We’ve put together some of our frequently asked questions. As a result we hope this will to give you more information about our products. These should also detail the cover that is provided by them.
If you have a question that you cannot find the answer to, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will do everything we can to assist you.
Some Buildings insurance policies differ in the cover they provide and in their terms and conditions.
Buildings insurance policies differ in the cover they provide and in their terms and conditions. The information here is of a general nature – for detailed information you must read your policy.
In addition to the structure, a buildings policy covers permanent fixtures and fittings such as baths and toilets, fitted kitchens and bedroom cupboards. Interior decorations are also covered. Policies usually extend to include outbuildings such as garages, greenhouses and garden sheds. Boundary walls, fences, gates, paths, drives and swimming pools may not be covered – you need to check the policy if you need cover for these areas.
Against What Risks?
Most policies cover damage to your home by:
|Fire||Aircraft or things falling from them|
|Lightning||Subsidence, heave and landslip|
|Explosion||Falling trees or branches|
|Earthquake||Impact by vehicles or animals|
|Theft||Breakage or collapse of aerials|
|Riot and malicious persons||Escape of water from tanks or pipes|
|Storm & Flood||Escape of oil from fixed heating installations|
Extensions of Cover
Most buildings’ policies have valuable extensions of cover.
- Alternative Accommodation – If your home is so badly damaged that you cannot live in it until repairs are done, your policy will help to meet the reasonable cost of alternative accommodation up to a stated limit.
- Liability – If, as owner of your home you are responsible for any injury to someone or for damage to their property your policy will pay the damages and cost for which you are legally liable. There is usually an upper limit of £1 million or more. However, your main legal liability arises from you being occupier of your home and a contents policy covers this.
- Underground Pipes and Cables – supplying gas, electricity, oil or water, as well as sewage pipes, are insured against accidental damage. They are not insured against wear and tear.
- Glass – In doors, windows and skylights is covered against breakage together with baths, washbasins and WC’s.
There are limits and exceptions to every policy so make sure you have read it. It is a legal contract and if there is anything you do not understand ask for an explanation.
One word you will come across is ‘excess’. An excess is an amount of money you have to pay towards the cost of each claim. Excesses vary in amount. They may apply only to certain types of claim or they may apply to all claims. Your policy will tell you.
One type of excess that appears in almost all policies applies to damage caused by subsidence, heave or landslip. This is usually a specific amount (for example £1,OOO). Common exclusions are war risks, damage caused by storm or flood to gates or fences, frost, sonic bangs and radioactive contamination from nuclear fuel or nuclear waste.
Be careful – Not all insurance policies are the same.
Flat-Rated simply means that the premium is set at one level, but that premium will depend on a number of factors, including the age of the car and how powerful it is, whether it is garaged, where you live and how old you are etc…
Flat-Rated policies do not require or accumulate (earn) any no claims bonus, however if you do have a no claims bonus to use, you can normally attach the no claims bonus to one of these policies to keep the bonus ‘Live’ so it does not expire (as No Claims Bonus does expire after 2 years if not used) however a discount will not be given for the no claims bonus.
Please bear in mind though that if you do attach a no claims bonus to one of these types of policies and you do have to claim for any reason then the no claims bonus would still reduce as it would on a standard motor insurance policy.
Keeping the running costs of owning a vehicle is an on going problem. Therefore, offering insurance discounts is always going to be a question to ask.
With the cost of fuel fluctuating up and down most weeks and prices for vehicle maintenance forever raising the need to find areas to help to save money is always welcome.
So what can we do for you that will help to keep at least one part of the costs of running a vehicle at a reasonable level?
Generally the largest insurance discount that is available tends to be any No Claims Discount, up to 60% with some companies. You may have built up during your years of “claim free” driving. However, because Kit cars are frequently second vehicles this discount is not always free to transfer to your new policy.
In these circumstances we are able to offer substantial introductory discounts that can match that of your main car. Further allowances are made for restricting the driving, the main one being “Insured Only”.
Moving on, we have schemes that will offer additional reductions for restricting your annual mileage and the use of your car.
