Showing posts with label driving. Show all posts
Showing posts with label driving. Show all posts

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Am I the only driver without a satnav?

I seem to be one of the few people who doesn’t have a satnav in their car. I still rely on an ancient AA atlas that cost £1.99 in a garage years ago. The Oxford page has got a massive rip through it, but apart from that the map is still doing sterling service and I rarely get lost.

But now it appears that I’m one of a dying breed. A survey by budget NetVoucherCodes has found that the UK’s map-reading skills are fading fast. Sixty-nine per cent of women and 59 per cent of men say they’d be lost without a satnav, while four out of five 18 to 30 year olds couldn’t manage without one.

I’m mystified by the popularity of satnavs. For a start I don’t want to be bossed about by an annoying voice when I’m driving - and quite apart from that, satnavs aren’t all that they are cracked up to be. Lorries are always getting stuck in tight lanes, while car drivers have ended up on railway lines, cliff edges and in Richmond, North Yorkshire, rather than Richmond upon Thames. And look at what happened to Sabine Moreau, a 67-year-old Belgian woman who set off on a trip to Brussels earlier this month to pick up a friend from the station. The journey should have been 38 miles but thanks to her satnav she took a wrong turn and ended up 900 miles away in Zagreb, Croatia. Stick to a map next time, Sabine, and you’ll be fine.

PS. Don’t worry, these two tube trains haven’t gone AWOL after relying too heavily on their satnavs. I passed them in Shoreditch the other day and couldn’t resist taking a picture. They are actually recycled Jubilee Line trains (there are four altogether) and they’ve cleverly been converted into offices and studios high above Great Eastern Street.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Teenagers, cars and insurance

When my teenage daughter celebrated her 17th birthday I rashly promised that I’d buy her a car once she’d passed her driving test. We lived 20 miles from her school at the time, a journey that took more than an hour as the number 59 bus wove its way through the pretty villages of north Oxfordshire. Not surprisingly, she couldn’t wait to ditch her bus pass and drive her own car.

It took her nearly a year to do it but she passed her test first time (thank you to BSM’s wonderful Tracey). So despite my misgivings I threw caution to the wind and bought her a second-hand Renault Clio. That’s when, like many other parents, I discovered how expensive it is to insure a car for a teenager. So when the Sainsbury’s Bank Family Bloggers Network asked if I’d like to run a guest post on car insurance for teenagers on House With My Name, it seemed like a pretty good idea. Here it is:

Will you be paying for your teenager’s car insurance?

Most teenagers can’t wait to pass their driving test and discover ultimate freedom with their first car. Before you know it, a savings account will be empty and a new motor will be parked outside, waiting to be driven by an ecstatic teenager. Only trouble is, it could cost them thousands of pounds to insure. 

Cue an intervention from loving parents, who are only too happy to help out. Is there any harm in lending a helping hand? Well, that’s the question. So to avoid any major headaches, it’s important to be aware of the pros and cons.


First things first – if the new driver is to have their own car, it will be worth their while choosing one with a small engine. Anything sporty or with modifications will add to an already large insurance bill. 
Some insurance companies won’t even insure 17 to 20-year-olds, even with a small car. This is mainly due to the high risk posed by younger drivers, especially 17 to 19-year-old males, whose average claim according to 2010 figures is £3,433 – almost three times more than a male over 50. 

Now, that’s not to say all teenagers are dangerous drivers, but it explains why insurance providers are wary.

‘Fronting’ the policy

Many parents choose the option of adding their teenager as a named second driver on their own policy, and this can be a good way of saving money. However, deliberately ‘fronting’ a policy for a teenager when they are in fact the main driver of the vehicle is considered fraudulent. If the young driver was to have an accident, the insurance company could refuse to pay out, and might even prosecute. 

Insurance providers have methods of discovering who the main driver of a vehicle is – they might examine the contents of the car or trace who’s been paying for the fuel bills. So if you’re going to name anybody on your own policy, make sure they remain the second driver – and that they drive safely, of course.

Protect your no claim discount

So adding a teenager to your own car insurance can save you money, but there are also disadvantages. For example, they might not be able to build up their own no claim discount this way, and that could be important in reducing their insurance bills in the future. So consider choosing a policy that offers a no claim discount to second drivers, as well as the main policy-holder.

Another disadvantage is that your own insurance premium could increase with a young driver added, plus you may risk losing your own no claim discount if the second driver has an accident.

Every teenager is different

As a parent, you’ll know your teenager the best and make your decisions accordingly. Some might feel it best to delay the age their offspring starts their driving lessons, until they’re older and in a better position to pay their own way – and their insurance bills might be cheaper by then too!

Some parents might consider lending their teenager a percentage of the insurance premium, on the condition they’re prepared to earn the remainder. This option allows them to appreciate the responsibilities of being an adult – surely an important lesson.

Whatever option you choose, it's essential that you and your family pick a car insurance policy that meets your needs.

Guest blog written by Jules Anthony. 
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