Insurance

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Why buy insurance?

You buy insurance for two reasons; to insure you against liability you have to others and to insure against damage that others might do to you or your vehicle.

Which insurance to buy

Only you can decide what is suitable. Consider the information on the three types of motor insurance below before you start getting quotes. Three types of insurance cover

  • Fully comprehensive insurance cover is the most comprehensive of the three covers available for motor insurance – and is usually the most expensive too.
  • Third party insurance cover is the lowest cost insurance available, and covers others against damage caused by you to their property, vehicle or themselves.
  • Third Party, Fire and Theft insurance is the same as Third Party insurance, but also covers you for the theft of your vehicle, or damage by fire. Naturally, it will cost less than fully comprehensive insurance, and more than Third Party Insurance.

However, always check with your insurance company what you policy covers and make sure it includes everything you need.

Getting a Quote

Getting a quote will cost you the price of a phone call at most, although many insurance companies use Lo-call or Freephone numbers.

Quotes themselves are free, and you shouldn’t be afraid to shop around or try price comparison websites to get the best deal. You should hope to get a better quote from your current insurer for your loyalty.

Or, let a broker do the work for you. They will shop around to get you the best deal, but be conscious that they may only have access to a limited number of insurers. Larger concerns have more buying power and can often get better deals.

The process is simple. Have to hand the vehicle registration, make, model and variant/derivative, your driver and named drivers details including their driving history, detail of any existing ‘no claims’ bonus, information about where the vehicle will be kept at night and whether you will use it for business or just personal use.

Note that where you are leaving a company car scheme and buying your own vehicle and insurance, many insurers will take into account any accident free or ‘no fault’ accident years you had under the company insurance policy. You may need proof from your company of your driving history.

Upgrading an existing policy to include business use can sometimes carry a small administration charge.

Insurance Policy excess

The excess is the amount you have to pay if you make a claim on your insurance. There are two types, compulsory and voluntary. Be sure that when you buy a policy you understand how much excess you may have to pay in the event of an accident.

Cover notes

Before you buy any vehicle, you need to ensure that you are insured to drive it home. If you contact your insurer, they can provide you with a ‘cover note’ which is a temporary certificate of insurance. When a cover note is issued by an insurance broker, you can drive on the road straightaway. The insurance company will then provide you with a copy of your full policy document and certificate of insurance.

What is a 'policy document'?

The policy document is the contract between you and the insurance company. This is the small print! Always read this document to ensure that the policy you have purchased covers all your needs. It outlines benefits, policy conditions and policy exceptions. It will even give details on how to cancel a policy, complain if you are dissatisfied, and, who to complain to.

Accidents

Having an accident is everyone’s worst nightmare. Read our guide below to find out how to get the right information should it every happen to you.

What to do at the scene of an accident

Your priority at the scene of an accident is to make sure that there are no further risks to you, other drivers etc. Get the emergency services out if there is spilled fuel and people have been seriously injured.

If you’re involved in an accident, it is important to get as much information as possible. Even if you are injured or in a state of shock, there is still information you can provide by returning to the scene of the accident as soon as possible and jotting down a few pointers.

This will assist your claim by helping both your insurance company and solicitor obtain the best possible outcome at a later date. It is advisable to carry a pen and paper in your car to help you to accurately record the accident details. Use your mobile phone to capture site and accident information which you may submit to your insurer as evidence of the accident.

Useful information to note:

  • Contact details including name, address and telephone numbers of drivers, pedestrians and passengers involved. If a party is driving within the course of their employment, take both the driver and the employer's details. It may be worth noting a description of the driver, location and any distinguishing features. If there are witnesses to the accident get their details too.
  • The time and date of the accident;
  • As many vehicle details including vehicle make, model, registration number, colour, any modifications and if relevant, the number of passengers in each vehicle;
  • Whether the parties were using headlights and/or indicator lights;
  • The weather, visibility and lighting conditions, including street lighting;
  • Name and number, and contact details of any police officer attending and other emergency services details if appropriate;
  • Incident number if the police attended the scene of the accident;
  • The damage to each vehicle involved;
  • Injuries, where possible, to persons involved. Remember though, you might not be qualified to evaluate the injuries of other people;
  • A full description of what happened including sketches of the vehicles’ positioning;
  • Estimated speed of the vehicles involved;
  • The type of road;
  • A description of the scene of the accident, including any relevant road markings, signals, obstructions etc. (i.e. skip outside property at road junction);
  • Whether the parties were using headlights or indicator; and
  • Finally, if you have a camera or one on your mobile, take some photographs of the accident scene.

Reporting an accident

It is an offence to refuse to give details to the other driver following an accident, if there has been injury or property damage. Note that the Gardaí will not always attend the scene of a minor accident.

Accidents must be reported to the Gardaí within 24 hours.