Further discounts are available if you are a member of one of our Approved Clubs, your club will normally make this clear to all their members.
Here is a list of some of the Insurance Discounts available with Graham Sykes:
• Generous Approved Club Member Discounts
• Restricted Driving
• Insured Only
• Insured and Spouse
• Insured and One Named Driver
• Restrict your Annual Mileage
• No Claims Discount up to 65%
• Introductory Discounts
• Multi-Car Discount
Not all insurance companies offer all these discounts and terms and conditions apply.
An explanation of the categories of a vehicle write off are listed below:
|Category A||A vehicle which should have been totally crushed, including all its spare parts.|
|Category B||A vehicle from which spare parts may be salvaged, but the bodyshell should have been crushed and the car should never return to the road.|
|Category C||An extensively damaged vehicle which the insurer has decided not to repair, but which could be repaired and returned to the road.|
|Category D||A damaged vehicle which the insurer has decided not to repair, but which could be repaired and returned to the road.|
|Category F||A vehicle damaged by fire, which the insurer has decided not to repair.|
Theft – These vehicles have not been recovered and ownership rests with the insurer who made the total loss payment. They are able to repossess the car as soon as it is identified, even if it has been bought innocently.
Vehicles categorised as A, B or C require a VIC test before the DVLA will issue a new registration document. This will then be noted on the V5C.
VIC – Vehicle Indenty Check
DVLA – Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
V5C – New Vehicle Registration Certificate
September 2001 saw the most dramatic change to UK car registrations since 1963, when the alphabetical suffix was introduced to mark the age of a vehicle.
As of 1st September 2001 DLVA introduced not only a totally new format, but also new regulations in terms of print, size, layout and style of number plates.
The new registration marks are made up of seven characters. There are three parts to the registration mark, each with a separate meaning.
In the example above “51” represents the 6 month period from September 2001 to February 2002.
In the”AB” shows that the vehicle was first registered in Anglia (A) at the Peterborough office (B).
- The first two letters show where the vehicle was registered, the local memory tag.
- The two numbers indicate the age of the vehicle, the age identifier.
- The last three letters give a unique identity to a vehicle, the random letters.
Full List Of Local Memory Tags
From September 2001
|Local Memory Tag||DVLA office||Local Identifier|
|A||Peterborough||A B C D E F G H J K L M N|
|Norwich||O P R S T U|
|Ipswich||V W X Y|
|B||Birmingham||A – Y|
|C||Cardiff||A B C D E F G H J K L M N O|
|Swansea||P R S T U V|
|Bangor||W X Y|
|D||Chester||A B C D E F G H J K|
|Shrewsbury||L M N O P R S T U V W X Y|
|E||Chelmsford||A – Y|
|F||Nottingham||A B C D E F G H J K L M N P|
|Lincoln||R S T V W X Y|
|G||Maidstone||A B C D E F G H J K L M N O|
|Brighton||P R S T U V W X Y|
|H||Bournemouth||A B C D E F G H J|
|Portsmouth||K L M N O P R S T U V W X Y|
|HW Reserved for the Isle of Wight|
|K||Luton||A B C D E F G H J K L|
|Northampton||M N O P R S T U V W X Y|
|L||Wimbledon||A B C D E F G H J|
|Stanmore||K L M N O P R S T|
|Sidcup||U V W X Y|
|M||Manchester||A – Y|
|N||Newcastle||A B C D E G H J K L M N O|
|Stockton||P R S T U V W X Y|
|O||Oxford||A – Y|
|P||Preston||A B C D E F G H J K L M N O P R S T|
|Carlisle||U V W X Y|
|R||Reading||A – Y|
|S||Glasgow||A B C D E F G H J|
|Edinburgh||K L M N O|
|Dundee||P R S T|
|Aberdeen||U V W|
|V||Worcester||A – Y|
|W||Exeter||A B C D E F G H J|
|Bristol||M N O P R S T U V W X Y|
|Y||Leeds||A B C D E F G H J K|
|Sheffield||L M N O P R S T U|
|Beverley||V W X Y|
Age identifiers will continue to change twice yearly in March and September.
