As a personal or family necessity, motors are a constant drain on your finances. When the cost of gas rises it is felt keenly by those who need to travel to work or take the kids to school in their motors. Similarly, when the car breaks down and requires new parts it takes money out of the pot for other bills, but what if the financial impact of your car goes beyond that? There were 10.8 million motor vehicle accidents in the US in 2009 according to government census figures, many of which resulted in cars being written off or worse, drivers and passengers being injured. Here are just some of the things you can do to minimise the financial and security risks of driving.
Keep your motor running
Looking after your vehicle and keeping it in the best condition can help to minimise your likelihood of engine failure or the breakdown of other parts. While it can be frustrating and expensive if your motor breaks, it’s far more important to take proactive measures to prevent being involved in an accident. Breaks in particular need regular attention and servicing your motor regularly will make sure they – and other important components – are checked. Keeping an accurate service history will also help you to get a good price should you sell the vehicle in the future. Learning the very basics of maintenance such as keeping your tyre’s and oil at the right levels are inexpensive ways of looking after your car and avoiding preventable issues from escalating.
Maintain your driving skills
Once you’ve passed your test, bad habits can be easy to pick up. In Europe there’s the option of completing a pass plus test, which not only builds your confidence and skill but can bring down the cost of your motor insurance too. You can read more about it here.
Insurance doesn’t just protect you financially if you or your vehicle are damaged in a crash, it protects you against legal claims for others too – claims that could have a severe financial impact. People are becoming more aware of tricks to get cheaper insurance; not accepting renewal quotes automatically, buying online and using comparison sites like this one in the UK and this site in the US to find cheaper deals. It’s also worth remembering that some insurers aren’t listed on comparison sites and may be able to offer you better deals, particularly if you are insuring more than one motor. One type of financial protection that is often overlooked is insurance to cover any credit agreement on your vehicle. If you don’t own your vehicle outright and are still making payments on it, you could find yourself liable to continue with these payments even if the car is rendered unusable after an accident.
Seek support after an accident
Motor owners are often advised not to claim on their insurance for small scratches and bumps, as it can inflate the cost of premiums. However, having work carried out on your vehicle without your insurer’s knowledge can impact on the validity of your cover in some cases. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident it’s best to seek support from the police and your insurer early, as you’ll need to collect information for any future road accident claims you wish to make. At the moment, road accident claims in the UK can be pursued on a no-win, no-fee basis, though this is due to change in the near future and you can learn more about this here. Claims for road accidents that occur in the US are pursued quite differently, though it’s usually possible to get a free consultation and advice before committing to your claim.