It’s a cold morning and the car has frosted up. You’re tired and running late and your coffee hasn’t kicked in yet. You’re looking at fifteen minutes of ice scraping and warming up the car. So you pop outside, slip the keys in the ignition and leave the engine running while you watch the car through the window. Only to hear the sound of your car being driven off…
Car theft, crashes and credit problems all increase at this time of year. Here’s a few tips to help you avoid problems.
Every Winter, countless people warming up their car find out the hard way just how quickly it can get stolen. ‘Keys in car’ thefts occur outside the home, shops, post boxes, by cash machines, even at petrol stations.
These aren’t unlucky coincidences either. At this time of year, opportunistic thieves know people are more likely to be a little careless, so they’re on the prowl, looking for a chance to pinch your vehicle. And when it comes to making an insurance claim, you might find you get a frosty response…
All isn’t lost though. While most insurers include clauses in their contracts about leaving your car unattended with the keys in (or even open) you can still appeal if your claim is turned down.
If you’ve left the car unattended on the road, you case is shaky, but if it’s on your driveway, it’s by no means straightforward. Factors like whether you have a gate, if your driveway is visible and how close you were to your car can all help you stand a better chance when it comes to making a claim. As soon as you’ve reported the matter to the police, note down as much as you can about what happened. I can’t say it enough: the more information you give, the better your chance of winning.
It won’t surprise you to learn that frosty weather always results in insurance claims going through the roof. If you have a bump – or worse – your insurer will be taking a much closer look at what went wrong. So, keep your distance and drive carefully. If you hit black ice, the experts recommend taking your foot off the accelerator, not braking and gently guiding the steering wheel in the direction you want to go.
I get loads of people contacting me about no claims bonuses after winter crashes. What can be particularly annoying is if you mention a claimable incident to your insurer but opt not to claim. The fact that an accident has occurred makes you more of a risk in the eyes of the insurer so this can have an impact on your no claims bonus.
Lots of us pay for vehicles by hire purchase or PCP deals these days. These agreements can be useful, but are often not understood too well by the people that sell them. If you’re in a dispute over a fault with a car – like it failing to start for example – finance firms will often tell you to sort it out with the garage direct. Don’t be pushed around. The finance firm is responsible for sorting out repair issues for the duration of the vehicle. If they don’t, make a complaint through Resolver.
If we get a spell of bad weather, it can make sense to put on snow tires, particularly if you live in the country. This isn’t cheap though – and don’t forget to tell your insurer. Even though you’re doing the right thing, we’ve seen a few cases where insurers have claimed that putting on expensive tires is a ‘modification’ to the vehicle and therefore your policy is invalid if you haven’t mentioned it. We take a dim view of this, but avoid the problem by letting them know.
If you’ve got a problem involving an insurance or credit claim, get help at www.resolver.co.uk and get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Twitter @WalkerResolver @resolvercouk or facebook.com/resolvercouk