Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Snow joke if you crash!

Hello Dear Reader,

People around the world, where they have real snow, must be laughing at the UK in our current light dusting as we grind to an almost standstill. All round the world, they get real snow. You know, the kind that falls every year, lasts all winter and the cold can kill you if you go out in it. Consequently, drivers have their winter tyres put on, have snow chains and know how to drive on ice. I have a sporty car with low profile tiles and haven't a clue how to drive safely on ice and snow. 

I got up early and heard, almost immediately, that the track of death  A38 was impassable at two points in my journey before I had even got dressed. I decided then and there that it was not worth my £500 excess to have a crash, right my car off or even worse hurt anyone else. Luckily, I live in sliding on the ice and shuffling distance from the railway station and just had to wait until light and some of the sheet ice to have thawed and then made my way there. The return trip just to work and back is £8.50 which is a lot less than paying for a hire car whilst my car is fixed, losing my no claims bonus and the excess which I keep high to keep the costs down as low as possible. We all have our own decisions to make when keeping motoring costs down and if you live in a region like mine, not owning a car would make life extremely difficult. 

I take car insurance and economical car maintenance seriously and think long and hard when using it at all and certainly about insuring it. I certainly didn't when I first passed my driving test, didn't shop around for the best deals until I was a lot older and certainly wished I'd thought about the advice below before I just went and got the first insurance policy I could fine. The following is a guest post but it's certainly poignant after the scenes on the A38 this morning that saw motorists shuffle into work as multiple crashes blocked the carriage way.

 Legal and Ready to Buy a Car? Here's Where to Start
Once you have reached the legal driving age, the first thing you will want to do is get behind the wheel of your very own car. Although you might just be thinking about what kind of car to buy and what colour will look best, there are a few other things you need to keep in mind. Car insurance, for example, is a big monthly expense for new drivers. The most expensive demographic of drivers to insure are new drivers under the age of 25, so you will probably have to pay a good deal more than your parents or older friends. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to cut down the monthly expense of your insurance policy. The kind of car you buy, paying a higher excess, shopping around for insurance and keeping a clean driving record are all significant ways to limit what you have to pay. Read on to get a better idea how a new driver can reduce their expenses.

How Slower and Cheaper Might Be Best
When you start looking at the perfect car to buy after getting your license, you might immediately look to the newer cars that have plenty of power, and all the bells and whistles. However tempting as this kind of car might be, it’s important to realise that the price of insurance can be shocking on these kinds of vehicles, especially for younger drivers. Insurance companies see young drivers with fast, expensive cars as a high-risk liability, and they will in turn charge more to insure this group. If you want to keep insurance rates as low as possible, it might be a better idea to look for a more modest car. Second-hand cars that are in good condition are often considered to be the perfect car for a new driver because they are so affordable to insure.

Benefits of Safety Features
You probably already know that safety features like dual airbags and anti-theft devices are great items to have on your car, but you might not know that they can actually reduce your car insurance premiums. Since safety features often discourage thieves and reduce the likelihood of a collision, insurance providers are often willing to pass savings on to the driver in the form of lower insurance rates.

Paying a Higher Excess
If you find that even after buying a modest car with safety features you are still paying a monthly premium that seems too high, you might want to pay a higher excess. An excess is essentially a deposit that you pay over the required amount. By paying this, or promising to pay it in the case of an actual collision, your insurance provider may be able to reduce your monthly rates. However, this can mean a larger upfront expense or less coverage in the event of an accident.

Keeping a Clean Driving Record
When you first get behind the wheel as a legal driver, you may not be thinking about the long-term consequences of your driving record. Speeding, or receiving traffic violation fines, is not just expensive when you have to pay the tickets, however. It can also be a reason for insurance providers to increase your monthly premiums. Think about that the next time you are tempted to race your friends to your destination or drive faster than the sign-posted limit.

Shopping Around For Car Insurance
Even drivers who follow all of these tips exactly may still end up paying too much for their insurance. A great way to find out if you are overpaying is to compare car insurance quotes on the Internet. Shopping around online can take just a few minutes, but it could be a way for you to save a substantial amount over the course of the year. Another way to potentially reduce what you spend is a payment plan. Instead of paying for a full year of coverage upfront, you can pay one month at a time. As long as you are not late on these payments, it can be much easier to afford these smaller amounts than one large lump sum.

