Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Amazing Folding Electric Car

Did you think the Smart Car was small? Well check out this little beauty from Hiriko Driving Mobility.*

Image sourced from http://hiriko.com/what-is-the-hiriko-project

I was spending a bit of time browsing the web to find out what the latest thing in automotive engineering is… as you do, when I came across a car known as the Hiriko EV. At first glance it seemed to be a Japanese innovation – an eco-friendly electric car that… wait for it… folds! However, in spite of its slightly misleading name, it’s actually designed and manufactured in Europe – Spain in fact.

Whilst the car probably isn’t much good for motorway driving, since it’s so small and its maximum speed is a mere 31 miles per hour, it does appear to be ideal for people who simply need to get around large metropolitan areas (e.g. London, Birmingham, Cardiff, etc).

In addition to this – when it folds down it takes up a third less space than the Smart Car – a dream for anyone looking to park their car in a tight space! What is incredible about the car is the fact that it’s already small at just 100 inches, however, it can fold down further to a mere 60 inches!

The vehicle is so small it’s registered as a “quadricycle” – so in some countries it may not even require a valid driving licence. In the case of the UK it could come under the same category as a motorcycle (B1 on a driving licence) and therefore have the same vehicle tax rate as a three wheeled Robin Reliant - which is taxed at motorcycle rates, a saving of £55 per year over a standard car.

A number of participating firms are building 20 test Hiriko EV vehicles. Denokinn, the investment firm behind the venture are looking to price the car at €12,500.** Whilst this does sound expensive, especially if they are looking to go whole-sale and franchise the Hiriko EV out, it is hoped that it costs considerably less once it goes into full production… an eco-friendly car isn’t much good if it isn’t affordable, especially when you can buy a considerably cheaper second-hand vehicle that can tackle the bigger roads around Europe.

Having said that young drivers insurance would probably be far cheaper for this type of vehicle...

 What do you think? Please feel free to comment below!

*Source: http://www.hiriko.com/what-is-the-hiriko-project
**Source: http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/01/electric-cars?fsrc=gn_ep

Friday, 27 January 2012

iKube’s Top Five Movie Cars

For a bit of fun we undertook a quick survey to find out which famous movie or TV car is the most  popular amongst its staff, our followers on Facebook / Twitter and the young drivers we insure.

This is the outcome of the top five TV and movie cars of all time:

At Number Seven there's the Ford Mustang from Bullitt.

In Sixth place we have the Mini from the Italian Job.
In Fifth place we have the Dodge Charger from The Dukes of Hazzard.

Joint Fourth we have a four-way tie between:

The Batmobile from Batman

Kit from Knight Rider

Ford Gran Torino from Starsky and Hutch

The DeLorean from Back To The Future

At Number Three we have the Volkswagon Beetle from the Herbie movies.

Coming in at Number Two we have the Aston Martin DB5 from the James Bond movies.

Now For the Big Kahuna -

At Number One, At A Whopping 25% Of All Votes we have:

Are you interested in the other responses we had? Other popular answers we received included:

• The Lotus Esprit from James Bond movies

• The Cartoon Car from Who Framed Roger Rabbit

• The Lamborghini Countash from Cannonball Run

• Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

What’s your favourite TV or Movie car? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Don’t Get Behind The Wheel Whilst On Drugs

Following the recent news that the Department for Transport are putting together a panel of experts to look into a new drug driving law*, iKube young drivers insurance has decided to put together a few articles to look at the dangers of driving whilst on drugs.

Whilst a lot of emphasis is put on drink driving it’s still very important to recognise the risks posed by taking illicit drugs prior before getting behind the wheel – or even whilst driving.

In much the same way as drinking – drugs can also have a number of effects that could lead to catastrophic consequences:**
  • Reduce the motorist’s reaction times
  • Lead to an increase in erratic or aggressive behaviour
  • Make it difficult to concentrate whilst at the wheel
  • Cause hallucinations
  • Lead to panic attacks
  • Feelings of sickness
  • Paranoia
It is highly illegal to get behind the wheel in this condition and should be completely avoided – for the car, for the passengers and for the driver.

The consequences of driving whilst on drugs could be, at worst, a serious accident leading to injuries or even loss of life. Even if the young driver walked away from the accident unscathed the emotional trauma knowing that their irresponsible actions lead to serious injuries and / or death is something they may have to live with for the rest of their lives.

