Consumers in the UK could soon be forced to insure every motor vehicle they own, regardless of whether it is used on a public road or not, following a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
The ‘Vnuk ruling’, which came out of the Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Trigla trial, has caused a splash both in the insurance industry and in UK politics in recent months by suggesting sweeping changes to current insurance regulations.
If enacted in full in the UK, the ruling means anything from mobility scooters to ride-on lawnmowers would need at least third party liability cover by law.
The trial centered on Mr Vnuk, a Slovenian man who made a claim for compensation when injured by a tractor at work on private land in August 2007. When a court denied his claim on the grounds that the tractor was not being used as transport at the time, the case was referred to the ECJ, which has since ruled to ensure that any victim of any motoring injury is fully compensated, no matter the type of vehicle or its use.
Though not yet enforced, the ruling could mean that insurance would be mandatory for any motor vehicle being used on private land. The ECJ has broadly classified any motor vehicle as a machine which travels on land powered by an engine, and ‘used’ as being any use consistent with its normal function – so farm work for tractors in Mr Vnuk’s case.
It might be hard to see through the courtroom jargon to understand what this all means, but the suggestion is simply that anything motorised should be insured, regardless of its use. Such a change could potentially bring a raft of new vehicles into the insurance market, including golf carts, mobility scooters, go-karts, ride-on lawnmowers, farming equipment, track cars and many more.
Are Changes To Your Insurance Likely?
At the moment it’s difficult to say with any certainty what effect such changes would have on the average British motorist. Even once the directive comes into force, it would still likely take an amendment to the Road Traffic Act 1988 here in the UK before any new laws could be made, according to experts, meaning any changes are many months, if not years, away.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s British policymakers and politicians who are most vocal about the directive, with support and outrage split along typical party and policy lines. Some of the loudest dissent has come from anti-EU politicians, with spokespeople from both UKIP and Get Britain Out suggesting in the press that the legislation is another example of the EU needlessly meddling in British legal affairs, and that a change simply isn’t needed.
Those on the pro-legislation side are keen to point out, however, that no final decision has been made, and that there are months of consultation to come between government and insurance bodies before that ever happens, during which time the implications could change significantly.
Another key point from the pro-EU camp is that the ECJ has said member states would most likely be able to opt-out certain categories of vehicle from the changes – potentially meaning the ruling will make no difference at all to current regulations for many of us.
How Does This Affect You?
While it’s hard to know for sure what the impact will be at this early stage, the best-case scenario for most of us, cost-wise at least, will be if all non-road going vehicles are exempted from the new rules, or if the costs are borne by another body.
It has been suggested, as reported in the DWF insurance blog, that the Motor Insurer’s Bureau (MIB), which currently compensates victims of uninsured vehicles in the UK with funds levied from insurers, could settle cases such as Mr Vnuk’s in the future.
Increasing the scope of the MIB could have a knock-on effect for customers’ premiums however, with experts from both the MIB and the Association of British Insurers warning that customers could end up bearing the brunt of the increased levy on insurers needed to pay out additional claims.
At the other end of the scale, costs for consumers could rise dramatically if changes are made to the law without any vehicles being exempted. While changes will be minimal for drivers who only own an already insured car used on the road, owners of other equipment face taking out individual policies for each ‘vehicle’ they own.
Although at present some home insurance policies include cover for equipment such as lawnmowers and mobility scooters, they often don’t or can’t provide the third-party liability insurance needed for use as a motor vehicle.
Companies not licensed to sell motor insurance would be forced to remove their cover for certain items that were recategorised as motor vehicles, something which might potentially pushing consumers to seek out motor policies for each vehicle they own.
In addition to adding new insurance needs for some vehicles, the Vnuk ruling could bring about the end of SORNed vehicles in the UK, as well as having implications for British motorsport. Currently many track cars will be insured for use only on the track, if at all, but new rules could mean everything from track cars, banger racers and even F1 cars would need insuring before they can be driven anywhere – something that would inevitably come with a hefty price tag.
