Insurance

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Andrewg11rover
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Insurance

Post by Andrewg11rover » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:16 pm

Maybe we should have this as a Topic in its own right?

Anyway, I thought I'd share some experiences about insurance based on my observations having today gone through the annual rigmarole of insuring my Rover 825.

I should say up front that I do have some insider industry knowledge; I am a freelance consultant to the retail Financial Services industry specialising in regulatory compliance, customer treatment, complaints management and business conduct generally, although I also hasten to add that I am affiliated to no firm and hold a candle for none of them, nor can I claim to be a motor insurance expert. Nor is there anything in what follows that should be read as advice - in fact the only advice I would give is that you should never trust an insurance company. I am not saying they are untrustworthy (I’m not saying they're trustworthy either!) but the relationship between an insurer and an insured is fundamentally a business contract; the sensible person does not allow trust to play any part in such a relationship and instead takes the time necessary to understand the contract.

Although the balance of power in that contractual relationship has historically always been in favour of the insurer - they have the knowledge and the resources to screw the customer if they are so inclined - tightened regulation and (arguably to an even greater extent) the internet has done a great deal to redress the balance and empower the customer. It has certainly made shopping around for the best deal much easier than it used to be, to the point that insurers are forced to compete quite ruthlessly for new business. This means that they are often obliged to quote at premium rates which are barely profitable and sometimes even loss-making (I know this can sometimes be hard to believe) in the hope that they can exploit the customer’s inertia when renewal time arrives by ramping the premium up to something more attractive (attractive to them, obviously, rather than attractive to the customer). Canny customers can, and should, exploit this tendency; certainly one should be reluctant to accept a renewal quotation straightaway, always be ready to shop around first.

The various price comparison websites have made shopping around much easier too, but they have their issues. My experience is that they aren’t always quite what they claim to be. When one clicks the selected firm offering that juicy quotation one is often forced to re-enter all of the information again onto the insurance firm’s website - and then get a message saying that the firm needs to contact you “to confirm details” or some such blather; which often means explaining to a real live person, for the third time, the details one has entered twice into two different websites. In my recent experience this conversation resulted in my being told that the quoted rate is “no longer available" and would I be prepared to accept a higher premium? No, I bloody well would not…

I also get frustrated with quotations from firms that are not in fact insurers but are just brokers - i.e. agents, representatives, middlemen. Sometimes the firm providing the quotation is a broker of broker; agents representing agents who represent an insurer. The chain between the insurer and the insured can get surprisingly complex. For example, I recently received a quote from Firm A, which I learned (after reading the small print) is in fact a trading name of Firm B. The covering letter came with a booklet branded with Firm C. The paperwork told me that “Your Insurance Agent” was in fact Firm D but the letter also thanked me for “choosing [Firm E] as your motor insurer” - which obviously I had not! Further reading revealed that Firm E “is a member company of the [Firm F] Group of Companies”. Even as an industry insider it took me a little effort to understand who I was actually seeking to buy buy insurance from and who might, if the worst should happen, be the firm considering my claim. Needless to say I am not impressed with this kind of obfuscation which is contrary to one of the principles of financial services regulation; that it should be abundantly clear to the customer with whom he or she is doing business. They didn’t get my business, despite their attractive premium.

As our cars are now borderline classics (let’s please avoid the debate!) my other experience is that some firms are indeed willing to consider them as classics and offer classic car insurance, which can be attractively priced. This seems to depend very much on the firm, and can vary from model to model in a seemingly quite arbitrary way.

Classic car insurance can be attractive from the viewpoint not just of price; it can also allow a value to be agreed. However, what also varies from firm to firm is the value they are prepared to agree! On this point, to be honest, an agreed value of, say, £2000 (which I guess is top-end for most 800s?) may not be worth paying good premium money for, if the valuation is only slightly higher than one would get from a normal, non-classic insurer. I mean, it might be worth it if the classic car premium is cheaper - but it isn’t always. At the moment, with realistic market values of 800s struggling to make four figures, I’m not sure an agreed value means much, but it’s obviously a matter for us to consider.

