Questor Insurance Travel Blog


Travel Insurance: Common mistakes that could invalidate your policy

Date Created: 22 June 2018

Are you covered by your travel insurance?

Nearly 10 million Brits travelled overseas in the last year and were not covered by a travel insurance policy, leaving them at risk should something go wrong.

Figures from the travel association ABTA reveal that two in five holidaymakers went abroad without the right insurance cover, were involved in activities that were not covered as part of their policy, or didn’t have any cover at all.

It may be impossible to predict the future, but insurance is designed to protect you as far as is possible from unforeseen events.

Reduce the likelihood of potential financial hardship in the event that your trip does not go as planned by giving the following careful consideration before you travel.

1. Travel Insurance through your bank or credit card provider

One in seven people said they didn’t take out travel insurance as they had cover via their bank or credit card – however, this type of cover may not provide protection in all circumstances.

Certain activities, even one as basic as cycling, might not be covered, while there may also be other qualifying criteria that an individual must adhere to.

This could relate to age, geographical location, health or any other factor listed in the small print – and may mean the cover is not adequate for your needs.

The average travel insurance claim can approach £1,300, while in the event of costly medical treatment or even repatriation, that figure can increase to tens of thousands of pounds, meaning you can probably ill-afford to not have sufficient cover.

ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer has warned that mistakes with insurance policies can be extremely costly, which is why it’s key to check what cover you have.

“Every year we see cases of people falling into difficulty due to travelling without sufficient travel insurance,” he added. “I would urge all holidaymakers to make sure they take out travel insurance and check that it covers their circumstances and holiday plans.”

2. Travel insurance that covers pre-existing medical conditions

According to the study, while 22% of Brits were totally uninsured, a further 27% invalidated their insurance by failing to declare existing medical conditions or by doing things that were not covered by their policy.

It’s a common misconception that travel insurance won’t cover pre-existing medical conditions, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

However, it is important that you always declare absolutely everything – even if you think your ailment is something fairly minor. You can then be confident that the insurer is aware of your specific needs and is able to determine the risk imposed.

If you have an annual travel insurance policy, you’ll also need to keep your insurer updated regarding any health developments that may take place during the period of cover.

A failure to reveal all details can result in a policy being void, meaning you may need to pay for medical treatment or trip cancellation costs.

You should declare any medication that is prescribed by a doctor and should mention any other long-term health conditions, even if you are not regularly affected, or believe them to be under control.

Common ailments that travellers failure to declare include skin cancer, heart attacks, blood clots, breast cancer, asthma, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, depression and high cholesterol.

If you have recurring medical conditions, often from within the last two to three years, then they should also be declared prior to travelling.

Our partner insurance provider, BrokerSure offer a range of excellent travel insurance products including cover for those with pre-existing medical conditions. If you are interested in obtaining an online quote, just click here.

3. A European Health Insurance Card

If you’re venturing into Europe, you should have your  EHIC in your possession – but it isn’t a substitute for travel insurance cover.

You should be able to access state health care with the card in any of the 28 EU countries, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. But it won’t necessarily be free – costs such as air ambulances, extra accommodation or private treatment must be funded from your own pocket.

Applying for an EHIC is free in the UK, but you’ll need to renew it regularly as it only lasts for a period of five years. To apply online, visit the official government website for EHIC.

 

Medical bills can run up to thousands of pounds in some countries, especially if you need expert medical care, while travel insurance can also protect against lost luggage or unexpected cancellation. This is why it is so important to do your homework. Understanding your policy and knowing what it will or will not cover you for will not only increase the likelihood that you will find travel insurance tailored to your individual needs, it will give you that all so important peace of mind.

For more travel news and helpful tips, just check out our social hub or follow us on Twitter for all our latest travel advice @QuestorIns

How well do you know international driving laws?

Date Created: 13 June 2018

International driving lawsIf you’re preparing to drive overseas this summer, ask yourself one key question: ‘do you know the laws of the road?’ 

A new study has found that the majority of British holidaymakers do not check laws and regulations before they travel, in spite of road rules often varying from country to country.  The research, by EasyJet and car hire provider Europcar, surveyed 2,000 Brits and an incredible 89% said they had little or no understanding of foreign driving laws and road signs.

