Avoiding a summer motor insurance claim
When we think of the summertime, we imagine perfect weather conditions: pleasantly sunny and warm, clear skies and a gentle breeze. Considering this, the summer months should surely be an excellent time to drive.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Thousands of people suffer injuries in accidents on UK roads during June, July and August each year. In fact, August is usually the month that sees the highest number of serious car accidents.
Not only are people left with injuries as reminders of these accidents but they are also likely to have to claim on their cheap car insurance policy. This means they will lose their no claims bonus and will probably get much more expensive motor insurance quotes for several years to come.
As well as accidents, there are plenty of breakdowns in the summer which leave unhappy holidaymakers stranded at the side of the road while their plane takes off from the airport several miles away. Not the ideal start to a holiday, we are sure you agree.
Whether you are planning on towing a caravan across England for your summer holiday or if you simply spend lots of hours behind the wheel in the summer, you may find our advice useful in preventing a costly motor insurance claim.
Preparing your car
If the sun is out and you are heading off on holiday, you will probably be anxious to leap into the driver's seat and get on the road. However, by driving off before preparing your car, you are almost asking for the kind of trouble that will land you an inflated motor insurance quote rate.
It only takes a few minutes to have a quick look at your car and these few minutes could save you a lot of money in the long run.
Firstly, check that all your lights - including indicators, reversing lights and brake lights - are in good working order. Although you may not need your to use your headlights on a sunny day, you will probably need your indicators at some point! You will get pulled over and fined by the police if you are spotted with faulty lights so it's best to be sure they are all working before you leave. Also, give your lights a quick wipe over with a cloth to ensure they aren't dirty.
It is also important to check that all the fluids in your car are topped up before you leave. Check the oil and water levels, as well as the windscreen washer. You will find that your windscreen will get very dusty quite quickly on dry summer days and there is nothing worse than driving into the sun with a dirty windscreen. Many, many car insurance claims have been made after drivers have crashed into something because they were not able to see due to bright sunlight. These motorists then suffer expensive motor insurance quotes for the next few years.
On the subject of visibility, checking your windscreen wipers is also highly recommended. Look for any wear or damage to the blades and replace them if necessary. You don't want to be driving with windscreen wipers that smear rather than clear. As well as the problems caused by the sun, this being the UK, you can't rule out having to deal with road spray from a summer thunderstorm either.
Also, have a good look at your tyres. Check that they are of the right pressure, that they are not overly worn (1.6mm is the legal minimum depth) and that any wear they are showing is spread evenly across the tyre. If this is not the case, you may have a wheel alignment issue.
Preparing your journey
If the weather is extremely hot and you are planning to go on a long car journey, it may be advisable to postpone it, especially if there are going to be children in the car. Too much time spent in the sun can cause serious conditions such as heatstroke so it is best to travel only if you absolutely must.
However, most summer days in the UK are relatively temperate and are quite safe to travel on. It is well worth taking plenty of bottles of water with you on a long journey, even if the weather isn't particularly hot. It is important to stay hydrated and water bought from motorway petrol stations is usually very expensive. Also, water is useful to have with you if your car overheats.
However, bear in mind that drinking or eating anything - even water - behind the wheel is illegal and you may find yourself in trouble with the police if you are caught doing so. This is because it can be distracting and may cause you to take your eyes off the road, thus increasing your chance of an accident and a costly claim on your motor insurance policy.
When filling up at a petrol station in hot weather, it is worth remembering that fuel expands as it gets hotter. If a fuel tank is filled up to the brim on a very warm day, it may leak out the neck of the tank - quite a waste of money considering fuel prices.
If you are going on holiday and will have a car full of family and luggage, think about the way you are going to load the car. Try to have the load balanced evenly so that one side of the car isn't taking a significantly greater weight than the other. If you are going to be driving a car that is heavily laden, bear in mind that it will take longer to stop. Leave more braking room and you will be less likely to be looking at an increase in your motor insurance quote next year.
On particularly hot days, road surfaces can melt and pose an accident risk to drivers. Councils will usually send the gritting lorries out when this happens so it is worth driving carefully if you come across a freshly-gritted road.
The last thing to think about before you take to the roads in the summer is your journey itself. Listen to travel reports, plan your route and schedule in some timely breaks. Driving in hot weather can be very tiring so allow plenty of time to get to your destination.
Extra equipmentIf you are about to set off on your holiday, have a glance through this checklist to ensure that you have everything that you need.
- Jump leads
- A good tow rope
- A good first aid kit
- A high quality torch
- A warning triangle
- A fire extinguisher
- A spare fuel can
- A light bulb kit
- Spare cans of engine oil and water
- A good-quality and up-to-date road atlas
At duck2water, we specialise in making it amazingly quick and easy for you to get a cheap motor insurance quote.
When were designing our online quotation system, we asked drivers what they found most annoying things about getting a quote. Then we built our quotation system with none of these features! As a result, you can get a really low cost motor insurance quote from us in just a few minutes.
Many of our customers also find that a motor insurance quote from duck2water can cost £££s less than with other car insurance companies. This is because we don't advertise on television, which can cost thousands of pounds a second, and avoid the expense of running a large call centre by providing online car insurance quotes.