Tag Archives: insurance

Cutting the cost of motoring

During the recession we all scrimped where we could which was understandable. But there are some false economies relating to cutting back on car maintenance and other areas where you can probably save more money today, as follows.

1 Tyres


Common-sense tells us that tyre safety is critical.

We know that tyre tread levels should be a minimum of 1.6mm but did you know that at 3mm your tyres are approximately 78% worn?

This is when we recommend you go tyre shopping for as good a tyre deal as you can negotiate for the best tyre you can then afford.

When it comes to your personal safety and that of other motorists and pedestrians there are some economies that simply aren’t worth risking lives for.

To be precise:

+ Cheap tyres are likely to wear out quicker and can therefore be more expensive in the end than premium brands.

+ Never buy part worn tyres – you don’t know where they have been or why they are for sale.

+ Never fit different types or sizes of tyres on the same axle.

+ Use the tyres specified in the handbook for safe road grip, controlled steering, balanced suspension and ride quality.

Please see our new Female Friendly Tyre Services Register for details of businesses that have signed the FOXY Lady Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women anything they don’t need.’

2 Car Servicing

car-repairs-at-rip-off-garagesSome motorists seem able to ignore the depreciation of a new car (c60% of typical costs in 3 years) and not worry too much about car maintenance in those early years.

They prefer to rely on regular dealership servicing to keep their car street legal.

That’s their choice of course but, where you are cost conscious and footing the bill yourself, you can easily end up spending more on car servicing than you need to.

It’s important to relate all this to your annual mileage of course, and to understand why investing in regular car maintenance and car servicing WILL make sound financial sense in the end.

+ Unsurprisingly high mileage cars deserve a full service every year and providing they get this, high motorway mileage is kinder on engines than short local journeys when the engine rarely gets warm.

+ At the opposite end of the scale, assuming an annual mileage of c5000 miles or less, if you can keep a cherished family car running for longer this is definitely going to be your cheapest motoring choice, providing you change the engine oil and filters once a year as a minimum, interspersing an interim and full car service every other year.

3 Why clean oils matter

oilpressuregauge192x177Dirty oil and filters mean that bits of metal swarf/shavings will be circulating around your car engine, doing unforeseen and always expensive damage by wearing parts out so they need replacing sooner than they would do if lubricated by clean oils. Best to get into a habit of changing the oil regularly…

Always use the oil that is recommended in your car’s handbook. When you know what your car needs, shop around to see where it’s cheapest. If you want a local garage to use your oil make sure you specify this ahead of the car service.
The FOXY jury is out when it comes to engine flushing oils. The likes of Forte Oils and garages that are members of the Good Garage Scheme will sell you these as an extra at each oil change. Some garages swear by them, claiming better engine performance, whereas other experts say that this can be particularly risky when it’s an old engine in case the actual ‘flushing’ process dislodges more than it was intended to. Few motorists realise they can say ‘no’ to recommended engine flushing oils here.

4 Choosing a franchised dealer or independent garage

Screenshot-19It used to be said that independent garages were the better servicing choice because they are likely to be cheaper than franchised dealers but that is rarely the full story.

Our experience is that you should still shop around as some franchised dealers are extremely competitive in terms of attracting servicing business for older models and too many independent garages employ unlicensed mechanics to repair cars – you can check this at the IMI’s Professional Register.

To be precise…

+ New cars don’t have to be serviced by a franchised dealer during the manufacturer’s warranty period but it must always be serviced according to their recommended schedule and criteria, using only manufacturer approved parts. NB: Check insurance-backed extended warranties offered by dealers for different conditions.

+ If you get the car serviced by an independent you must make sure it’s done to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule and criteria using approved parts. You must also keep records so you can demonstrate to the manufacturer, if necessary, that servicing WAS undertaken to their requirements.

+ We recommend that manufacturer warranty work is undertaken by the nearest franchised dealer as it will be easier for them to deal directly with the manufacturer on your behalf.