At best – the young driver could be apprehended by the police before they cause any damage, however, this could lead to fines, points on their licence or even prosecution. In turn this could lead to an increase in the cost of their young drivers insurance.

Either way you look at it – driving whilst on drugs or alcohol is something that should be avoided at all costs. It is illegal.

Related Articles:

*Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jan/04/law-drug-driving-roadside-tests
**Source: http://drugdrive.direct.gov.uk

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

IAM Calling For Mandatory Rural Road Driving For Learners

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) are calling for mandatory practice on rural roads around Britain to help reduce accidents amongst young drivers and help cut the costs of learner driver insurance and full licenced young drivers car insurance.

A study by IAM shows that 82% of all serious accidents in rural areas take place on single carriageway roads, with a mere 18% occuring on motorways and dual carriageways.

IAM believe that this is not being represented under current driving test conditions, which means that some instructors are only educating learner drivers up to a certain standard. This essentially means that once they pass their test they are not 100% comfortable on all road types.

The Chief Executive of IAM, Simon Best, commented that whilst the UK is known for safer cars and better, safer roads to help cut down dangers to motorists, the roads where young drivers are being "killed and injured are still not consistently part of the driving test."

With changes to the way learners drivers practice - including a stint on the motorway with a driving instructor and the Road safety minister, Mike Penning announcing plans to stop releasing driving theory questions there seems to be a real shake-up coming - for learner drivers and their driving instructors.

What do you think about all these changes? Let us know in the comments box below!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Could Telematics Help Reduce Car Insurance Fraud?

Car crash stories are rife with people in minor accidents who claim serious injury - soft tissue or otherwise. 

Did you know that in the UK insurance fraud is estimated to cost car insurance firms around £2 billion a year? This is why many drivers are being faced with a increasing car insurance premiums – in fact an estimated £44 extra per year to cover the cost of fraud.*

Fortunately, with the latest telematics car insurance technology this kind of fraud may, in time, become a thing of the past.

Telematics systems can provide car insurance firms with a tool to better understand whether or not there was an accident, when it happened, where it occurred, as well as the severity of the crash. 

The application of telematics car insurance technology can result in significant savings for insurers through the identification of high-probability cases of “padding,” prompt resolution of fraudulent claims, and accurate determinations of what really occurred. 

As a result telematics could also save you, the innocent young driver a significant amount on your young drivers’ insurance premium.

Turning to a young driver black box insurance policy such as iKube will not only help to reduce your premium but could also help to reduce fraudulent claims and help to reduce the overall cost of car insurance for innocent motorists as a result.

*Source: http://www.abi.org.uk/Media/Releases/2011/07/No_hiding_place_for_cheats_as_drive_to_reduce_insurance_fraud_moves_up_a_gear.aspx

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Driving In The Dark – Seven Top Tips

Driving at night can be tricky when, as a new young driver, you first start motoring so let's take a quick look at what you should be considering when taking to the road in the dark.

1. Make sure your windscreen is kept clean

Did you know that dirt, dust and dead insects can limit your vision? Unfortunately they can limit what you see ahead of you and make things seem even darker. This is why it's essential to make sure that your windscreen is kept completely clean.

2. Cut your speed

As you might expect your visibility tends to be worse at night - it being dark and all.

By reducing your speed slightly you are giving yourself a little more time to react and therefore reduce the risk of having an accident (and having to make a claim on your young drivers insurance).

3. Use Your Headlights

Apart from making sure that your headlights are working properly (i.e. cleaned, aligned correctly and working) you should also be aware of how to use them whilst driving at night. For example, as dusk you may only need to use side-lights; however, as it gets darker you will need to switch to dipped headlights in well lit areas and along well lit main roads. For darker areas - such as country roads and poorly lit roads you may need to use your full-beam headlights, however, if you are aware of other cars on the road in front of you then you should switch to dipped headlights otherwise you run the risk of blinding other drivers and causing an accident.

4. Keep your headlights clean

It’s important to try and keep your headlights clean as dirty lights can make them less effective and reduce the amount of road you can see in front of you. They also make your car harder to spot – which could lead to an accident.

5. Avoid Being Dazzled By Other Drivers

At night other motorists will be out on the road and, as a result, risk dazzling you with their headlights. The best thing to do if you are dazzled by oncoming cars is to look slightly to the left of the road and follow the edge of the road until the dazzling reduces and you are able to see properly again.