It also crosses my mind that if my car is realistically only worth a few hundred pounds as its replacement value (this has nothing to do with what it might owe me or its sentimental value, of course!) whether it is even worth insuring it comprehensively? In the end I have chosen to do so, because the premium I eventually settled upon was reasonable, but it wouldn't have taken a much higher premium for me to demur and revert to Third Party only, as we often did as young men and women driving old nails. Even then, I should also point out that Third Party Only, (or Third Party, Fire & Theft) is not as easy to get as it used to be, or as cheap.

The other point about agreed values is that it is obviously linked to the issue of agreed (“voluntary”) excesses. I tend to push the excess levels high, to try and get a cheaper quote, although depressingly it seems to make only a fractional difference to the premium. My viewpoint is that the hassle of making a claim, and the hassle for the next five years of declaring that claim in every single piece of insurance I buy (which in my case is a lot) only becomes worthwhile when my outlay is substantial, and probably in four figures. So if I did incur damage of £1000 or less I would probably pay for it myself rather than involve my insurer. On that basis, does it really matter what my agreed value is? - it is likely to be academic for anything short of a write-off.

Agreed values can also be an administrative pain to get agreement for - submission of photos, etc.

Classic car insurance can have other drawbacks, in my experience:

1. They are often on a limited mileage basis, which is perfectly fine if you don’t use the car much. But then modern policies these days are often on an agreed mileage basis, too.

2. Classic car insurers are not always willing to allow named drivers, so if your car is driven by more than one person this can be an issue.

3. Foreign use sometimes requires negotiation and an additional premium (even modern car insurance often only gives you basic third party cover sur le continent, comprehensive cover abroad is often an additional benefit that needs to be paid for). And if, like me, you do wish to take your 800 abroad occasionally that agreed value of £2000 or whatever probably isn’t going to be enough to make it worth the insurer’s while repatriating the car in the event of an little incident; it’s either a write-off, or you are contributing to its repatriation costs. (Unless you’re willing to allow a French garage to do the work? I thought not…)

4. Commuting use is not always available on classic car insurance - or if it is, it needs to be paid for. Ditto business use, for the self-employed amongst us (me included).

Don’t get me wrong, I love classic car insurance, and I have all my ‘true’ classics (let’s avoid the debate again!) insured thus, for really small cost. I insure my three P6s, my P5 and my P4 for substantial agreed values, all of them heavily and expensively modified, on a fleet basis, for less than £500, all in, including foreign use and even some basic breakdown cover. I think this is reasonable, to the point that I don’t always bother shopping around every year because the hassle of agreeing valuations and declaring all of the mods with a new insurer is not worth the saving I might make.

Yes, one can of course get classic car insurance with all of one's preferred benefits included but my experience is that you get to the point where it is as cheap, if not cheaper, to insure the car as a modern, if you can. What seems to be happening is that as modern car insurers become ever more careful about assessing in detail the individual risk they are taking on - the driver, the car, etc - they are becoming more like the specialist classic car insurers; the demarkation between modern and classic insurance seems to be getting quite blurred.

Which leads me to the other disadvantage of proper classic car insurance; it does not normally allow a NCB to be built up. This is either important to you, or not.

In the end, like everything else, you pays your money and you takes your choice (or rather the other way around) - you get a quotation based on your particular needs and circumstances and you read the small print before pressing the “pay now” button. I eventually insured my 825 coupe with Aviva, on a modern policy, up to 6000 miles (far more than I need), one year’s NCB, with commuting use but not business use, £350 excess, with my wife as a named driver, with full foreign use, and all the usual whistles & bells, for a £2500 valuation that I am sure realistically the insurer will argue the toss with if the worst does happen. (Aviva’s website valued it at £450, which seems a little harsh but it was pretty much the same valuation as other insurers’.) The premium was £256 which I guess reflects my age (50) and clean history, and my north London postcode, plus all of the many other mysterious factors which insurers take into account in the black art of assessing insurance risk.

