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Showing posts from June 8, 2013

Car crash racket is curbed - but innocent are forced to pay

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11 shares 28 View comments Painful legacy: Anne Spoor is still suffering five years after being hurt on a coach New laws to tackle the growing compensation culture that has turned the UK into the ‘whiplash capital of Europe’ will hit genuine victims, warn lawyers. Anyone suffering personal injury must pay their legal costs if they claim compensation, as dramatic changes to the law on ‘conditional fee agreements’ – better known as ‘no-win, no-fee’ deals – kick in from tomorrow. It means that even when victims win compensation in the courts, their legal costs can no longer be recovered from the defending side. The changes are part of a Government clampdown on fraudulent whiplash claims, which as Financial Mail has reported since 2009 have inflated motorists’ insurance premiums by more than 20 per cent. But some lawyers argue that genuine claimants – some who suffer severely after an accident – will be more reluctant to bring claims while lawyers may refuse to take o

Top five cars which hold their value best with 4x4s once again dominating ¿ and five that plummeted fastest

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48 shares 55 View comments The arrival of the 13 number plate for new cars has seen motorists snapping up vehicles from the forecourt, but it’s no secret that many will lose their value quickly. And while most new cars will lose a significant proportion of their starting price, some will lose considerably more than others - and as we explain below this may be even worse for 13-plate models thanks to people's superstitions. But with a bit of savvy buying, your car may hold far more of its value than you expect, or you may be able to target a three-year-old bargain. To help motorists pick a winner, This is Money and car website Auto Trader have complied the top five cars which held on to the most of their original value last year – and the five that didn’t. Winners and losers: The Skoda Yeti and Volvo S80 feature in the list below 13 plate – unlucky for some? It could prove to be a strange six-month period for new car buying, as the 13 number plate may prove

It's time insurers stopped stinging us with the great car valuation con

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35 shares 46 View comments The price is not right: Even the keenest car buyer would be lucky to find a similar vehicle for the money an insurer offers for a write-off. It's no secret that car insurers have a handy bag of sneaky tricks to milk more money out of their customers. If you've ever had the misfortune of having a car written off, which sadly I have, it's likely you will have suffered one of the most financially painful. Two separate incidents brought this trick to my mind this week. The first was our story on car deprecation winners and losers which ranked the new cars that kept their value. Some readers questioned whether it was actually possible to bag some of the bargain cars for the prices quoted. Then comparing quotes to renew my car insurance, an insurer placed an automatic value on my car some £2,000 lower than the £7,000 that I paid for it just last October. As this was an already very keenly priced car that we managed to negotiate an

New '13' plates to push sales higher in March - and Ford Fiesta remains nation's favourite

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8 shares 7 View comments Motorists ignored superstition and bought 394,806 cars with new ‘13’ number plates last month, coincidentally the 13th month of rising sales, the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT) has reported. New registrations were 5.9 per cent up on March 2012 and took the number of sales for the first three months of 2013 to 605,198 – a 7.4 per cent rise on the January-March 2012 figure. Registrations of petrol-fuelled cars surpassed diesels in the first three months of this year, spurred on by the growth in the small car and private sector markets. Ford Fiesta: The small economical motor continues to be the most popular new car to buy Earlier this year research by motoring organisation the AA suggested the number 13 plate may prove unpopular with new motor buyers. In a survey, it found that a third of potential new car buyers would think twice about snapping up a 13 plate – not because they fear a mishap, but because they fear tryi

Garage has warned that my car may fail it MoT due to new EU tests

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74 shares 127 View comments MoT changes: Older cars now face more stringent tests My Vauxhall is due for MoT next month but my regular garage has warned me already that it may fail as there are some new tests that it has to pass under EU laws. Could your motoring experts please explain? It may mean I have to fork out more on repairs or even have to get a new car. Via email. Linda Mckay of This Is Money replies: Hard-pressed motorists have to deal with increasing road tax, fuel rises and now it seems the possibility of further costly repairs if their vehicle fails its MoT. An additional 15 boxes on the MoT checklist will now need to be ticked before cars are deemed legal to be on the road. The changes, which include stringent checks on warning lights, handbrakes and wiring, were introduced in January last year. But it is only now that they become mandatory. I asked our experts for clarification.   More... Top five cars that hold their value best and five that

