May 312018
 

Over half of UK roads are classified as ‘rural’ and are also statistically among the most hazardous, with 68% of fatalities occurring on them every year.

Quiet rural roads often lure drivers into a false sense of security, when they need to be at their most alert. To keep you – and others – safe, Warranty Direct has put together its top tips for rural driving.

 

Watch your speed

Many drivers assume they can drive quicker on rural roads because they’re typically quiet. However, obscured entrances, high trees and hedges, narrow bends and blind corners will restrict your view so it’s essential to keep your speed down to avoid potential hazards. Take notice of all the signs on the road to give you advance warnings, so you can adjust your speed accordingly.

At 60mph, a driver’s stopping distance is 73 metres and if a hazard suddenly appears, you may not be able to stop in time. Speed limits shouldn’t be seen as a target, so keep assessing whether you’re at the right speed for the conditions and you feel in control of the vehicle.

Be patient

Tractors, combines and other large agricultural vehicles are a common sight on country roads. While you may find getting stuck behind one of them annoying, you need to be patient as they’ve as much right to be on the road as you do.

If you do find yourself behind one, keep a safe distance as these types of vehicles often have limited visibility. If you attempt to overtake, make sure you’ve plenty of time and space to make the manoeuvre safely. Look for a long straight stretch and start to overtake from further behind than you would with a normal car, to give the driver more opportunity to see you.

Beware: animals crossing

Whether it’s a herd of cows being moved from one field to another or a rabbit just wandering across the road, you need to be more alert for wildlife during rural driving. Watch out for wild animal warning signs, which give you an indication of areas more prone to animals.

While it’s normally an instinctual movement, it’s important you don’t swerve to avoid small wildlife. This can be very dangerous for you, your passengers and the person who might be coming towards you on the other side of the road.

Instead, try to brake as soon as possible to minimise impact and beep your horn while slowing. Often this will startle wildlife into running out of your path.

However, larger animals like cattle, horses, and dogs are considered big enough to justify an emergency stop, because their size means, if hit at speed, they could cause a lot of damage to vehicles or injuries to passengers. For example; accidents involving deer are estimated to cost £17 million in vehicle damage every year.

If you are unlucky enough to hit a larger animal, you must stop by law and report the accident to the police immediately.

Think of others

Many people will be out on the country roads enjoying the scenery and leisure activities, so expect to see plenty of cyclists and horse riders. If you come across a horse and rider, it’s essential you slow down and pass with plenty of room to avoid spooking the horse. A scared horse can be a danger to itself and to its rider.

You should approach passing cyclists in the same way you would another vehicle. Make sure you wait for a straight stretch of road and give them as much room as possible. The Highway Code actually encourages cyclists to stay in the middle of the road for safety, so be patient and wait until it’s completely safe for you to pass.

You may also encounter walkers, so always corner slowly as there could be a pedestrian on the other side.

May 312018
 

Leading car warranty provider, Warranty Direct analysed its Reliability Index and SMMT data to reveal which of the bestselling UK hatchbacks were most reliable.

The Reliability Index collates and analyses 50,000 live Warranty Direct policies to rate vehicles in order of reliability. As well as finding out the overall reliability of a car, the index offers information on which parts fail most often such as air conditioning, axle & suspension, braking, cooling, electrical components and engines.

Top ten most popular hatchbacks ranked in order of reliability:

Reliability position

Model Popularity position *

1

Volkswagen Polo 6

2

Ford Fiesta 1

3

Ford Focus 3

4

Volkswagen Golf 2

5

Vauxhall Corsa

4

6 Mini Cooper

7

7 Mercedes Benz A-Class

8

8 BMW 1 Series

10

9 Vauxhall Astra

5

10 Audi A3

9

 

Recently plagued by problems owing to the diesel emission scandal, Volkswagen showed it’s still a strong contender in the hatchback market. According to the Reliability Index the Polo and Golf models came in at 1st and 4th place for overall reliability.

While it was only the 6th bestselling hatchback of last year, the Polo actually beat competitors to be crowned the most reliable, spending just 1.46 hours off the road for repairs, which cost an average of just £184.

This is because less than 10% of problems recorded in the Reliability Index for both Polo and Golf models stemmed from more expensive issues such as brakes or gearbox problems.

Following the Polo closely in second place was the Ford Fiesta, which according to SMMT was also the bestselling car of 2017. Low cost and easy to repair faults helped the Fiesta retain its top spot and it needed an average of only 1.51 hours off the road. It narrowly missed out on first position due to slightly higher repair times and costs compared to the Volkswagen Polo.

Coming in a respectable 3rd for reliability is family favourite, the Ford Focus. The average costs of repairs were a little higher though at £283 and so was the average time off the road for repairs at 2.05 hours. This could be down to the model experiencing trickier electrical faults, which made up nearly 30% of all its claims.