Please see our new Female Friendly FOXY Lady Approved network of independent and franchised garages that have signed the FOXY Lady Promise to ‘never overcharge, patronise or sell women anything they don’t need.’ We look for measurable signs of quality before they sign up and we then measure their performance through a compliance process including regular feedback from women drivers including Club members.

5 Buying car insurance for women

We are determined to cut the cost of car insurance for women drivers at FOXY Lady Insurance by doing this within FOXY Lady Drivers Club. All you have to do is register for a quote now and we’ll contact you at renewal time to see if we can beat your best quote.

In this way we are reinstating the previous premium advantage most women drivers enjoyed on the basis of statistical evidence of their safer driving prior to the Gender Directive in 2012.

As a result of this ability to ring fence an insurance service for Club members who are also safer drivers we expect to reduce insurance premiums for an estimated 9 out of 10 female members based on the experience of our insurance broker, Cornmarket Insurance Services, gained whilst looking after the IAM scheme.

NB: Women who are not members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club will receive a special one-off gift membership (worth £20) when they buy FOXY Lady Insurance in 2015.

6 Miscellany

It makes sense to go along to a local ladies garage evening to find out what car maintenance you can do for yourself – this should include oil and water top up, tyre checks and lights as a minimum.

As sure as summer follows spring, expensive bills are likely to follow misfuelling (and driving afterwards, regardless), failing to replace a cambelt in time (always check this before buying a used car) and when your catalytic converter packs up. So keep your eyes open in these instances.

If you can get into the habit of checking your tyres regularly and looking out for any signs of punctures, rim/alloy or kerb damage you will be able to get your expensive tyres repaired and keep them going/safer for longer.

And when it comes to your air conditioning system, it’s best to have this serviced/re-gassed every 30,000 miles or so to ensure its efficiency when you need it most.

Sadly changing light bulbs can be expensive costing c£90 (mainly labour charges) on certain models where the individual motorist can’t do this for themselves. Ridiculous but true.

If you’d like help in any of these areas, it makes sense to join FOXY Lady Drivers Club for just £2 per month to have us handy when you need advice and support.


A new insurance service for women

I am delighted to announce that FOXY Lady Insurance has appointed Cornmarket Insurance Services to provide car, classic car, home, motorcycle and travel insurance for members of FOXY Lady Drivers Club.

cornmarket_logoCornmarket is a specialist broker that looks after the IAM and Bank of Ireland customers as well as teachers, motorbikers and truck drivers. They know all about affinity groups like ours and recognise that FOXY is doing all it can to help women drivers be safer drivers in future.

This is the ideal opportunity to reward Club members who are safer drivers.


As a special launch offer, subject to confirmation, we are also making this service available to non member females who will each receive a gift membership of FOXY Lady Drivers Club, qualifying for preferential insurance rates in this way.

Previously FOXY worked with individual brokers who committed to our FOXY Lady Approved standards but today’s central scheme is more beneficial as the likely volume will result in better rates for Club members.

In fact Cornmarket’s experience is that they can cut the cost of car insurance for 9 out of 10 Club members*.


*based on new car insurance quotations provided by Cornmarket Insurance Services to the Institute of Advanced Motorists’ members from 2008 to now.

And let’s face it, it’s price that matters first followed by knowledgeable customer service where you can speak to an individual and ask those important questions that apply to you, your car and your family alone.


shangri_la_shard_londonAnd anyone who registers for a FOXY Lady Insurance quote by 30 April 2015 will automatically be entered into a luxury hotel competition at the iconic London Shard Hotel.

The London Shard is perfectly located within walking distance of bustling Borough market, West End theatres and shops as well as the Tower of London, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey.

The Shangri-La hotel is on its 34th to 52nd floors and, as you can imagine, all rooms have unrivalled city views with floor to ceiling windows!

This prize is worth £1500 including £500 spending money, terms apply and the winner will be announced in May 2015.



