Who is it for?
We offer a wide range of motor insurance policies to insure all types of private cars – from young to mature drivers. We can provide fully comprehensive cover, third party fire and theft and even third party only. Introductory discounts can be given and we offer reduced rates for low mileage drivers.
Our objective is to provide a policy to suit the individual and a policy that they can afford. We also offer a Breakdown and Recovery Service at very competitive rates
What we cover
Graham Sykes Insurance provides Specialist Motor insurance cover for all kinds of vehicles such as classic cars, kit cars, American Vehicles, military vehicles and much more. We can offer up to 65% introductory discounts, discounts for club members, restricted mileage discounts and roadside recovery and assistance. Online quotation forms are available. Real time online insurance quotations are available for kit cars.
Frequently Asked Questions
After the accident get as much on the spot information as possible!
Get hold of the names and addresses of independent witnesses before they lose interest and leave the scene. If you have a video or camera in the car, get pictures before vehicles and property are moved. Also, make a sketch plan of the accident while the details are fresh in your mind.
- Ask the other drivers involved for their names and addresses and make a note of their car registration numbers together with the make and model.
- Ask for the name of their insurers and also, if possible, their policy number or certificate number.
- If anyone is injured, produce your certificate of insurance. If you cannot do this at the scene you must produce it at a police station within 24 hours.
- There may be injury to people or animals or damage to vehicles or property. If so, you are required to give your name and address, the name and address of the owner of the car you are driving and its registration number to anyone with reasonable grounds for wanting them.
- Tell your insurers about any statement made at the scene by any of the parties. Do not discuss whose fault it was. If you do, you could create problems for you and your insurers in the handling of your claim.
- You must tell your insurers as soon as possible – even if you don’t intend to make a claim. This is a condition of your policy.
- Ask us for an accident report form. When completing the form include as much information as you can.
To Get Your Car Repaired
If you have a comprehensive policy:
Ask us for advice. Take your car to a competent repairer and tell your insurance company immediately. If your insurance company recommends a garage then take your car there if possible. This may avoid the need to get a separate estimate and could speed up the repair considerably.
Many insurers’ recommended repairers will be able to provide you with a courtesy car whilst your vehicle is being repaired.
Unless your insurer has special arrangements, send a repairer’s estimate to them. They will check it and if it is agreed they will authorise repairs subject to your completing a satisfactory claim form.
When you collect the car after repairs you will have to pay the first part of the claim if you have an excess on your policy. You pay this money direct to the garage, whether or not you were to blame for the accident. Your insurers may also ask you to pay a part of the cost of repairs if your car is put into a better condition than before the accident.
If you are registered for VAT, pay any VAT due to the garage and claim it back from Customs and Excise. If you are not VAT registered your insurer will pay it.
The cost of repairs is your responsibility until your insurers have agreed to pay.
For your peace of mind, you may want to obtain confirmation from your insurer that they accept liability and will pay the cost of repair.
- If you have chosen third party fire and theft cover, your policy will not cover accidental damage to your car. You therefore have to pay the repair bill yourself or claim from the other driver if he or she was legally liable for the damage.
- Write to the other driver saying that you intend to claim from him/her.
- Say that you hold him/her responsible and ask him/her to tell their insurers.
- Write direct to their insurers, if you have details, quoting the other driver’s policy or certificate number.
- Send a repairer’s estimate as soon as possible – their insurers may well ask you for additional estimates.
- Tell your own insurers that you are claiming against the third party.
The other driver should tell their own insurer of the accident.
They will only be able to deal with your claim if the other driver asks them to. They can only act on the instructions of their own policyholder.
On receipt of your letter the third party may settle your claim themselves or may pass the matter to their insurers. If they consider their policyholder entirely to blame they will pay your claim provided they have full information. If they consider that you were entirely or partly to blame they may refuse your claim or suggest a compromise.
The third party may refuse to co-operate at all in which case you should seek advice from your insurance company, insurance adviser, motoring organisation or solicitor. You may, at the end of the day, have to take legal action against the other driver; your policy may have a legal expenses section which will cover your costs.