6. Avoid being dazzled from behind

Dazzling by other motorists does not only happen in-front of you. It can also happen behind as the lights can be reflected in your mirrors. If this is the case then it may be worth adjusting them to help reduce the dazzle. Alternatively you can buy specialist driving glasses that actually help to reduce the dazzle caused by other motorists.

7. Don’t Take Unnecessary Risks

Driving at night is a risk in itself so avoiding further risks when driving in the dark is vital – for your and other road users’ safety. That includes things such as overtaking – which could be incredibly dangerous if you are unable to see the road ahead (i.e. if there is a dip in the road).

Road Rage – Avoid Conflict Whilst Driving

Let’s face it – we all get angry from time-to-time whilst out on the road. For instance - I frequently get angry with other motorists. However, giving into “road rage” whilst driving can be a very risky and dangerous thing to do as you may be putting yourself and other motorists at risk. Besides – apart from risking lives, do you want to claim on your young drivers’ car insurance?

Here are a few tips to help you avoid getting into trouble whilst driving:

• Many of the most annoying manoeuvres undertaken by other motorists tend to be unintentional. Sometimes it’s just not worth taking out your frustration by flashing your lights, beeping your horn or making offensive gestures – and it could turn into something far uglier.

• Don’t try to compete or retaliate to other motorists annoying you on the road. There are always instances where someone is tailgating you on a dual-carriageway or motorway. In these instances it’s worth just pulling into the middle lane (if it’s safe to do so) and let the tailgating fool behind you go on ahead.

• Try to be patient in traffic. One of the most irritating things on the road are motorists who push into traffic queues – it upsets and annoys people. If you need to change lanes then you should signal with plenty of time and usually someone will allow you to pull into the lane.

• If you make a mistake be polite – acknowledge with a waved gesture or mouthed apology that you’ve made a mistake. Don’t be rude back – it will help to diffuse a potentially hot-headed situation.

• Finally – try not to respond to other driver’s bad behaviour by doing things such as hard braking, swerving or accelerating. This will only wind-up other motorists and could reduce the control you have over your vehicle – leading to a potential accident and claims on your young drivers insurance.

We appreciate that it’s not always easiest to keep control over your temper when wound up by other drivers but usually you’re far better off taking a couple of deep breaths, stay calm and carry on. Don’t make the situation worse than it already is.

Young & Learner Drivers Insurance - The Extras

There are some obvious benefits to young and learner drivers in taking out iKube's black box car insurance, however, there are a number of other elements that are either included as standard or offered as optional extras that you may not be aware of.

We include a number of excellent features as standard with all our young driver insurance policies, not just the basic cover.

Here at iKube we believe in keeping our customers well covered and safe whilst out on the road. As a result we include breakdown cover* with all of our standard telematics car insurance products. Our breakdown cover includes a number of excellent benefits such as:
  • Home Start
  • Roadside Assistance
  • Comprehensive vehicle recovery in the UK
  • Misfuelling (i.e. if you put petrol in a diesel powered car)
  • We can supply an emergency driver if you are unable to drive (for example if you become ill or injured)
  • Messaging service - we can send a message to someone you've chosen to let them know your car has broken down
A pretty comprehensive service for a policy that's included as standard.

However, iKube can offer a number of other excellent products that you may not be aware of, including:
  • Gadget insurance - we can cover 3 gadgets of your choice from as little as £99 a year.
  • Excess waiver - to protect you from losing your policy excess if you are involved in an accident.
  • Key protection - to cover you should you mis-place or lose your keys.
Once you buy an iKube policy the fun doesn't stop there - we can also offer you a £20 Amazon eVoucher for everyone of your mates who you refer and take out a policy with us. To find out more about this please visit our Refer a Friend page and try driving the iKube car to see how.

*iKube breakdown cover is a compulsory add-on at £30 - which is included in the policy price.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

What are the MPs ranting about?

MPs have urged the government to put a committee together to look at how they can reduce the cost of motor insurance.* This could be great news for young drivers looking for affordable car insurance.

It's believed that a large part of this issue is the increasing number of whiplash claims - which now make up 70% of all personal injury claims.

The Chair of the Transport Committee, Louise Ellman commented that "many of these claims are for whiplash, an injury where diagnosis is often subjective and therefore very costly for insurers to challenge."

