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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:-  29 May 2006

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EURO DRIVING LAWS CAUSING UK ROAD MAYHEM

SPEED limits, or lack of them, throughout continental Europe are making British drivers take their eye off the speedometer, according to new research from safe driver champion Privilege Insurance.

28% of British motorists who have driven abroad on
holiday say they have accidentally broken speed restrictions on their return after getting used to higher continental limits.  Less safe drivers, those without 4+ years no claims discount, are most likely to come back from continental Europe and speed (35%).

With the confusing range of speed limits across continental Europe's motorways, from 75mph (120kph) in Spain and Switzerland to Germany's almost limitless Autobahn, 49% of British drivers say they would like to see a universal speed limit applied across Europe.

The research by Privilege Insurance reveals the rise of 'speed tourism'.  Almost half a million (3%) British drivers say they have visited continental Europe specifically to drive at higher speeds, with men the biggest culprits.

Ian Parker, Managing Director of Privilege Insurance, said:- "With high numbers flocking to the World Cup and on holidays in continental Europe this summer, UK drivers may find themselves getting used to higher speed limits so should take extra care on their return to the UK. We know how tempting it can be to drive fast where speed limits are less rigid than in the UK, but almost 1 in 10 accidents happen when motorists are speeding so drivers need to be mindful of the speed limit to reduce the likelihood of accidents.  It is clear from our research that some British drivers are heading abroad specifically to drive faster than they would at home and are forgetting the upper UK speed limit of 70mph (112kph) when they get back."

Tips from Privilege for British motorists driving abroad:-

1) Check the speed limits in the country you are travelling too.

2) Remember that speed limits abroad are kilometres per hour not miles per hour.

3) When taking your own car abroad be sure to check the oil, the brake and clutch fluids, the screenwash, tyre pressures and the battery before
departure. A full service is recommended.

4) Before leaving the UK familiarise yourself with continental Europe's road signs.

5) Be aware of the different drink driving laws that apply throughout continental Europe, but remember that the safest way to ensure you are not over the limit is not to drink at all before driving.

6) Take some time to get used to driving a left-hand drive car before going out on busy roads.

7) Make sure luggage is balanced across the car, with heavy bags placed as close to the centre of the car as possible.

8) If you are using a roof rack, make sure it is as low as possible so that it does not cause wind resistance, and tie everything down firmly.

9) Take a Green Card, which is a document that shows you have insurance cover for the country you are visiting.

BRITS WASTE £1.5BN PER YEAR ON MOBILE PHONE INSURANCE

AROUND 25 million Brits are forking out £1.5 billion a year on mobile phone insurance when their phones could already be covered under their home and contents insurance policy.  With mobile phone cover often costing more than the handset itself, Age Concern Insurance Services in Wirral is urging people to check their existing home and contents insurance policies before forking out up to £100 for specialist mobile phone cover.

Mark Cheeseman, of Age Concern Wirral, says:- “Mobile phone insurance has become big business in the space of just a few years, but millions of people are actually paying twice to insure their mobile phones, once through their home and contents insurance and again for mobile phone insurance.”

This is an increasing problem for older people across Britain as more and more purchase mobile phones. New research conducted by Age Concern reveals that nearly 3/4 of over 50 year olds now own a mobile. However, many are new to the market and over 80% spend less than £10 per month on calls and texts.

“These findings show that many older people are actually paying more for their mobile phone insurance than for making calls and texts. We are concerned that older people, who have only recently bought a mobile phone, may fork out for expensive cover when there is a better and significantly cheaper option available to them”, Mark adds.

It’s not just high premiums that are leaving people out of pocket. Mobile phone insurance companies often refuse claims due to exclusions hidden in the small print. Most policies will not pay out if you mislay your phone and if your phone is stolen without the use of force your insurer is unlikely to settle your claim. Other typical exclusions include theft caused by deception, water damage and unauthorised call use after theft.

Mark Cheeseman continues:- “At Age Concern we are always mindful of explaining our policies very clearly and, where it is desired, offering additional cover to protect customers from loss or theft of their property such as mobile phones outside the home.”

For as little as 31p extra per week, depending on postcode or cover required, Age Concern offers optional ‘Special Possessions’ cover, available as part of the Age Concern home and contents insurance policy. This provides wide cover for personal property not only inside the home, but anywhere in the world. Personal possessions can be covered for their replacement cost, personal money up to £250 and credit cards up to a value of £500. All claims are also settled ‘new for old’ which means that lost items, or items damaged beyond repair, will be replaced with new, whatever their age.

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