If Your Car is Stolen
Tell the police immediately then tell your insurer and ask for a claim form.
Be prepared to wait a while in case your car is recovered. A great many cars taken without the owner’s consent are soon found abandoned.
If property is stolen from your car tell the police immediately and then tell your insurer.
Most comprehensive policies protect you against loss of or damage to rugs, clothing and personal belongings which are in your car. Policies set a limit on the value of such property. Check your own policy for details. See back page for advice on beating the car thief.
No Claims Discount
The discount is usually reduced by two steps after a claim. Whenever a claim is made under a motor policy, the discount will always be affected unless your insurance company can recover its costs from another party.
If your insurer can make a full recovery or is only stopped from doing so by a knock-for-knock agreement, your no claim discount may not be affected.
Similarly, if you recover all your uninsured losses (such as accidental damage excess) then your discount may not be affected.
Sometimes your no claim discount will be reduced at policy renewal time if a claim is expected to come in, or is still waiting to be settled. The discount may be reinstated if your insurer subsequently doesn’t have to pay out under the policy.
Many insurance companies have lists of approved repairers. When you tell your insurance company about the accident ask them for the name and address of the nearest recommended repairer. You are not obliged to use a repairer recommended by your insurance company although this will speed up handling of your claim and you may not need to obtain a repairer’s estimate at all. Many insurers have arrangements with their recommended repairers whereby you may be able to use a courtesy or hire car free of charge whilst repairs are carried out.
Similarly, many insurers have arrangements with specialist windscreen replacement companies. Keep a note of these in the glove box of your car.
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.
A modified vehicle is a vehicle that differs from it’s original factory standard specification for fitting of either after market parts or optional items added to it.
All vehicle modifications are material information and MUST be disclosed to your Insurer. Failure to do so may invalidate your Motor Insurance policy.
A Kit Car is an motor vehicle that is assembled from a set of parts that a manufacturer sells and the buyer then either assembles into a car themselves, or retains a third party to do part or all of the work on their behalf. Usually, many of the major mechanical systems such as the engine and transmission are sourced from donor vehicles or purchased from other suppliers.
Kits vary in completeness ranging from as little as a book of plans to a complete set with all components included.
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
Vehicle Identity Check
The Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) is a scheme to help stop stolen cars being passed off as repaired accident damaged cars. This is also known as ‘ringing’. You can check if a vehicle needs a VIC and submit your application online.
How a VIC marker is set
Insurers should notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) of all cars ‘written off’ within salvage categories A, B or C. This notification will set a ‘VIC marker’ against the DVLA vehicle record. While a VIC marker remains set, DVLA won’t issue a registration certificate V5C, or vehicle licence reminder V11.
The VIC marker will only be removed when the car passes a VIC.
Checking a vehicle’s identity
The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) carries out the VIC. It’s designed to confirm the car’s identity and help ensure that the genuine car is returned to the road.
The VIC takes around 20 minutes to complete and involves comparing the details on the DVLA vehicle record against the car presented. The VIC is a check of identity, it doesn’t look at the quality of the repair or confirm roadworthiness. If you have any concerns regarding these aspects, you should seek the opinion of an independent expert.
Once a car has passed a VIC, the V5C issued will be annotated to show ‘substantially repaired and/or accident damaged; identity checked on dd/mm/ccyy’.
Confirming if a VIC marker is set
You can check if a VIC marker is set, by making a vehicle enquiry through the Vehicle Enquiry section of DVLA’s vehicle online services. To make your enquiry you’ll need to know the vehicle registration mark and vehicle make.
Once you make an enquiry the VIC marker will only show if it’s been set against the vehicle record by DVLA.
You can also check if a VIC marker is set by contacting VOSA on 0300 123 9000.
Applying for a VIC
A VIC is available at 56 VOSA locations. You’ll need to complete a VIC1 application form and submit this to VOSA, together with the correct fee (see the table below).
You can submit the form online as long as you want to pay by either credit or debit card or have a VOSA pre-funded account. VOSA cannot collect your card details online, but will contact you for this once your VIC1 application form has been received.