With a lot at stake for British motorists and the insurance industry at large, all eyes will be on the ECJ, MIB and the government to see what steps will be taken. We’ll be sure to track any developments through the months of political wrangling to come, and keep you informed of any changes when they happen.
In the last few years, there’s been plenty of research suggesting teens subconsciously copy their parent’s bad driving habits. The easy explanation is that parents are essentially teaching their kids that it’s ok to be a bad driver. These habits range from texting whilst driving to speeding and can all have catastrophic consequences.
If you’re a learner driver (or recently passed your test) it could be worth keeping an eye out when in the car with your parents to see what they’re guilty of. Catch them at it and you can give them a lesson to make up for all the years of them telling you what to do.
Amongst the more dangerous bad habits is using your phone whilst driving. It’s been illegal since 2003 and yet tens of thousands of us still do it each year. There’s no reasonable excuse for breaking this one (although you are permitted to phone 999 in an emergency if it’s not safe to stop) and by copying your parents, you run a very high chance of earning yourself 3 points. If you’re a passenger and this happens to you, ask the driver if they want you to answer the phone or take a message. You don’t want them to be arrested or given 3 points.
Not indicating. This can range from annoying to downright dangerous and is an easy one to spot. When your parents turn, do they indicate? If they don’t, there’s an easy way to alert them to their mistake. Just casually ask; “do you always have to indicate, or is just if there are cars around?”
Driving too slowly. This is always annoying for somebody stuck behind you. Ok, you may not be in a rush but that doesn’t mean others aren’t trying to get somewhere. Being a learner won’t stop other drivers getting angry with you, but at least you have an excuse for holding up traffic. If your parents are guilty of this sin it may be worth mentioning that 143 accidents a year are caused directly by slow drivers and on-the-spot £100 fines can be issued. You could also suggest they pull over and let the parade of cars backed up behind past.
Remember, driving at 40 in a 60mph zone is a sure fire way to encourage another bad habit, overtaking in unsuitable areas or undertaking.
Driving without headlights. This is becoming a little more common as many cars have automatic light sensors that take away the need to remember to turn your lights on. If you switch between cars and one doesn’t have this feature, it may be worth not using it in your own car. In the dark, foggy conditions, or heavy rain, cars without headlights on are a real danger. If you’re a passenger in a car without lights and you think it’s not safe, tell the driver immediately.
It’s pretty terrifying having a dark car appear out of the mist or dark as though from nowhere, especially when driving at 60mph. But it’s actually illegal to use fog lights in clear conditions and the police may pull you over if they catch you.
Hopefully any learners out there can spot these habits and help your parents become better drivers whilst not picking up any bad habits yourself.
For more information on insurance for leaner drivers, visit https://www.adrianflux.co.uk/extras/learner-driver/ or call 0800 369 8590.
If you’re worried about your parents driving habits, talk to them about it. Just do it politely. Get it wrong and you may have a long walk home.
According to research undertaken by the AA, 5% of us think that teaching their children to drive is the toughest experience a parent will go though. Amazingly, that’s more than would be most daunted by their child’s first day of school, and only two percent lower than giving birth – surely driving shouldn’t be that hard?
It takes learners an average of 45 hours of professional tuition, combined with 22 hours of private practice, to pass their test. Whilst few pass their test having only private driving time, the Driving Standards Agency say such experience is vital for giving on-road, real life practice and boosting confidence.
With massive benefits to a little one-on-one time with the kids, but an apparent fear and unwillingness present in many parents, it’s unsurprising that some are trying and failing to teach good driving habits. To make the task a little easier, here are some of our best tips for teaching your kids to drive.
