Lockdown 3 – Eight things drivers need to know
GoCompare Car Insurance summarises key information and help for motorists
With all but essential travel banned during the third national lockdown, GoCompare Car Insurance provides an overview of the current temporary measures affecting motoring and the help available to drivers facing financial difficulties.
Driving for pleasure has been banned. Trips out are limited to permitted essential journeys and to travel to work for those who are unable to work from home. So, with the lockdown in place for the foreseeable future, millions of drivers will reduce their car use. GoCompare highlights the eight things drivers need to know.
Avoid a flat battery
Leaving a car idle for weeks on end can result in a flat battery. Experts recommend running the engine once a week for at least 15 minutes to give the battery time to charge. Alternatively, attach a trickle charger or a solar charger to your car’s battery to keep it topped-up.
Motoring laws still apply to quieter roads
Department for Transport figures show that during the first lockdown1, the proportion of cars exceeding the speed limit was higher than for the equivalent period of 2019. On quieter roads drivers appear to have underestimated their speed or have taken the opportunity to flout speed limits. The minimum penalty for speeding is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points. Drivers could be disqualified from driving if they build up 12 or more penalty points within a period of 3 years. Speeding fines will increase the cost of insurance, some insurers may even completely refuse to cover drivers with points on their licence.
Insure for usual driving habits and shop around
If you are buying or renewing your car insurance, answer the questions based on your usual driving habits. Don’t allow your cover to automatically renew. Insurers typically offer lower premiums to attract new customers at the expense of loyal ones. Currently, the average GoCompare Car Insurance customer saves up to £277 by switching provider2.
Self-isolating - can anyone else use my car for essential journeys?
Only you and drivers named on your policy will be insured to drive your car. If whoever you ask to drive your car has ‘cover to drive other cars’ included on their car insurance, they will be insured to use your car, but this is typically limited to third party only cover. You can add a named driver on to your insurance, but this could increase your premiums, and attract an admin fee. Short-term car insurance will probably be the cheaper alternative, particularly if you only need someone to drive your car for a couple of weeks.
Servicing and MOT tests
Car garages have been classified as essential businesses and remain open for servicing and MOTs. Previous lockdowns saw changes to MOTs - cars due a test between 30 March and 31 July 2020 received an automatic six-month extension. Cars with an MOT expiry date on or after 1 August are required to be tested as normal. However, you must not take your car for an MOT if you or someone you live with are suffering any Covid symptoms, you have been told by the NHS Test and Trace service that you have been in contact with someone who has coronavirus, or if you are self-isolating or shielding. Contact your local garage to find out if they offer a contactless collect and MOT service.
Driving lessons and tests
Lockdown rules continue to have a big impact on learner drivers. Driving instructors have been advised by the Government that they must not provide lessons. Driving practice provided by friends and relatives is limited or banned depending on which country within the UK you live in. Practical driving and theory tests have also been suspended due to the lockdown.
Insurers extend pledges to support policyholders
Pledges made by members of the Association of British Insurers to support policyholders during the pandemic have been extended to 19 March 2021. Commitments include waiving requirements to extend cover for key workers driving to different locations, people help their communities by transporting medicines or groceries to support those affected by Coronavirus and, those who need to drive to different locations for work because of the pandemic. Policyholders do not need to contact their insurer to update their documents or extend their cover.
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) temporary measures for those in financial difficulty
The FCA’s proposals to extend a series of temporary measures to help insurance policyholders and premium finance product holders who find themselves in temporary financial difficulties because of COVID remain in force. The measures, which cover general insurance, mean that insurers are expected to offer flexibility on payments including payment deferrals of up to three months and waive fees for cancellation or policy amendments. Insurers are also expected to consider whether there are other products they can offer which would better meet the customer’s needs.
Lee Griffin, CEO and one of the founders of GoCompare, commented, "The pandemic is continuing to have a major impact on our day-to-day lives, including our driving habits. To stay safe and avoid penalties, it’s important that drivers keep abreast of lockdown rules regarding car use and driving according to the rules of the road.
“Temporary financial and practical measures continue to be in place to help motorists struggling with insurance costs and finance repayments. Anyone facing financial difficulties should talk to their insurer as soon as possible rather than letting the problem compound itself. We also encourage motorists to make a note of their renewal date this year and set aside some time to shop around. It only takes a few minutes and, there are hundreds of pounds of savings to be made.”
For more information on Coronavirus and your money visit: https://www.gocompare.com/coronavirus-insurance-money/
For further information please contact:
Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845
Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare
Notes to editors
1Department for Transport ‘Vehicle speed compliance statistics Great Britain: January to June 2020.
2Based on independent research by Consumer Intelligence during 1 August to 31 August 2020: 51% of consumers could achieve a saving of up to £277.17 with GoCompare car insurance based on a comparison of 31 companies.
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