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Top Tips for Saving Money on your Van Insurance

As the new year beckons many of us will be making new year’s resolutions, and on top of most people’s list you can probably expect to find “save more money!” Yes we would all like to save a little more money next year and save up for something special, and so we thought it would be the perfect time to give you some advice on how you can save money on your van insurance policy:

Payment

It may seem annoying at the time, but one of the main ways in which you can save on your van insurance is to pay it off all in one go. It is tempting to spread the cost over the year, but by doing this you will incur interest and end up paying a considerable amount more.

It will be a big upfront cost to pay it off in one go, but this way you will avoid the interest and the rest of the year you don’t have to worry about paying it, which will mean your month outgoings for 11 months of the year will be lower, giving you more money to save!

Excess

Another way in which you can save money on your van insurance premium is to increase the excess on the policy. The more you are willing to pay out in the event of a crash the less the insurer has to and so will give you a lower premium rate.

Of course this can be a risk as you will have to pay out in the event of a crash, but if you can stay claim free you will have saved yourself a few quid and also improved you no claims bonus in the process, which will also help reduce your insurance premium!

Security

One of the simplest ways to save money on your commercial van insurance is to make it so that it is less likely your van will be stolen, which will make it less likely that the insurer has to pay out, which means they can give you a lower premium.

It sounds obvious, but there are many easy ways of protecting your van that many people miss. Parking in a garage as opposed to on a street, adding a steering lock, having an alarm fitted or using a tracker can all prevent theft and in doing so can reduce your insurance premiums.

So there you have it, a few easy ways to protect your commercial vehicle and save some money on your van insurance in 2012.

Security Vans to be “Pimped” with Televisions

It has been announced by security firm, G4S, that future prison vans are to come equipped with televisions and DVD players. This is some surprising news that is, frankly, a little bewildering at first.

Reasons for the Scheme

The flat-screen televisions are however being introduced as part of a cunning plan to reduce the anxiety of the prisoners as they are driven between jails or to court. These are therefore no ordinary commercial vehicles, and they probably do not even come with ordinary, run of the mill, commercial vehicle insurance.

G4S have also fitted the televisions and DVD systems in an attempt to, in the long run, reduce the cost of repairing the interiors of the vehicles which are often damaged by violent, fired-up inmates.

The introduction of the technologies will also, hopefully, reduce the amount of prisoners who decide to self harm in the back of the security vans.

David Denney, G4S Director, has been explaining: “Prisoners sometimes have to be transported long distances. Many prisoners suffer from a variety of mental illnesses and disabilities including anxiety and claustrophobia. These conditions have been considered when designing our fleet of vehicles.”

Criticism

So far they are only planning to install the televisions and DVD players in two vehicles in Scotland. However, inevitably, critics have already attacked the proposed scheme.

Labour justice spokesman, Lewis Macdonald, has been quoted saying: “People will be asking whether it is the best use of public money to let prisoners watch a movie when they are going to court to be tried for serious crimes.” When put like that, it does sound a little ridiculous.

Furthermore, some charities have condemned the plan as “outrageous” and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

However, when considering the reasons giving above, it is an understandable scheme, and since it is only to be trialled in two vehicles, I think it will be interesting to see if it actually works. If it genuinely saves money in the long run as a result of a reduced amount of repairs needing to be made, which can be expensive, and it calms prisoners enabling them to remain level headed, then I say give it a chance.

Vauxhall Swap Scheme Extended

Vauxhall has announced that it will extend its scheme to allow owners of Vauxhall vans to swap their old vehicles for newer models in order to help avoid the London Low Emission Zone (LEZ). They have offered between £3,000 and £7,500 off a new Vauxhall Commercial Vehicle for all Vauxhall customers who own a van that was registered as new before 1st January 2002.

New Regulations

This is indeed a rather generous offer from Vauxhall, and it will undoubtedly be welcomed by Vauxhall owners across the UK. The prospect of having to pay full price for a new van, and a new van insurance quote, would certainly be a bit of a stressful situation for anyone, especially at the start of a New Year. Such savings are therefore likely to assist owners with their commercial van insurance payments while also reducing the initial payment on a wonderful new van.

The LEZ comes in at the start of the New Year and from 3rd January, commercial vehicles that weigh 3.5 tonnes GVW or below, that are registered as new before 1st January 2002, will have to comply with the daily LEZ charges.