Current Age Identifier for September 2023 is 73
Read Your Policy!
Motor insurers usually issue three documents.
The Certificate of Insurance – this is evidence of insurance as required by the Road Traffic Act.
A Cover Note – acts as a temporary policy and also as a temporary certificate of insurance for the purposes of the Road Traffic Act.
The Policy Document – sets out in full the terms and conditions of your policy.
You should read your policy carefully – there is no small print or difficult language in modern insurance policy booklets.
The Road Traffic Act requires all motorists to be insured against their liability for injuries to others (including passengers) and for damage to other people’s property resulting from use of a vehicle on a road. It is an offence to drive your car or allow others to drive it without insurance.
How Premiums are Calculated
Factors taken into account in costing your insurance include who will drive, the type of car, where it is kept, the uses to which it is put, and the type of cover required.
When buying motor insurance you must give the insurer full information.
The policy may only cover driving by yourself or specified people, or it may allow driving by any qualified person with your permission, possibly over a certain age limit. Your insurers will want to know about anyone who is likely to drive – particularly their age, experience, driving record and occupation.
Family cars with moderate repair costs are cheaper to insure than large or powerful cars which can be expensive to repair.
Each model is given an insurance group rating. This system is described later in this Information Sheet.
Older cars often attract discounts from comprehensive insurance premiums.
Insurance claims are more frequent in urban areas so motorists in cities usually pay more for their insurance than those who live in the country. The place where the car is kept is a rating factor, so tell your insurers if the car is not kept at your home address.
Your policy and certificate set out the uses for which your car is insured. For example, if you or any authorised driver want to use your car in connection with work, make sure that your policy covers this.
Driving Other Cars
Some policies cover the policyholder in person while driving a car which belongs to someone else.
However, cover will be limited to third party only, even if you have a comprehensive policy. Accidental damage to the borrowed car will not be covered by your insurance.
Make sure you have the car owner’s permission to drive it and that they have arranged comprehensive insurance to cover you as a driver under their policy. If they have done this, then accidental damage claims to their car, while you are driving, will be met by their policy.
Similarly, before letting someone else drive your car make sure your policy does not have a restriction on who may drive it.
Drinking and Driving
Drink driving convictions are taken very seriously by insurers. Convicted drivers returning to the roads may face difficulty in obtaining insurance and will certainly have to pay premium increases. The level of cover may be reduced – for example from comprehensive down to third party fire and theft. These higher premiums and cover restrictions can well last for a number of years.
All motor insurers have agreed that if your passengers contribute towards your running costs your insurance cover will not be affected, as long as lifts are given in a vehicle seating eight passengers or less. This agreement does not apply if you make a profit from payments received or if carrying passengers is your business.
Changing Your Car
You must tell your insurers if you change your car. A premium adjustment may be necessary and you will probably need a new certificate.
No Claims Discount
Policyholders with a claim free (not blame free) record normally qualify for a premium discount. Scales do vary but usually range from 30% for one claim free year up to 60% or more after four or five years.
“Protected Discount” policies are often available for motorists with maximum discount. For an extra premium, a number of claims are allowed without affecting the discount. Typically two claims are allowed in a three to five year period.
All UK motor policies provide the minimum cover required by law in other European Union countries or the minimum cover required by UK law if that is greater. This cover does not automatically include theft or damage to your car and it may not completely cover your liability to other people.
If you tell your insurers in advance, they can extend your UK level of cover to most holiday destinations.
Your insurers can also supply a Green Card. This is recognised internationally as evidence that you have insurance which meets local law.
The further information regarding motoring abroad is covered in detail under the heading ‘Driving Abroad‘
Look After Your Car
All insurance policies require you to make sure your car is in a roadworthy condition. If you don’t, you may find that your claim will not be paid.
From time to time vehicles may be subject to a manufacturer’s recall to address a possible safety concern. You should check with your local dealer or vehicle manufacturer to see if your vehicle may be affected.
Tell Your Insurer
You must tell your insurer of any changes in the details given on your proposal form such as address, occupation, type of car and motoring convictions including fixed penalties.