Getting your license and buying your first car is a memorable experience, so don't let the cost of insurance ruin it. Use these tips to find the most affordable insurance policy available to you.

Now over to you, Dear Reader. Do you keep your excess as high as possible? Where do you find the best deals for insurance and did anyone else let the train take the strain instead of risking spinning out on sheet ice?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxx


  1. I'm in Seattle, Washington, US, where we don't get much snow either. Consequently, when it does snow here, it's BIG NEWS! Schools close, workers stay home, appointments are canceled. We can drive in terrible rain and fog, but not in snow.

    For car insurance, in the US, students can get a discount for high grades. And this discount can carry forward into their young adult lives as well, with some agencies. Our son just turned 25 this year. Woohoo! Cheaper insurance. He is just now looking to buy his first car. He has relied upon public transportation and borrowing one of our cars when he really can not take the bus. By not feeling like he "needed" his own car, he has saved a lot of money over the years. My two daughters will be 18 in 2 months. They won't earn their drivers licenses until this summer, and will also use public transport most of the time, to get to University and around town.

    We keep our deductible very high and have eliminated the collision on our oldest vehicle (it's 25 years old, and has little resale/replacement value at this point). Plus with AARP, you can take refresher driving courses for about $12, and save substantially on your insurance, once you fall into the "older equals riskier driver" category.

  2. Have decided not to venture out tonight to take Louis to cubs as it's raining and this could herald black ice. So we're having a snuggly night in. I remember sitting in the car after a similar pile up on the A38 just outside Ashburton. I agree it's not worth the risk.

  3. Ooooh... this is spookily serendipitous my sister was in despair about car expenses earlier today, especially insurance. I shall get her to read this post.
    Thanks Froogs xx Keep warm.

  4. Am so glad you got home safely, been thinking about you all day xxx

    1. Thanks lovvie - it was interesting but nothing that a new pair of knickers didn't sort out x x

  5. Oh Froog, I can't believe what I see as I look at the car being pulled from the ditch. I've never in my life seen a car being pulled on the side like that. We usually attach the chain or strap from the back under the bumper so the frame will not be damaged as it is pulled. I'm no expert but I don't think that the way it's supposed to be pulled.

    I live in East Canada and we get a lot of snow and I don't mind driving in it as long as it's not blowing everywhere. As long as I have my snow tires on I'm OK.

    My daughter lives in Glasgow UK and she says that the least bit of snow, everything comes to a crawl.

    Stay safe and well.

    1. Hi - that car would have been 'written off' and undrivable ever again

  6. You are lucky to have the train as an option. Here in Atlanta it is ice on the road that brings everything to a standstill. Glad you made it to and from work safely.

  7. You should see the parents coming around the hairpin bend I live on, (I live opposite a school). looking at it, it looks like we have compacted snow on the road, that has become a sheet of ice, its about an inch and a half thick. They drive like nutters with their kids in the car to drop them off. And then shout at other cars that go by that do exactly the same! CRAZY LADIES. I have been watching the madness all day from my office window! I can hear them as they come down the road and then slide.

    idiots. I thought schools had catchment areas? This is so people don't have to travel too far with their kids. So why drive 3 streets and then idle outside of my house for 20 minutes? very odd.

    Oh and at night the youngsters in their Clio cars, doing 'Tokyo Drift', (Fast and Furious films) around the bends. They will end up around the telephone pole.

    Me, I use my feet and walk. I bought myself a lovely pair of microspikes 4 years ago in a sale and it has snowed each year after. worth every penny.


  8. One of the good things ( of the many) about being retired is not having to go out on days like today. I had my car insurance renewal notice last week and when I told my husband I'd be doing an Internet search he said you might save a fiver'. Well, I saved £120, so that was worth a few minutes of my time.

  9. I really wish I had access to a train, I get the bus to work and loathe it.

    We never get snow.

    I drive like a nanna at all times and I just paid car registration for 6 months of $370 and insurance is about $600 a year. Bus fare to city which is about 2 km away from my house is $4.50 which is pensive but car parking is about $30 a day which is a Bridge too Far.

    My friend just came back from a 6 month trip to Europe with her fam and was SHOCKED at the low price of groceries.

    Jealous xxxxx

    Stay warm xxx

  10. is this a sponsored post???!!

    1. it's just strange that there are links to a company's website more than once in it...