- Do choose the right car – ideally learners should practice in the car that they will take their test in and continue to drive afterwards, whether you insure your child on your car or help them buy their own. Specialist learner driver insurance [link https://www.adrianflux.co.uk/extras/learner-driver/] will be needed as well to cover you both, whatever car you pick
- Do remind yourself of the Highway Code – no matter how long you’ve been driving for, chances are you’ve picked up some bad habits. Take tests online to refresh the rules in your mind, and practice critiquing your own driving for a while before taking on the role of instructor
- Don’t expect too much – start slow and make sure the first lessons are as simple and stress-free as possible. Your child will be more nervous than normal simply because you’re in the car, so be prepared for some jerky driving and sweaty palms
- Do plan your route – plan as much as possible before the lesson, and explain the route to your son or daughter. Learners are much less likely to panic with a clear plan in mind, but this can be changed after a few lessons to keep them on their toes and teach them to react to new roads
- Don’t use confusing language – saying things like “go ahead and stop” or “drive slowly” will only confuse a learner. Phrases like “stop at this junction” or “drive at 20mph” offer much clearer instruction and are far less likely to lead to an argument mid-roundabout
- Do learn how the car works – we’re not talking an in-depth knowledge of mechanics, but knowing what all the buttons and switches do on the dashboard will prevent panic when it suddenly starts to rain and they don’t know where the wipers are
- Don’t be too critical – by making the car a happy environment, the learner will feel more relaxed, make quicker progress and want to take more lessons. Use positive, supportive language, and focus on their driving rather than making conversation or personal comments
- Do practice mock tests – get a rough idea of what driving tests entail online and practice them with your learner. Go for drives where you only give instruction, rather than advice, to get them used to the steely glare of a professional examine.
Some of these tips may seem obvious at first, but it’s amazing how many kids are put off driving by having anxious, demanding parents sitting in the passenger seat. By taking your time, starting with the basics and allowing for the odd mistake and meltdown, you’ll be well on your way to being free of your taxi service mantle.
If you are looking for the right car to buy for a learner, visit our blog post on the subject here. Don’t forget that Adrian Flux also offers specialist insurance for learner drivers to help protect whichever car you choose.
I’d definitely list “not skidding” as one of my favourite things to do while driving on the road.
You know, keeping the car pointing forwards, maintaining traction through bends, and generally minimising the risk of crashing.
So the whole idea of drifting – basically getting the car sideways at every opportunity – goes against my 28 years of road-driving instincts.
But as I’d been offered the chance of a brief taster session to mark the launch of the newly-named Adrian Flux Arena in King’s Lynn, it was time to throw off some inhibitions, and throw some shapes on the motoring equivalent of a dancefloor.
And there are few better instructors around than former hotrod world champion Malcolm Foskett, who has taught the tyre-squealing art of drifting to more than 3,000 adrenalin junkies over the past decade.
Helped by a team of volunteers, Malcolm runs the Norfolk Drift Team (NDT), based at the Arena, as a hobby with the focus firmly on fun, family and charity.
“I didn’t have a clue what drifting was when I was invited to Canada to write an article for a magazine about it,” he admits.
“There were a couple of Japanese chaps there – and that’s where drifting was born really – who reckoned I’d make a good drifting teacher, so here I am!”
The NDT hosts a day of drifting each month at the Arena, with drivers paying £40 to drift their own cars all day, passengers paying £5 for demonstration rides and free admission for spectators.
Malcolm, who is now showing me our ride – a well-used BMW 318iS – says: “The idea here is to promote safe drifting for people that could not quite afford to motor race but could just about afford to do drifting.
“I’ve not had one car in 10 years that’s cost me more than £500-£600, although you can spend up to £30,000 on a car and turn into a 900bhp monster that’ll melt a set of tyres in a couple of laps round here!”
Once, Sam Peate, from Mundford, stood in my newbie shoes and, now a volunteer and veteran of four years’ drifting experience, he’s on hand to tell me what to expect.
“The first time I had butterflies in my stomach and was really nervous. To start with I was not very good and just kept going round in circles,” he said.
“I conquered that one over a few weeks and it probably took me a year to 18 months before I was able to do everything and link the whole circuit, which was the greatest feeling, like I had just passed my test again.
“When we drive on the roads we’re all aware of other people around us and we have to drive sensibly, but when you come here on a track it brings the inner child out in me again. It also teaches you skills that you can put into use if you ever need to know how to control a skid on the roads.
