Good luck with your insurer if you’ve an older car

CAR INSURANCE NEWS ROUNDUP: WEEK ENDED 29 MAY 2013:

Insurers just don’t know what to do with customers that drive significantly older cars, or at least that’s what it seems like according to the news this week!

So you drive a 30 year old Vauxhall Astra – good on you. It probably costs you more in maintenance than it does in car insurance cover, but watch out if you ever get into even the most minor of prangs – you’re likely to have it written off for an offensively low price, if this latest news story is any indication.

Apparently the write-off value of an L-reg Toyota Corolla is around 40 quid, even though the only thing wrong with it was a broken indicator glass – and the car’s owner, Lesley Hall, was absolutely livid when she found out. Ms Hall, a London native, was incredibly insulted, even going so far as to say that she would have rather not claimed at all if that was going to be the result.

Ms Hall has spent more than 40 years behind the wheel, she said, and never once has she ever put in a claim to any of her car insurance companies; in fact, she said she had a nine-year no-claim bonus. She would have never claimed for the damage done to her vehicle if she had known she didn’t have to, she reported.

However, once news spread of the absolutely terrible behaviour of her insurer, Ms Hall was gratified to learn that the company decided to backtrack to avoid the bad publicity. No longer writing off her vehicle for such a paltry sum, it will instead furnish her with an increased sum of £533 – better than nothing and possibly even enough to buy another L-reg vehicle if she wanted.

Of course she might be better off just having the side glass repaired and selling her vehicle to help finance the purchase of a newer car in a bit better condition. Industry experts say that many Brits are looking to do so in the current economy, but may be selling themselves short when it comes to getting the best price for their vehicles.

However, these same experts say that the best way to maximise your profits from an older car lies in keeping it in good nick. In fact, one car auctions expert says that if you simply keep your car clean you can increase the sale price by as much as 5 per cent – but this means more than just a quick rinse with the garden hose.

No, you’re going to have to give it more than just a once-over to get your rather tatty-looking vehicle back into shape. Yes, you can hit the outside with the hose to get the worst of the grime and mud off the car, but after that you really need to reach for a nice soapy sponge to get a deeper clean – and make sure you stay out of the sun, which will cause your car to dry much too quickly and could leave unsightly streaks across the paintwork.

Not only that, but don’t be thick and wash from the bottom and work your way up. Sir Isaac already explained the whole gravity thing; start at the top and work down, that way you can let the dirty water run down off your car and you won’t have to clean the same spot twice.

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