Inform your insurance company of the accident as quickly as possible. The company may refuse to insure you if you have not notified them of the accident within the time period set out in their policy. See our advice on ‘Making a Claim’

Making a Claim

Solicitors Costs
Using a Claims Management Company

Although you can make a claim yourself, in most circumstances, you should get specialist help.

In cases involving an injury, there is a 'protocol' which must be followed by both your solicitor and your opponent to ensure the case is dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Your solicitor would first write to your opponent holding them responsible for your injuries, stating why they hold your opponent responsible, and summarising your injuries and expenses. Your opponent or their insurance company must acknowledge receipt of that letter within 21 days.

If your opponent is insured, then the insurance company will normally take over the claim. Within three months they must confirm whether or not they will settle the claim. Straightforward cases are normally settled quicker.

Your solicitor and your opponent's insurer will usually attempt to agree upon a choice of medical experts to examine you and prepare a report detailing your injuries, the treatment that you have received and your prognosis.

Upon receipt of that report, it is often possible for your solicitor to advise you as to the value of your claim, and proceed to negotiate settlement with your opponent's insurers.

If it isn’t possible to reach an agreement as to who was responsible for the accident, or to the value of your claim, then the issues could be decided at a court hearing.

How much will it cost?

The main concern for many people considering an insurance claim following an accident is the cost. The cost will depend on how you decide to pursue the case with the main options listed below. A firm of solicitors are likely to be instructed at some stage, whether directly, or via your insurance company or a claims management company. Only a solicitor can represent you if your case goes to court.

1. Solicitors Costs

Many solicitors now agree to pursue cases on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. Under the agreement the solicitor will agree not to charge you if the case is unsuccessful. If the case is successful, the bill will be passed onto your opponent’s insurer. Your opponent will only have to pay your 'reasonable costs', and it is worth asking your solicitor to guarantee any costs not paid by your opponent will not be deducted from your compensation.

Some solicitors will also suggest you take out an insurance policy when you sign the conditional fee agreement. You would make a claim on the insurance policy if you lost your case, and it would cover your opponent's costs and often your own expenses.

ALWAYS ask your solicitor: 'Will there be anything to pay if I lose, and will anything be deducted from my compensation if I win?'

You can apply for legal aid in cases involving exceptional circumstances or injuries. In these cases, you need to approach a solicitor with a 'Personal Injury Franchise'. You can get a list of firms with a franchise from the Law Society of Ireland, or the local Citizens Information Board.

Finally, you can pay your solicitor on a private basis. This is the traditional way of paying for a solicitor, and you would be responsible for the solicitor's fees and expenses whether you win or lose your claim.

2. Using a Claims Management Company

If you don’t wish to approach a solicitor directly, you can contact a claims management company. They will approach a firm of solicitors on your behalf ensuring they have the proper experience to deal with the claim.

Varying levels of on-going service and accountability may be offered as you pursue your claim. Some companies will raise an additional charge to the solicitor. Again, ALWAYS ask: 'Will I have anything to pay if I lose the case, and will I have anything deducted out of my compensation if I win?'

3. Legal Expense Insurance

Many household and motor insurance policies now include 'legal expenses insurance' as an option. It should be clear from your policy documentation whether or not the cover is available, or you could telephone the insurance company or your broker directly.

The insurance company will often nominate a firm of solicitors to act on your behalf, although it may be possible to request a firm of your choosing. The policy will normally cover your opponent's costs if you were to lose the claim so there would be no need for a conditional fee agreement. There is a limit under the policy as to the amount of your opponent's costs which will be covered. ALWAYS check the limit.

4. Acting for yourself

If you’re injured in the accident, or wish to claim for expenses in excess of €5,000, it is not recommended that you act for yourself. However, if there is no injury, and your expenses are relatively low, you may bring a claim in your local County Court under the 'small claims procedure'.

Information leaflets and the necessary forms are available from your local County Court upon request. The Citizens Information Board may also be able to offer some advice regarding this type of claim.

Bike Insurance

Our guide below illustrates some of the things to be conscious of when buying bike insurance. Many will save you money.

Types of insurance available

Only you can decide what is suitable. Consider the information on the three types of bike insurance below before you start getting quotes.

Three types of insurance cover

  • Fully comprehensive insurance cover is the most comprehensive of the three covers available for motor insurance – and is usually the most expensive too.
  • Third party insurance cover is the lowest cost insurance available, and covers others against damage caused by you to their property, vehicle or themselves.
  • Third Party, Fire and Theft insurance is the same as Third Party insurance, but also covers you for the theft of your vehicle, or damage by fire. Naturally, it will cost less than fully comprehensive insurance, and more than Third Party Insurance.

However, always check with your insurance company what you policy covers and make sure it includes everything you need.