Once your application has been processed, VOSA will notify you of your appointment.
Full instructions and the terms and conditions are given on page three of the VIC1 application form.
|Test type||Normal fee||Out of hours fee|
|Vehicle Identity Check||£41.00||£50.00|
Taking the car for a VIC
When you take your car for a VIC the following must apply:
- repairs must be conducted and the car must be roadworthy and capable of being driven under its own power
- if it’s over three years old, the car must be covered by a valid MOT if it’s being driven to the VIC
- the person driving the car must be insured
- the car must display front and rear number plates if it’s being driven to the VIC – for assistance in obtaining number plates, contact VOSA on 0300 123 9000
A car can be driven directly to and from a pre-arranged VIC without road tax.
Following a VIC
If VOSA confirms your car’s identity
If VOSA is satisfied with the identity of your car, you’ll be given a VIC20 pass certificate. DVLA will be electronically notified of the pass result.
You can apply to DVLA for a V5C using the V62 form. If your car was a category C ‘write off’ you should declare this when completing the form, as you are exempt from paying the V62 application fee.
If you submitted a V62 form to DVLA before taking your car for a VIC, you’ll have received a VIC notification letter from DVLA. This letter should now be returned to DVLA, with the declaration completed.
If VOSA cannot confirm your car’s identity
If VOSA cannot confirm the identity of your car, you’ll be issued with a VIC failure notice (VIC21), which will give the reasons for failure. VOSA will refer the case either to the police or DVLA for further investigation. VOSA will monitor its progress and tell you of the outcome once complete. This may take several weeks.
If following investigation, the car’s identity is confirmed as the original, VOSA will issue a pass result. However, if the car’s identity cannot be confirmed, the VIC marker will stay on the vehicle record and DVLA will not issue a registration certificate.
If you don’t agree with the result of the test, you can make an appeal to VOSA. Appeals must be submitted on a VIC17 form, together with the correct fee.
To ensure that you do not lose out financially following a motor accident that was not your fault, you would have to assess your claim and prove that the other person was negligent.
These negotiations are often difficult and could be very time consuming where legal action is necessary.
How you might lose out financially:
Neither Third Party nor Comprehensive Insurance offers protection against all possible losses and even after a minor accident you could incur costs. For example, you may have to pay an excess on your policy, incur hire charges whilst your vehicle is being repaired, pay for your vehicle to be towed to a garage, or suffer loss of earnings due to injury even if the accident was not your fault.
These losses can be recovered from the person at fault, through negotiation or litigation, but why should you have to pay a solicitor to recover your losses.
What does Legal Protection cover?
Typically, your policy would probably cover you for
- Policy excess
- Loss of earnings
- Car hire charges
- Your vehicle repair costs (if third party)
- Personal injury damages
- Medical fees
- Loss of use
- Damage to personal effects
- Vehicle recovery
- Storage charges
- Out of pocket expenses
You may also be able to get cover for a replacement hire car should your car be immobilised due to an accident that is not your fault.
A basic guide to skid control covering the loss of traction between a vehicle’s tyres and the road surface due to the forces acting on the vehicle. Most skids are caused by driver error, although only about 15% of accidents are the direct result of a vehicle skidding. Skids occurring in other accidents are usually the result of last minute action, by the driver, when faced with a crisis ahead rather than actually causing an accident. Skids can occur both in the dry and wet as well as icy conditions, however, the chances of losing control and having an accident increase by 50% in the wet.
The main causes of skidding are as follows:
- harsh or sudden acceleration
- excessive of sudden braking
- coarse or jerky steering movements
The effects of the above will be enhanced by speed. Combining these effects with non-recognition of adverse road and weather conditions will create problems for the driver.
The main types of skid that a driver could encounter on the public highway fall into three categories.
- The front wheel skid.
- The rear wheel skid.
- The four wheel skid.
As well as the recognition of adverse road and weather conditions as a means of preventing skids from occurring, there are a number of other defensive actions that the driver can take.