The other thing I would say, based on my experiences, is that the really cheap quotes on that comparison website often seem to come from small firms you’ve never heard of. This can reflect the smaller firms’ willingness and ability to consider special risks; drivers with history, rarer cars, etc. However, it can also reflect the fact that the firm is truly rubbish! - but you don’t learn how rubbish they are until you need to rely on their administrative competence, and then you find out just how s**t they are. It is always dangerous to generalise, of course, and there are some very good small firms out there, but my experience is that the bigger firms tend to be the better, administratively. They have good websites that don’t drive you raving mad, and have call centres that are adequately staffed 24/7 (or at least well into the evening) by properly trained and supervised people. Believe me, once you have spent an hour on hold before getting through to a truly dim operative you will wonder whether that cheap premium was really worth the saving…

Best wishes

Andrew

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vito
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Re: Insurance

Post by vito » Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:40 pm

Linbrook insurance, 3k guaranteed value, salvage rights, 3000 miles restriction, 2 drivers 50 and 47, £160 per annum.
Gaz (or Gary if we're being formal)

Two Rover 2L turbos, one petrol, one diesel
97 Charleston Green Vitesse Coupe
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traineefarmer
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Re: Insurance

Post by traineefarmer » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:00 pm

An excellent guide there Andrew. Thank you very much for taking the time to post it. I didn't realise there were so many downfalls to classic cover, not that it is suitable for my needs anyway.

For the record, I use Swiftcover (AXA), 15k miles per year, £2500 declared value (not guaranteed), Business and commuting usage, one 35 yo driver with protected NCB, £190 per annum.
Tom.

'97 Vitesse Coupe
'03 XC90 D5

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vito
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Re: Insurance

Post by vito » Tue Oct 13, 2015 9:54 pm

traineefarmer wrote:£2500 declared value (not guaranteed).
When your back window or bumper breaks you'll get £300 market value.
Gaz (or Gary if we're being formal)

Two Rover 2L turbos, one petrol, one diesel
97 Charleston Green Vitesse Coupe
54 Nightfire 45 Club 2.0 diesel
52 Silver Spanish 1.8 Primera
07 Spanish 200cc Trial bike

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traineefarmer
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Re: Insurance

Post by traineefarmer » Wed Oct 14, 2015 7:28 am

I realise that, which is why I treat insurance purely as a legal necessity and tend to cover my own costs rather than ever make a claim. I could have valued it at £50 and it would have made no difference to the premium I paid. I simply entered what the car has cost me in bits and time to give me a starting point for a big argument if something really apocalyptic happens.
Tom.

'97 Vitesse Coupe
'03 XC90 D5

Andrewg11rover
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Re: Insurance

Post by Andrewg11rover » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:08 pm

I think that is the debate for all of us! - do we want the "guarantee", and are we willing to pay for it, bearing in mind the realistically low replacement value of an 800? Guaranteed values are good peace of mind of course but in my reading of small print I detect that the guarantees offered by insurers aren't always what we would like to think they are. Yes, if the insurer agrees, at the time of buying the insurance, that one's car is genuinely worth a market value of (say) £2000, and at the time of the total loss claim the insurer is happy to accept that the car has not depreciated or devalued (for whatever reason) from that figure, then in theory one should get the full £2000. But guarantee or not, no insurer will pay a total loss claim for more than the car's realistic worth at the time of claim - and as we know it doesn't take much for a car worth £2000 yesterday to be worth the square root of diddly-squat today; if it is nicked whilst it is currently SORNed and MOT-less, for example, or needs significant repair work, or just a new set of tyres. Insurers don't make money by paying bigger claims than they need to - and the power is massively on their side in these arguments.

