Posts tagged save money

Eight Energy (and Money) Saving Tips For The Home

 

There are lots of stories in the media about microgeneration and the feed-in tariff.  There’s also plenty about the need to insulate your home – the cavity walls, loft and double (or triple) glazed windows.  But you don’t have to shell out hard earned cash to cut the cost of running your home.  Here Adrian Flux Insurance Services checks over a few alternative tips to save energy and money.

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  1. Turn appliances off completely – don’t just leave them on standby.  If necessary, unplug them.  And never leave rechargers (for example, mobile phones) switched on if they’re not charging.

 

  1. When cooking, cover pans with lids to reduce the energy used to heat them up (but make sure the food inside doesn’t stick!)

 

  1. Turn down your thermostat and turn off heating in unused rooms.  If you get cold, try adding an extra layer of clothing (such as a fleece) rather than turning the heating up.

 

  1. Only turn on your washing machine and dishwasher when they are full.

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  1. Avoid using a tumble drier.  Dry clothes on the line outside or over a clothes-horse inside.

 

  1. Close your curtains at dusk to reduce heat loss through windows and doors (it’ll also stop burglars peering in at your valuables!)

 

  1. Make sure any draughts are blocked up – you can make an effective draught-excluder from an old stocking or football sock stuffed with unwanted clothes.

 

  1. Turn off taps and fix any leaking ones.  A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week you’ll lose enough hot water to fill half a bath.  It’s pouring money down the drain!

 

Auto Express Survey

The results are in in the Auto Express Driver Power insurance survey for 2008 and we were pleased to finish in a creditable 11th place in the survey, showing last year’s rise from 40th to 17th wasn’t just a flash in the pan.

With this result being the outcome of actual customers responses, we’re especially happy that our customers seem to have a good opinion of us, a testament to all the hard work which has been done in improving the customer experience over the last few years, even though we certainly think there’s room for further improvement.

I think the results are even better for the fact that, as a broker, a certain amount of the customer experience is out of our hands and relies on our panel of insurance providers. Particularly so when you consider that the unusual and specialist cars we often cover are much harder for the insurance companies to deal with, especially if there is a claim.

Because of that, I think the value of dealing through a decent broker is demonstrated when you see that some of the companies on our panel are languishing in the bottom 10 of the rankings – so it seems that you really can get demonstrably better value AND better service by going through a broker, despite what Direct Line would have you believe.

Of course, the broker you choose has a big impact – otherwise Endsleigh, Budget, the AA, Swinton and the Post Office wouldn’t be in the bottom ten.

And now, a la Jeremy Clarkson, I’ll explain why we actually did even better. The top four companies are all, in a way, cheating. I don’t mean that they aren’t doing really well for their customers, because they are. It’s just that if you aren’t an elderly trade union member living in the country, you won’t be able to get a quote with all four. SAGA and RIAS concentrate on the ‘mature’ markets, Frizzell targets only union (and similar organisation) members, and the winner, NFU, will only quote drivers with a rural postcode.

Obviously that’s fair enough, but it does give these companies an easier ride in the survey stakes, because they can tailor their products and their customer experience to their very specific niche. In our case, managing the conflicting expectations of classic car owners, high net worth individuals and modified jap import enthusiasts, for example, is much more of a challenge. Our staff have to learn about hundreds of products, and then have to deal with customers who are so dramatically diverse that they need treating in quite different ways. And it even comes down to things like the hold music – which everyone complains about, but for different and often opposite reasons.

So, all in all, an impressive showing, and for anyone who might have been disappointed by our service in the past: we’ve got much better – it’s official, and we’re aiming to improve even further, so perhaps it’s time to consider giving us another go.

Young Driver Insurance – To Front or not to Front?

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I’ve mentioned fronting in a previous post outlining the perils of lying to your insurance company, but right now fronting – the term for when a young driver insures their car in the name of an older relative (usually mum or dad) – has been in the news of late.

The news is that many insurance companies are getting tough with fronted policies. In fact, several high profile insurance companies have recently stopped accepting fronted risks. And on Saturday a Moneybox programme on Radio 4 (you can currently listen to it here) covered the issue, and has prompted a heated online debate on fronting.