Accelerate gently as opposed to harshly and in a straight line wherever possible.
Treat all braking operations in the same manner as acceleration.
If conditions are adverse, delicate use of foot controls and gentle shallow movements of the steering wheel are called for.
Ensure that the vehicle’s position, speed and gear are correct before entering and negotiating the hazard.
Reduce speed in good time if conditions show any sign of deterioration.
Make sure the vehicle is correctly maintained, especially that tyre pressures are correct and the tyres are in good condition. Also have the vehicle’s shock absorbers professionally checked; they are all that is holding you on the road.
If conditions look at all treacherous, allow extra time for the journey.
The Front Wheel Skid
The car tends to take a course outside of the expected course that the driver has steered (understeer); see figure 1.
Excess speed on entry to a hazard i.e. a corner or bend, or sudden braking to reduce the speed when negotiating the hazard. Both of these actions will have the effect of destabilising the vehicle making it more vulnerable to a loss of control.
The inclination is to turn the steering wheel further to counteract the understeer. Should adhesion to the road surface be just within the limits, then adding a little more steering may be enough to counter the problem. If not, remove the cause by taking the right foot off the brake or accelerator pedal and fully depressing the clutch pedal, and if necessary reduce some of the steering; these actions should be simultaneous. The vehicle should now start regaining traction, but be prepared for the steering to ‘snatch’ when the vehicle gets back onto a less slippery surface. If the loss of control is exceptionally severe, then following the above action plus straightening the steering momentarily, to allow the front wheels to regain traction, and then steering gently back onto the original course will help to regain control.
The Rear Wheel Skid
The rear of vehicle swings out of line and gives the impression of trying to overtake the front (oversteer); see figure 2.
As with the front wheel skid, excessive speed into the hazard and sudden braking or acceleration with a rear wheel drive vehicle, destabilising the vehicle, are the main causes of this skid.
Again take the right foot off the accelerator or brake and depress the clutch, then steer in the direction that the back of the vehicle is sliding (steer into the skid). Beware of correcting the steering too much as this may cause the vehicle to slide back in the opposite direction. As with the front wheel skid, these actions should be simultaneous, to prevent the back of the vehicle from building up too much momentum and sliding out of control.
The Four Wheel Skid
All four wheels have locked up and the vehicle is sliding in the direction that the forward momentum is carrying it, with no directional control; see figure 3. It should be noted that both front and rear wheel skids, if unchecked sufficiently early, can develop into four wheel skids.
Harsh or sudden braking has caused the wheels to lock. A sensation of increase in the vehicle’s speed often occurs.
To achieve directional control, depress the clutch and rhythmically pump the brake pedal (cadence braking). This allows the brakes to lock and unlock. While they are unlocked, any movement of the steering wheel will have a positive effect. This is basically the same principle that ABS braking systems work on.
Why Follow These Actions?
In each case the cause can be removed by taking the foot off the accelerator or brake and depressing the clutch. The reasons are as follows:-
By decelerating, the vehicle’s speed is lowered, which in turn will start to reduce the magnitude of the skid.
Relaxation of the pressure on the brake pedal will unlock the wheels and allow the tyres to regain traction, enabling the vehicle to be steered.
Depressing the clutch pedal has 3 beneficial effects:
The engine will not stall, enabling the vehicle to be moved quickly from the danger area.
The link between engine (providing power) and transmission is broken; there is no drive to any of the wheels, therefore the vehicle is no longer a front, rear or four wheel drive model.
A very slippery surface can cause the drive to lock up which in turn causes the wheels to lock, keeping the vehicle in a skid situation.
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 2019 is 69
Registering an imported vehicle
When a vehicle is imported for use in Great Britain (GB), it must be registered and taxed with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This must be done as soon as possible as the vehicle can’t be used or kept on public roads.