  11. About 15 years ago we had something like 8" of snow, everthing ground to a halt.
    I was working in a paperboard manufacturing plant that was Swedish-owned, and had a few Swedish managers, who were amazed, in Sweden they routinely have lots of snow, and everything carries on as normal.
    Just a case of being prepared for it I suppose?

  12. We just changed both of our cars over to a different insurance company who ask a lot more questions to determine the cost of your premium (eg hubs is retired so doesn't drive to work, and I drive up once a week, the rest of the time we usually just potter around our little town) and we managed to save $19 for the month over both cars. Great, I thought! Until my husband's music teacher put his lessons up, an extra $20 for the month! Oh well at least we don't really have to find the extra money :)
    Judy xx

  13. I used to live in the Peak District and learned how to drive a car in snow, no buses to work, in winter, bad weather had to go in car. I summer I used to cycle in the 6 miles up hills and down dales! I learned how not to get stuck on the hills, but everyone else knew how to drive too.

    Now where I live, we don't have snow that often (it has been deep here this time though) and people don't know how to drive in it. It's such a long time since I lived in the PD that I have forgotten a lot of the sharp skills I had but know what not to do but still I hate going out in it for the same reasons you've stated.

    I have a recumbent trike which I have used to go shopping on, in the snow, hard work but fun. I also have spikes to put on my shoes. Take care I know you get it bad down there. That traffic looked awful.

  14. Some great advice but then I always get good advice here. My tip would be if you're thinking of changing insurers make sure you get evidence of your no claims BEFORE you switch. My son recently changed and he didn't get evidence, the old insurance wouldn't send it so the new insurance company increased the premiums because he couldn't provide evidence. £35 a month extra and both companies are well known names in the UK

  15. I am currently suffering because Miss 19 pranged my car. The her ages access meant I had to pay a lot extra and then at the same time I said she had to repair her other bingle. She agreed but was overseas when I collected the car. She does not believe it cost $2500 (Aus) and then I had to replace a ruined tyre. A few days later the battery went. The car had been more than a month being repaired. She will be repaying me and before she takes off on another international trip. My insurance for both cars went up ten percent.

    We need a car as it is quite a trip to the bus station but once there the trip to the city is much faster than driving the whole distance.

  16. Here in Victoria Australia, the youngsters are discouraged from buying high powered vehicles. They aren't supposed to own or drive one in the first few years of holding a permit.
    As far as insurance goes, because my husband is a collector of classic vehicles, our major classic and vintage insurer has really good rates, so all our cars are though them and the cost is way less expensive than if I were to have my car insured with anyone else. Our excess that we have to pay is predicated on what we consider the value of the vehicle and its frequency on the roads. For instance, the Hillman Imp that I drive might only get about four days on the road in a year. It's registration cost is around $66-00 aussie for the year and it's insurance is a couple of hundred dollars. That's compared to my i30, with a registration charge of around the $500 mark and insurance of around $350-00 which is because we have a lot of vehicles registered with the same company. The excess on the i30 is around $1000. We have a system here that lets us pay our insurance monthly and there is no penalty for paying it this way, which really helps with the budget.
    So far, no claims, so I don't know how the company will behave when they have to part with the cash. But, I have no intention of really ever finding out!

  17. A few years ago I decided to take an advanced driver's course (see www.iam.org.uk) to help with my driving confidence. It's also helped keep my insurance down. Admittedly it didn't seem by much to start with, but the real bonus came when I became a student. Normally changing your occupation from 'nice sedate office job' to 'irresponsible, reckless sponger' I mean 'student' sounds all sorts of alarm bells through the world of insurance brokers. However, when I did my usual shop around for insurance (I usually take the best quote I find back to my "advanced" insurers to match/better) they assured me that because I'm an advanced driver becoming a student is irrelevant as far as they are concerned. Woohoo!!!
    I heartily recommend taking an advanced driver course for other reasons too: they teach you safe winter driving techniques; economical driving techniques; and basic but essential maintenance checklists, amongst many other things. Oo! And they generally have access to cheap skid-pantraining too - that's on my to do list for this year :-D

