Insurance advice for summer driving

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Insurance advice for summer driving
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What Car? Staff
20 Aug 2012 10:17

We all love to get away from it all but there are implications for your motor insurance if you are heading off over the summer.

If you are taking your car on holiday, bear in mind that the typical limit for personal possessions on a car insurance policy is usually between 250 and 500 and that's unlikely to cover everything you need for a week or more.

You can fill the gap by taking out personal possessions cover that protects your belongings outside the home alongside your home contents policy.

This will usually cover you for unspecified items up to a value of about 1,500, so you may still need to mention items on the policy if you are planning to take any very valuable possessions with you.
If you plan to use a roofbox to house some of your stuff, meanwhile, remember that if it is properly fitted, you could find any related claim is rejected.

It is therefore sensible to have it put on your car at the store if possible, or to make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions if you do it yourself.

The same is true of bike racks, while both should be kept locked at all times to deter opportunistic thieves and prevent anything falling out while you are driving.

Raising the roof
If you have a convertible car you need to take extra care of your possessions once the roof is off.

It is easy for lightweight items to fly off when you are travelling at speed, and leaving anything even remotely valuable on view while you are parked up is a definite no-no.

It is also worth remembering that convertible car insurance policies do not offer the same level of personal accident cover as those for standard vehicles due to the increased risk should the car roll, for example.

Living on the open road
For many British motorists, summer means weekends and weeks spent getting back to nature in a campervan or caravan.

But if you are going to tow a caravan, remember to check your car insurance to make sure you won't invalidate your cover by doing so.

You should also take out a separate policy protecting you against damage to the caravan itself, as well as its contents.

Racking up the miles
Whether or not you are heading off with a caravan, you will have been required to state your annual mileage when taking out your car insurance policy. This is because you are more likely to be involved in an accident the more miles you drive hence the existence of low mileage discounts.

Breach the mileage limit set, however, and your insurer could refuse to pay out on any claims.

So if you think that summer road trips especially long journeys are likely to push you above the limit stated on your policy, give your insurer a call to see if you can extend it.

You might be asked to pay a bit more for the extra cover, but at least this way you know that you will be covered should anything go wrong.

Other useful tips for long journeys include checking your tyre pressure beforehand and saving fuel by avoiding running the air conditioning especially if you have the windows open.

It is also sensible to take a 20-minute rest every couple of hours to prevent over-tiredness and to share the driving if possible.
Don't forget breakdown cover

Breakdown cover should be an essential for any motorist, but it is particularly important if you do a lot of driving. Not only are the chances of you breaking down higher, but there is also a greater risk that if it happens, you will be a considerable distance from home.

You can get a comprehensive breakdown policy for as little as 30. If you'll be taking your car abroad in the summer, don't forget to purchase a policy that includes European breakdown cover protection. Again this needn't be expensive. Policies start from around 60 which is considerably less than you would have to fork out if you had to pay to have your car relayed back from France.

This article has been researched and written by's car insurance partner, MoneySupermarket