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June Newsletter

Welcome to our June newsletter. In this issue we are talking about how technology can help or hinder you while driving. Also we look at how important your choice of insurance company is in the state of an emergency. 

Apple to launch safe driving mode for iPhones

The fight against illegal mobile phone use at the wheel has taken an interesting turn this week, with Apple’s announcement of a specialised feature on its latest update.
A new mode known as ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’is said by Apple to increase driver focus, and will appear on the iPhones of owners around the world this autumn, as they update their software to the latest iOS 11 version.

Click here to read Apple to launch safe driving mode for iPhones.

Is it time to invest in a dashcam?

When Samantha Dunne’s car was hit at a roundabout, she struggled to prove she was not at fault. As a result, she ended up “thousands of pounds out of pocket” while the claim was being settled.

“I had to pay the excess on the policy, buy a new car as my own was written off in the accident and I lost my nine-year no-claims bonus, which meant a hike in premiums,” she says.

Determined not to find herself in the same position again, Dunne, from Southampton, decided to take steps to protect herself.

“I bought a dashboard camera so that I could provide video footage if I was unlucky enough to have another accident,” she says. “I wanted to be certain I could prove who was at fault and avoid a lengthy claim process.”

Dashboard cameras – commonly know as “dashcams” – are wired into your car and they automatically turn on and start recording when the car is started. They come with built-in memory and record on a continuous loop, ensuring that you never miss an accident.

These gadgets were once only found in countries where unscrupulous driving practices are a more regular occurrence. But with car insurance scams becoming more prevalent on UK roads, a growing number of motorists are using such devices to protect themselves from fraudsters. In fact, figures from market research company GFK show that dashcam sales have increased by 918% over the last 12 months.

The big driver behind this has been “crash for cash” scams. These can take many forms, from fraudsters disabling their own brake lights or “flashing” drivers to let them out of junctions before crashing into them, through to staged accidents and false witnesses. But whatever the form, it is costing motorists and the industry dear.

According to the Metropolitan Police, these scams could be adding an extra &50 to &100 to the annual premiums of honest drivers.

However, anyone considering such a policy would be wise to see if the total savings could be beaten by simply shopping around for a better deal and, even if the price is right, the cost of the camera needs to be factored in.

You can pay anything from &20 to over &300 for a camera.

So what do you need to know if you decide to buy one?

The most basic type is a single lens mounted on the front windscreen to record the road ahead. Multiple lens models record from more than one camera at the same time so they can monitor the road ahead and behind – one lens is fixed to the front windscreen and one to the back.

There is also a camera that fits on to your rear-view mirror and has a small forward-facing lens. Some also come with a rear-facing lens for interior or rear-view recording.

“The most important thing to bear in mind when buying a dashboard camera is image quality across a range of conditions,” says a spokesman for Which?. “If image quality isn’t high enough, you might not be able to use your footage in the case of an accident to prove you’re not to blame – and you could be forced to pay your car insurance excess and lose your no-claims bonus.”

Other features to consider are those which take a Class 6 or above SD memory card, and GPS functionality to pinpoint locations.

Also worth a look are those with G-force sensors, says Mark Kelly, spokesman at AppliancesDirect.co.uk.

“It detects excessive and unexpected force, such as collisions and sudden braking, to ensure footage of incidents is recorded. It also logs the severity of the impact, and saves this information and footage to the camera’s memory in a secure way.”

Three to consider

■ Budget buy: &36.98

Dual Camera In Car Dash Cam from Appliances Direct

Stand-out features: Two cameras which give a 180-degree view; night vision

■ Best all rounder: &149.99

Nextbase InCarCam 402G Professional from Halfords

Stand-out feature: Three-axis G-Sensor, which records and displays G-force data on a graph

■ Ease of use, plus GPS: &124.99

RAC02 Dashboard Camera

Stand-out feature: An adaptor that lets you constantly record your speed and position for proof in event of a collision.


(Source: TheGuardian.com)


Our faith in Direct Line was dented when an accident involved a foreign driver

My daughter and I are at our wits’ end. A lorry ran in to the back of her while she was driving my car on the M6 in October 2013. Since then we have been passed from pillar to post with Direct Line in an attempt to have her claim settled – with dozens of phone calls and emails. In the meantime we have been forced to drive a car which has extensive damage to the rear, and she has had to pay to have repairs to the back light (to get through the MOT) as well as increased insurance premiums due to the “unsettled claim”.

While Direct Line paid &300 compensation in March this year in recognition of the fact that “the claim has been handled poorly by our claims department”, it now says that it cannot get a response from the third-party insurers to ratify the “no-fault” premise – because it was a foreign driver! This also means she has not been entitled to a hire car, even though this was covered by her policy.

Despite there being two witnesses, and the Polish driver accepting liability and apologising, and photos of the driver’s licence, insurance certificate and lorry/registration plate, there is apparently nothing Direct Line can do to progress this claim. SF, Telford.

In its adverts, Direct Line makes much of the fact that customers do not have to worry if they are hit by an uninsured driver; however, your experience suggests the same cannot be said if it is an insured, but foreign, driver. Claims made against non-UK drivers are not the easiest to resolve but, after taking that into account, this is a complete mess – you have not been treated well.

We contacted Direct Line and it didn’t exactly leap into action. A spokesperson claimed the delays were due to the fact that the lorry driver had initially disputed liability. However, we appear to have prompted some action. It has gone back over the case and the truck driver has now accepted liability. “We apologise for any inconvenience caused and, as a gesture of goodwill and since the third-party insurer has confirmed liability, we have arranged for the repairs to take place, the &600 excess to be waived and provided and paid for a hire car.”

Direct Line says that normally you would have to pay the excess and then reclaim it. The company says it will also provide evidence to your new insurer – once this is all settled – that you were not at fault. This will restore your no-claims discount and allow you to reclaim the additional premium you had to pay the insurer you switched to as a result of the this fiasco.


(Source: TheGuardian.com)


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