A similar proportion (87%) said they never both to check the Highway Code of the country they are visiting, despite either intending to hire a car or take their vehicle.

British drivers listed a number of factors that cause concern when considering driving abroad, with 59% worrying over driving on the right-hand side of the road.  More than half of holidaymakers said understanding the rules of the road represents the biggest challenge, while 44% said they cannot always identify road signs.

An analysis by Professor Cole, Professor Emeritus of Transport at the University of South Wales, found that signs in certain European countries are particularly difficult to understand.

Around 78% of British drivers said they struggle to grasp Italian road signs, while 69% and 68% reported similar problems in Portugal and France respectively.

One in four drivers also said they feared speeding, as they struggle to convert miles per hour to kilometres per hour and vice versa.

Reducing the Risk

A lack of knowledge increases the risks associated with driving overseas and means drivers can fall foul of local rules – especially if the laws require a person to always have their licence or other equipment in their vehicle.  This can result in fines or potential charges, depending on the nature and severity of the offences that are committed.

It therefore pays to do your research before you travel, as it allows you to be safer when driving on foreign road networks for the first time.

If you are hiring a vehicle in the coming months, you may also want to consider car hire excess insurance to cover against the excess you would need to pay should your vehicle be damaged or stolen.  Not only does the added extra provide peace of mind when driving overseas, but it also costs less than you might think.

Best Travelling Apps

Date Created: 12 June 2018

The advances in technology have made travelling much easier and can help to reduce the stress of navigating unknown areas. One of the greatest advancements was the development of smart-phones, which today, are often affordable and always within hands reach. There are a number of smart-phone apps available on the market to help reduce stress of travel and enhance your experiences. Take a look below at some of our top apps to download:

1. App in the Air

App in the Air is your own little personal flight assistant in your pocket. The app provides great updates about your flight, information on your flight status, waiting times and even airport tips. The app is available to download for both Apple and Android users, with a free or premium version.

2. Cities Talking

Cities Talking is a great app if you are fairly new to a destination or visiting it for the first time. The app provides a selection of walking guided tours for most European cities. Using your device’s GPS, the app knows where you are, enabling you to travel the city without Wi-Fi or a data connection!

3. Expensify

Available to download from iTunes and the Google Play store, Expensify is a great app to help you keep track of all your expenses on the go. Using the app, you can cleverly scan all your receipts and summarise your spending at the end of any trip.

4. Gas Buddy

The perfect app for those of you who love to hire a car on your travels. With Gas Buddy you can take away the stress of having to find the next fuel stop in an unfamiliar area, the app can not only help you find where the next gas stop is, but can help you save money by finding the cheapest fuel.

5. Google Trips

Relatively new to the market and available for free on both Apple and Android devices, Google Trips is a great addition to any traveller’s pocket. Google Trips allows you to bundle reservations, find nearby attractions, customise itineraries and get recommendations based on your search history.

6. Stop Breath & Think

Travelling isn’t always stress-free, that is why Stop Breath & Think is such a great travel companion. At Questor Insurance we love the personalisation of the app depending on your mood, recommending mediation to calming walks. If you decide this isn’t the meditation app for you, there are plenty of others to try many offering different features.

* When downloading mobile and tablet applications always ensure you download them from a reputable source designed for your device e.g. iTunes and Google Play. When using a sat nav or your smartphone for navigation, make sure you adhere to the highway code. More information on this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/using-mobile-phones-when-driving-the-law


Swear by a great app on each of your travels? We would love to hear about it, tell us by  which one by tweeting us @QuestorIns

At Questor Insurance, we can provide cover for your private motor excess insurance policy or for a policy taken out for a hired vehicle. To make sure you are protected on your travels, get in touch today for a quote.

Up the fun-factor with a hired car

Date Created: 07 June 2018 by Questor Insurance

Hiring a car when on holiday is incredibly common, but it’s not the only scenario in which you may want to rent a vehicle.

Not only can you enjoy the flexibility that not having to rely on public transport brings, for example, but you could also mark a special occasion by upping the style stakes!

So when might you want to think about rental services, and is there anything else you’ll need to consider? We have the guidance you need.

