Feb 172017
 

The latest data from Warranty Direct has revealed the brands whose part problems afflicted UK drivers most frequently last year, and how much the repairs have been setting drivers back.

Analysing statistics from over 40,000 policies and more than £3 million-worth of their most recently authorised claims has shown that when examining the total paid claims against all policies*, well over a third of Alfa Romeo (40%) and Porsche (36%) drivers needed to make a claim, whilst 34% of Land Rovers also suffered from faults.

Below are the 10 manufacturer brands which had the highest percentage of claims made against them and the average cost of repairs. Note – the number of claims was measured as a percentage of the number of policies held per manufacturer:

  Make % of Total Claims Against Total Number of Policies Held Per Make Average Authorised Claim
1 Alfa Romeo 40% £355.47
2 Porsche 36% £1,019.07
3 Land Rover 34% £513.31
4 Chrysler 26% £474.28
5 Mercedes-Benz 25% £559.99
6 Jaguar 23% £442.68
7 Lexus 22% £469.68
8 BMW 16% £609.13
9 Volvo 16% £466.92
10 Citroën 15% £363.20

 

Alfa Romeos are often considered a true driving enthusiast’s car for their quality of performance and style, but they are known for needing frequent trips to the garage, with suspension, electrical and cooling system problems the most frequent cause for claims in 2016.

Maintenance of Porsches was a considerable expense last year, with a claims rate of 36% across policies though, at an average cost of £1,019.07 per repair. Common claims for Porsche owners included suspension and electrical issues, along with steering faults.

Amongst these results, Mercedes-Benz sitting in fifth place, is particularly significant given the brand’s popularity. In 2015 alone the company sold 145,254 units in the UK, which equated to more than 5% of the market share**. However, an average repair cost of £559.99 is the highest after Porsche and BMW.

When assessing the top five manufacturers on the list’s most frequent reasons for a claim, axle and suspension problems were common, along with electrical problems. Although not one of the most regular faults, gearbox repairs came at significant cost and averaged over £1,250 per repair across these top five brands.

The figures also revealed a trend of Japanese manufacturers overtaking European options as the most reliable vehicles on the market. Honda, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota all had between just 3% and 6% of their policies claimed on throughout the year.

Super-minis and hatchbacks did not receive many claims, largely due to the simplicity of their parts and reduced costs of labour. These included makes such as Smart, Kia, Seat, Ford and Hyundai, all with less than 10% claims being made against their policies. While these vehicle types had fewer claims, a warranty does go some way to covering the unexpected costs for sudden repairs and provides peace of mind to motorists.

Commenting on the latest data, COO of Warranty Direct, Philip Ward, said: “With many cars becoming increasingly more complex in terms of component parts, repair costs will continue to rise throughout 2017. Vehicles which might initially seem reliable and reasonably priced can end up becoming a financial liability for the owner.”

*Includes multiple claims per policy

**Report from Statista – Mercedes-Benz car sales in UK from Jan 14-17.

Feb 062017
 

8 driving tips to reduce costs and protect the environment

Warranty Direct have compiled a list of some of the best ways you can fulfil your eco-driver potential (and save yourself a few pennies as a result!)

You may have heard of the term eco-driving, but not all drivers are aware of its benefits. Put very simply, it can save us all money – both in terms of fuel consumption and wear and tear to our cars. According to a study by Fiat (which included 5,700 drivers in five countries), eco-driving saves an average of 15% of fuel costs* and greatly reduces maintenance expenses.

There could be enormous benefits to the environment too, as air pollution in the form of emissions could be reduced significantly. The European Climate Change Programme calculated a reduction potential of at least 50 million tons of CO2-emissions in Europe, which could save as much as 20 billion Euros if more drivers chose to drive in a slightly more mindful manner.

Eco-driving also reduces noise as well as local air pollution. The engine noise of one car driving with 4000 rpm (revolutions per minute) equals the engine noise of 32 cars at 2000 rpm. Thus, it reduces one of the main issues with traffic in urban areas.