As a result of this MPs are calling for the "threshold for receiving compensation in whiplash cases" to be raised. If the number of whiplash claims does not drop dramatically then they believe that the government needs to bring forward legislation to require objective evidence - of whiplash and of it having a significant impact on the claimant's life before any compensation is paid.

Following up on this Nick Starling of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) commented on the "compensation culture" that's developed:

"Our customers are fed up of getting text messages, fed up of the compensation culture and have had enough of paying higher car insurance premiums to line the pockets of ambulance chasing lawyers and claims management companies."

Curiously enough having a telematics car insurance device, such as iKube installed could help with evidence gathering for car accidents as it can measure a number of factors, including:
  • Speed
  • Braking
  • How the car handles corners
  • Where the car was at the time of the incident
Could this be reason enough for the Government and insurers to embrace the new black box insurance technology?

Whether you’re considering young, learner or older drivers – some form of black box car insurance could be ideal, especially if companies want to reduce claims and control the rising price of car insurance for young drivers and older drivers alike.

*Source: BBC - MPs demand action on spiralling whiplash claims

Young Drivers Should Be Rewarded Says IAM

Young drivers should be rewarded, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has told young driver insurance firms.*

According to the average insurance premium young male drivers are facing premiums that are three times the national average. In addition to this young female drivers are also expecting to see an increase when gender equality regulation is introduced in December this year.

A study by IAM showed that a whopping 74% of young drivers would be more than willing to participate in more advanced driver training if it cut down the cost of their young driver insurance.

Simon Best, the CEO of IAM, commented:

"The simplest way to reduce insurance premiums is to prevent accidents. This is especially true for young male drivers who are most at risk of being involved in an accident."

He went on to add that "we need to start rewarding good drivers by encouraging further driver training through cheaper insurance."

Whilst advanced driver training is important for young motorists as it will increase confidence and improve performance there are other means of reducing car insurance for young drivers. iKube, for example, uses a telematics device, or "black box" that is installed in the user's car.

The black box measures a number of factors, including speed, braking, car location, time of day the car is driven, etc. However, iKube's main interest is in the time the car is being driven.

Here at iKube our main interest is in keeping the young or learner driver safe whilst on the road. As long as the young driver agrees not to drive late at night (between 11pm - 5am) then iKube can offer a discounted car insurance policy.

At renewal ikube can offer as much as 40% off the cost of the young driver's insurance - as long as they've been safe and driven well.

*Source: Honest John - Safe Young Drivers Should be Rewarded, says the IAM

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Why black box insurance is not spying

With the emergence of telematics car insurance (more commonly known as black box insurance) many young and learner drivers have welcomed iKube's product with open arms as they see it as a means to help keep the cost of their car insurance relatively low.

However, in recent years some criticism has been aimed at the use of telematics to help control the cost of car insurance for young drivers. So - what is the main criticism?

Well it's quite simple really - many of the harshest critics believe that the black box unit that's installed in the policy holder's car is being used to spy on them and could be abused as a result.

This is a severe misconception of black box insurance - more importantly this is a misconception of iKube and what we're about.

So how does iKube use the data that's recorded by the telematics device?

iKube simply uses the device to analyse the time of day the car is being driven. For instance, iKube's young driver and learner driver insurance scheme is based on the policy holder agreeing not to drive between 11pm - 5am as this is statistically the most dangerous time of day to drive.

It's also used to analyse other aspects such as speed, types of roads and braking patterns. However, iKube uses this information to determine what the young driver's policy premium will be at renewal. iKube's sole interest is keeping young and learner drivers safe on the road in an attempt to reduce the prices they pay for car insurance - Simple.

US Telematics Study Reveals Interesting Data for Teen Drivers

A recent report by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has determined that young drivers are at their most dangerous in the first 6 months after passing their driving test.*

What is interesting about this research is the fact that the NIH installed GPS telematics devices as well as internal and external cameras to the young driver cars to help gather data for the report.

The GPS devices are very similar to those used by iKube as part of it's telematics car insurance scheme, one that is also very keen to help keep young drivers safe whilst on the road.

The research carried out by the NIH was conducted over an 18 month period and from the young drivers taking part in the study, 88% of them reported an accident, compared to 4.7% of their parents, who also had a telematics device fitted so that a comparison between newly qualified and seasoned motorists could be drawn.

