Quotemehappy.com blog

Illustration of Colin inspecting a car's engine

Don’t Buy a Used Car Without First Reading Our Top Tips

Buying a used car can be a good way of cutting the cost of driving, but there’s plenty to consider before you take the plunge. To help you, have a read of our tips below.

Do your homework

To avoid being overcharged, check out used car price guides and compare similar cars so you learn as much as you can about the market value of the car or particular model you’re considering buying. Websites like Which? and www.honestjohn.co.uk can be a useful source of information.

Budget and running costs

Most new cars can lose around 40% of their value in the first year due to depreciation. So while a second hand car will cost less to buy up front, it could cost you more to run in the long term. After the third year there’s the annual requirement of an MOT, so remember to factor in that maintenance costs increase with a second hand car. Also, with wear and tear, parts need to be replaced in line with the manufacturer’s service schedule. Obtain insurance quotes and check car tax bandings as they can make a big difference to the overall cost of a car.

Where to buy

You can usually negotiate a lower price through a private purchase or car auction. But you should proceed with caution as genuine bargains are rare and there’s little or no comeback if anything goes wrong. Buying a used car from a dealer can offer you a high quality, wide range of used cars. Plus, you can usually get better back up if you have any problems.

Buying nearly new

You could also consider looking at ex-demonstrator or pre-registered cars. As the car’s been registered to the dealership it means that there’ll be an extra name on the registration document which could have an effect on the car’s resale value. You won’t have a lot of say as to what features the vehicle has, as these will have been chosen by the dealer. Check the vehicle’s build date before purchasing. While you may be purchasing it in 2014, the car may actually be a 2013 model which could affect its value when you come to sell it.

Skeletons in the cupboard…

The riskiest part of buying a used car is the uncertainty about its history…

·         Service history and paperwork Buying a car which has been serviced as per the manufacturer’s recommendations will help increase your faith in it. A car’s recorded mileage should increase steadily with its age. So if the numbers don’t add up, get a good explanation from the seller. In general, if a deal looks too good to be true then it most likely is. Be wary of anything that has a very low mileage for its age – don’t be afraid to walk away! Most cars require some work during the year, so the owner of a car a few years old should have historical garage bills for work or parts, plus previous MOT certificates and records of regular servicing. For total confidence, consider getting a Car Data Check to get the car’s history.

·         MOT If the car is three years old or older, make sure it has a continuous set of annual MOT certificates. If you know the vehicle’s registration number and the document reference on the V5C, consider checking its MOT status and history online.

·         Clocking Clocking is the illegal practice of altering the recorded mileage on a vehicle. Winding back the odometer on a high–mileage car increases its apparent value and asking price. Did you know that every 1,000 miles removed increases the value substantially? Make sure the odometer readings correspond with the service history.

·         V5C registration document Look over the V5C vehicle registration document which shows the registered keeper and not the legal owner.

·         ‘Cut–and–shut’ This is when the remains of two or more cars, which have usually been accident–damaged and written off by insurers, are welded together, then illegally given the identity of one of the wrecks. The cosmetic work is often outstanding, and it’s usually very difficult to spot a ‘cut–and–shut’ from the outside.

When it comes to buying a used car, your decision ultimately sits with what’s best for you and your budget. So whatever you buy, educate yourself about the market, read reviews and shop around for the best deal.

Happy driving!

By | July 31st, 2014 | no comments | Tagged


6 Tips for Driving in Europe that You Should Consider

Illustration of Colin surrounded by the stars of the EU flag

With the unpredictable weather we’ve been having lately, you’d be forgiven for wanting to head for the Europe and search for balmy breezes and sunny skies. But did you know that Quotemehappy.com motor customers get up to 90 days fully comprehensive cover when driving in Europe? (Visit our website for a full list of countries where you’re covered.)

So if you’re planning a trip to the continent, read Colin’s top tips to keep you, your family and your car safe this summer!
Service your car – Do you know how to say, ‘My carburetor is broken’ in Dutch? Get your car serviced before you go abroad and put your mind at ease.
Bring the correct documentation – You’ll need your driving licence, vehicle registration, motor insurance certificate and passport.
Display a GB sticker on the back on your car – If your license plates don’t include the GB Euro symbol, then you’ll need a sticker.
Headlamp beam converters – UK vehicle headlamps are designed for driving on the left-hand side of the road, so these stop you from dazzling other drivers whilst abroad.
Buy reflective warning triangles and jacket – Many countries require that you carry these.
If you’re tired, take a coffee break – You’re on holiday, so there’s no need to rush things. Why not stop for a café cortado in Spain or an espresso in Italy.