So how can you fulfil your eco-driver potential? Here are a number of things you could try:

Growing inflation 

According to tyre manufacturer Michelin, underinflated tyres can increase fuel expenditure by up to 6%. The average tank of fuel is priced at around £70, so pumping up your tyres could save around £4 per top-up.

Be a smooth operator 

When driving, try to maintain a good distance from the car in front to avoid last-minute braking. Get up to speed as smoothly as possible and keep the gear engaged to achieve fuel reduction. Change to a lower gear when the engine speed drops below 1500 rpm. Conversely, the Energy Saving Trust recommends trying to change up a gear before you reach 2,500 revs in a petrol car, and 2,000 in a diesel car.

Purchase a fuel consumption display

If your car comes with a consumption computer, use it to get instant feedback on fuel use. By using it to adjust your driving habits, you could save up to 10% of fuel. If your vehicle doesn’t have one, they’re easy to install, so it’s not just individuals with fancy vehicles who can reap the benefits!

Don’t go full throttle

The Energy Saving Trust advises drivers to take their foot off the gas when they travel downhill. In most modern cars, this stops fuel being sent to the engine and minimises consumption. Make sure you don’t coast in neutral though, as this reduces driver control. The Trust also reports the most efficient speed you can travel in a car, in terms of achieving the best fuel economy is 55-65mph. Any faster, though, and the fuel efficiency decreases rapidly. For example, driving at 85mph uses 40% more fuel than at 70mph (oh, and it’s illegal too).

Take shortcuts

Allow yourself to skip gears when road conditions permit. For example: by shifting straight from third to fifth, you’ll minimise wear and tear on your car’s transmission and save on fuel. Similarly, when slowing down, bypass shifting through each gear individually.

Combine trips and plan ahead
Trips under 5 km are the most polluting, due to the engine and the pollution control system never reaching maximum operating temperature. Merging several trips into one can cut fuel use and emissions by 20 to 50%. Look ahead at the travels news, to prevent travelling during the busiest periods of traffic. Stop-start driving is among the most fuel intensive forms of car travel.

Don’t be a drag and travel light

Remember to remove roof stacks from your vehicle, when they’re not in use to make your car as aerodynamic as possible. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes to fuel economy, as every extra hundred pounds reduces efficiency by up to 2%.  Empty your boot of unnecessary items and close your windows if travelling more than 50mph – this also reduces drag.

Switch off your engine in traffic 

If your vehicle has a start/stop feature and you’re at a standstill for more than a few minutes, turn off the engine. Not only will this prevent unnecessary fuel consumption but it’ll make for a more pleasant wait. Even as little as fifteen seconds can save fuel, just make sure you don’t switch off your concentration as well!

So why not take advantage – save yourself some money and help protect the environment? If Eco-driving becomes the norm rather than the exception, it has potential to drastically decrease emissions from transport and boost road safety.

* Information from Treehugger article – March 2011

Feb 062017
 

Warranty Direct’s extended motor warranties are designed to help take the stress and hassle out of car ownership. Our customers shouldn’t have to claim over the course of their policy, however things can happen and our customers may find themselves having to use their warranty when an unexpected fault or breakdown occurs.

When it comes to getting a repair sorted, Warranty Direct allows its policy holders to take their vehicle to the garage of their choice for repairs. We allow customers to use either an independent or main dealer as long as they are VAT registered. To bolster choice for our customers, we also offer a Preferred Repairer Network to our customers as well.

Our Preferred Repairers Network consists of specially selected garages to undertake repair work for our policy holders. These garages can either be a main dealer or independent. For inclusion, all nominated garages must meet and agree to a 43 point service level agreement before they can join our Preferred Repairer Network.

It’s not a mandatory requirement for our customers but we believe that the Preferred Repairer Network has some great benefits such as:

Warranty Direct settle insured claims with the repairer directly

Having to pay for the unexpected cost of repairing your car can be stressful. Even with a warranty, there may be some cases where, even though a claim is valid, you may have to pay for the repair up front and then reclaim it from your warranty provider. It could get even more infuriating when trying to get the money back from your provider promptly too.

