Breakdown CoverMotoring News » Breakdown Cover Breakdown Cover Blog Sat, 23 Jul 2011 11:25:37 +0000 en hourly 1 Sainsbury’s Announce Plans To Begin Offer Their Customers Car Insurance Fri, 10 Jun 2011 13:06:20 +0000 admin

Car InsuranceSainsbury’s have this week unveiled plans to start offering their supermarket customers car insurance cover as the popular retailer begins a “major push” into this sector.

Following in the footsteps of supermarket giant Tesco (who already provide a wide range of insurance and financial services), Sainsbury’s will offer customers car insurance as part of their wider strategy of bolstering and expanding the Sainsbury’s Finance division.

Sainsbury’s car insurance is underwritten and backed by RBS insurance, with Sainsbury’s offering potential customers a 15% discount on their car insurance premiums alongside double Nectar points on their shopping for 2 years.

Here’s what Sainsbury’s Finance chief exec, David Fisher, had to say following the announcement:

“Not only will we deliver competitive premiums, through our double Nectar points initiative, we’re also giving motorists the ability to save money in store and at the forecourt. Our aim is to significantly grow our insurance business over the next five years and motor insurance is key to this strategy”.

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Drivers Warned About Clearing Snow From Their Vehicles Fri, 03 Dec 2010 14:41:54 +0000 admin

Hazard Of Snow On Car RoofsWith many parts of the UK still struggling with heavy snowfall and icy conditions, the RAC is warning motorists that they could fall foul of the law should they fail to properly clear snow off their vehicles.

RAC patrolman ambassador of the year Alan Wilcock added: ”If you do have to travel, it’s important that all snow is cleared off the car as this can be very dangerous for yourself, pedestrians and other drivers.

”We’re still seeing cars on the road looking like portable snowdrifts, which could also see drivers falling foul of the law.”

“If it slips over the windscreen, or flies into the path of another car, it could leave the driver open to being penalised for driving without due care and attention or careless or inconsiderate driving,” North Yorkshire Police said in a statement on their web site.

“Any snow left on vehicle bodywork, such as the bonnet or roof, could slide onto lights or windows causing dangerous obstruction to vision of the driver or signals to other road users.

“Snow could also slide from a moving vehicle and onto a footpath or roadway possibly causing danger or injury to other road users or pedestrians.”

Whilst there isn’t any specific law in regards to snow on cars, motorists may find themselves responsible should an accident occur as a result.

With more snow on the way the Highways Agency are advising motorists to not travel unless necessary.

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East Anglia Toll Road Under Consideration Fri, 05 Nov 2010 14:54:58 +0000 admin

Privately Funded UK Toll RoadsThe Department for Transport is currently investigating whether private cash could be used to build a new relief road in order to ease congestion from Felixtow to the Midlands.

The DfT previously scrapped its plans to widen and improve a 22 mile stretch of road between Ellington and Fen Ditton in Cambridgeshire, which would have cost more than £1 billion.

Labelling the scheme as unaffordable, the DfT is investigation whether private money could be brought in to build the relief road, with subsequent investors recouping their investment from tolls.

The scheme would be similar to that of the M6 relief road in Birmingham, where motorists are charges between £3.50 and £5.00 to use the road, depending on the time of day.

The Coalition Government has previously mentioned that it would consider charging UK motorists for the use of new congestion-busting schemes. But this privately funded scheme would create entirely new roads, running alongside the existing network.

At the same time a number of unidentified local authorities have also approached the DfT with proposals for other privately-built bypasses which again would be funded directly by the motorist.

The Coalition has already ruled out imposing new tolls on existing roads paid for by the taxpayer, with ministers angering motorists when they announced that the charge for using the Dartford Crossing on the outskirts of London from £1.50 to £2 in 2011 and to £2.50 in 2012.

Commenting on the privately funded relief roads scheme, the AA expressed their doubts  as to whether the new toll roads would be the answer to heavy congestion on major routes:

“They will have to look very carefully at this to see that it will work. They won’t want to see a repetition of what has happened on the M6 relief road, which nobody is prepared to pay to use.

“The simple fact is that motorists would rather sit in traffic than pay.”

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Biggest Ever Rise In Car Insurance Premiums Wed, 27 Oct 2010 18:18:36 +0000 admin

Car Insurance Premiums IncreaseOver the last 12 months, young drivers in the UK have seen their car insurance premiums jump higher than ever before.

New figures published today by the AA reveal a whopping 51% rise in the cost of car insurance for motorists aged 17-22 in the past year alone.

The huge rise is being attributed to road accidents and soaring legal costs, due in part to a flood of personal injury claims from “no-win, no-fee” lawyers who take a 40% cut in any damages awarded.