“I’m doing nothing illegal and I’m free to spin, go as fast as I can and have fun. It’s very addictive.”
I’m now sitting in the passenger seat as we head out on to the wet circuit – the centre of the Arena inside the speedway track – on a cold, misty morning.
Malcolm gets me used to the car “swinging about” with a series of slightly disorientating standard manoeuvres like a figure of eight, a swaying manji (drifting sideways one way then the other without spinning) and keeping the car sideways through a sweeping long bend.
The tyres squeal and smoke in protest, spinning wildly in search of grip as the revs climb towards the red line in first gear – make no mistake, these cars are thrashed like you’d never treat your road car.
After this brief demonstration of head-spinning expertise, it’s my turn to be distinctly inexpert.
It didn’t start well as I was told off for crossing my arms turning the wheel – one of those bad driving habits many of us pick up once we’re free of the attention of driving instructors and examiners.
It seemed counter-intuitive to rev the BMW in first gear up to about 6000rpm, accelerating into a tight right skidding turn before spinning the wheel full lock the other way and completing a figure of eight.
It’s actually impossible not to smile as you’re throwing the car around without any regard for traditional road safety – it was a clear track after all – and that was that for my first lesson, which are kept deliberately short to allow drivers to get slowly accustomed to the unnatural movement of the car.
The experience – and dizziness – is not dissimilar to a fairground waltzer ride, only you’re in control. It’s easy to understand how drifting can become addictive, especially when you’ve mastered the moves and are in total control of a car dancing around cones with the precision of a Swiss watch.
And, unlike many forms of motorsport, elitism in drifting is almost invisible.
“It’s all about families here,” said Malcolm. “The youngest passenger we’ve had is about seven months old, and the oldest person to drive and do a donut was an 86-year-old woman – she loved it. It’s just pure fun and anybody can be taught to do it.
“People come here from as far away as Dorset, Lancashire, Kent – some have been here for every drift day for the past four years.”
The NDT is this year looking to offer more tuition that before with a new drifting school, and will put on fun days, corporate days and charity days.
So for drifting in west Norfolk, the future’s bright – the future’s sideways.
Find out more at norfolkdriftteam.co.uk
What do I need to start drifting?
You need a rear wheel drive car, preferably a manual, with either a limited slip differential or a welded differential, which ensures power is transmitted to both rear wheels in equal measure all the time.
That’s enough to get you started, with added extras for more serious drifters including an uprated handbrake, coilover suspension, uprated clutch and an increase in engine power.
It’s possible to buy a drift car ready prepared for a few hundred pounds, and good starter cars include:
- BMW 3 series
- Ford Sierra
- Nissan Skyline GTS
- Nissan Silvia
- Toyota Supra
Adrian Flux Insurance Services provides modified car insurance for all types of modified cars, plus classics, sports and high performance vehicles. The broker, based just outside King’s Lynn, has announced a three-year naming rights sponsorship deal for the Arena, which hosts Elite League Speedway, stock car racing, karting and concerts as well as drifting.
Over the past 40 years at Adrian Flux we’ve seen more than our fair share of bizarre cars and unique vehicles. From luxury supercars to old bangers headed for the scrap heap, the range of cars on our roads is staggering – but sometimes we come across something truly unusual, something that really turns heads.
Flux customer Ash Beatie, 45, from Coventry, is as drawn in by the unusual as we are, and when he saw a Subaru ‘skip-car’ for sale recently he just had to snap it up. Built on the basis of an Impreza WRX 2litre Turbo, but with rebuilt skip-style steel bodywork, the skip-car is certainly an odd sight on the road, and it’s no wonder it caught Ash’s eye.
With no windscreen or roof, only two seats, and no real interior to speak of, the vehicle certainly doesn’t look the most practical of beasts. But, as Ash tells us, appearances can be deceiving.
“Despite what you’d think to look at it, the skip drives really well. It still has the four-wheel drive of the Subaru, and the same engine and brakes, and its quite light being made of steel, so it handles really well. The skip can do everything a normal car could, plus it even has rear-view parking cameras to make up for its size,” Ash said.