Remember – not only is it an offence under the Road Traffic Act to make a false statement or withhold information for the purposes of obtaining a certificate of motor insurance, but it may also invalidate your policy.
Two thirds of private motorists have comprehensive insurance. Most of the remainder choose third party fire and theft, with a small proportion taking out more limited forms of cover.
- Liability for injuries to other people, including passengers.
- Liability for damage to other people’s property.
- Liability of passengers for accidents caused by them.
- Liability arising from the use of a caravan or trailer, while attached to the car.
Third Party Fire and Theft
As previous plus
- Fire or Theft – If your car is not normally kept in a garage at night, theft cover may be excluded or subject to special conditions. There may be an “excess” – a part of the cost of the claim for which you are responsible – following an incident of theft. If you are selling your car make sure you receive proper payment before parting with it. Your insurance policy will not cover your loss if your car is taken from you by deception.
As above and previous plus
- Accidental damage to your own car. There may be an “excess” – part of the cost of the claim for which you are responsible.
- A personal accident benefit. Certain amounts are paid in the event of the death or specific permanent disablement of the policyholder – and sometimes his or her spouse or family member.
- Medical expenses necessarily incurred, up to a stated limit.
- Loss of or damage to personal effects in the car, up to a stated limit.
The Group Rating System
Insurance companies put car models into a varying number of groups, these could be 20, 30 or even 50. This means that each model of car can be accurately banded with cars of similar characteristics.
There can be a significant spread of groups within a particular model range.
How the System Works
Nearly three quarters of all money paid out in motor insurance claims goes on repairing cars. The cost of spare parts and the times taken by repairers are therefore major factors in pricing motor insurance.
The factors used to calculate group ratings are:
- Damage and Parts Costs
The likely extent of damage to each car model and the cost of the parts involved in its repair. The lower these costs, the more likelihood there is of a lower group rating.
- Repair Times
Longer repair times mean higher costs and the greater likelihood of a higher group rating. Different paint finishes on modern cars are an important factor. These, too, are taken into account.
- New Car Values
The prices of new cars identify the higher specification models within a model range.
- Body Shells
The availability of body shells (the basic frame of the car) is taken into account in group ratings because they are essential for certain accidental damage repairs.
Acceleration and top speed are important factors. Insurance companies know very well, from their claims statistics, that high performance cars often result in more frequent insurance claims.
- Car Security
Security features fitted as standard equipment by motor manufacturers can help to reduce insurance claims costs. Such features include high security door locks, alarm/immobilisation systems, glass etching, coded audio equipment, locking devices for alloy wheels and visible VIN numbers.
Recommended Group Ratings
The group ratings determined by the Association of British Insurers are recommendations only. Individual insurance companies, depending on their own experience, may vary from these recommendations.
Buying a Car
Motorists planning to buy a new car should check, in motoring magazines, the insurance group rating of the exact model they have in mind. The higher the group number the more will be the premium.
How to Beat the Car Thief
The financial loss of a stolen car is bad enough and although insurance will compensate for this, nothing can help with the shock and inconvenience.
Walk around any car park. You’ll see cars with windows open, ignition keys in the lock, sun roofs open, valuable property and clothing on display on the rear seat.
Be sensible. Follow the checklist below every time you leave your car.
Take Care of Your Property
Remember – if you are careless when leaving your car then your claim for theft may not be paid at all. Your insurance policy requires you to take care of your property at all times.
Have all the windows etched with the registration number of your car. This deters car thieves.
Many insurers allow a special premium discount if your car has a professionally-fitted alarm/ immobiliser system. The American Vehicle Insurance Repair Research Centre checks on vehicle security devices to see if they comply with the criteria of the Insurance Industry Vehicle Security Scheme. The list of those products that have passed is used by insurers as a basis for premium discounts and required security. Ask your insurer what systems they approve or require. They may also require the system to be fitted by a member of the independent Vehicle Security Installation Board. Your insurer can advise you about this.
- Where to leave your car
At night, park in a well-lit place. Thieves like working in shadows. In a ticket-exit car park, take the ticket with you.