Like Tom I am willing to take the risk of insuring a car that isn't really worth much for a value that is not agreed up front, on the basis that if I did lose it I can take the hit - and I'd rather have the smaller premium. I accept that in any event my valuation of the car is bound to be more than any insurer's valuation. (For example, Moneysupermarket.com valued my car at £145! - a car I bought a year ago for £1300. Grrr....) Whatever I agree now with an insurance company, guaranteed or otherwise, I doubt whether I would get more than a grand in the event of a total loss, for a car that owes me more than twice that. So I too am happy to have that debate with them at claim time, rather than pay more now for a guarantee that may not, in the event, make much difference to the eventual claim amount - but I can also see the attractiveness of having that debate at renewal time rather than claim time. You pays your money and you takes your choice...

I wouldn't mind so much if classic car insurance were much cheaper than ordinary 'modern' insurance but in my experience there seems to be little in it, once you've added the bits that classic insurance tends to leave out - the bits I do in fact need like a decent mileage limit, comprehensive foreign use, the ability to be insured whilst towing a trailer, commuting, named driver, etc, etc.

In the end the car's value and the risk of its loss isn't really a significant consideration for the insurer. A £2K loss claim is neither here nor there - although they will take steps to not pay a penny more than they have to. What insurers worry about is the big claims; the serious accidents involving third parties with significant personal injury that can result in claims in the hundreds of thousands and even millions. These risks have nothing to do with a car's value; putting jokes aside one is just as likely to be involved in such an accident in a scrappy old 800 as one is in an equivalently powerful new car worth £50K. Which I guess is why it doesn't cost that much less to insure a cheap car as it does to insure an expensive one; a £50K car is not fifty times more expensive to insure as a £1K car. But it still irritates that my virtually worthless 825 costs more to insure than my much higher value cars!

Best wishes

A

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George Snr
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Re: Insurance

Post by George Snr » Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:30 am

vito wrote:Linbrook insurance, 3k guaranteed value, salvage rights, 3000 miles restriction, 2 drivers 50 and 47, £160 per annum.
That sounds a really good quote, I'll give them a try next February when my insurance is due and most importantly is over 20 years old! :D
George

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Only 45 Rover 820 SLI left! (now down from 49 in 1st quarter of 2017)

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scoobyh123
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Re: Insurance

Post by scoobyh123 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:23 pm

A very interesting read there Andrew - a couple of things that not many people know about yet so i'm just giving a "bare fact", no names, no pack drill as it were but a certain member on here has just renewed their insurance on a classic policy with a £10k Agreed Valuation. Also my own coupé is now insured for considerably more than £2000 following someone offering me £5k in the street for it which i told the insurers at renewal time shortly after.
I'm not insured with Adrian Flux but according to another member on here who has both of their 800s insured with them, any 800 is worth at least £2k minimum. When you consider the 827 coupé is more than twice as rare as a Bugatti Veyron (81 827 coupés left Vs 175 and rising Bugattis - source howmanyleft.co.uk) and other 800 models must be getting close to that kind of rarity it's about time insurers started taking us seriously.

I like the idea of fleet insurance, after all you can only drive one at a time so the risk should be based on one car only plus a percentage on the others to cover fire or theft, not the full whack of five individual premiums.

As for your Frim A, Firm B through to Firm F scenario, it wasn't Lancaster/The Insurance Factory, Sureterm direct, Markerstudy etc(and i can't recall the other"aliases" they use without checking my paperwowk) was it? :?

Oh yeah - putting that smiley at the end of that sentence/question :? (the confused smiley) reminds me - many of the so-called comparison sites are actually owned by certain insurers. I think Aviva owns Go Compare, someone else owns Compare the Meerkat, Go Compare is owned by the Operatic Noise Abatement Society (well it should be because of their ads! :lol: ) or one of the other top underwriters and so on. I think there is only one comparison site that actually has the particulars of ownership on there - the others are being less than transparent which we all know (or should do) that transparency is one of the "golden rules" of the finanicial industry.