Vauxhall Vans Included

The savings on the range of Vauxhall’s includes a lovely £3,000 off a brand new Corsavan, which is a very popular little van! Those that need bigger space requirements will be able to get £7,500 off the price of a new Movano when swapping an old van.

Further models that will allow owners to make great savings include the Astravan, Combo and Vivaro as well as all panel vans and chassis cabs. The Vivaro 9 Seat Combi is also included.

The discounts are running until 30th March 2012, so, if you are eligible, it might be a great idea to head down to your local Vauxhall dealer to have a look at some cracking new vans.

With so much fantastic competition out there these days, certain commercial vehicle manufacturers really are finding new ways to try to set themselves apart from the others. This could now prove to be a great marketing scheme by Vauxhall.

Van Prices Rising

Manheim Remarketing has been explaining that the average wholesale used van value has increased by 2.6% from November 2010 to November 2011. This increase comes at a time when van sales have indeed been rising, and with it, now it has become evidential that the price has also increased.

Popularity Increasing

Commercial vehicles are proving more and more popular, and as we suggested in a previous blog post, that hopefully means more businesses are now making use of vans, which can only be positive at a time when the economy is in such a difficult state.

Director of Commercial Vehicles, at Manheim Remarketing, James Davis, has been quoted saying: “I have been saying for some time that the wholesale van market is robust and bucking the economic trends and here is further proof.” Yes indeed, and it is great news!

He went on to add: “No doubt the wholesale market is in its usual period of festive seasonality but it has been encouraging to see auction halls and Simulcast screens busy with active buyers throughout the country; albeit they are selective on high mileage, damaged and duplicate vehicles.”

Furthermore he stated: “The seasonal uplift for 4x4s is strong on the back of predictions of a long white winter ahead. We have not seen the usual influx of van de-fleet volume in Q4 so we should see a very brisk and buoyant January with conversion rates soaring and a very healthy start to the 2012 wholesale van market.” This all sounds very positive, and it is apparent that many families have been preparing for the winter by buying 4x4s in favour of smaller cars.

Bag a Bargain

In years gone by, the majority of buyers have chosen to wait until the New Year in order to purchase the van they want, whereas now it seems that this year it has been the exact opposite with higher numbers of people buying before the close of the year.

So during the festive and New Year period, commercial vehicle insurance companies are being kept very busy! Perhaps those hurrying to buy vans now are hoping to bag a bargain while they can, especially if prices for second hand commercial vans continue to rise!

Commercial Vehicle Sales Rise

It has been revealed that van and truck registrations in the UK have largely increased in recent months. From October 2011 to November 2011 there was an increase of 19.1%. That’s a huge rise from one month to the next! The year on year rise is also very positive at 18.6%.

Trending Upwards

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed the impressive information that gives evidence to the notion that the commercial vehicle industry has continued its upward trend. In the current economic climate this is very impressive and great news as it suggests that companies and businesses of all shapes and sizes are becoming more and more reliant on the use of a commercial van.

The amount of vans and trucks purchased here in the UK has shot up to 27,187 units in November. This has indicated that confidence is indeed returning to the market.

SMMT Upbeat

Paul Everitt, the Chief Executive of SMMT, has been commenting on the recent figures: “November saw the commercial vehicle market continue on its upward trend with 19.1% more registrations in the month. Both the van and truck market saw growth, building on the strong market we’ve seen throughout this year. London’s new Low Emission Zone comes into effect on 3rd January, requiring drivers of older vans and trucks to upgrade their vehicles, so we expect to see a slight last minute boost to registration levels.”

Mr Everitt is therefore feeling very upbeat with regard to the commercial vehicle market, and it seems that the number of van insurance quotes is likely to rise also, which is great news for insurers of commercial vehicles.

Great Competition

We’ve recently blogged about some fantastic new vans that have been launched, such as the Kangoo Z.E. and the Transit Connect amongst many others. With a growing choice within the commercial vehicle sector, and with some of the best manufacturers in the world producing some cracking vans, such as Mercedes, Volkswagen, Renault and Ford, it is not a great surprise to find that the number of sales in the commercial vehicle market is increasing. Long may this continue!

Sprinter Vans Targeted by Thieves

Van drivers are being told in Durham to guard their vehicles carefully over coming weeks following a number of catalytic converter thefts in the area. However, it seems that one particular model is being targeted by thieves: the Mercedes Sprinter van.

Police have stated that there have been, in the last fortnight alone, around 20 separate thefts of catalytic converters from Mercedes Sprinter vans. That is a rather staggering amount, and something that needs to be avoided.