  18. we lease our car, that way everything is paid for baring fuel. and they are serviced regualry and if there is a fault, they normally sort it within a week.
    The only downside is, that the car must be kept immaculate, inside and out and they limit yearly mileage. We went over ours, but we paid just a bit extra. Were we live is pretty remote and travelling by train or bus just isnt possible. So we have to reley on our car. But we make a list of jobs that have to be done and then we do them all at once.
    My parents go to the one were they get that cute toy. But my mum will call around all the freephone numbers first, before deciding. I noticed she writes down the company and then what the insurance will cost.
    she admits it is cheaper going on line then going through the phone. She also noticed that drivers of their age seem to get a better deal as well. She is good at things like this. Hope this helps someone. Allie

  19. not advertising but only saying how my 18 year old got cheaper car insurance on his first car as a young driver..it was through the company *mentioning no names* but, its the one with the huge grey African or Indian animal is their logo, you know the animal with the long nose and two sticky out tusks :) - well when he first enquired on his little micra after just passing his test he was quoted £2400, his little car only cost £700 to buy (gawds sake), NOW THIS IS THE TRICK THEY DONT TELL YOU TO LOWER A YOUNG DRIVERS INSURANCE COSTS for exactly the same cover, when they ask if he will be the only driver you say NO I wish to put on other named drivers (make sure the other named drivers are all over 25 - these named drivers DO NOT have to be family members). so my son said my mum will be a named driver (he gave name and age) his insurance quote DROPPED by 300 quid instantly.. he then said my best friends name and age, his insurance quote dropped another 300 quid, he then named my best friends husband, the quote dropped by another 200 quid, he then named another of my friends (all over 25) and his quote dropped by another 200 quid.....so that was my 18 year old son, me, my best friend and her hubby and my other good friend..... his insurance dropped by a 1000 quid just like that....... cos of the adults over 25 also on his insurance they presume that the car will not always be in my sons hands so the more adults on the quote the cheaper the insurance becomes....... they do not live in my house and you just give their name, age and address...... after his first year of driving which was last month and then with one years no claims bonus his insurance quote then came in for this year at £880... and as long as he has no claim his no claims bonus will add up and each year his insurance will be less......... this is how my youngest son got himself on the road in his own little car he saved up his job money all through college and did it ALL by himself.... hope this might help someone with a young driver that is sweating the quotes they see...... THEY DO NOT TELL YOU THIS RULE about adding adults you just have to know :) - things might be different for different people, this is just how we did it..... x

    1. We've done the same thing here with the boys cars and it has saved a bomb for them. Also, when they get to take over their own cars in the future and the responsibility of insurance, they can demonstrate they've had a good record on our insurance. It's very handy.

  20. So grateful to be retired and not having to struggle into work. However DD1 is now working so I fret about her instead. To their credit, our local council were MUCH better prepared this time and most of the roads were gritted. The littlest side roads weren't gritted but in the past they have only done the single main road so a big improvement.

    Intrigued by the category you have put this post in - Froogs needs a new sofa

  21. We weighed up the pros and cons of a high excess and decided to go with a medium excess. We have an older car and it is expensive to repair so we wanted to tread a mid-route between reducing the premium and getting something towards the repairs or written off car.

  22. I have years and years of experience of driving in the snow and mountains. However my car stayed safely in the garage for the past few days. Firstly, the words of my father in my head 'only idiots drive with summer tyres in the snow/and freezing temperatures, and secondly though I might have an idea what it is like to drive in it, there will be a lot of other drivers who don't. So the weekly shopping in Aldi was done with a trolley and a backpack' and a nice walk:). We also like to keep our low premiums after years of no claims. We shop for car insurance deal at every renewal, basically our rule is to try to pay less then we did the last time. At present we have found the best deal with Waitrose and our excess is as high as yours.

    It is difficult here in the UK to be prepared for the snow. the investment is quite significant and for one week a year probably not worth it. Snow tyres cost £400 - £600 plus £20+ each time to have them changed. And of course then you have to store them. In countries where this is a part of life, snow tyres will often be thrown in as a free extra when you buy your car, local garages may offer free storage if you go to them for service and so on.

    The train, if you can or just staying in is probably the most frugal option ;).

  23. Every year we get the same excuse for 'accidents' - the weather. It's not the weather, it's people not driving to suit the road conditions.( Idiots).

  24. In October the studded tires go on the 4X4 and we are ready for at least 6 months of snow and ice conditions. We have been rear ended twice (considered not at fault and repairs paid by insurance). We have "no fault" insurance in our province, so if you have coverage, your vehicle gets repaired, but your premiums go up if you are the cause of the accident.
    Drive safe and slow down.
    Barb from Canada

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