In last place for reliability and second to last for popularity, the Audi A3 had a staggering average repair cost of £439, stemming from expensive engine issues, which made up 27% of all claims.

Surprisingly, some of the most expensive, popular models scored more poorly for reliability, with the A-Class in 7th place, the 1 Series in 8th and the A3 rounding out the table in position ten. All took around three hours for the average time off the road for repairs, which may be down to the more complex makeup of these premium vehicles.

The Mercedes A-Class in particular was a good example, as 40% of its claims came from electrical issues, which are common for a growing number of luxury cars, as they contain more parts dependent upon automated technology

Simon Ackers, CEO of Warranty Direct commented on the findings:

“When buying a new car, motorists should look beyond the initial purchase price and examine resources such as the Reliability Index to get a better indication of whether a particular model is suited to their individual needs.

“According to sales, the Polo was only the 6th bestselling hatchback of last year, but it’s actually the most reliable model according to our Reliability Index. In addition to this, the most expensive model may not actually be the most reliable, so it’s always worth doing your research before purchasing your next vehicle.”

*Popularity position based on 2017 SMMT data on the UK’s best-selling vehicles

May 292018
 

As the common saying goes: ‘if it looks too good to be true, it usually is’.

The above can be especially true if you’re buying or selling a car, as there are lots of untrustworthy people out there willing to cheat you for an unfair price.

Making sure you’re armed with the knowledge to spot a potential scam. Warranty Direct discusses common pitfalls for motorists and its top tips on how to avoid them.

 

Selling a car

Offers to buy without viewing

If someone offers to buy your car without looking at it first, this should be considered a warning sign. A buyer may get into an accident or damage the car on purpose, claim it was already damaged when they bought it and expect you to pay for the damages.

To avoid this, make sure you describe your car as accurately as possible when creating your advert and ask the person to sign a ‘sold as seen’ receipt before a sale is agreed.

Swap scam

Swap scams are an increasingly popular con which exploits auction and classified websites where consumers advertise their car for sale. Crooks will contact the seller to express an interest but suggest a swap instead. However, the swap car will often be on existing finance, or sometimes even stolen.

Make sure to research the history of the other car before you exchange and ask to see all documents and service history. A genuine seller will have all of this prepared and be happy to show it to you.

Vehicle matching

Cold callers may approach an owner claiming to have a buyer waiting and ask for an upfront fee which they say is refundable if the car isn’t actually sold.

Typically, the car is never sold and the seller is never refunded, resulting in lost money. If you find yourself in this situation, do not feel pressured into giving your credit or debit card details out to people you don’t know. However, if the worst does happen, contact your bank straight away to see if they can recover your funds and report the incident to Action Fraud which ensures the correct crime reporting procedures are followed.

Buying a car

Virtual vehicle

The ‘virtual vehicle’ scam involves the fake advertisement of a car for sale and the sole purpose is to extract money fraudulently from an eager buyer.

The car will often be advertised for slightly lower than the going rate, with seemingly great mileage for its age. They will ask you to transfer money, sometimes a large deposit, without even seeing the car.

Once parted with the cash, you’ll soon realise it doesn’t exist. So, always make sure you see the car before you buy it and get a receipt. If possible pay on a credit card, so your funds are in part protected should the transaction turn out to be fraudulent, according to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

Fake mileage

Changing a car’s mileage to increase value is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Although modern cars are getting harder to modify, the number with mileage discrepancies is on the rise.

2016 research by car history company HPI shows one in 16 cars had an illegally-altered mileage reading which equates to roughly 2.3 million in the UK displaying incorrect mileage.

Be sure to check the vehicle history, as this will show the recorded mileage and highlight any discrepancies. Checking the MOT certificates will also reveal any odd gaps or points where the mileage for one year is lower than the previous.

Fake payment

Always make sure payment is cleared before handing over your car.

Fake customers who seem legitimately interested in buying a car will sometimes pay for it using stolen details, from a credit card or through a fake bank account.

Others may contact you saying they have accidentally overpaid you, ask you to refund the additional sum of money and then withdraw the original payment. You’re then left out of pocket and potentially without a car.

Always be over-cautious when buying or selling a car. Read through all documents, research the history of the car and check the condition thoroughly. The last thing you want is to be conned into buying or selling and end up with nothing at the end of it.

Apr 132018
 

Warranty Direct to sponsor the 2018 FirstCar Awards

We are happy to announce Warranty Direct is the lead sponsor of the 2018 FirstCar Awards. The event will be held at the Royal Automobile Club in London on 25th April 2018 and we are really looking forward to celebrate the industry and its worthy winners.

The FirstCar Awards, in association with Warranty Direct, recognises and rewards companies leading the way for young drivers. A FirstCar award will help guide young drivers when making key purchasing decisions and give added credibility to the winning manufacturers.