The most worrying thing from a young driver’s point of view was the mixed messages coming from companies like esure. Despite the fact that esure currently allow the purchase of a fronted policy, their spokesman said:

“Any act of deception to try to get a lower insurance premium with your insurance company is tantamount to fraud.”

If I were an esure customer insured in my mum’s name, I would be very concerned about a statement like that. It suggests that if you were to make a claim, you could be in serious trouble. And as if to underline that the whole industry is clamping down on the practice, the head of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), Nick Starling has recently commented:

“Insurance cheats are more likely to be caught than ever before. And cheats will pay a high price as future insurance and credit will be more expensive and harder to obtain.”

And don’t bother running to the insurance ombudsman either if you’re refused a claim over fronting. Says Peter Hinchcliffe, lead insurance ombudsman:

“If you are the parent and you have said you are the main driver and the car has been in an accident, or stolen, at your son or daughter’s university, you have got a lot of work to do to explain how that has come about.”

So what’s the solution?

At Adrian Flux the problem of fraudulent fronting is simply not an issue for our customers. We do not accept any risks that are, or appear to be, fronted. We always rate our insurance quotes based on the highest risk driver, which, the statistics show, is usually the youngest.

If all insurance companies took this line there wouldn’t be a problem.

If there were no fronting, there would be benefits for everyone. All middle aged drivers would get lower premiums, because their statistics wouldn’t include so many claims by their children.

And believe it or not younger drivers might wind up with a cheaper premium too. No, really. Being insured on your parents policy is all well and good, but the problem with this is that you do not accrue any no claims discount of your own (see note)*. Since no claims discounts are pretty hefty for younger drivers, you could well end up paying less over a period of a few years simply by getting your own policy.

But if all this hasn’t been enough to convince you that fronting is a bad idea, then please read this informative post on fronting from the Max Power forum.

Here are some tips for cheaper young drivers insurance:

  • Do Pass Plus, IAM or Max Driver – that will save you up to 40%.
  • Think about insurance when you buy your car – one of our top 10 cheapest cars for young drivers might be for you.
  • When you get a quote always answer all questions truthfully, otherwise you might be in hot water.
  • Before you do any modifications, check to see what impact they will have on your premium. Believe it or not, some mods can reduce your premium, and we can offer modified car insurance to young drivers, but be aware if you’re planning to fit turbos and a nitrous kit to your Corsa, your quote may well be beyond your budget.

*Direct Line do of course advertise named driver No Claims Discount, but in practice this may not be transferable to other insurers, so you could find yourself stuck with Direct Line when you decide to take out your own policy. You might be happy with this but bear in mind that many people think that the real reason that Direct Line hate comparison sites is that Direct Line’s prices are simply very expensive when compared with other quotes!

Worthless Promises from Barclays and Churchill?

That’s what the Guardian says, anyway. (scroll down to 2nd story)

You’ve probably seen these home insurance ads all over the TV.* Barclays home insurance promises to beat your quote – if they can’t they’ll drop their price by up to £100 and give you £50. Of course it’s not nearly as simple as that. Reading the full terms and conditions you begin to get an idea of how complicated Barclays have made it. Rather than knocking the money of the premium, the promotion works on a “cashback” style basis, so you have to pay them the full amount first – which may well be more than your renewal – and then you have to remember to send them proof of your previous renewal offer. Finally you have to wait “up to 28 days” for your cheque to come back, go to the bank, pay it in and wait a further 3 days for it to clear. In the meantime Barclays have your money which they can earn interest on in the meantime. And of course, at each stage some people will forget to do one of the necessary steps and Barclays just keep the money.

But look what happens the second year. In their marketing spiel, Barclays say, “Next year if you remain claim free, we’ll promise to beat our first year quote.” But remember, the first year quote may actually have been more expensive than you were paying in the first place. And as the example in the Guardian shows, there’s a good possibility that Barclays won’t come near your existing premium anyway. Indeed, if the journalist had been dumb enough to go ahead with Barclays, he’d have been down £238 overall, assuming that Barclays only dropped their renewal price by £10 or so.