A ‘brand new’ vehicle can be driven to GB and registered as ‘new’ provided the vehicle:
- is registered within two weeks of collection – this may be extended to one calendar month at peak periods, eg before 1 March and 1 September
- only has reasonable delivery mileage – DVLA considers reasonable delivery mileage to mean the vehicle being driven from the pick up point to home using a direct route
- hasn’t been previously permanently registered
- has been stored before registration and is a current model or is a model that has ceased production within the last two years
Advice to importers is to transport rather than drive vehicles from the port to the first destination.
New vehicles must have a certificate of conformity as proof of type approval from the supplier or vehicle manufacturer.
Left-hand-drive vehicles from within the European Community will need a certificate, issued by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), under the Mutual Recognition scheme. This shows that changes have been made to the vehicle, making it suitable for use on British roads.
Vehicles that haven’t been subject to European type approval will be subject to one of the following tests, they are:
- car – Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA)
- light goods vehicle – Single Vehicle Approval (SVA) test if it is a (up to 3,000kg)
- motorcycle or quadricycle – motorcycle SVA
You can drive your vehicle to and from the pre-arranged appointment before the vehicle is registered.
Import information pack
You can order an ‘import pack’ from the DVLA form ordering service. This provides all the necessary information and forms needed to register an imported vehicle.
Previously used vehicle
As part of the registration process DVLA must be sure that an imported used vehicle, that’s less than ten years old meets the required standards.
- European type approval standards
- UK construction and use
- road vehicle lighting legislation.
Cars, motorcycles and light goods vehicles, first registered in another European Member State, must have a certificate issued by VCA under the Mutual Recognition scheme. Larger goods vehicles will need full UK type approval before they can be registered.
Cars, motorcycles and light goods vehicles first registered in a country outside of the European Union must pass the IVA, SVA or MSVA, as appropriate.
Vehicles moving between GB and Northern Ireland (NI)
Vehicles registered in NI that move to GB are no longer classed as being imported to GB. Also, vehicles registered in GB moving to NI are no longer classed as being imported to NI.
These vehicles can keep their GB or NI plates and tax disc, or they can request the registration plate to where they are going, GB or NI.
The vehicle registration certificate Northern Ireland (V5CNI) should be used to aid registration in GB and applications should be made at a DVLA local office. The vehicle registration certificate (V5C) should be used to help registration in NI. Applications should be made at The Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA), Coleraine.
Before you can register and tax your vehicle you’ll need to get a British insurance certificate using the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) from your vehicle.
We are able to assist with insuring your imported vehicle.
Vehicle tax will be payable in line with the vehicle’s first registration date in the UK. If the vehicle has been previously registered abroad, the date it’s first registered in the UK will determine the amount of vehicle tax that’s payable. DVLA will also allocate a vehicle registration number appropriate to the vehicle’s first registration abroad.
Registering and taxing the vehicle
You can apply for registration at your nearest DVLA local office. The application takes about a week. There is no ‘over the counter’ service.
You will need to take the following documents to the DVLA local office (photocopies or faxed copies are not acceptable):
- completed application form V55/4 (for new vehicles) or V55/5 (for used vehicles)
- a £55 registration fee (if applicable) and the required fee for the vehicle tax (cheques or postal orders made payable to DVLA Swansea)
- a current British certificate of insurance
- foreign registration document and any other papers relating to the vehicle
- evidence showing the date the vehicle was collected (normally the invoice from the supplier)
- evidence of type approval
- a current British MOT test certificate (if applicable)
- the appropriate HM Revenue and Customs form
- a ‘Declaration that a vehicle is new’ form V267 (if applicable), available for download or from a DVLA local office
- documentation confirming your name and address (a list of acceptable identity documentation can be found on the link below)
Registering and taxing the vehicle won’t take place unless you have the necessary documentation. In some cases the DVLA local office may wish to see the vehicle to check its identity.
Construction and Use requirements
Vehicles kept or used on the public highway in the UK must at all times comply with The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (as amended).
Copies of regulations aren’t available from the Department of Transport or DVLA. They can be obtained from any library or ordered from The Stationery Office Ltd (TSO).
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.
5 great reasons to get insurance from Graham Sykes
Top quality cover
Restricted driver discounts
Limited mileage discounts
Age of vehicle discounts
Second car discounts