Dual Catalytic Converters

It is thought that the reason thieves are attacking Sprinter vans as opposed to any other vans, is because they have dual catalytic converters, rather than the standard single issue converters. This makes the catalytic converter from the Mercedes Sprinter worth a whole lot more money which thieves will then try to sell on at dealers or recycling yards.

Thieves often know exactly where to go in order to find someone who won’t ask too many questions regarding the stolen goods. This is one highly immoral practice!

It has also been reported that almost all of the thefts have taken place over night whilst the vehicle has been parked on a road or in someone’s driveway.

Lock it up in a Garage

Paul Gray, Detective Sergeant of Durham Constabulary, has been commenting on the issue: “There is of course a cost implication, as catalytic converters cost several hundred pounds to replace. But Mercedes Sprinter vans are commercial vehicles, which means the victims of these thefts are also suffering major disruption to their livelihoods.” Whilst some commercial van insurance policies may cover the cost, the van driver is still left unable to work for a certain amount of time until the vehicle is put right. Hence the disruption Mr Gray speaks of that can be caused to van drivers livelihoods.

Mr Gray added: “We are making regular visits to yards and asking owners to report any instances of someone bringing in these items. In the meantime, we would urge anyone who owns one of these vans to keep it stored in a garage if possible, and to call us if they think their vehicle has been tampered with.”

Wise words and ones that should be followed! If a scrap yard were to accept the stolen item without reporting it, then they are proving to be just as irresponsible in this instance.

Electric Transit Connect

On Monday we blogged about the news that the much loved, and incredibly successful, Ford Transit van was going to be built in the US as of 2013 onwards, and now, today, we bring you the news that the green Transit is to be updated for 2012. Yes that’s right, the new all electric Ford Transit is on the horizon.

The Transit Connect is primarily aimed at fleet owners who want to save on fuel and maintenance costs, and Torque News has been discussing the van after performing a road test.

No Longer a Pipedream

The original electric van was a very interesting step by Ford in their bid to become an environmentally friendly manufacturer, much like many other vehicle manufacturers these days.

The 2012 Connect will have an electric drive train, which has been designed by Azure Dynamics, which is a company with a rich history in electric vehicle design that dates back to the early 90s; a time when electric cars were a mere pipedream for a futuristic world. We are now, it seems, living in that futuristic world and electric cars are no longer a pipedream, but a reality.

Here Come the Stats

The Connect will come fitted with a Siemens AC motor, an AC controller, and a battery pack from Johnson Controls. The battery pack, Azure Dynamics has claimed, will achieve a range of 60-80 miles, which isn’t bad at all! This will however depend on how heavy the vehicle is at the time.

The commercial vehicle will take around 6-8 hours to charge and will reach 75 mph, which is more than enough when you consider that this particular van will be used in towns and cities by those who have larger fleets of vans. Of course, whilst saving owners money on their fuel, the van is also very likely to have a lower commercial vehicle insurance premium.

Alternative Fuels

With alternative fuels being developed in order to one day replace petrol and diesel it is great to see the big players focusing on producing electric vehicles alongside their petrol and diesel alternatives. Or is it? Electric vehicles do consume a huge amount of energy when being built. They also consume a huge amount of electricity once on the road, and ultimately a huge proportion of electricity is produced through the burning of fossil fuels, which causes a vast amount of pollution, and is the very resource that is running out resulting in the search for alternative fuels. Perhaps electric cars are not such a great alternative after all?

It’s certainly an interesting issue, and it would be great to hear your thoughts on it.

Transit Van to Touch Down Stateside

As part of Ford’s global reach, they will now begin building the Transit van for the American market at the Kansas City plant in Missouri from 2013 onwards. This comes as part of the planned $1.1 billion overhaul of the Missouri plant.

The Transit has been in production for over 45 years and has sold over 6 million units. The Transit is undoubtedly the best selling van in the UK and Europe, and it has been sold in a wide range of configurations in order to cope with a whole multitude of roads and uses. The different configurations include front, rear and four wheel drive, three varieties of roof heights, four differing lengths, and it has also been sold as a van, a minibus, a cab and chassis and cutaway chassis.

Kerb Hopping

Currently it looks like the US market will receive the rear wheel drive version of the Transit, whilst a four wheel drive version is likely to be in the pipeline for the future.

