Q: What criteria do you use to determine your pence per mile figures? Take the new Ford Focus ST – in a certain weekly magazine they quote 51.5p, but on your site you quote 55p. I would like to set up an account now to purchase the car and factor in the running costs. The other problem might be insurance – I won't have had any for 16 years when I buy the car. I'm 50 this year with one speeding offence in 1991 – will this increase the premium? Charles Berry
A: Our pence per mile figures are calculated over three years and 36,000 miles and include depreciation, road tax, maintenance and fuel. Our figure may be higher than others you have seen because we think the car will depreciate at a faster rate or cost more to maintain.
As insurance costs vary widely, our figure doesn't include this, so you will have to take it into consideration.
Not having had insurance for so long will make you a bit of an unknown quantity for insurers, as you won't be able to point to any accident-free years at the wheel. Your age, however, will work in your favour, because older drivers are, in general, less of a risk than younger motorists. Once you've had a year's accident-free driving, the premiums will start to come down.
Your speeding offence should no longer be a consideration because it was so long ago. They're no longer included in 'totting up' bans (one which results from the accumulation of points for separate offences), because they only remain active for three years. After four years, you can also apply for a new licence which won't detail the offence.
Furthermore, after five years, convictions are considered spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. This means that if you were asked by a court or a policeman if you have any convictions, you are legally entitled to say no.