Then there’s the “Challenge Churchill” campaign. In respect of their claim the journalist found that while they did drop the price to match a competitor, they did not match the level of cover for his car insurance.

So the moral of the story is: beware of slick marketing campaigns. Check that no bizarre or onerous conditions are buried in small print, always check your level of cover, and if, when you phone up you find the deal isn’t quite as good as you thought it was, perhaps you should be very wary of proceeding.

Clamping down on the uninsured menace

Uninsured drivers cause 36000 crashes a yearAfter the sweeping powers they got last year, the police are to get yet more powers to seize uninsured vehicles. Under the new system, they won’t even have to catch someone driving the uninsured car, and will be able to grab the car from a private driveway. What’s more, if you don’t either renew your insurance, or else complete a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) you’ll be liable for an automatic fine of £100.

If this seems like overkill, consider this.

Approximately 1 car in every 20 on the roads does not have valid insurance.

The drivers of these uninsured cars caused 36,000 crashes last year, resulting in 27,000 injuries and, sadly, 180 people lost their lives at the hands of an uninsured driver. In a third of these crashes, the uninsured driver fled the scene, knowing that it would be virtually impossible to be traced.

All of this costs money, £500 million last year, or £30 on everybody’s premium.

Uninsured drivers
are ten times more likely than average to be drink drivers, six times more likely to be driving a mechanically unsafe car and three times more likely to have a Careless Driving rap.

Whilst we can’t do anything about cars which are unsound, drivers with a less than perfect history can get insurance for much less than they might think. We have special schemes available for drivers with a chequered history, and drink driving and careless or dangerous driving convictions need not mean extortionate premiums.

For everyone else, the new rules will mean that you will have to keep on top of your car’s insurance status, and make sure that you complete a SORN if you’re keeping the car off the road. You should also consider laid up cover to make sure your car is protected whilst you are working on it.

But the extra burden of red tape may well be worth it to rid the roads of the uninsured menace.

Massive Insurance Savings…

The FSA has launched a clampdown on all the firms which make wild claims about how much you could save if you switch to them.

I’m sure you’ve seen the kind of thing – “Switch to FastDirectSure and you could save up to £150…”

Could being the operative word. In fact the FSA found that in most cases most drivers would not, in fact, save any money at all and that the claims were based on savings that a small percentage of drivers would make. Often the claims seem to be made on the basis of the largest saving that anyone in their entire sample survey made, which whilst not dishonest, is not exactly the whole story, which is why the FSA is clamping down on it.

We don’t make claims like that in our ads, although we easily could – I’ve seen many letters and forum posts where our satisfied customers have saved many hundreds of pounds compared to the renewal quote from their existing employer.

But that ignores the fact that, when it comes to insurance we treat people as individuals, and the quote they receive will take many factors into account. For a lot of people that will mean a substantial saving, for others a smaller saving and for a few people we won’t be able to match a quote they’ve had elsewhere – but we will always try to get you the cheapest quote we can.

So we won’t insult you by saying, “Call us now and you could save £xxx.”

You might save money with us, you may not.

But it won’t cost you anything but a few minutes of your time to find out for sure, just call 08000 83 88 33 or visit www.adrianflux.co.uk.

Quote Me Unhappy – 30% increase by Norwich Union

Today all over the news is Norwich Union saying that they will be increasing Car insurance Premiums by 16% on average. Whilst we at Adrian Flux have spent the last two weeks amending our schemes and rates to bring rates down even further. The Biggest decrease’s has been for Jap imports up to 40% off current deals.

My 6 Top Tips for saving money on car insurance:

  • If your insurance is due for renewal on the 1st of the month, if yes see if you can move back one day as most insurers increase rates from the 1st of the month.

  • Shop around. It might be time-consuming to repeat your details to several providers but you could save plenty.
  • Resist the temptation to add your children to your own insurance. They won’t build up no-claims discounts, so will just be delaying the expensive early years until a later date.
  • Adding your parents as named drivers to your policy can cut premiums.
  • Agreeing to pay a higher excess should you need to make a claim will bring the cost of cover down, as will agreeing to a limited number of miles each year.
  • You might not be able to keep your car in a garage, but ask insurers which security devices they approve and how much of a discount they take off your premium.