Ford have stated that they are proud of the way in which the Transit has been able to deal with the kerbs in Europe as it can easily hop the kerbs, something many van drivers, such as couriers for example, commonly need to do. The company have said that they will have to test the kerbs in America for durability reasons as they are generally a lot higher than the kerbs in Europe.

The Transit can be purchased with a variety of different specifications under the bonnet also. The range includes the 2.2 and 2.4 litre four cylinder engines and the larger, beefier, 3.2 litre five cylinder turbo diesel engine. The latter is likely to increase those van insurance quotes however. The Transit can also be fitted with a five or six speed manual transmission.

In terms of power output, the 2.2 litre engine will deliver between 100 and 155bhp, whilst the 3.2 will kick out around 200bhp. That’s pretty impressive from a van.

More Power

The American Transit is, however, rumoured to be receiving a 3.7 litre V6 that comes straight out of the Ford F150 pickup truck. This will mean that the American Transit van will produce a whopping 300bhp. If this is true, then the American Transit van is likely to be one tasty vehicle!

This makes me wonder, will we see European Transit’s receive the same sort of performance in the future or will we see European Transit drivers importing the American cousin? I’m tempted and I’m not even a van driver!

The 2012 Van of the Year is…

The ‘Van of the Year 2012’ has already been announced, and it is the Renault Kangoo Z.E. A panel of twenty two journalists that specialise in commercial vehicles decided the winner. It’s a great result for the French manufacturer and it is also the first time an electric vehicle has won the coveted prize. This simply emphasises the magnitude of the triumph by Renault.

Worthy Winner

The Kangoo was up against some very stiff competition, including the likes of the Volkswagen Caddy, the Fiat Ducato, and Iveco Daily. The Renault scored a total of 104 points out of a possible 168.

The Director of the Renault Light Commercial Vehicle division, Jean-Marie Hurtiger, has expressed his joy and pride at winning the prestigious award: “This prize rewards the work of the people at Renault who have worked for several years on the Kangoo Van Z.E., one of Renault’s four electric vehicles to be launched in the next ten months. All of the company’s functions were involved in the adventure, including the design office, the Maubeuge plant and sales.”

He went on to add further praise: “They met the challenge in a remarkable manner, showing determination, creativity and – above all – an excellent team spirit that has now produced results.”

Great Value

The Kangoo Z.E. is available in two body lengths, both of which come with the same internal dimensions as the diesel powered version. The electric van can also carry the same weight in the back and is also relatively cheap. It starts at just £16,990 plus VAT, which isn’t bad value for money! However, the batteries are not included as these have to be “hired” from the manufacturer.

Electric vehicles are also known for lowering insurance premiums, and so it is likely that you will save money in the long run on a commercial van insurance quote. All in all the electric Kangoo looks to be a brilliant little package, and Renault are confident that consumers will be making their way to their local dealerships in due course.

Thugs Must be Caught

Scotland’s busiest motorway, the M8, has seen numerous dangerous incidents recently, the latest of which was when mindless thugs threw a block of ice from a bridge which smashed the windscreen of a van.

Luckily the driver was okay, and his commercial vehicle insurance should cover the incident, however he was, understandably, shook up; the incident could have been lethal for the van driver and for numerous other motorists on the busy motorway at the time.

Other Incidents

Just 48 hours earlier, another motorist on the M8 escaped serious injuries when a large brick was thrown from the very same bridge. The brick hit the motorist’s roof, but luckily did not cause any harm to the driver, apart from the shock of course.

Simon Bradshaw, an inspector, has been quoted saying: “By compromising the vision of one driver, the lives of everyone on that road are put in danger. Both these incidents could have caused multiple fatalities.”

It is thought that the attacks mimicked incidents that happened just a few days before when thugs decided to throw concrete blocks on to two cars on the A12 in Essex. This incident left one female driver seriously injured and another in a state of trauma. A senior officer has said: “We can’t rule out that there was a copycat element to this.”

Meanwhile, Inspector Bradshaw commented: “This type of incident has been a problem off and on for a while.” He has also appealed for any witnesses.

Reward Incentive

Police are treating the incidents as attempted murder and the charity, Crimestoppers, have offered a £3000 reward for anyone to catch the offenders.

It is absolutely shameful and appalling that people could be so thoughtless to choose to hurl ice and bricks from bridges towards vehicles travelling at 70mph. These mindless thugs need to be caught and dealt with appropriately. This sort of thing simply cannot happen again!

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W E Bedford Insurance Services (Wimbledon) Ltd, 265-269 Kingston Road, Wimbledon,
London, SW19 3FW is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
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