With Warranty Direct’s Preferred Repairer Network, we can settle the repair bill directly with the garage and cover the approved parts and labour costs for a valid claim. Customers will only have to pay any policy excess they have and any agreed parts contributions directly to the garage. This goes some way to save the hassle of customers having to pay out during a claim.

Preferred Repairers know how Warranty Direct works

The garages on our Preferred Repairers Network know how Warranty Direct’s claims process operates. This makes it quicker and smoother for Warranty Direct and the preferred garage to communicate with one another. With fully trained and qualified engineers as part of our claims team, this ease of communication allows repairs to be authorised and get your car fixed promptly.

Garage Validation

As previously mentioned, any garage whether they are a main dealer or independent must meet our criteria to be part of the Network. There are 3362 preferred garages on our network. 1070 of these are independent garages, the remaining 2292 are main dealer. 60% of our preferred main dealers also charge under the £60 per hour labour rate.

If a customer’s choice of garage isn’t part of our Preferred Repairer Network, they can recommend them to Warranty Direct. We’re always looking to add more preferred repairers and if they fit the criteria then they might be a welcome addition to our growing network.

Ultimately what’s most important is that our consumers are able to trust the garage they chose to repair their car carries out work to a good standard. The Preferred Repairer Network, with its rigorous criteria, helps to ensure this.

If you’d like to know more about Warranty Direct’s Preferred Repairers, then get in touch today on 0800 731 7001.

Warranty Direct provides extended motor warranty cover and can supply GAP Cover Insurance for brand new or used cars as well. For more information, visit us at www.warrantydirect.co.uk.

Jan 122017
 
BMW 5 Series - What Car? Car of the Year 2017

BMW 5 Series – What Car? Car of the Year 2017

Last night saw the winners of the 2017 What Car? Car of the Year Awards announced during a prestigious ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House in Park Lane.

Every year, What Car? crowns the best cars on the market, and acknowledges outstanding manufacturers at its annual awards. Warranty Direct reprised its partnership role with What Car? as the event’s headline sponsor for the fifth year running and sponsored the individual City Car award category.

The awards are the accolades every manufacturer wants to win. More than 40 different cars competed across 18 separate categories, with What Car? awarding automotive prizes from the best city run-around and family hatchback on sale, to the best large SUV and sports car.

The most coveted prize, the What Car? Car of the Year award, was given to the best newcomer on the automotive scene, the BMW  5 Series.  There was a diverse array of brilliant models competing for the top prize, ranging from a Maserati Levante to a Ford Ka+.

According to What Car? the BMW 5 Series earned the top accolade due to its spaciousness, excellent finish and sophisticated infotainment system. The award marks the pinnacle of success for a motor and its creators and is an indication of a terrific year ahead for that model.

The Hyundai i10 - winner of the What Car? City Car award

The Hyundai i10 – winner of the What Car? City Car award

The City Car award, sponsored by Warranty Direct, was won by the Hyundai i10 due to it answering a range of strict criteria, including a keen list price with low running costs, ease of use and compactness to fit into small spaces.

Other awards were won on the night by the Audi A3 Sportback (Family Car award), the Audi Q7 (Luxury SUV award), Mazda MX-5 (Convertible award), the Renault Zoe (Electric award) and the Porsche 718 Cayman (Sports Car award).

Speaking about the results of last night’s ceremony, Philip Ward, COO of Warranty Direct said:

“The What Car? Awards epitomise one of the most celebrated events in the motoring calendar, recognising the outstanding achievements of individual car manufacturers and creating insight from which expert advice can be offered to consumers. It was a very memorable evening and we are thrilled the Hyundai i10 won our sponsored award for best City Car – especially as the competition this year was so fierce! We are also delighted to be working with our partner, What Car? for the fifth year running.”

Warranty Direct has sponsored the celebrated Car of the Year Awards since 2013, this year’s event marks the fifth year of the extended warranty company’s headline sponsorship.

For a full list of award winners please visit:  http://www.whatcar.com/awards/

Jan 092017
 

For many of us, our car is one of our most prized possessions and one of the most expensive purchases we’ll ever make.  Despite how careful we might be whilst driving and how well we look after our cars both on and off the road, anything could happen.  Being unlucky enough to have your car stolen and not recovered, or to be involved in an accident where your car is written off, is never beyond the realms of possibility.