The insurance premium increase has left young male motorists bearing the brunt of the costs, and in some cases paying premiums double the cost of their female counterparts – with average premiums at £2,457.

In most cases the quoted insurance price tends to be higher than the value of the actual car, and has triggered a number of complaints from young motorists that driving in the UK is quickly becoming unaffordable for young men in particular.

Young female drivers have also been affected, seeing an overall rise of their insurance premiums by 40% over the past 12 months. The average premium for young women is currently £1,423 with average premiums for all UK drivers offered by the insurance industry as a whole have hit £704.

Commenting on their recent findings, the AA said that the soaring cost of insurance premiums have risen to reflect the potential claims it could face in the event of death or serious injury.

“If you have an accident which leaves someone disabled, the claim can be up to £15m,” said Simon Douglas, director of insurance at the AA.

“Young men are twice as likely to be involved in these incidents than young women.”

In recent weeks the Association of British Insurers has called for a minimum 12-month learning period before young drivers can take the test. This would have taken the minimum age for driving unsupervised up to 18.

“Introducing a longer and more structured learning period may frustrate some youngsters, eager to get behind the wheel.

“But better this, than they become another tragic statistic,” said Nick Starling, the ABI’s director of general insurance and health.

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BBC Apologises For Jeremy Clarkson’s Ferrari ‘Special Needs’ Joke Mon, 25 Oct 2010 14:33:00 +0000 admin

Clarkson Ferrari Special Needs JokeUK broadcasting watchdog Ofcom were called in to investigate a joke, make by Jeremy Clarkson on an episode of Top Gear that went on to provoke complaints from viewers.

During the Top Gear segment, Clarkson made a comment about co-host James May’s Ferrari and its styling. Comparing May’s Ferrari F430 Speciale to a newer model, Clarkson said the car  “was a bit wrong – that smiling front end – it looked like a simpleton – should have been called the 430 Speciale Needs”.

Following  criticism from the National Autistic Society saying it perpetuated ”the prejudice and bullying which people with disabilities have to cope with”, the BBC removed the clip from the repeat and iPlayer versions of the show, and went on to issue an apology for any offence caused.

The BBC said the remark was not intended to make light of those with special educational needs or to make fun at their expense.

Following an investigation by Ofcom, the industry watchdog today recognised that ”discriminatory language of this nature has the potential to be very offensive to some viewers as it could be seen to single out certain sections of society in a derogatory way because of their disability.”

It added: ”The comments made by Jeremy Clarkson in this instance were capable of causing offence.”

It said: ”While obviously intended as a joke and not aimed directly at an individual with learning difficulties, the comment could easily be understood as ridiculing people in society with a particular physical disability or learning difficulty.”

It concluded that because the BBC had apologised, decided not to repeat the comment, and said it was not intended to make fun of those with special needs, the case was resolved.

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Motorists Abandoning Cars Due To Soaring Costs Thu, 21 Oct 2010 13:02:43 +0000 admin

Motoring Costs RisingSoaring motoring costs in the UK are driving down car usage with as many as 8% of car owners giving up driving altogether.

According to a recent survey conducted by, 57% of motorists polled said that they had greatly reduced the amount of time they spend behind the wheel as a result of increasing motoring costs.

Of the 860 motorists surveyed, 30.5% revealed that they were sticking to their normal driving patterns, as they could just about afford to, while 4.5% said that they were not changing their plans at all.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Steve Sweeney, head of car insurance at said: ”We’re all looking at ways to lower our everyday outgoings and getting behind the wheel is a real drain on finances.

“With recent fuel price hikes and increasing costs of car insurance, drivers are turning savvy and making changes to their usual habits to drive down costs.”

“Taking further steps like fitting an approved car alarm or immobiliser and parking in a locked garage if possible are other ways to reduce the overall cost.”

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Holidaymakers Warned About Airport Parking Companies Thu, 21 Oct 2010 12:22:42 +0000 admin

Airport Parking WarningUK travellers who leave their vehicles at the airport have been warned to chose their airport parking company carefully, after a string of complaints from travellers whose cars were either borrowed or damaged while they were away.

Valet parking at airports has grown in popularity over the last few years, with “meet and greet” services helping travellers who don’t have the time to negotiate long stay car parks. In most cases the parking company will collect the car at the chosen airport, secure it while the holidaymaker is away, and then greet them with the vehicle on their return.

An investigation by BBC’s Watchdog consumer programme however, has uncovered reports that some holidaymakers’ cars were not properly secured whilst they were away.

Holidaymaker Dean Dolling had left his Hyundai i20 with Airparks before embarking on his flight to Luton Airport for a week’s holiday to Cyprus. But on his return he discovered that the company – which offers “secure 24 hour patrolled parking” – had somehow allowed for his vehicle to be rented out to a tourist.