By | July 11th, 2014 | no comments | Tagged driving, europe, holiday, insurance, motoring


Quotemehappy.com Competes in the Aviva 6s Staff Football Tournament.

The exploits of Neymar, Van Persie and co might be grabbing the headlines at the moment, but the real football action took place on Friday 30th May, when Quotemehappy.com took part in the Aviva 6s Staff Football Tournament.

Held at Carrow Road, home of Norwich City Football Club, the tournament was a great opportunity to raise money and awareness for Railway Children, a fantastic international children’s charity dedicated to helping children living on the streets. Along with brilliant sunshine all day, an air of team spirit and healthy competition made for a great day out for everyone.

Quotemehappy.com’s team goalkeeper Max said,

“The Aviva 6s was a great day for keeping fit and most importantly for raising money for Aviva’s nominated charity, Railway Children. Playing on the hallowed turf of Carrow Road was an amazing experience for us all. Despite not making it out of the group stages of the cup, we did rather well considering we’ve only played 3 matches as a team so far this year. But we all had plenty of fun as a team and thankfully the weather stayed warm and sunny. It will be great to give it another shot next year and attempt to make it to the knockout round!”

So congratulations to our guys who took part – it was a valiant effort by all and although Quotemehappy.com were not crowned champions this time, there’s always next year!
For more information about Railway Children, visit http://www.railwaychildren.org.uk

By | July 3rd, 2014 | no comments | Tagged aviva, football, quotemehappy.com


3 summer rock n’ roll roadtrips that everyone should try

Illustration of Colin holding a guitar

With the summer season upon us, our thoughts turn to the UK’s summer music festival scene. In recent years, there’s been a growing trend to combine a trip abroad with a music festival, such as Spain’s Benicassim or California’s Coachella. But the UK has a vibrant music scene and when we get the right weather, there’s nowhere better in the world!

In our day-to-day commutes, it’s easy to regard our road network as a means to an end – a grey network of tarmac, motorways and dual carriageways. But what we sometimes forget is that many of our roads provide access to scenic spots and beautiful countryside. Combining a road trip with a music festival is a great excuse to visit those less travelled parts of the UK.

We thought we’d have a look at three festivals where you can combine a road trip through some of the most scenic parts if the UK. Below you’ll find a couple of our suggestions which could give your summer ‘staycation’ the musical motoring boost it needs.

Camp Bestival Lulworth Castle, Dorset 31 July – 3 August
A southerly suggestion is Camp Bestival, a more genteel and family orientated festival at Lulworth Castle on the Dorset coast. Headliners this year include Basement Jaxx, hip-hop pioneers De La Soul and indie band James. Camp Bestival is popular with families as a large section of the festival site is devoted to giving children a bit of freedom to play and explore.

Dorset’s a scenic coastal county, so why not explore the town of Weymouth before following the coastal road up to the A352, visiting the iconic Lulworth Cove. Lulworth Cove is definitely worth a visit – a perfect, scallop shaped cove with water so pristine and blue, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in the Greek islands!

Westonbirt National Arboretum, Westonbirt, 20 June to 20 July,
The Arboretum is an internationally renowned tree collection and fantastic location for walking, relaxing and learning about nature. From 20 June to 20 July, they’re hosting Forest Live, a family-friendly series of concerts where an eclectic mix of acts perform amongst the trees. This year features new acts like Little Mix and Rebecca Ferguson, plus more established ones like Suede and Deacon Blue.

Westonbirt is located in the Cotswolds, a region famous for its breathtaking beauty. To get there, make your way to Cirencester, an elegant town worth exploring by foot. Take the A429 and then the A433 south towards Tetbury, renowned for its antique and bric a brac shops. Just outside Tetbury sits Prince Charles’ Highgrove. (You’ll need to pre-book, if you want to visit the gardens). Continue on the A433 to find Westonbirt.

To explore north of Cirencester, take the A417 towards Fairford. The A429 provides a picturesque gateway through Northleach and Bourton-on-the-Water to market town Stow-on-the-Wold. The town hall and church are architecture to behold before you journey to Chipping Norton (north on the A429 once more before heading east along the A44). From here, head south along the A361, where you’ll come to Shipton-under-Wychwood, where Wychwood Wild Garden offers 12.5 acres of woodlands.

Loopallu, Ullapool, 26-27 September
To round off the festival season there’s Loopallu, the Little Fest in the West, based in Ullapool, 57 miles North West of Inverness. This lesser known festival has hosted acts like Paolo Nutini, Mumford & Sons, Franz Ferdinand and The Fratellis in recent years.