Cancellation charges

Watch out for expensive cancellation charges from brokers. Because your risk is calculated over an annual period, if you try and cancel a policy mid-term, i.e. halfway through you will find that you get only a small amount of the premium back. In most cases, after 8 or 9 months you will not get anything back.

Interest charges

Always check this because often the APR charged on insurance instalments is much higher than your bank will charge you to use a credit card. Sometimes a broker will appear cheap but by the time you have paid the interest charges, it works out more expensive.

Riding other bikes

Some policies allow this extension and some don’t. If you plan on riding your mates’ bike, always check with the insurer that you are covered.

Modifications

Even if your bike has the smallest modification, that you don’t think makes any difference, always tell your insurer just to be sure that it’s noted on your policy.

Recorded calls

All calls you make to brokers have to be recorded now by law. So make sure you always tell the truth about your circumstances as otherwise you will be found out.

Monthly policies

Some companies offer a monthly insurance policy. However, be careful as often the premiums are pro rata and a lot more expensive than an annual policy, so you may end up paying a lot more for a lot less.

Insurance renewal

Most brokers will work very hard to keep your business when it comes to renewing your policy. However, always check a few more brokers, just to make sure you are getting the best deal.

Excess

Always check that the excess on your insurance is right for you. You can often opt to take a voluntary excess to reduce your premium. Compare the rates and see what suits you best.

Shop around

Rarely is the first price you get the best price.

Bike security

Consider investing in a good quality alarm as this can reduce premiums. Also consider where you will store the bike as this too can help reduce premiums.

How to save money on bike insurance

Nobody wants to pay more than they have to for motorbike insurance. Regardless of your age, bike or level of No Claims Bonus, everyone wants to save money on their motorbike insurance.

Unfortunately though, your motorbike insurance is important. Not only is it law to have insurance, but the quality of it is crucial in the event of any accident or theft.

However, there are ways to save money on your insurance without compromising on your cover. Take a look at our hint’s and tip’s below to help you save money on your insurance premiums.

Research – sad but true!

It really is worth looking into what cover is right for you and your bike, what you get for different covers and how much different policies are in terms of cost.

There are so many different companies out there on the market now so comparing them is a great idea. Not only should you be comparing their premiums, you should also compare what you are getting for your money. The best way to do this is to use a price comparison website as you can literally save hundreds of pounds.

Add a voluntary Excess

Your bike insurance will usually come with an excess. An excess is the first amount you have to pay in the event that you make a claim on your insurance policy. By adding a voluntary excess, you can sometimes save a lot of money. So, try getting a quote with and without a voluntary excess.

Extras

There are loads of extras that insurers either include for a fee on your bike insurance or that they try and sell you. Two examples of this are Legal Expenses Insurance and Breakdown cover. Don’t forget that if your bike is less than 3 years old you may already have a breakdown policy in place.

Payment terms

Most brokers will offer you instalment facilities. Be warned though, the interest rate is very high and usually much more than if you had made payment by credit card. Check out how much extra it will cost you by accepting the broker’s instalment terms and compare this to a credit card or overdraft.

Don’t claim!!

The fact is, the longer you go without making a claim, then the cheaper your insurance becomes. Before making a claim, remember that you will be penalised for between 3 and 5 years for a claim. So it’s worth getting a quote from a broker to see how much your insurance will be for next year with a claim versus not claiming. If you’re going to pay a lot more over the next few years in insurance costs than the amount of your actual claim then think again.

Bike accident? Take the right steps at the scene.

If you are ever unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident with your motorcycle there are some important things that you should make a note of that will assist you in dealing with the incident; and make sure that you have all the information that you may need for after the event.

At the scene of an accident it can be very confusing as to what has happened and who’s at fault. By taking a few simple steps you can make sure that you have all the information you may need at a later date.

You should always try to report accidents to the Gardaí, especially in cases where any injury is involved. If you or any party has any injuries, no matter how small they seem at the time, you should ensure that you or the other party get medical treatment.

If you are involved in an accident due to a bad road surface or an object in the road, it is especially important to try to get some evidence or details from any witnesses. Don’t forget to take their contact details. You may have to prove circumstances at a later date, especially if you need to make a claim.

Ensure you get the name, address, telephone number, and, if possible, the insurance details of any party involved.

Note the registration number of all vehicles involved, it is wise to also note the vehicle registration number of any witnesses just in case you have any problems contacting them at a later date.

Ask any passers-by if they wouldn’t mind assisting you in taking details.

If you have a camera phone try and take pictures of the scene and any damage. You never know just how handy these could be at a later date.

Bike safe!

Car GAP Insurance in the UK.

If you car was written off or stolen, what would your policy pay out? It wouldn't be the price you paid for the car, GAP insurance means you won't be left out of pocket. Auto Trader UK provides a low cost GAP Insurance product to ensure that you are well covered.



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