Drivers who pay to protect their no claims discount are worse off on average - unless they claim in the first year

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17 shares 34 View comments Drivers with long standing no claims discount protection may lose money Drivers paying extra to protect their no claims discount are worse off than non-protected motorists if they do not make a claim in the first year, according to research by comparison website Moneysupermarket.com. Motorists pay an average of £23 extra on top of their annual car insurance for no claims discount protection. But according to data from the price comparison firm, the longer the protection is in place the less cost-effective it becomes. Moneysupermarket said drivers with a five year no claims discount, who had paid to protect that discount, would be £21 better off on average if they claimed in the first year of the protection versus a motorist who made a claim on a unprotected policy. However, in the second year motorists would be £2 worse off and in the third year, motorists protecting their no claims discount would be almost £25 worse off, although there

Jaguar wants to double sales using F-Type halo effect

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9 shares 14 View comments The most powerful Jaguar sports car for a generation is unleashed today as the car-maker seeks to make a quantum leap in sales. Ambitious Jaguar boss Adrian Hallmark hopes the F-Type will help Jaguar sales more than double within a few years. As spiritual successor to the E-Type of the 1960s, the new sports car, costing from £58,500 to £79,950, will be the trail-blazer for this stellar performance. Gloves are off: Adrian Hallmark said: 'With the F-Type, we¿re back with a vengeance' But it is a forthcoming ‘baby-Jaguar’ saloon – a rival to BMW’s 3-series – which will really drive the massive expansion. And though Hallmark declines to discuss in detail ‘potential future products’, it is, in truth, this more volume-led luxury saloon on which Jaguar is betting the house. I joined Hallmark in Northern Spain – on the road, on the race-track and, after a hard day’s driving, over dinner – for the first global test-drive of the stunning B

Over 50s cut back on car usage as costs rise

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11 shares 56 View comments A third of over 50s have tried to reduce the cost of running a motor in recent years, including driving less and shopping around for the best fuel prices, data has found. In fact, older drivers have cut their average annual mileage by a fifth since the financial crisis started – the average now stands at 5,389 miles a year, down from 6,561 miles, according to research by Saga Car Insurance. Its comprehensive survey found that 48 per cent of motorists over 50 who are cutting back are using their car less, while 47 per cent hunt out the cheapest place to fill up. Ditching the car: Increasing numbers of over 50s are driving less as motoring costs continue to rise The results found that 36 per cent are leaving the car and walking more frequently – while 35 per cent have increased the amount which they use public transport. It also found that one in 14 have started shopping for groceries online to avoid driving to the shops, while six per ce

Tricks like compulsory petrol and excess waivers making it 'almost impossible' to compare car hire deals

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5 shares 33 View comments Many top car hire companies are failing to disclose additional costs up front making it ‘almost impossible’ for drivers to find the best deal, according to a consumer watchdog. Extra charges for a compulsory tank of petrol, the cost of excess payments on insurance policies, and the waiver policy to avoid these charges, are routinely withheld until late in the booking process, Which? has claimed. Which? made the accusation after its researchers attempted to rent cars in Spain – one of the most popular destinations for British holidaymakers to hire vehicles – from 10 major hire companies and broker websites. Car hire hell: Which? wants charges to be clearer for those who rent a car after its Spanish investigation At the end of the booking process, it said, researchers were not satisfied that they knew the total price in 53 per cent of the bookings. The watchdog made 120 visits in February 2013 to five car hire firms - Alamo, Avis, Enterp