“It’s not much fun once you hit 50 or 60mph though, especially in the winter weather without a windscreen, but it does have a very powerful heater to keep you warm. The car really comes into its own doing around 30 through more sheltered built-up areas, and I now use it pretty much every day.”
Originally built by a skip hire company for use in advertising, the car was recently picked up by Ash at auction. The former owner of a skip hire business himself, Ash used to drive a skip-car based on a Reliant Robin, and bought the Subaru version upon remembering how much fun it had been.
“The skip is definitely the most fun car I’ve ever owned. As well as being great to drive, everywhere I go people stare and take photos, and people come up to me in the street to ask questions,” Ash told us.
“I’ve only owned the car for a few weeks, but people pay so much attention to it that I’ve already had offers from big skip companies looking to do their advertising.” said Ash. “I want to keep hold of it until at least next summer, to take advantage of the good weather and hopefully visit a few shows and local carnivals to see what people really make of it.”
If you have an unusual vehicle or know of someone who does, even if it isn’t quite an automotive skip, why not get in touch? Adrian Flux has been offering insurance for all sorts of unique vehicles for decades, and is sure to find something to suit your needs. Call 0800 369 8590 today for more details.
Emergency services drivers are among the most skilled on the road.
Yet motor insurance premiums don’t always reflect the rigorous training they undertake and the hundreds of miles they cover each week under testing conditions.
But at Adrian Flux, we’ve always liked to approach things a little differently and so we’ve launched a new insurance scheme that more accurately reflects the safer driving records of ambulance, police and fire service drivers.
We analysed data that showed 999 drivers cost insurers 20 per cent less than all other occupations combined, and decided to pass on the savings to the drivers themselves.
Gerry Bucke, general manager at Flux, said the men and women on the frontline deserved a tailor-made policy that gave them great rates and the cover they really need.
“We’re always looking for ways to provide bespoke cover to groups that have proved themselves good risks over a prolonged period,” he added.
“And when we analysed the data, there was no doubt that specially trained emergency services drivers deserved discounted motor insurance.
“Clearly the advanced driver training they receive, possibly allied to their unique insight into the aftermath and effects of road accidents they attend in the line of duty, make 999 drivers among the safest drivers on the roads.”
As well as preferential rates, the new scheme provides blue-light cover on request for emergency drivers responding to 999 calls in their own cars when off duty.
The policy also provides cover for vehicles modified to fulfill certain emergency tasks, such as winches or tail-lifts.
Adrian Flux has again shown its commitment to West Norfolk’s sporting scene with a three-year stadium naming rights deal for the home of Elite speedway team the King’s Lynn Stars.
Hot on the heels of our deal to sponsor the grandstand at King’s Lynn Town’s The Walks ground, we’ve now turned our attention to the newly-named Adrian Flux Arena at Saddlebow Road.
The Norfolk Arena signs have been taken down and replaced with those bearing the Flux name, and Arena owner Buster Chapman said the naming rights deal would see money reinvested into the stadium to help its growth as a venue for not only speedway but stock car racing, drifting, karting and music.
“It’s great news for the town and this money will help to attract even more people here, continue to grow the stadium and hopefully it will be good for everybody involved,” he added.
“It’s brilliant for us to be associated with a company like Adrian Flux – we couldn’t have wished for anything better and we’re confident it will work out well for both parties.”
David Flux, managing partner at Flux, said the deal was good for motorsport in the town and for the broker to have its name attached to an internationally-known sporting venue.
“The newly-named Adrian Flux Arena is a magnet in this region for fans of all types of motorsport and we’re very proud to have our name attached to it,” he added.
“To a national TV audience, it’s most well known as the home to the King’s Lynn Stars but the venue hosts tens of thousands of fans of motor racing of all types, so it’s a perfect fit for our business as a specialist motor insurance broker.
“We’ve always felt it was important to support the community, and we couldn’t be happier to have secured this naming rights deal to go with our sponsorship of the grandstand at The Walks.”