I have to say that like Tom i view insurance as a necessary evil to keep PC Plod etc happy and hopefully i'll never need to rely on any valuation from an insurer whether it gets paid or not. What does irk me is when people who don't actually care about their cars, drive like congenital half-wits and don't maintain their cars properly pay less for insurance than i or others like me who do look after and maintain their cars well, don't drive like Mario Andrettis blind cousin and do worry about putting the car in a dyke because it is the last one they're likely to own due to dwindling numbers.
Sadly there's no law against those people that drive like loonys etc but IMHO there should be! Yes i know there are laws about dangerous driving etc but you get the idea!
Cheers,
Dave


'94 827 Sterling saloon
'95 827 Coupé LPG
'88 Volvo 760 V6 Estate
All auto :D
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Alucard7002
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Re: Insurance

Post by Alucard7002 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:44 pm

I'm the one with Adrian Flux for both vehicles.

Much in the same way as you mentioned Andrew, I am with Flux while underwritten by Liverpool Victoria.

Both cars are insured fully comp with an agreed value of £2000 on both.

Vitesse is 3000 miles per year - S D & P only
820 is 12,000 miles per year - S D & P Commuting and Business use (combined mileage not to exceed 12k)

Vitesse has 3 years NCD Vehicle owned for less than 1 year
820 has 5 years NCD Vehicle owned for over 5 years

Both cost me ~£600 per year. I am 24 years old.

Neither are on a classic policy, they come under Adrian Flux's modified car policy. All mods are declared and covered for their replacement value. (Spare parts stored in my lockup are also covered up to £2000 per policy.)

As the TOTAL insured amount is STILL under £5000 per car both vehicles are deemed "nails" as their value is so low compared to say a new 3 door Korean shopping trolley....

Whatever provider has UK call centres, good claims handling, fully comp then cheapest has my business. This year is Adrian Flux, last year was Aviva however after the complete DEBACLE consisting of them failing to correctly handle a fraudulent claim against me, I will never use them again for any insurance whatsoever.

My 2 penneth worth :-)
Dušan

2001 Lexus LS430

Previous:
1999 820Si - BRG - SOLD!
1997 820 Vitesse - Pewter Grey - SCRAPPED
2007 Ford Transit - SOLD!
1993 827 Sterling - British Racing Green - SCRAPPED
1997 820 Sterling - Zircon Silver - CRASHED

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scoobyh123
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Re: Insurance

Post by scoobyh123 » Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:34 pm

Alucard7002 wrote: As the TOTAL insured amount is STILL under £5000 per car both vehicles are deemed "nails" as their value is so low compared to say a new 3 door Korean shopping trolley....

Whatever provider has UK call centres, good claims handling, fully comp then cheapest has my business. This last year was Aviva however after the complete DEBACLE consisting of them failing to correctly handle a fraudulent claim against me, I will never use them again for any insurance whatsoever.

My 2 penneth worth :-)

I'm obviously out of touch with car prices at the errrr.........budget end of the market! I thought 3-door Korean Shopping Trolleys were only about £5k new! :shock:

It's funny, i know of someone else who won't go near Aviva (or Kwik-Fit insurance brokers) for exactly the same reason. Allegedly he reversed his *Nightfryer Red 1.8t 75 into this third partys car and scratched it. Not a mark on his rear bumper and despite various loss adjusters from both sides agreeing there is no claim to answer, Aviva are still attempting to pursue it! Similar debacle to yours by any chance?