1. Road Trippin’Road trip hire car

An escape to the seaside or to see some of Britain’s picturesque countryside or stunning attractions? What better way to do it than hire a car and set off on an adventure?

Using a hire vehicle might also be a more cost-effective alternative, especially if there’s a large group of you going.

Cornwall, the Lake District, the Norfolk Broads or the Brecon Beacons are just a handful of the locations you may want to visit. 

2. Wedding day cruising

There’s no bigger day than your wedding day, so why arrive and leave in style? From high-end sports cars to lavish BMWs, limousines and cool classics, you’re sure to find a vehicle to make your special day even more spectacular.

You may even want to have a hire car that matches your colour scheme, or that really accentuates the dress when getting in and out.

3. Getting off the beaten track

If you have a hire car when you venture off on holiday, you may also want to get away from your resort and explore more of your surroundings.

You’ll need to plan ahead if you do intend to do this, as you’ll need your licence and possibly a permit depending on where you are. If it’s your first time, check out our advice for driving in a different country and be fully prepared to discover the best of what the world has to offer.

4. Soaking up City Life

Getting around a big city is relatively easy in the UK, as most have excellent public transport services. But those services are not always the answer, which is when a hire vehicle can come in handy.

Providing a short-term solution, a hire car is ideal for any long errands or trips where using trains or buses is simply not practical or cost-effective.

With such a huge range of vehicles available from the majority of car hire firms, you should also be able to find a type or model that best suits your needs.

 

If you do intend to hire a vehicle, you may also want to consider car hire excess insurance to protect you against the excess you would need to pay should your vehicle be damaged or stolen.

The added extra costs less than you might think – get a quote today to find out.

 

Discovering Denmark by hire car

Date Created: 01 June 2018 by Questor Insurance

DenmarkDenmark comes alive in the summer months and with the majority of its sights and attractions found close together, it’s perfectly suited to being explored by car.

With thousands of miles of picturesque coastline and hundreds of islands, there is ample opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, and really unwind.

Hiring a car provides a simplistic way to get around and to take in the sights as you please, allowing your trip to be as adventurous or as relaxing as you want to make it.

Hidden secrets

Denmark’s stunning beaches are one of its best kept secrets, and you’ll find more than 200 Blue Flag beaches dotted around the coastline – ideal for if you fancy a swim.

Kitesurfing and windsurfing are also incredibly popular, with Klitmoller Bay in North Jutland offering some of the best conditions in Europe for the latter.

Meanwhile if you want to explore, there are hundreds of dunes and hidden coves just waiting to be discovered.

Who can forget Lego!

It’s extremely difficult to talk about Denmark without mentioning Lego. The world’s first Legoland in Billund is just part of a huge complex that also features Lalandia waterpark and Givskud Zoo.

Billund Airport regularly serves the UK too, making the region the ideal start or end point for your trip to Denmark, especially if you plan to take the kids.

A picturesque capital

Copenhagen is packed with beautiful cobbled streets, delectable cuisine and numerous pop up markets, providing plenty to keep you entertained.

This year marks the 175th birthday of Tivoli Gardens, while Danish cities offer events and distinctive urban experiences that you won’t find anywhere else.

If you do plan to hire a car for your travels this summer, you may also want to consider car hire excess insurance to provide added peace of mind.

The added extra covers the excess that you would need to pay should your hire car be damaged or stolen, and costs less than you might think. Get a quote today to find out more.

Getting to grips with the basics of car hire

Date Created: 29 May 2018 by Questor Insurance

Car HireIf you’re jetting off to sunnier climes this summer, or need to travel overseas for business, then car hire can be an essential part of your trip.

But against a backdrop of reported hidden fees and bad practice, how can you be sure that you’re getting the best deal?

In a bid to make your outing a stress-free experience, we’ve detailed some of the basics of car hire that you won’t want to forget.

Do your research

It’s very easy to use the first car hire firm you find, but you should always look around to see what is on offer.

An online search will often throw up any issues that are prevalent at specific companies – such as if they have poor customer service, low quality vehicles or long waits at collection.

At the same time, doing some research also allows you to find special offers which could help you to save.

