively with insurance companies basing prices on different risk factors. Not all factors can be changed, but there are things you can do to help keep premiums down:
- Keep the vehicle in a secure location
- Add an experienced driver to your policy
- Watch your annual mileage (more miles = higher insurance as there is greater chance of an incident)
Comparing quotes from different insurers could end up saving you hundreds a year, so make sure you shop around to get the best possible deal.
Invest in an insured warranty provider
Taking out a warranty is the best way for someone on a budget to monitor their expenditure when it comes to cars.
There is nothing worse than paying out for an unexpected hefty repair bill if something goes wrong. With an extended warranty* this stress is removed should the worst happen, as a warranty can help contribute all or some of the costs associated with getting new parts and paying for the repair labour.
A fixed monthly cost that can be worked into your monthly budget will be more cost-effective than paying out for one large bill per repair.
Shop around for fuel
Pump prices vary around the country and there are even different forecourts in the same town – so it pays to get to know the cheapest in your area.
Motorway fuel stations tend to be more expensive, so if you are planning a long journey it’s worth filling up beforehand to avoid potentially paying £8 a tank more.
Supermarkets will often give you a discount at their petrol pumps when you spend a minimum amount in store, so kill two birds with one stone and fill up after doing your weekly shop.
Efficiency is essential
Eco-driving saves an average of 15% in fuel costs, so small everyday things to improve your fuel efficiency can have a big impact.
Drive smoothly and change gear as soon as possible without revving the engine too much – ideally before 2,500 revs in a petrol car and 2,000 in a diesel. You should also change to a lower gear when the engine speed drops below 1500 rpm.
Stick to 70mph on the motorway. By travelling at 80–85mph, fuel costs can increase by 25% or more – (oh, and it’s illegal too!)
Essential car maintenance
The average cost of maintenance on a used car is £472 a year. However, through regular upkeep you may be able to reduce these costs and keep your car on the road for extra miles too.
Here is Warranty Direct’s top do-it-yourself maintenance tips:
- Check and change the oil every 5,000 miles or every six months, whichever comes first
- Check fluids – keeping coolant, brake, power-steering and transmission fluids topped up is essential to safety and extended engine life
- Check tyre pressure – correct pressure improves your car’s safety, fuel efficiency and makes them last longer
- Change the filters – it’s an inexpensive, quick fix which prolongs engine life, increases efficiency and reduces emissions
Warranty Cover is arranged and administered by BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075
A checklist for when the unanticipated occurs
While there has been an 11 percent decrease in UK road accidents within the last five years, there were still 181,384 reported cases during 2016.
When it comes to car accidents many may think, ‘it will never happen to me’. Unfortunately, that might not be the case and things can happen outside even the most experienced of motorists’ control.
For help when you need it most, Warranty Direct has put together advice to make sure you’re prepared, whatever happens on the roads…
You never know when an accident might occur, so it’s important to be prepared. Have your insurance information, vehicle registration and license available at all times while on the road.
In case emergency situations occur in the dark or with bad visibility, it’s a good idea to have a torch, reflective triangle and high visibility jacket in your car to ensure other motorists can see you.
Even if you think it’s not serious and you’ve only caused a couple of scuffs or scratches, you must stop after an accident. Failing to do so is a punishable offence by the Road Traffic Act.
If your car is driveable, find a safe place to pull over, switch off your engine and turn your hazard lights on to alert other road users.
If anyone has been hurt, contact an ambulance as soon as possible. Unless their injuries prevent it, remove passengers from the vehicle to a safe place. If the road is blocked, you should call the police.
You and your passengers should stand behind the motorway crash barrier, wearing reflective jackets, so you are visible to other drivers and wait for the emergency services to arrive.
According to the Highway Code, you must leave any animals in the vehicle or, in an emergency, keep them under control on the verge.
Collect all the necessary details
When you’re involved in a car accident you’re obligated to give your name and address to anyone else involved. You should also collect contact details from any drivers, passengers and witnesses.
Ask any drivers involved for their insurance details and establish whether they own the vehicle. If they don’t, find out who does and note their details.
If damage has been caused to third party property or a parked car you should leave a note with your contact details on a car’s windscreen if you’re unable to find the owner. If you don’t exchange details at the scene, you must report the incident to the police within 24 hours.
You’ll also need to make note of other details, which will help when it comes to sorting out the incident with insurers.
- Time and date of the crash
- Registration, colour, make and model of all vehicles involved
- Photos for evidence – most mobiles will take good enough pictures to help you recall significant details.
Dealing with your insurer
It’s important to try to stay neutral and not accept liability or apologise if you’re unsure of who or what has caused the accident. Of course, this can be difficult in a stressful situation when emotions are heightened, but believe it or not, even saying something as small as ‘sorry’, could work against you later on when claiming for insurance.
While you are not obligated to claim after an accident, you should report the accident to your insurer within the time stated in your policy. Otherwise, your insurer has the right to refuse to cover you in future.
If you have GAP insurance, it’s worth noting some providers will ask you to call them before accepting any offer by your regular insurer. Make sure you inform the insurance provider of the accident to ensure the correct pay-out from the motor insurer.
Somehow, we are nearing the end of the year and the festive season is upon us yet again.
John Lewis has released its Christmas advert extravaganza, which today symbolises the official start to festive preparations.
However, buying gifts for picky loved ones can sometimes make this wonderful time of year feel less than magical. To help take the stress out of your Christmas shopping this year, Warranty Direct’s elves have put together a motoring gift guide for all the petrol heads on Santa’s nice list…
BEST FOR…A STOCKING FILLER
Classic Top Trumps – Sports Cars
If they love their fast cars, then this game is for them. With facts about legendary models on every card, this game’s a great way to discover a few new facts while lusting after your dream cars. Don’t worry though – you don’t need to be a car lover to enjoy playing along.