The Senior Investigator and chief of the Prevention Research Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the NIH, Bruce G Simons-Morton, stated:

“The first six months are by far the most dangerous.

"New drivers are 12 times more likely to be involved in an accident during their first month of driving than they will be just one year later."

The risk associated with young drivers and car accidents is one of the key reasons why traditional car insurance for young drivers is so high - as was highlighted by one case that Mr Simon-Morton's commented on:

"Teens drive fast and brake late. In this case, the driver got up to speed between stoplights, looked at his phone and rear-ended a car in front of him that had stopped for the next light. Inattention is a huge factor in teen accidents."

Opting for a policy, such as iKube’s telematics car insurance scheme, is not only a way to reduce the cost of your young drivers insurance but is also a highly effective way of making you a safer driver.

By using your iKube dashboard on a regular basis you can check your driving habits via the data supplied by the telematics device installed in your car. By keeping an eye on your driving style you can spot any issues that may arise and adjust your driving accordingly.

As long as you keep improving your driving you could effectively "drive down the cost" of your young driver insurance at renewal by up to 40%. Not only that but you could also reduce the risk of accidents and having to make an insurance claim.

*Source: Fox News - Why Teen Car Insurance is Expensive

Young Female Car Insurance From iKube

As the car insurance gender ruling creeps ever closer it's becoming more and more important for many women to find an affordable young female car insurance premium that suits their requirements.

Here at iKube we offer young people between the ages of 17 - 25 affordable provisional insurance and young drivers’ car insurance through our black box insurance scheme.

iKube believes that car insurance premiums should be based around how you drive - not whether you're male or female.

More importantly - iKube does not believe that gender is a good enough indication on whether you're a good driver or not. This is why we put YOU in the driving seat when it comes to your young driver insurance.

We will give you a discount of up to 25% on your young driver or learner driver car insurance up-front – based on your word that you won’t drive between 11pm – 5am at night.

Why this time in particular? It’s simple really – between the hours of 11pm – 5am is statistically the most dangerous time to drive. This is why we ask you not to drive at this time. If you do – it’s your choice but we will charge you £100 for driving at this time.

You say you are a good driver - we're just asking you to prove it to us... If you can prove to us that you are a careful, conscientious, law-abiding motorist, regardless of whether you're male or female, we can offer a discount of up to 40% on your telematics car insurance at renewal.

Driving with a cold as dangerous as drinking

Young drivers have been warned that driving with a cold or the flu could be as dangerous as drink driving. A study by Cardiff University's Common Cold Unit* has revealed that a motorist is at equal risk if they are driving with a bad cold or flu than if they'd been drinking.

The research indicated that drivers’ ability to drive could be impaired by as much as 50% (the equivalent of drinking four double whiskies). As a result the study suggests that a sick driver's ability to react is significantly impaired and they are less aware of other motorists on the road.

The other thing the research revealed was that cold or flu ridden drivers are in danger of significant distraction should they have a sneezing or coughing fit whilst driving.

In many instances many young drivers are not aware of the impact a cold or flu could have on their driving. Rather than putting themselves and others in danger (as well as risking their young driver insurance premiums) experts have suggests that motorists are better off staying off the road and letting themselves recover.

*Source: Effects of the Common Cold on simulated driving, Cardiff University.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Telematics Car Insurance – Alternative Cover In 2012

With the cost of renewing their car insurance at the fore-front of many young driver's minds in 2012 it can be difficult finding a scheme that's both affordable and comprehensive in its cover.

A telematics car insurance scheme could be the solution for many young motorists looking to keep the cost of their young driver insurance low.

From the outset a telematics car insurance product, such as iKube, really can save you money... not only in the initial short-term but also when it comes to renewal.

Let's take it back to basics a minute - telematics car insurance uses what's known as a "black box" GPS device to track the movement of the car.

iKube uses the device to monitor the time of day the young driver is driving - as long as they agree not to drive between 11pm - 5am they are granted a hefty discount on their car insurance... but it goes much further than that.

It's important to recognise good driving - no matter how old the motorist might be. This is why iKube can offer them a discount of up to 40% when it comes around to renewing their policy. As long as they've been careful drivers who avoid speeding, taking corners and roundabouts too quickly and basically exhibit traits of a good driver.

So – it’s really quite straight-forward and simple. As long as you drive well and within the parameters set by the telematics car insurance scheme then there is really no reason why you should have to pay exorbitant prices for your insurance.