However, take lead-in offers with a pinch of salt, as they are often just starting prices and may change based on dates or with add-ons.

Check what suits your needs and act accordingly, ensuring that you have a vehicle that is big enough, and practical enough for your needs.

Do you really need add-ons?

Sat-navs and children’s car seats will often incur an extra charge, so you should ask yourself if you really need to have them.

You could opt for a make or model of vehicle that has a sat-nav systems built in. Alternatively, you could opt to take your own.

Check the hire car out

It may be tempting to just get behind the wheel and start enjoying your trip, but it pays to check the vehicle over first.

Take plenty of photographs of your hire car and ensure that any damage or marks are noted by the rental company, in writing, before you leave.

Test out functions such as electric windows and reclining roofs and double check the fuel policy with the rental firm – this should help you to avoid any hidden charges.

You may also want to consider getting car hire excess insurance cover before you travel, to protect against the excess you would need to pay should the vehicle be damaged or stolen.

This added extra can provide peace of mind while on your trip, especially as the excess figure could amount to hundreds of pounds depending on the problem you face.

European road rules you need to remember

Date Created: 25 May 2018 by Questor Insurance

EuropeanIf you’re travelling to certain parts of Europe this summer, there are certain rules of the road that you can’t afford to ignore.

So if you want to avoid unexpected fines when you hire a car, here are a few driving laws you may want to watch out for.

Although it’s also worth doing your own research before you set off, just to ensure you haven’t missed anything.

Low emission cities in France

We’ll start in France, where you’ll want to ensure you have a Vignette sticker if you plan to visit any of the major cities.

Paris, Lyon, Lille and Grenoble are designated as low emissions zones and you’ll need a sticker from the Air Quality Certificate Service on the windscreen.

The ‘Crit Air’ scheme means you’ll be hit with a fine in the region of £60 if you don’t have a Vignette sticker, while it’s best to apply well in advance of travelling as demand will be high during the summer months.

Limited Traffic zones in Italy

On a similar theme of trying to keep cars out of major cities, you’ll need to watch out for Limited Traffic Zones in Italy, which are designed to reduce congestion and pollution.

Found in the historic city centres, including in Rome, Pisa, Florence and Milan, you’ll be fined heavily if caught on camera in these areas.

And it will likely be more obvious if you’re in a hire car, as permits for driving in the Zona Traffico Limitato (or ZTL) areas are only ever given to locals.

Shoes and glasses in Spain

In the interests of safety, Spain has strict rules on what you wear. You’ll likely be fined if you’re pulled over by the police and they have reason to believe your shoes inhibit your ability to drive safely.

While it isn’t against the law to drive without shoes or in flip-flops, it is recommended that you opt for sensible shoes – just in case.

Spanish law also states you must have a spare pair of glasses (if you need them to drive) in the vehicle with you, as well as a high visibility jacket in case of breakdown. In the case of the latter, cars for hire should have one as standard but it’s always worth checking.

Check your Sat-Nav in Switzerland

And in France, Macedonia, Cyprus and Turkey, as it’s illegal to have speed camera warnings that reveal the locations of fixed installations.

Fortunately for you, most devices will allow you to disable that specific function, which will be vital if you want to avoid a fine – those for minor driving offences in Switzerland must often be paid on the spot too if you wish to continue driving.

If you are planning to hire a vehicle for your travels this summer, you may also want to consider car hire excess insurance to cover the excess you would need to pay should your vehicle be damaged or stolen.

This added extra costs less than you may think, and can provide peace of mind, especially if you plan to take on some of Europe’s more challenging roads.

Exploring Australia by camper van

Date Created: 23 May 2018 by Questor Insurance

AustraliaDiscovering the vast landmass of Australia can be an incredibly rewarding experience, especially if you canhire a camper van to explore at your own pace.

Given that the island is roughly three quarters the size of Europe, there are an abundance of roads and highways that allow you to take in all of the sights.

You’ll be able to wander golden sandy beaches and swim in pristine waters if you fancy the coastal routes, or venture inland to view tropical forests and green pastures, and cross the outback desert – all vastly different experiences than if you jet into one of the major cities.

And all of this is best done from the (relative) comfort of a camper van, as you can travel at your own pace and plan your itinerary to be exactly how you want it.