Scotland’s known for its incredible glens, lochs and munros, so you’re really spoiled for choice if you want to add a road trip to this summer festival experience. Starting in Inverness, take the A9 north and then head west on the A835. The A835 then sweeps across northwards, hugging the shores of Loch Garve, Loch Glascarnoch and then finally the eastern shores of Loch Broom.

Ullapool is surrounded by rugged mountains, especially by Bheinn Ghobblach to the west, An Teallach to the south west, Beinn Dearg to the south east close to the head of Loch Broom, and Ben Mhòr na Còigich to the north. Festival goers and road-trippers will be rewarded with magnificent views of the sea and the islands to the west and the desolate Whitbread wilderness.

These are just a few of the music festivals and road trips the UK has to offer. We’d love to hear your experiences and road trip tips. What places have you driven through that have stood out? Where would you recommend fellow drivers checkout for the perfect road trip? What’s your ideal road trip playlist for the car stereo?

By | June 26th, 2014 | no comments | Tagged car insurance, driving, road trips, summer


Six Money-saving tips for the summer

Illustration of Colin wearing boardshorts and holding a surfboard

Going on holiday this summer could be a big expense for you and your family – so it helps if you’re extra savvy with your cash. Have a read of our suggestions below for ways you could save money on your next holiday:

Pre-book your travel extras You could save money on your holiday and make your life a little easier by going online and pre-booking your airport parking or taxis, hotels, flight check-in or car hire.

Avoid excess-baggage fees It’s the ultimate frustration for holidaymakers – getting hit with excess baggage fees at the airport. You could avoid this disappointment and purchase extra baggage allowance online before you arrive at the airport. New clothing designs with up to 18 pockets could also provide a solution, such as jackets tailored to incorporate enough space to fit gadgets, books, accessories and other essentials inside.

Don’t purchase foreign currencies at the airport For a better rate, shop around and arrange it through the high street or online before you’re at the airport. Brits waste £21 million a year through poor exchange rates!

Avoid smartphone data costs Smartphones are great, but did you know the average user can get through almost 500MB of data in a month? And with data roaming charges of up to £7.50/MB while abroad, your bills could quickly add up by browsing the internet, streaming music or uploading selfies on social media. Consider turning off data roaming and instead using free WiFi where available.

Avoid holiday foreign transaction fees Foreign transaction fees can quickly add up, with Brits paying over £300 million on credit and debit card charges alone. You could get a pre-paid currency card which gives you the convenience of a credit card but without the borrowing. It allows you to top up foreign currency, some with no commission charges. Plus, you can only spend what you load on them, so you won’t overspend.

Avoid Dynamic Currency Conversion fees This service converts your total bill into your home currency to make it easier to understand. However, it often comes at the cost of a 2% fee on top of any transaction fees you may already be paying with your credit card. Some merchants abroad will offer this option, but they might not even ask. Make sure that you’re being charged with the local currency instead of your own.

By | June 10th, 2014 | no comments | Tagged


Could you be putting your home at risk while you’re away on holiday this summer?

Illustration showing Colin and Colette and luggage

With the summer just around the corner, millions of Brits will be taking time off. But did you know that many people unwittingly put their properties at risk while they’re away on holiday?

Burglars are simple opportunists, but many homeowners leaved tell-tale signs that they’re away and their house is empty, making it easier for burglars to strike. Burglars want an easy life…but if it’s hard to tell whether your home is occupied and there are no obvious entry points, then they’ll look for an easier option.

That’s why it’s important that homeowners make every effort to deter criminals and help keep the opportunist thief at bay. To help keep your home and treasured possessions secure while you’re away on holiday, Quotemehappy.com has the following tips:

• It may sound obvious, but make sure that you’ve locked all your doors and windows!
• If you’ve a burglar alarm, set it when you’re out of the house.
• If you know your neighbours, let them know if you’ll be away and ask them to be extra vigilant.
• Ask a trusted neighbour, friend or family member to check on your property during your absence – ideally moving mail build up or tidying away bins to minimise any visual cues that your property is empty
• Keep the outside of your property tidy. Mow the lawn before you go away so it doesn’t look overgrown.
• Ask a neighbour to water your plants whilst you’re away to keep them looking fresh and less like the owner is absent.
• If it’s possible, plant a rose or thorn bush below ground floor windows to make your property difficult to access.
• Don’t leave any tools or ladders in the garden that could be used to access your property.
• Remove any washing that may be on the line.
• Don’t put your home address on your luggage labels – use your mobile number instead. Put a non-residential address on the inside of your luggage such as your work address, just in case it does go astray.
• Keep your valuables out of sight, especially in ground floor rooms. Don’t put temptation in thieves’ sight.
• Leave the radio or the odd light on and consider leaving lights on a timer so they come on automatically
• Install security lights, especially if your driveway or porch area is poorly lit
• Don’t leave a door key under the mat, beneath a plant pot etc. No matter how well it’s hidden, don’t give intruders an open invitation into your home!
• Cancel milk and/or other deliveries if you will be away for days or weeks at a time.
• Finally, don’t announce your absence across social media channels.