Top ten cars for customer satisfaction - and how to buy one cheaply

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13 shares 25 View comments Sizzling Skoda: Three cars from the manufacturer feature in the satisfaction league table Britain's top ten cars have been named in a major satisfaction survey, but which is the biggest bargain at three years old? While the pleasure of a brand new car is undeniable, the satisfaction of picking a second-hand one up that feels as good as new for a fraction of the original cost is substantial. We reveal how to pick up one of the nation's best motors at a lower price The Skoda Yeti has been voted as Britain’s favourite car by motorists, beating brands such as BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes. The Czech carmaker also saw its Superb model take second place on the podium, while its Octavia came sixth – not bad for a manufacturer that was the butt of jokes about its quality for decades. It has had a huge image change since it was taken over by German car giant Volkswagen. Before that, its unreliable reputation made it the victim of countless

Car insurers sidestep ban on taking fees from lawyers... by turning into law firms themselves

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8 shares 9 View comments Car insurance premiums are expected to fall up to 15 per cent this year as the authorities crack down on Britain’s compensation  culture. However, it seems that insurers are not ready to let go of their lucrative links to the personal injury claims industry. Admiral has led the way by setting up a joint venture with a law firm, but many other insurers – including the one behind Tesco’s  car insurance business – are doing the same. LEADER: Admiral has led the way by setting up a joint venture with a law firm, but many other insurers are doing the same Insurers and the claims industry became entwined through referral fees in which insurers passed on details of accident victims to lawyers, who then contacted the claimant, offering to sue on their behalf. The system gave insurers an extra source of income, but because it added to legal costs and damages – including a boom in whiplash injury claims – it also made car cover more expensive for

Young female drivers hit hard by EU changes as insurance costs soar by a fifth in just 12 months

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7 shares 15 View comments Young women have been hit by the largest increases to car insurance premiums ever recorded for an age group over the past year, as EU rules on gender discrimination removed the discount they have traditionally enjoyed over their male counterparts. The average quoted comprehensive premium for a 17-20 year old woman rose by an eye-watering 20.7 per cent in the last 12 months, according to research in the Confused.com/Towers Watson car insurance price index. This is the biggest year-on-year jump ever recorded for any age group. Yearly car insurance costs for young females are now at an all-time high average of £2,256. But at the same time, young male motorists have seen prices plummet. The average quoted price for a 17-20 man fell by an average of 21.6 per cent over the past year. Hit hard: Young female drivers have seen car insurance prices soar since the EU Gender Directive began in December Young female motorists have traditionally enjoy

How to stay safe, and legal, when you drive abroad

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32 shares 10 View comments Where could overtaking a school bus get you into hot water? And which country requires drivers with glasses to always carry a spare pair? Driving abroad can be a minefield for the unprepared motorist, so here we round up essential information for staying safe and within the law when driving on the continent - as well as some of the quirkier local customs that can catch unsuspecting British drivers... Driving abroad is increasingly popular, as the record number of vehicles that crossed from England to France via EuroTunnel this Easter shows. On Good Friday alone more than 10,600 drove off the shuttle at Calais. Driving abroad offers you great flexibility and it should be adventurous and fun, providing you’re prepared. Road to ruin: Brits driving abroad need to be aware of local laws. There’s more to it than simply remembering which side of the road to drive on. For a start, the rules can differ from one country to the next. Drive in Fr

New car sales soar as cheap finance tempts buyers away from used - and petrol engines bounce back

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9 shares 25 View comments Car sales have continued to soar as cheap finance deals and rising second hand prices tempt more people to buy new – and the petrol engine is staging a comeback. New car registrations were up 14.8 per cent annually in April, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported with private buyers snapping up a third more vehicles in April than in March. The rise in new car sales has been driven by affordable finance offers, such as those that allow buyers to put down minimal deposits and get a showroom fresh version of one of Britain's favourite cars for less than £150 per month. Hot hatch: The Ford Fiesta is Britain's favourite new car, as buyers are tempted to opt for a showroom fresh model by cheap finance deals.   More... How younger drivers can beat the car insurance trap - and even drive a more exciting car Could you be paying less for your car insurance? Find out here At the same time businesses with fleet v

M6 toll road 'should be nationalised' urges transport chief as traffic drops by 40% in 7 years

