With the summer holiday season only two months away many people are starting to plan their breaks and these usually involve a long vehicle trip on congested roads.
While you're making accommodation bookings and deciding what to pack, it's also vital to check that you have appropriate vehicle insurance.
Much could have changed since you first signed up for cover and you may not realise that your insurance could be due for a tune-up. A timely review can address any oversights.
“When reviewing insurance, it's good to search for competitive rates, but you need to consider all aspects of what the different companies offer, and not just give an insurer the green light based on price alone,” says Sarah Nicholson, the commercial manager of Justmoney.
“Factors that can affect the cost of car cover include the exchange rate, cost of repairs, driver's age and driving history, the area you live, and the insurance period,” says Nicholson.
If you're stretched financially and tempted to put the brakes on insurance, remember that you could land in a worse financial situation if your car is damaged or stolen.
“Even if you are the most careful driver, you are at great financial risk if you drive an uninsured or under-insured vehicle,” says Nicholson.
If you have borrowed money from a bank or finance company to buy your vehicle, legally it's theirs until you've settled the debt. What's more, in most cases, if you cancel or default on the insurance, you're in breach of the finance contract.
This means that if the car is damaged, written off or stolen, you're personally liable for the outstanding amount. This could place you in a precarious situation where you still owe a large sum on a car which you can't drive, or no longer have - and still need a car to get to work and earn a living.
“The bottom line is that correct insurance is vital for peace of mind and safety, and is not something you should cut corners on.”
Also be aware that there are a number of reasons an insurance company may refuse to pay out a claim. For example, if there is reckless driving, if you are insured for personal use and use the car for business purposes, claim late, or don't comply with the security arrangements, you could find yourself on a road to nowhere.
“It is vital therefore that the cover is appropriate for your current situation and that you understand the terms and conditions,” says Nicholson.
If you are struggling with the monthly payments there are more sensible ways to save motoring money than cancelling or defaulting on your insurance.
Some tips are:
* Drive smartly. A smoother driving style will save you money. Try to avoid stop-start rush hour motoring which burns fuel and increases wear-and-tear. Take advantage of flexible work hours if you have them.
* Service regularly. Sticking to the service intervals ensures that your guarantee remains valid if your car is still under warranty. It also helps avoid huge, costly repairs.
* Reduce drag. Remove roof racks when they aren't in use, which will boost your fuel economy.
* Tune tyres. Follow the manufacturer's specifications and keep the pressure correct.
* Commute. Minimise travel costs by setting up a car pool with colleagues.