Ever since it opened its doors in 1931, the Ford factory at Dagenham has been the beating heart of the UK motor industry. Churning out cars, engines and the motoring fantasies of generations, the plant employed around 40,000 people at its peak in the 50s and even today it is held in high esteem by those with petrol in their veins.
Celebrating the impact that it has had on UK motoring over the decades, this month’s Influx magazine is dedicated to Ford’s Dagenham factory. Launched on their brand new website, the mag features a video with Dagenham veteran Billy Bragg, plus an article written by the musician and activist, a profile of racing champ Dan Gurney, a review of the new Focus RS500 Cosworth and plenty more besides.
To whet your appetite for what you’ll find over at Influx, we’ve collaborated on this Dagenham infographic sharing some of the factory’s key facts and figures:
It’s astonishing to think just how many cars were assembled in the plant, and what a massive impact it has had on both the people and town of Dagenham and on motor culture throughout the whole of the UK.
To find out more about the Ford factory at Dagenham, to read the latest magazine issue and browse the whole back-catalogue of motoring articles available on the new site, visit www.influx.co.uk
Exciting news in the motoring world today as our friends over at Influx Magazine have just launched their brand new website – to be found at www.influx.co.uk. The new-look Influx site will bring car and bike enthusiasts all the same great news, opinion and showcases they’ve come to expect from the mag, as well as new monthly video articles – all in a sleek, new, eye-catching form.
Powered by Adrian Flux, Influx Magazine has been growing steadily since its launch almost a decade ago to become a well-respected source of original content for car and bike lovers. Starting life as a printed magazine sent out to our customers, Influx has moved online in recent years – taking advantage of the web to spread the good word about all things automotive to the masses.
Gerry Bucke, general manager here at Adrian Flux, said: “Despite Influx being a project now completely separate from our work at Flux, I’m delighted to see how the magazine we started continues to go from strength to strength.
“This new website will help Influx to reach and engage with even more people, with the same quality articles re-presented in a fresh new form, and with more great content still coming long into the future.”
Focusing on four main topics, Influx combines “cars, bikes, people and culture” to find niche stories and unique vehicle showcases that petrolheads won’t see anywhere else. Following Adrian Flux’s lead as specialist broker, Influx plumbs the depths of automotive culture to bring unique and specialist stories of its own that might otherwise pass readers by.
Our friends at Influx Mag produce brand new features and posts every day, every week, that cover topics as diverse as the life of Carroll Shelby, the designs of Bertone, explorations of concept cars through the years and interviews with stars of the motor world.
The new video sections in the Influx Magazine website will also give readers the opportunity the see their favourite cars in action, as well as providing interviews with people in the industry and highlights of motoring shows around the world.
“Anyone with any interest in cars, bikes or motoring culture will find something to suit them over at Influx.” Gerry added. “Written by and for motoring enthusiasts, it really is a fantastic place to find alternative motoring news.”
To find out all that the new-look Influx has to offer, head on over to www.influx.co.uk. Subscribe to Influx too to receive monthly highlights of everything you need to know from the automotive world.
Whether they’re childhood cartoons, TV drama protagonists or silver-screen superheroes, we all have our favourite fictional characters. While their daring exploits and hilarious antics might keep us amused for hours on end, we rarely stop to think about the practicality of the lives they lead – and what an impact it might have on their wallets.
From the Simpsons tearing chunks out of their house on a daily basis through to Wallace and Gromit storing dangerous contraptions and NASA-grade rocketry in their workshop, the cost of our fictional favourites’ home insurance must surely be sky-high – but, we wondered, how high exactly?
To find out just how much these luxurious manors and submarine fruit-abodes would cost their owners, we did a little digging and came up with some surprising figures:
Some quite interesting stats came out in our research then – you could easily buy a new house each year with what you’d spend on Downton’s insurance, and it turns out pineapples are surprisingly cheap to cover, provided you don’t mind the damp.
Though few of you will face all the trials and tribulations that our fictional inhabitants do, Adrian Flux offers home insurance for practically any type of home, of any construction. For a quote today or more information, give us a call on 0800 369 8590 now.