Remember, burglaries don’t just happen when people are away for extended periods. They can happen at any time, even when you just pop out. It’s easy to become complacent, so it’s important to factor in protecting your home into your everyday routine.

Just a few simple security steps could make all the difference. And if you’ve taken steps to secure your home while you’re away, it’ll make your holiday that much more relaxing.

By | May 16th, 2014 | no comments | Tagged Blog, holidays, home, insurance, precaution, quotemehappy.com, sage, security, tips


Celebrate the wordsmiths of rugby with Quotemehappy.com’s free prize draw

 

To celebrate our sponsorship of the London Irish St. Patrick’s Party game on 22nd March, Quotemehappy.com is asking rugby fans to submit the rugby quotes that make them happy! Fans who tweet their favourite rugby quotes to @quotemehappy using the hashtag #QMHrugbyquotes could win two tickets to watch Ireland vs England at the Aviva Stadium in the 2015 Six Nations, with flights and accommodation included.

So if it’s the ramblings of the local 3rd XV prop that tickle you, or the inspirational words of Jim Telfer to his Lions forwards that inspire you, let Quotemehappy.com know what your favourite is for a chance to win. The competition opens on 18th March and will run until 25th March, with the winner announced in early April.

Your quote could be funny, inspirational or personal and be a well-known quote or just something that you’ve overheard while playing or in your local clubhouse. All you need to do is keep your entries clean and share the rugby quotes that make you happy with @quotemehappy using #QMHrugbyquotes in your tweet.

Quotemehappy.com Director Henry Topham said, “Over the years, rugby has been synonymous with great sporting quotes; from the inspirational through to the ridiculous. As a company that looks to make our customer’s happy with our quotes, we wanted to celebrate the quotes in rugby that have made people happy through the years. With the St. Patrick’s Party game being one of the highlights of the Aviva Premiership Rugby calendar, it’s the perfect time to be celebrating the joy that rugby brings to the fans.”

You can buy tickets to the St. Patrick’s  Party game between London Irish and Bath Rugby at www.london-irish.com/tickets.

Full terms and conditions can be seen on our website here: www.quotemehappy.com/rugby

By | March 18th, 2014 | no comments | Tagged


How to weather winter storms

The winter often means adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain or strong gales. However, homeowners can take some basic precautions to protect themselves and their property:

What to do before a storm
• Park your car in a garage or away from large trees
• Secure or lock away any loose objects such as garden furniture, bikes, children’s toys and ladders
• Fasten all doors and windows.

If you’ve time and can do it safely:
• Check for loose tiles on your roof
• Secure any weak fences and posts, to minimise the risk of causing damage to other parts of your property
• Check aerials or satellite dishes are securely fixed.

What to do after a storm
If your property suffers damage, contact your insurer immediately. Quotemehappy.com has a dedicated claims team who are available 24/7 to give you advice on how to prevent further damage and to assist you in sorting out a claim.

By | December 23rd, 2013 | no comments | Tagged


Flood advice for homeowners and motorists

Hi,

With flood warnings in place in parts of the UK, homeowners and motorists can take basic precautions to protect themselves and their property.

Advice for homeowners
There are simple things that you can do to minimise damage to your precious belongings.
• Move anything valuable or with sentimental value upstairs
• Try and seal important documents in water-proof plastic bags
• If you have sandbags or flood boards use them,
• Plug sinks, baths and toilets with heavy objects and disconnect washing machines and dishwashers to prevent any back-flow of flood water
• Be ready to turn off gas and electricity, unplug all electrical items and move them upstairs
• Prepare a flood pack – fresh water to drink, warm clothing, a mobile phone and a battery operated radio to tune into local radio stations.
• Think about your pets and any elderly or vulnerable neighbours

Of course safety is paramount, but if you’re affected by flood water, get in touch with us as soon as possible.

