If you can get the time off, and you’re happy to brave the cold, winter is one of the best times of the year for a motorhome trip. The car parks are quiet, camping is usually very cheap and some parts of the UK and Europe are at their most spectacular in the heart of winter: the raging surf off the coast of North Cornwall, the foggy Yorkshire Moors and the snow-capped Nevis range are excellent examples!
However, winter driving can be treacherous, and the one thing that motorhome drivers can’t bank on is consistent weather at any time in the UK. Even if the forecast is bright and the sun is shining, you can never be sure you won’t encounter a bad patch of weather. So, if you’re travelling around the UK this winter, here are our top tips for avoiding the worst of the weather… Continue reading
A new survey of more than two-thousand 18 year olds whose parents have a motorhome shows that the youngsters can plainly see the driving faults of their parents. The survey involved asking youths from throughout the United Kingdom about their parents driving habits and was compiled to see if there are any possible destructive driving habits of parents observed by the teens that they may have picked up when they drive themselves.
According to the teens surveyed, a large number of parents (82%) will frequently talk on mobiles while driving their motorhome and 47% will often drive without a seatbelt. Not surprisingly the teens indicated that their parents are their primary driving influence. The survey also found that few of them speak up and ask a parent to stop engaging in distracting behaviour while driving. But there’s some good news in the study too; youngsters can impact their parent’s behaviour as when they do speak up 90% of parents will change their driving.
A huge 62% of the youngsters say they will talk on their mobile while driving, and approximately half who do not yet drive expect they will engage in this behaviour when they begin driving. A further 27% believe speeding is safe after seeing their parents do this.
The research will worry motorhome insurance firms as these bad habits could lead to accidents and claims on insurance policies. Parental influence on young drivers may help explain a clear connection between how younger drivers actually pick up their driving habits. Nearly 9 out of 10 of those taking part in the research (89%) describe themselves as safe drivers, yet many engage in risky behaviour that often leads to crashes, including speeding, neglecting to use seat belts, and talking on a mobile. What’s more, they do not view these as dangerous, again suggesting that they believe they are safe because their parents drive the same way.
A number of motorhome insurance firms are thinking about the future and writing to all policy holders asking them to avoid bad driving habits the younger generation may pick up by watching them drive.
Figures suggest that in the next decade the number of drivers aged over 80 is set to increase by 25%, taking the total number to 1,283,000.
With more people deciding to buy a mobile home when they retire, the figures suggest motorhome insurance providers can look forward to selling more policies and the average driver can expect to enjoy 20 years of exploring the United Kingdom and beyond. However, the Institute of Advanced Motorists has urged the coalition to resist calls to force all older drivers to take costly driving tests unless a medical condition is in evidence. Under current law, driving licences must be renewed at the age of 70 and every three years after that. The onus is on the driver themselves to self-certify that they are fit to drive, but there is no mandatory retest. If the coalition plan goes ahead, older drivers will need to have a practical driving test that currently costs £75 with another £31 for the theory exam. The cost of lessons to get through the test, which can be as much £50 an hour, will dramatically drive up the cost.
Drivers over the age of sixty-five now make up 25% of licence holders and they are backing the Institute of Advanced Motorists in opposing retests for the elderly to be mandatory, they believe that the lessons should be voluntary and non-threatening. The IAM also insist that drivers over 70 are no more likely to cause accidents than the average driver and they are considerably safer than younger drivers. At the moment 8% per cent of drivers are over 70 yet they only account for 4% of all injury crashes. Older motorhome owners want to continue taking holidays and many feel that they are being harshly treated. Today, over 10 million people will live till they are 100 so the chances are they’ll be driven around by their 70 year-old children. While their frailty will put them in danger if they are in an accident that does not mean that they are a risk to other motorists.
Despite being good drivers some older motorhome drivers will be charged more for motorhome insurance and many are forced to seek specialist cover from specialist insurers. The number of drivers over 90 years old is set to increase by 18% to 82,400 by 2017 so insurance brokers are going to be busy. The coalition needs a strategy on how they are going to manage the extra elderly drivers and make them more aware of the risks they face and those nearing retirement need to start planning now for their future transport needs.
Motorhome owners along with motorhome insurance providers will be disturbed with recent research that shows that an increasing number of people are taking a huge risk with their insurance policies by knowingly lying to their insurers when looking for cheap insurance.
It has for many years been a contributing factor in causing motor insurance premiums to rise but the practice now appears to be on the increase. Many United Kingdom motorists are lying to their insurance providers just to get cheaper premiums, according to the damning result of the research from a financial services company. Almost a quarter (24%) of drivers lied on their insurance policies and 40% admit they don’t tell the truth because they couldn’t afford the premium for the correct information. With motorhome owners out on the road a large amount of the year, their holiday could be ruined if their mobile home is damaged in an accident with a vehicle whose owner has lied to insurers. A collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver is a nightmare scenario for any law abiding motorist and can easily leave them with a repair bill through no fault of their own. Drivers need to make sure their insurance information is 100% accurate because any medical claims would also not be covered.
Another worrying statistic is that 26% of drivers wrongly believe lying to the insurer is a widely accepted activity and a further 28% believe that fronting is also an acceptable lie. Fronting involves parents falsely telling their insurance provider that they are the main driver of a car when their child will be the one driving the vehicle. Other potential problems motorhome owners face is that 13% see excluding additional drivers on a policy as acceptable and 22% agree that underestimating the amount of miles they actually drive is perfectly natural. Unsurprisingly, a further 20% revealed they have lied because they resent paying for expensive insurance. In 2011, 12% of motorhome insurance claims involved an accident with a driver who had their insurance cancelled because of lies told on the application form.
It’s possible that insurers need to make drivers more aware of the rules and legal implications of filling in an insurance form and they may have to simplify applications after 46% of respondents said they actually guessed the answers to some questions because they didn’t understand the wording.
As the average cost of a motor insurance policy soars yet again according to a report out this week, motorhome insurance providers are caught in something of a dilemma. Should they raise their own premiums to stay in line with other providers or slash their prices in a bid to get new custom and a larger user base.
The AA British Insurance Index revealed earlier this week that the average price for motor insurance in the second quarter of 2012 had risen to £1034, an 8.5% increase on the same period last year and a massive blow to motorists looking for some relief on the ever soaring cost of driving in the UK. In fact the news was much worse if you are in the 17-22 age group with the average for a male going to £2,792 and females doing slightly better at £1,995. Simon Douglas, director of the company who published the report said the insurance industry is in turmoil as they fight to get on top of fraudsters who are wreaking havoc by putting in false claims.
Industry experts say they are battling the fraudsters on all fronts including the crash for cash criminal gangs who arrange motor accidents to make fraudulent claims. They believe new systems put in place by the DVLA will enable insurance companies to identify application fraud more easily, and the new strict rules whereby vehicle owners can have their motors confiscated if they are driven without a valid insurance certificate will definitely deter some. However, the curse of the whiplash claim has still to be met. It cost the insurance industry £2 billion last year and effectively put around £90 on the premium of every vehicle owner in the UK. It appears that only some sort of Government legislation is going to curb this blight on modern day insurance.
The index certainly highlighted the difference a post code can make to an insurance application, with the average price for a policy holder in Greater Manchester and Liverpool costing on average £1,648, while the average price in Scotland was less than half of that at £727. Motorhome owners will obviously welcome the fact that some insurers are cutting the cost of their premiums to attract new customers but they should be wary of the policy they buy and ensure it is a policy that gives them the cover they require.