Another holidaymaker discovered that his car had been written off on the M23, when it was meant to have been stored securely at Gatwick. With another car receiving a parking ticket from a Tesco supermarket, whilst it was also meant to be securely parked at Gatwick.

Airparks operates ‘meet and great’ services at all the UK’s major airports, later offered Mr Dolling £500 in compensation, which they later increased to £2,500.

Mr Dolling told Watchdog, that he only realised that his car had been rented out when he received a phone call from an Australian, who had spent an holiday in Britain who noticed he was driving a private car after finding lots of Mr Dolling’s paperwork in the car.

Airparks later issued a statement and “apologised unreservedly” to Mr Dolling.

“A series of highly unusual system failures were compounded by Mr Dolling dropping off a different vehicle than the one he had originally booked in.”

Watchdog will be broadcast tonight on BB1, and also features the story of Andy and Nicola Halls who left their Audi A3 with Gatwick Meet and Greet before flying off to Tenerife last July.

Just hours after dropping their car off, they received a phone call from the police telling them that their car had been written off. An 18 year old employee, driving without insurance, had crashed and abandoned the car on the M23.

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The Stig’s Identity Revealed As Formula 3 Driver Ben Collins Sun, 22 Aug 2010 12:10:45 +0000 admin

The StigThe real identity of Top Gear’s tamed racing driver, The Stig, has long been a topic of considerable debate amongst motoring enthusiasts for years now.

But new financial documents have been unearthed which could finally put an end to the speculation on just who is hiding behind that white racing helmet.

The records suggest that the BBC Top Gear stunt driver is in fact former racing driver Ben Collins.35 year old Collins is a former Formula 3 racing driver.

According to the financial records, his company, Collins Autosport, recorded a significant increase in money after taking on work to provide “driving services provided for the BBC, mainly in the Top Gear programme” in December 2003 according to a report by the Sunday Times.

ben collins the stig

The Stig is thought to earn between £5,000 and £10,000 a show, and is currently in a dispute with the BBC over his attempts to launch an autobiography.

BBC bosses have recently issued legal warnings in an effort to stop any publications that would identify The Stig’s real identity, breaching a confidentiality agreement and ruin the mystery of his character.

The driver is reportedly unhappy that the BBC is making money from his “brand” but he is not received a share.

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Wheel Clampers On Private Land Banned – ‘Cowboy Clampers’ Outlawed Tue, 17 Aug 2010 11:08:38 +0000 admin

Wheel Clampers BannedThe Coalition Government has announced plans to ban the use of wheel clamping on private land in England and Wales.

Home Office minister, Lynne Featherstone says the new rules should be brought into line with those currently in effect in Scotland, where clamping vehicles on private land was subsequently banned after a judge deemed that the act amounted to ‘extortion’ and ‘theft’.

The so-called ‘Cowboy Clampers’ operate by removing cars parked on private land without permission and often charging the car owners up to £400 to release. These ‘fines’ are said to be worth £1 billion a year to clampers.

Ms Featherstone, a Liberal Democrat minister in the Home Office, said a ban on their activities was “very good news”.

She went on to add: “I am delighted that our Government have made the decision to ban it outright. It is a ban and thank goodness.”

The new proposals to ban the act of clamping on private land will be included in a new Freedom Bill set to be introduced in November. The new legislation will also include measure to prevent companies from towing away cars parked on private land without permission.

Ms Featherstone said she wanted to encourage “a more proportionate way to deal with parking transactions”.

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21% Of Vehicles Sold In 2020 Will Be Alternatively Powered Fri, 13 Aug 2010 12:49:57 +0000 admin

Nissan LeafA new report predicts that in the year 2020 21% of new vehicles sold in the United Kingdom will be powered by alternative energy. But the report highlights that manufacturers need to do more to help allay motorists’ fears over the longevity and depreciation of batteries in electric cars.

According to the research conducted by Eurotax Glass’s, hybrid cars will be the dominant ‘green energy’ power until 2019 after which the technology will be overtaken by the sale of electric vehicles.

Glass’s predicts that vehicle sales in the UK in 2020 will be around 2.4 million, with 11% (274,000) being electric vehicles, and 10% (235,000) made up of hybrid vehicles.

In order to help drive adoption of electric cars, Glass’s believes that manufacturers need to develop further strategies to help remove most of the “residual value risk” of the battery from the consumer.

Glass’s believes that such incentives as long warranties of eight or more years and new battery buy-back schemes will enable early adoptors of electric cars to swap their battery units for any newer technology at a reduced cost. Another potential option would be for manufacturers to lease batteries to electric car owners.

Commenting on the report, Andy Carroll, Managing Director at Glass’s said: “The basic framework for dealing with these issues remains pretty much the same, but how the industry responds to the battery residual value issues will be key to consumer confidence and the adoption rate of electric vehicles”.

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