Not only does it provide a convenient means of exploring, but it’s affordable too. But where should you consider visiting if you’re planning a road trip around Australia?

The South Coast

The route between Sydney and Melbourne provides plenty of coastal beauty, as well as opportunities for surfing, swimming and bush walking.

Cross the renowned Sea Cliff Bridge and take in the sights of the Royal National Park, home to a host of wildlife and plants, as well as beautiful secluded beaches.

Watch the penguins on Phillip Island or visit the Koala Conservation Centre if you want to experience more of Australia’s wildlife.

The Great Ocean Road

Widely considered to be among the best driving routes in the world, and with picturesque ocean views at every turn, a trip on the Great Ocean Road is one you won’t forget in a hurry.

There’s also plenty of great surf, numerous national parks and several wine regions as you travel between Melbourne and Adelaide – providing all you need for a relaxing evening after a long drive.

You’ll also be able to enjoy the natural beauty of the Twelve Apostles, a set of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park – although only eight remain, the site is truly spectacular.

Sights of beauty in the north

Travel between Cairns and Airlie Beach and you’ll be able to see the Great Barrier Reef, as well as the rainforest mountains of the Wet Tropics in North East Queensland.

Both are World Heritage listed regions and the route provides ample opportunity for snorkelling, diving and hiking.

Pause for a break in Townville if you wish to break up your trip, while white water rafting and other adventure activities can be found along the route.

Of course there are few limits on where you may want to travel when you hire a camper van in Australia, bar the cost of fuel!

However you may also want to consider motor home excess insurance to cover against the excess you would need to pay should your vehicle be damaged or stolen.

Can you help the environment when you travel?

Date Created: 14 May 2018 by Questor Insurance

Eco1Nearly a tenth of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the world’s flourishing tourism industry, but what can you do to cut your carbon footprint when you travel?

A new study – the first of its type to attempt to quantify the impact of tourism on the environment – reveals that emissions were four times higher than predicted.

It means that tourism accounts for 8% of all emissions, with the researchers including all operations as part of their study – from transport and events to hotels, food and shopping.

Published in the journal Nature Climate Change, the study focused on more than 160 countries between 2009 and 2013, while suggesting that the impacts are likely to have increased since.

Rising demand for luxury travel and greater reliance on air transport are among the leading factors for the upsurge in emissions.

Lead author Dr Arunima Malik, from the University of Sydney, described the results as “eye opening” but what can everyday travellers do to feel that they’re doing their bit to tackle the issue?

How can you reduce your own holiday emissions?

One option, if you’re travelling a bit closer to home, is to consider the train. Europe has an exceptional network that is often both timely and reliable.

Of course airlines can’t be avoided for long-haul trips but might still be able to keep your own carbon footprint down – many airlines use fuel-efficient aircraft and biofuels, so it might be worth checking their environmental policies before you jet off.

Another option is to take advantage of public transport, especially if you’re visiting major cities and intend to do a lot of your exploring in a relatively small area.

If you do need to a hire a vehicle, you could opt for a more environmentally friendly model or one that has the best fuel economy.

While these actions may appear minimal, tackling rising emissions does need to start somewhere.

Should you hire a vehicle while on your travels, you may also want to consider car hire excess insurance to protect the excess you would need to pay out should your car be damaged or stolen.

The additional cover often costs less than you might think to, meaning you could have even greater peace of mind as you venture out and explore.

Choosing a hire car that is right for you

Date Created: 10 May 2018 by Questor Insurance

Choice1Hiring a car is now easier than ever, and with more options to choose from, how do you go about selecting a vehicle that is right for you?

Not only does hiring a vehicle open up a world of possibilities in terms of where you can explore when on holiday, but it also provides plenty of flexibility.

What you select will often depend on what cars are available to hire, although the location and type of roads will also be important.

You’ll need to address a number of questions in order to decide what vehicle you need, starting with how far you will need to travel from the airport.

If you have a long distance to cover then you’ll want a car that is both comfortable and fuel efficient, while the same will apply if you intend to do plenty of driving while you’re on holiday.

On top of this, you should also consider the amount of luggage you have to determine if extra boot space is required.