- Remove Car Ownership Information Don’t leave your certificate of insurance and registration document in the car.
- Hide Property
Leave property in a locked boot. In a hatchback the rear shelf should be in position. In an estate car cover up property with a sheet or blanket.
- Remove the Ignition Key
Don’t leave the key in the ignition – not even for just a few seconds to go into your home, a shop or pay for petrol.
- Close All Windows
When you leave the car, close windows. Don’t forget the sun roof.
- Use an Anti-Theft Device
Thieves are opportunists. They will probably move on to a car without a device fitted.
- Always Lock Doors and Boot/Tailgate
Even when the car is in your own drive or garage, lock it and take the keys with you.
- Children and Animals
Never leave young children or animals alone in a parked car. With windows or sun roof open you run the risk of theft. With windows closed there is a grave danger of suffocation.
Before you go:
- Prepare your car:
- Get your car serviced and have your headlights adjusted.
- Make sure you have a full tank of petrol (but don’t carry any in a petrol can, this is prohibited by ferry companies).
Things you should take with you:
The following items are mandatory in many countries
- A warning triangle
- Spare headlight bulbs
- A first aid kit
- It is also handy to take a spare clutch cable as most overseas makes don’t fit UK cars.
Don’t give burglars clues that you are away
Some suggestions that will help:
- Cancel your milk and newspaper deliveries.
- You can also arrange for the Post Office to hold onto your mail.
- Programme your radio to come on during the day.
- Install light timers in parts of your home to give the impression you are in at night.
- If you are away for more than a month, you should also let the Police know.
Take a copy of your insurance details including the number of your policy, and insurer’s emergency contact telephone numbers.
On The RoadDriving on the right hand side of the road
Most countries abroad drive on the right hand side of the road. It’s easy to forget this when you first get the other side of the channel so to remind yourself:
- Put a brightly coloured sticker on the driver’s side of the windscreen.
- Watch your speed
- Drive slowly at first to get used to the roads. (Don’t break the speed limit as you could face stiff ‘on-the-spot’ fines).
- Take frequent breaks
- Tiredness is one of the biggest killers on the road. Take a 20 minute break every two hours and, if possible, try and share the driving with a friend or partner.
- Keep valuables out of sight
- Thieves often target foreign owned cars. Never leave any valuables lying on the seats of your vehicle, especially if it is left unattended.
- Keep money and passports on you.
- Park your car in a busy well-lit area.
If You Have An Accident FIRST – try to be calm! Check whether anybody is injured. If there are injuries contact the emergency services, including the Police. Make a note of the Police Officer’s number.
Obtain the following details of other driver(s):
- name and address
- vehicle number plates
- make and colour of vehicles involved
- other driver(s) insurers and policy number.
- If there are any witnesses, try to get their details.
NEVER ADMIT LIABILITY or make any promise to pay any person involved.
If you are required to sign a document that you do not understand, write on the form ‘DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS DOCUMENT’
If driving in Europe, complete a European accident statement.
If you can, take several photographs of the accident.
If the damage is minor, contact your insurer’s claims line on your return to the U.K.
If your vehicle is badly damaged, contact your insurer’s emergency claims line telephone number for assistance.
Do not contact the Green Card Bureau.
For any motor policy, be it a car, van or motorcycle, you do not get days of grace to pay your premium.
You must pay your renewal premium on or before the renewal date otherwise all cover provided by your policy will cease, you will then be driving your vehicle uninsured and open to prosecution by the Police.
It is vital that you take notice of your renewal invitation and contact us prior to the renewal date to pay your premium or to make any changes in cover so that we can obtain a revised renewal premium for you, otherwise you will become uninsured.
If you are paying by installments via Direct Debit, then your policy may be renewed automatically, it is important that you contact us at least 10 days before the renewal date of your policy if there is any alterations as this may change your monthly payments. If you wish to lapse the policy then again please let us know prior to the renewal date of your policy as if you tell us on the day it will be too late to stop the 1st payment going through.
In any instance make sure you contact us before your renewal date, because there are no days of grace allowed by insurers.