What to do if your home’s been flooded:
• Contact your insurer as soon as possible
• Don’t touch any of your electrics – they could have been damaged by water and become live
• Start identifying items that have been damaged, make a list and take pictures if you can – this will make it easier to assess the damage and speed up your claim.
• If you can try and lift any items out of standing water – EG, if your carpets are saturated, try and raise any furniture off them on to wooden blocks this will prevent more water soaking into your belongings and help reduce further damage.
• Listen in to local weather reports in case further rainfall is forecast.

Advice for motorists:
• If the flood water is above the bottom seal on the car door, do not open the doors as the water may well have not seeped fully into the car and the damage may be limited. Wait till the water has subsided before you attempt to open the car doors.
• If the flood water has got into the car, or even reached the underside of the car, do not start the vehicle as water in the engine would cause further serious damage.
• If the car wheels have been in water, but the water level did not reach the underside of the car, it should be safe to drive once much of the water has subsided
• If water has seeped into your vehicle, call your insurer. They will inspect the vehicle as soon as they can and decide the most appropriate action.

Drivers in the area whose cars have not been affected by floods should still take care when driving in the affected areas. Debris and deep flood water can both seriously damage your car.

 

By | December 5th, 2013 | no comments | Tagged


How to avoid a D.I.Y disaster

In the current financial climate, more of us than ever are tackling home improvements and repairs on our own. To help you make the most of your DIY efforts, Quotemehappy.com is on hand with a few simple rules to keep disaster at bay.

Every year over 200,000 people in the UK end up in A&E after a DIY accident at home, but a common sense attitude and a few basic precautions could help prevent all of this, let alone save money, hassle and time.

The first thing you must do before starting any DIY project is assemble yourself a safety kit. You should have suitable footwear, gloves, goggles, a dust mask, ear-defenders, and a first-aid kit with eye wash.

- Remember, some standard dust masks aren’t sufficient for painting sprays with the vapour on them. So make sure when you’re purchasing the paint that you find out which is the right mask for you.

- If you’re working with loud power tools, you should consider getting yourself a pair of ear-defenders. Whilst you may not need these for every job around the house, having a first aid kit with an eye-rinse in place is essential.

- Before you attempt to drill any holes in the wall, make sure you have a multi-purpose detector to indicate whether there’s any electric cables or pipes or behind the plaster work to guide you exactly where you can or can’t drill.

-For additional safety, when using any corded power tools, always plug them into an RCD adapter first to prevent electric shock.

-If you happen to accidentally drill into a water pipe, you are going to have to contact your insurance company. Accidental damage is the largest single category of house insurance claims, with the escape of water the most common cause given. It’s a good idea before you start any extensive DIY projects at home make sure you have accidental damage cover. Up to 10% of all projects go wrong in some way though less than half of all of home content policies cover accidental damage. If you do have an accident, it is a good idea to ring your insurance company before you fix it yourself.

-Proper safety precautions should be taken if you suspect that anything you’re working with could contain asbestos, for example, artex or textured painted ceilings or if you uncover any old floor tiles, window seals or insulation lagging that flakes or powders easily. If you’re unsure or suspect that you’re dealing with asbestos, contact your local environmental health for advice.

-When fixing any electrical appliances or connections, don’t risk it. Turn the power off first, unplug it. If you’re in doubt, get a professional in. Obviously you need to be careful when using any power tool, but if you happen to hire one that you’re unfamiliar with, like a circular saw, make sure you get the hire company to give you a full safety briefing and a demonstration, so you’re confident on using the tool.

And now we come to the most dangerous item in the house: the ladder. Out of the 70 people who killed on average per year from doing DIY, 50 of them are killed from falling off a ladder and 41,000 people are hospitalised per year from using a ladder and their injuries are usually far more serious. So here are a few pointers to bear in mind:

-Inspect the ladder before use and make sure it’s suitable for the job and undamaged. Be particularly careful when using old wooden ladders, although the rungs look sturdy they could be brittle and can break with your weight.

-Ladders should always be leant against the wall at 70°. That equates to one foot away from the wall for every four foot high.

-Your ladder should always be secure. If at all possible get someone at the base to ‘foot’ the ladder, but if you’re using it on soft ground it’s always wise to put a plank or a slab underneath the feet of the ladder.

-You want your ladder to extend three rungs above the area where you’re working to give you something to hold on to. And it’s always wise to lash the ladder at the top, where possible.

So, when tackling any DIY projects, no matter how big or small, use common sense, judge your DIY capabilities realistically, so that at the end of a DIY day you can put your feet up and relax, rather than taking a visit to A&E!

Quotemehappy.com offers great value home insurance. Learn more about our home insurance policies here.

By | June 6th, 2013 | no comments | Tagged