In addition to the emotional strain these eventualities can put you under; there will inevitably be financial implications.  However comprehensive your insurance policy might be, if your vehicle is declared a “total loss” and you make a “total loss claim” to your insurer, most insurers will only pay out the current market value of your vehicle at the time of incident.  This could leave you with a shortfall of thousands of pounds in comparison to the purchase price of the car, meaning that if you want to replace it with a like-for-like you’ll have to make up the outstanding balance.

To guard against this potential cost in the event of a total loss claim, you can cover yourself with a GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance policy, to cover the difference.

How GAP insurance works:

When buying a new car for, say, £20,000, a consumer takes out both a comprehensive motor insurance policy and a GAP insurance policy. Over the course of the first three years of ownership, which is when a new car depreciates the most, the market value of the car may fall to, say, £12,000.

If an accident then happens or the car is stolen but not recovered, a total loss claim would need to be made. When the claim is approved, the motor insurer would pay out the market value of the car (the £12,000) and GAP insurance covers the outstanding balance of £8,000, which covers the remaining amount of the car’s original purchase value.–

What cover is available:

There are commonly three types of GAP insurance available, and at Warranty Direct we pride ourselves on arranging flexible policies that can cater to new or used cars either purchased from a dealer or privately*. The three types of policies offered by Warranty Direct are:

  • Vehicle Replacement Insurance (VRI) – this covers the difference between what the motor insurer pays out and the cost of a brand new car of the same make, model and specification. This policy gives you cover even if the manufacturer’s prices have increased since buying the original car.
  • Return to Invoice Insurance (RTI) – this covers the difference between what the motor insurer pays out and the original invoice price paid for the car.
  • Return to Value Insurance (RTV) –this covers you  for the difference between what your motor insurer pays out and the value of the car at the time when the GAP policy was purchased (which doesn’t need to necessarily be when you bought the car)

 

Other factors to consider:

As with most insurance policies, there are some limitations to Warranty Direct’s GAP Cover Insurance which you should be aware of before taking out a policy. Below are the most significant ones:

  • If your motor insurer doesn’t pay out on your total loss claim then you will be unable to claim on your GAP insurance, as the two go hand-in-hand.
  • Your GAP cover will be invalidated if the vehicle is written off due to an accident where the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Warranty Direct’s GAP Cover insurance isn’t available for electric cars, motorbikes, vehicles modified from the manufacturer’s specification or vehicles which are used for pacemaking, speed testing, other competitive events, or for hire or reward.
  • The incident leading to the total loss of the insured vehicle must occur within Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Channel Islands or the European Union.

It is of course important to consider the pros and cons of any policy of insurance and make sure you read the full terms and conditions in order to understand exactly what the policy entails and see whether it is right for you. You can obtain a copy of Warranty Direct’s full GAP policy terms and conditions from our website. Carefully considering all the factors such as the ones above will give you the freedom to pick a policy you know is right for you and prevent ill-informed decisions, which could lead to costly consequences.

Why Warranty Direct:

We’ve been providing GAP insurance since 2011 and are one of the leaders in the industry. With the cost of our GAP cover starting from just £136 for three years**, we aim to provide competitive and affordable cover which will help you avoid being out of pocket in the unfortunate event that your car is written off or stolen and not recovered.

Find out more about our policies here, so you can plan how best to cover yourself from potential financial loss.

* Types of product available subject to car eligibility criteria. See www.gapcoverinsurance.co.uk for more information.

**Price is based on a 3 year Return To Invoice policy for a Ford Focus 1.6 TDCI with a £5,000 claim limit.

Warranty Direct’s GAP Cover Insurance policies are underwritten by LAMP Insurance Company Limited, whose registered office is Suite 934 Europort, Gibraltar, company number 93562. LAMP Insurance Company Limited is licensed and regulated by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission under the Financial Services (Insurance Companies) Act. Policies are administered by Warranty Direct Limited, Quadrant House, 20 Broad Street Mall, Reading, RG1 7QE, company number 3233010. Warranty Direct limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.