These awards will reward the best in class across a range of different categories – all specifically relevant for young drivers. Along with being the main sponsor, Warranty Direct will also sponsor the ‘Used Car of the Year’ and ‘Car of the Year’ awards.

Contenders for the Warranty Direct Sponsored Used Car of Year Award are:

  • Citroën C1
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Kia Picanto
  • Volkswagen Polo

Shortlisted for the Car of Year Award are:

  • Ford Fiesta,
  • Nissan Micra
  • VW Up

Cars from both categories will be assessed for their reliability and safety using Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index and Euro NCAP criteria. The judges will also be looking at a variety of other key features to contribute to overall scores, including:

  • Value for money and running costs, such as fuel economy and insurance
  • Both new and used cars should be easy to drive, dependable and safe
  • Affordability is key for both purchasing and throughout the ownership of the car
  • The standard fitment of important safety features

Speaking about the upcoming awards, our CEO, Simon Ackers said:

 “With First Car offering advice, tips and expert opinions to help their audience be better informed and safer motorists, we are proud to work with a partner whose values mirror our own.

“We are really looking forward to celebrating those in the industry who are leading the way, promoting safe driving and enabling young drivers to make knowledgeable decisions and become confident on the roads.”

Other categories at the awards will include: Driving Instructor of the Year, Regional Driving School of the Year, National Driving School of the Year, Driving Instructor Car of the Year, Best Safety Technology and Safe Car of the Year.

One thing’s for sure, there is always a real sense of team spirit and support at these awards, which not only honour the accomplishments of driving schools and their instructors, but also the motor industry’s ability to revive and improve their safety products every year.


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.

Mar 192018
 

Recent reports have shown although roads are busier than ever before, casualties are at the lowest level on record. The exact reasons for these statistics are not quite known, but the fact vehicles themselves are becoming safer due technology advancements could be a contributing factor.

For example; manufacturers are developing car systems which not only mitigate the effects of a collision, but can prevent the chances of having one altogether. Volvo has even promised no one should be killed or seriously injured in one of its new cars by 2020.

With 79 percent of consumers describing car safety as very important, Warranty Direct has put together a guide to the modern safety features keeping us safer on the roads…

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

ABS has become a standard in most cars. It helps prevent car wheels from locking up, so reducing the likelihood of skidding. One of the most dangerous aspects of wheel lock is the loss of steering control, but ABS ensures drivers will be able to steer after an episode of hard braking.

Blind spot monitoring

Blind spot monitoring systems help drivers be more aware of what’s in the adjacent lane to their vehicle. Using a radar system to scan the space around your car, it will use a bright LED light in your side view mirror to visually alert you if another vehicle is in your blind spot.

Airbags

Since 1987, frontal air bags have saved 44,869 lives. Sensors in the car monitor deceleration rates, then fire the airbags to cushion impact. Modern developments include dual-stage airbags which have sensors to generate different responses depending on the seriousness of a collision. These advances reduce the chances of airbag-related injuries.

Seatbelts

Apart from brakes, seatbelts are the oldest safety feature around. According to ROSPA,  tens of thousands of lives are estimated to have been saved in the UK since making the law for wearing seat belts mandatory.

While the overall design hasn’t changed, it continues to evolve. Ford has developed rear inflatable seatbelts for some of its models and in the event of an impact, this innovative technology is designed to minimise the likelihood of injuries.

Dash cams

Dash cams are onboard cameras that continuously record the view of your journey through a vehicle’s windscreen. They can be used to provide video evidence in the event of a road accident. During parking, some dashcams still can capture video evidence if vandalism is detected too.

They have become increasingly popular with motorists in the UK, with dash cam ownership increasing from one to 15 percent in just four years.

Bluetooth devices

Using a hand-held mobile phone or sat nav while driving is illegal and you are four times more likely to be in a collision if you use your phone when driving.

Many cars now come with Bluetooth hands-free calling connectivity to help combat such issues. Once you connect your phone to your car system, Bluetooth allows completely wireless access to calling functions from your phone through your vehicle, via the dash, a control screen, steering-wheel buttons, or voice commands.

It increases car safety as you’ll keep both hands on the wheel and won’t need to look down to dial numbers, hold a handset to your ear, or do things like changing the volume to music.

Child car seats

The law requires all children travelling in any vehicle to use a child car seat until they are either 135cm in height or 12 years old, whichever comes first. With plenty of options to choose from, always speak to an expert to help you decide which are best for your needs and to assist you in correctly fitting the seat to your car.

Most modern family cars now have Isofix connectors built into them, making it easier for fitting baby and child car seats.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

ECS helps drivers avoid loss of control in bends and during emergency steering manoeuvres by reducing the danger of skidding. This has become such an important development in terms of road safety, manufacturers are now required by law to install ESC in all new vehicles.

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.