Totally off-topic, you left your green-paint-covered prydriver on his gravel the other day - now safely tucked in my shed pending next visit or monthly meet. :wink: :D


* A special shade of Nightfire Red for K-series cars as the engines fry themselves! :wink: :lol:
Cheers,
Dave


'94 827 Sterling saloon
'95 827 Coupé LPG
'88 Volvo 760 V6 Estate
All auto :D
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zcar12
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Re: Insurance

Post by zcar12 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:50 pm

My number one son has been learning to drive after holding a provisional license for 10 years, purely for ID purposes. After 10-12 lessons, there is no sign of him taking the test. So I thought I would get an insurance quote on a separate policy for him to drive my 820 on a provisional license. I was very surprised to get a quote from Halifax which came in at £143.85. I cant see him getting affordable insurance to drive my Mondeo. The thinking is that it may be more cost effective for him to drive my 820 as a learner driver, with me as a passenger, as I get the impression that his present instructor is dragging things out. I only needed 10 lessons before my own test which I passed first time. Good idea or not?

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edenrob
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Re: Insurance

Post by edenrob » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:00 pm

zcar12 wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 2:50 pm
My number one son has been learning to drive after holding a provisional license for 10 years, purely for ID purposes. After 10-12 lessons, there is no sign of him taking the test. So I thought I would get an insurance quote on a separate policy for him to drive my 820 on a provisional license. I was very surprised to get a quote from Halifax which came in at £143.85. I cant see him getting affordable insurance to drive my Mondeo. The thinking is that it may be more cost effective for him to drive my 820 as a learner driver, with me as a passenger, as I get the impression that his present instructor is dragging things out. I only needed 10 lessons before my own test which I passed first time. Good idea or not?
I suspect that you took your test some time ago and when being able to physically control the car was enough to pass. Ten lessons would be woefully inadequate today.The demands of the modern test far exceed those of yonder year. As a former ADI I'm probably biased too an extent but I would suggest that your supervision should only be complimentary to real lessons from a professional who can prepare your son for the rest of his life in a way that you probably can't.
BTW the format of the test is due for changes again in December so he will need to be aware of those changes.
Rob
1997 820T Coupe Zircon
Previous Rovers
1979 2.6 SD1
1982 214
1989 213 (Gunmetal)
1993 820 Fastback (BRG)
1997 825D Fastback (Nightfire)
2002 ZS 180

zcar12
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Re: Insurance

Post by zcar12 » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:40 pm

Thank you Rob, your comment was very helpful. My test was back in 1961 so things have most likely changed since my younger years.

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scoobyh123
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Re: Insurance

Post by scoobyh123 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:57 am

As my instructor said to me when i passed my test (32 years ago now) - "Now you start learning to drive".

When i asked what he meant, he explained he had only taught me to pass the test and the real learning would come from actually driving.

What Rob ^^^^^ says above is very relevant as the tests have changed, for a start there are now separate theory and hazard perception tests in addition to the actual practical driving test.

The bit i don't understand is that despite the more rigorous test, driving standards seem to have dropped in general but particularly in the younger generation of motorists. :shock:
Cheers,
Dave


'94 827 Sterling saloon
'95 827 Coupé LPG
'88 Volvo 760 V6 Estate
All auto :D
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zcar12
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Re: Insurance

Post by zcar12 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 10:53 am

Thank you gentlemen, my knowledge of modern driving tests has increased. I think I will leave the teaching of my son to a professional instructor after all.

I have also noticed that driving standards seem to be falling. In 2003, I met a young man who was trying to overtake a bus on a blind bend. My Rover got off light, only needing a new wing, new door, a wheel, a tire which exploded, and a wing mirror . His car, a Nova, was totally wrecked. He subsequently told us that he had passed his test only two weeks prior to the accident. He was offered a driver improvement course but refused it, was prosecuted and received 6 points on his license. It took me 3 years to get Norwich Union to pay out on his insurance, they only paid after receiving a small claims court summons. Then I was penalized by my own insurance company with a higher premium for an accident that was impossible to avoid.

I have noticed that certain days seem worse than others for bad driving, The Danish astronomer Tycho Brae, made a list of days that were more fortunate than others. To this day, Danes often talk about "A Tycho Brae day" , where what could go wrong, actually does go wrong. I sometimes wonder if there actually are some good days and bad days, or it is all just perception. I have noticed that some days are better than others concerning the standard if driving on the road.

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