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25 shares 58 View comments The M6 toll road should be nationalised because it has failed to relieve congestion, the head of the region's local transport authority has said. Britain's only privately-run toll road, which runs through the West Midlands, has not relieved congestion on the motorway around Birmingham, he said. Geoff Inskip, chief executive of Centro, the West Midlands transport authority, called on the Government to take the M6 toll road out of private hands to ease congestion around Britain’s second largest city, after evidence emerged that traffic on the toll road has fallen 40 per cent since its peak of 55,000 vehicles a day in 2006. Under used: the M6 Toll Road should be nationalised rather than expanding the original M6 to cope with the projected 25 per cent increase in traffic over the next 15 years, transport chief Geoff Inskip said When it was completed ten years ago it was hoped the M6 Toll would relieve traffic congestion around B

Young motorists can save £200 on insurance by using telematics

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64 shares 9 View comments Young drivers who face steep costs for motor cover could save an average of £201 – or 12.5 per cent - a year by choosing telematics technology over a standard policy, according to data. Comparison website Moneysupermarket.com analysed almost 17million car insurance quotes and found telematics policies are cheaper than traditional policies. At the same time, there has also been an increase in the number of telematics insurance deals being offered to younger drivers as its popularity grows. Cheaper driving: Comprehensive research has found that telematics can help bring down insurance costs It found that 29 per cent of motorists aged 17-19 were likely to be offered the choice to opt for a telematics policy, followed by 18 per cent of 20-24 year olds.   More... How younger drivers can beat the car insurance trap - and even drive a more exciting car Young female drivers hit hard by EU rule changes as insurance costs soar by a FIFTH in

Petrol costs for British drivers in Europe has rocketed

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20 shares 29 View comments British drivers will have to dig deeper into their pockets to drive on the Continent this summer as petrol and diesel prices have risen steeply in the last year, according to research. The cost of diesel and unleaded fuel for UK buyers has risen in most European countries compared to last summer, a survey by Post Office Travel Money showed, thanks to price rises but also currency movements which have made items priced in euros more expensive. The rise has been the sharpest in one the most popular destinations for Britons – Spain. Prices have risen an eye watering 7.4 per cent in just 12 months, while the increase in France is 4.7 per cent. Fuel costs: Diesel and unleaded prices for British holidaymakers driving abroad has rocketed in the last year Of 17 European countries surveyed, only Croatia, down 3p a litre, the Czech Republic, 1p, Switzerland, 3p, and Denmark, 7p, had cheaper petrol for UK drivers in April 2013 than in April 2012.

A little black box helps women cut soaring car cover

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13 shares 16 View comments Young female drivers, whose car insurance premiums have soared to a record high after EU gender rules were introduced in December, can keep a lid on costs with ‘black box’ technology that rewards safer driving. Women, who previously paid less than men for motor cover, have seen their premiums rise because insurers are no longer allowed to discriminate on gender. Meanwhile, boy racers have seen their costs fall. The average annual insurance premium for women aged 17 to 20 is at an all-time high of £2,256 – up 20.7 per cent on a year ago. The cost of the average premium for 17 to 20-year-old men fell by 21.6 per cent. Road test: Josie Elworthy installed a tracker in her car and saved thousands But black box technology – also known as telematics – can slash premiums for careful drivers. The box is a tracking device fitted into the vehicle, allowing insurers to monitor driving behaviour including speed, braking and turning. The safer the dr

Majority think drivers over the age of 66 should have to retake their driving test

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35 shares 415 View comments Older drivers should be forced to retake their driving test when they turn 66 - which will be retirement age in 2020 - according to the majority of motorists in a survey by Auto Trader. Over the last 20 years there has been a 72 per cent increase in the number of licence holders over the age of 70 and there are currently more than one million registered motorists over the age of 80 on British roads, data from the car website’s latest Owners Guide shows. At present, there is currently no upper age limit for holding a driving licence. Drivers over the age of 70 self-certify their fitness with little official regulation. This has led to calls for an age limit on driving or compulsory retesting - and 60 per cent of nearly 4,000 drivers polled agreed. Older drivers: Despite being statistically safer, the majority of almost 4,000 motorists surveyed say that drivers should be retested at 66 The number of people over the age of 65 living in B