NB: FOXY Lady Drivers Club is an Introducer Appointed Representative (IAR) for Cornmarket Insurance Services.

How to prepare your car for the winter months

guestblogIt’s November and to date we’ve been relatively lucky in terms of the cold weather we know is coming soon. So there’s no excuse for having a poorly prepared car come the certain onslaught of winter. The best time to prep your car for winter is now, of course, not when the first snow falls. You certainly don’t want to find yourself locked out of your car or broken down in the cold.

Here are some essential winter car preparation tips compiled for us here by CompareTheMarket.com.

Check Your Tyres

compressor testWhen winter approaches car owners should think first about their tyres.

If your treads are worn or pressures are too high or low, this could spell disaster. Look at your tyre treads. Are the grooves clearly visible? Whilst the legal limit for tyre tread is 1.6 mm they really should be closer to 3 mm deep to cater for the demands of snow driving.

Most tyres these days are multi-seasonal and can handle light snowfall. If you live in a heavy snowfall area or are surrounded by hills, however, you should consider winter specific snow treads.

Remember, snow chains are legal only on snow covered UK roads, but on tarmac the chains must be removed. Finally, throughout winter you should keep a close eye on your tyre pressures to maintain maximum traction.

Electrical System Check

In order to start your car in the winter you will need a strong battery. If you current battery is over four years old you might want to think about replacing it before the really cold months arrive. The least you should do is take it to an electrician to have the charge checked. You also should make sure the cable connections are clean. You might find corrosion and build up which will interfere with starting. Carefully disconnect the cables and clean all contact points with steel wool.

Lights are also part of the electric system of course. Make sure all headlamps and high-beams are in proper working order. Finally, check the brake lights and turn signals. You must make certain you can see and be seen in poor visibility and snowy weather.

Lock Check

Frozen car locks might be one of the most frustrating winter experiences. You can avoid this by properly lubricating your locks. Make sure you use a water repelling lubricant such as WD 40 Specialist, and oil all hinges and hooks. Open and close your doors several times to let the lubrication work itself in; then wipe clean with a dry rag. It might be a good idea to pick up a can of de-icer spray but don’t stow it in your car! If your locks freeze up how are you going to get the de-icer out?

It’s a surprisingly easy mistake to make. Be sure to leave the de-icer on a shelf at home.

Fluids Check

Your antifreeze levels must be kept optimal throughout the winter months. A frozen radiator can be an extremely expensive disaster. Also monitor your oil levels and change the oil exactly as indicated by your car owner´s manual. The windscreen wiper fluid reservoir is also important to keep filled as you will use more wiper fluid during dirty driving conditions.

Visit Your Mechanic

Take your car to a mechanic to have your brakes checked. Worn down brake pads cannot stop your car well when the weather turns wet and cold. You should also have all your belts checked for wear and replace as needed. A broken fan-belt in a blizzard is not fun. Make sure you use a garage that operates to a Trading Standards Institute Approved Code of Practice scheme or a local mechanic that is Automotive Technician Accredited (ATA).

Car insurance

On top of preparing your vehicle and any supplies you might need, as well as having the car checked over by an expert, you should make sure that you’ve got adequate insurance cover in case of breakdown or other accidents that may be more of a risk when the weather gets cold and driving conditions deteriorate. You can use a comparison website to see who can offer the best deal for the type of cover you need.

Winter Emergency Kit

No matter how well your car is tuned, the unexpected can happen. During the winter you should always make sure you have a good charge on your mobile phone before heading out in bad weather.

Here are some additional items you should consider stowing in the boot:

Spare hat and gloves
Small or collapsible snow shovel
Road flares or reflective triangles

Winter is coming fast, so be prepared. Follow these tips and you will be ready for any situation the weather throws at you.

Perhaps, when the weather is really bad, the best advice is to simply stay home by the fire with the ones you care for.

Could be cheaper to insure a classic car

This is a Guest Blog including an infographic designed by Confused.com and provided by Ian Owen about the cost of insuring a classic car.