BEST FOR…THE INNER CHILD
Build your own V8 engine
This model of a working V8 engine will keep any motoring enthusiast or budding engineer busy, with over 250 parts to assemble. Once put together it runs with illuminated spark plugs and plays V8 engine noise. If they can’t have the real thing, this won’t satisfy the longing completely – but it may keep them quiet for a while.
BEST FOR…MUSIC LOVERS
Pure Highway 600 In-Car Digital Radio Adapter with Handsfree Calling
Help make a music lover’s commute their favourite time of day through the gift of digital radio. Digital radio can be better quality than FM with access to a much broader range of stations. The adapter sits on the dashboard of your car without changing its interior cosmetics, has no messy wires and is compatible with any car with an FM Radio. This version comes with easy music streaming and hands-free calling with a DAB adapter too.
BEST FOR… the CAUTIOUS DRIVER
Nextbase 412gw dashcam
Give the gift of peace of mind to a motoring friend this Christmas, with a dashcam. A dashcam records your journey continuously. This can come in handy if you run into any unfortunate incidents in the future, as you can also share footage with police or insurance companies if needed.
BEST GIFT FOR… THRILL SEEKERS
Hot Drives & Rides Experience Day
Do you know a motoring enthusiast, for whom normal roads just don’t cut it? Give your thrill seeker friend a day to remember with a driving experience day. With this option from Getting Personal, you can choose from either a fast track ride with a professional, rally driving and off-roading – so you’re not short of options, even for the fussiest of friends and family members.
BEST FOR…THE DEDICATED
This one is for the true car fans. You have to be a certain type of motoring enthusiast to want to work themed clothing. However, if your motoring friend or relative loves their cars a little too much, Petrol Threads should provide you with plenty of clothing options – so head over and pick out a something with their favourite model on to leave under the tree.
BEST FOR…THE SERIOUS DRIVER
Leather driving gloves
A throwback to a golden age, for those who still appreciate the fine art of driving, a sturdy pair of driving gloves could be the perfect gift to open this year. Also great for colder months, this pair from Aspinals of London is made from fine Nappa leather and come in two colours.
BEST FOR…THE PERFECTIONIST
Black & Decker dustbuster® Flexi® Car Vacuum
While this may not seem like the most exciting of gifts, for the right person this may (secretly, perhaps) be their favourite present from Father Christmas. This useful hand-held vacuum will keep your prized position looking its best. The extendable hose and long crevice tool allow you to get into those hard to reach areas – a perfectionist’s Christmas wish come true.
Despite the festive spirit, you may feel, driving home for Christmas is not always so joyous.
With millions of people travelling to see their nearest and dearest, the prolonged journeys, unexpected road conditions and temperamental weather can often mean feeling more Bah Humbug! than Christmas Cheer.
Here at Warranty Direct, we’ve put together our own guide to avoiding Christmas travel chaos – so you won’t end up feeling like Scrooge come Christmas Eve!
Consult more than your advent calendar…
Planning ahead could save you a huge amount of time and hassle. This year, Christmas Day falls on a Monday. This means roads on Saturday and Sunday beforehand are likely to be jam-packed and journeys could take twice as long. The Friday before Christmas 2016 saw 12 million cars on the road, so also be wary of travelling on the evening of Friday 22nd.
Online tools such as Highways England’s planned roadwork finder can be used to check your route is clear of any planned disruption prior to travel.
If you have to drive over the Christmas weekend, it’s best to ensure you don’t do so at peak times. If you can, avoid the motorways. Leave as early as possible on Friday 22nd. Journeying in the evenings on Saturday and Sunday may also save some time.
Driving in the evening can be easier if travelling with kids. Snuggle them up in the backseat with cosy blankets, play Christmas audio books or set up a festive film on a laptop to keep them entertained. You can even put them in pyjamas before setting off – so hopefully they’ll fall asleep!
Don’t just ‘let it snow’
In recent years, winters in Britain have been mild. However, some weather experts are predicting the coldest December in five years, which may mean further difficulties with travel.
Driving in snow and ice is not easy, so make sure you remind yourself of the necessary stopping distances before you travel. These can increase tenfold in snow or ice, so be mindful of traffic in front of you. If conditions are particularly hazardous, you can invest in a set of winter tyres or tyre chains to prevent skidding
Should you run into trouble, it’s vital to keep a winter emergency kit in your car. This should include items such as a snow shovel, tow rope and a high-visibility vest.
Don’t attempt to make repairs yourself – simply call your breakdown provider and request assistance. BreakdownCare Plus* from Warranty Direct provides benefits such as UK roadside assistance and nationwide recovery, to legal advice and uninsured loss recovery.
We are lucky today’s technology has vastly improved when it comes to providing motoring assistance. Google Maps and TomTom’s MyDrive route planner are great tools to use before you set off, to plan the quickest route and avoid traffic hotspots.
There are also a huge range of sat-nav apps available, which can provide alternative routes to help you avoid the worst of the traffic.
Plan for the Polar Express
Not only do fewer trains run during the festive season, this quieter period is often used to undertake maintenance work on rail services. This year, in particular, it’s been reported there will be a major disruption to London services. There will be no trains from Charing Cross, Cannon Street Waterloo East and London Bridge stations from 23 December to New Year’s Day.
National Rail’s future engineering work search tool can give you a good indication as to any delays you might encounter and when – so you know whether to make alternative travel plans.
* – Breakdown cover is operated by AXA Assistance on behalf of Warranty Direct and underwritten by Inter Partner Assistance.
Warranty Direct Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075