We thought that young FOXY Lady Drivers in particular would like to know which classics can be cheaper to insure than more modern models.


FOXY footnote

Yes, classic cars like VW Beetles, Minis, Morris Minors and Triumph Heralds CAN be cheaper to insure and yes they’re undoubtedly fun to drive and look amazing… but that isn’t the whole story. Most classic car insurers will look for evidence that you belong to a car club like ours – suggesting you will take better care of your car than if you hadn’t joined a club…

There’s also other financial considerations of course. Be sure to factor in fuel consumption and road tax too – only pre-1973 manufactured cars are tax exempt as is, these cars are rarely environmentally friendly so most score badly on VED-related CO2 ratings AND you may find the new MOT regime somewhat onerous (and expensive to pass)…

But if you’re still determined to buy into that vintage look, we recommend you join FOXY and at least together we’ll be able to help you find a local garage that knows how to take care of an older car – not all appreciate their finer points, believe me!


Insurance brokers confuse customer service with ‘duty’

women expect moreIn a recent article about our new FOXY Lady Insurance website explaining how we intend to introduce women to female friendly insurance advisers that meet our standards it was reported that ‘critical brokers argue that they already have a legal and professional duty to give best advice to all customers.’

Which surely misses the point of insurers tailoring service levels to meet customer needs.

And suggests that anyone who thinks male and female customers have the same insurance needs and therefore the same advice applies must have been in hibernation for the last twenty years or so. Men and women are very DIFFERENT…

Which is why customer service has little to do with equality but everything to do with the application of the latest product knowledge, an appreciation of audience needs and a dedication to exceed customer expectations at all times.

Female service gaps in the motor industry today

Here are some examples of how the motor industry, by and large, is missing out on high levels of female customer satisfaction…

…If franchised dealerships wanted to make women feel at home, they’d have more female showroom staff and offer a female companion when it comes to a test drive.

…If women were happy with service levels in garages and showrooms they wouldn’t feel intimidated and patronised.

…If Mums were really appreciated, their cars would be ready BEFORE not after the school run.

…If car manufacturers wanted to cater for women they’d provide, as a minimum, fit for purpose cup holders and safe places for us to store big handbags (within reach but out of sight).

How the insurance industry might do a better job for women

And now that FOXY has the insurance industry in its sights, it’s the same sort of thing all over again. Brokers failing to see the need to be female friendly with many too complacent to imagine there might be a better way to provide insurance services; such as catering for busy women and finding that these standards then delight everyone else. Which might also mean more business and more commission income.

I am certainly not aware of the insurance industry being awash with exceptional and superior customer services from advisers who…

+ open early or late
+ are happy to phone you at home of an evening or at weekends
+ offer Skype as a personal service option; so you can see who you are dealing with
+ listen to what she wants, not just tell her what she needs/is available
+ are up to date with the latest insurance cover options for women after the Gender Directive
+ identify a suitable female member of staff in case a woman would prefer to discuss her confidential insurance arrangements with one
+ will volunteer to help resolve a tricky insurance claim.

Selling insurance to women has nothing to do with equality but a lot to do with gaining her trust, meeting her needs with the best value options and providing personal services that comparison websites aren’t up to.

My insurance needs

Yes I want to pay a competitive price for my insurance but I also want to be made a fuss of when I’m spending thousands of pounds on insurance EVERY YEAR.

I want to know if the accident repairers my insurer uses are genuinely female friendly or not and what that means…

I want to be able to trust someone to understand my needs, to represent my best interests, to know where the best deals are and to come up with the goods to suit my circumstances – year in year out.

If I can enjoy superior customer services like these at a competitive price why would I want to shop at a price comparison website?

That’s the female friendly business opportunity I sense for the insurance industry in the wake of the Gender Directive.


PS: If you’re up to the FOXY Lady Approved standard and want to join our Female Friendly Insurance Register you can find out more at the FOXY Lady Insurance website.