Furthermore, you should look at the region where you will be driving as the terrain could shape the sort of car you need.

While basic models or sporty types are perfectly suited to motorway driving, you may need something more robust if you intend to use mountain roads or venture away from the main road network.

If you’re unsure on the types of roads or driving conditions that you may face, you should ask questions at the rental desk.

Staff should be able to assist you with any queries and are well placed to provide advice or even directions if you are unsure how to reach your destination.

Don’t forget that free data roaming is available in the EU too, so you could use your mobile phone to access GPS maps for directions – but remember that using your mobile phone while on the move is illegal.

Picking the right car can make a big difference to your trip – not only helping to make it more enjoyable, but also more practical.

Given that many rental companies have such a wide range of vehicles to choose from, you should take steps to make sure you are well placed to take advantage of what is on offer.

You may also want to consider car hire excess insurance to protect against the excess you would need to pay should your hire car be damaged or stolen.

This added extra can cost less than you might think – get a quote today to find out for yourself.

Top 10 facts you need to know about GDPR

Date Created: 09 May 2018 by Daniella Peers

On May 25th 2018, a change is coming… The current data protection legislation is repealed and we will see the beginning of the General Data Protection Regulation. Some have likened the GDPR to the Y2K bug, or “millennium bug”, because of its immutable deadline, immense technology requirements and grave consequences.

If you haven’t already heard of the General Data Protection Regulation and it’s seemingly all-encompassing scope, let us summarise some of the key points:

  1. You have waited for this change for 20 years - the GDPR is the first change to data protection legislation in the UK since 1998.
  2. You have more control over your personal data – the GDPR has extended the definition of personal data to include online identifiers, location data etc.
  3. You are covered by the scope of the GDPR* regardless of an organisation’s size or location – the GDPR applies to processing of personal data of EU citizens.
  4. You have new rights – such as the right to be forgotten, the right to be informed and the right to restrict processing.
  5. You have more power over your information – you can request a copy of your personal data held by a company free of charge.
  6. You will probably see consent requests often – the GDPR requires firms to have a lawful basis for processing personal data, one being consent from the individual.
  7. You can actively and explicitly opt in to exactly what you want – the GDPR requires consent to be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous.
  8. You will know why and how your data is being processed – the GDPR requires firms publish their lawful basis for processing in the privacy policy.
  9. You can be assured that your privacy is paramount – the GDPR has hefty fines for firms who are not found to be compliant (€20,000,000 or 4% of annual turnover).
  10. You will be informed of any data breaches if necessary – the GDPR requires firms to inform affected individuals without undue delay if the breach is likely to result in a high risk of adversely affecting an individuals’ rights and freedoms.

 *If you are an EU citizen.

As you can see, the GDPR is a much needed step in the right direction towards control of our own data. The penalties for non-compliance are harsher, the regulator is becoming more aggressive and the deadline is looming meaning that your privacy will be put at the forefront of any organisation's operations.

Questor Insurance are committed to protecting and respecting the privacy of all customers, however do not provide any advice. If you would like further information regarding this, please visit www.ico.org.uk.

Why you should always clean your hire car

Date Created: 08 May 2018 by Questor Insurance

CleanHiring a vehicle can provide an excellent opportunity to explore a holiday destination at your own pace, giving you greater flexibility over where and what you see.

However, you’ll probably also know that it pays to be cautious when hiring a vehicle overseas, especially if you want to avoid additional fees and charges.

According to Which?, one of these pitfalls relates to the cleanliness of the vehicle when it is returned.

While you can take great care to ensure that your car is kept in a clean state by avoiding situations where it could become overly dirty, you should still check it over when you return it.

As with any car hire, you should take as many pictures of the vehicle as you can, both when you receive it and when you return it.

Don’t forget to hunt throughout the many compartments of the car to ensure that you haven’t left anything behind and check the small print of the contract to see if there are any other hire requirements.

For instance, you can avoid extra fees by ensuring that the hire car is returned with a full tank, if that is a stipulated requirement.

Which? reports that a number of firms have cleaning charges if they feel a vehicle is retuned dirty and this can range from tens, to hundreds of pounds.

A special cleaning service at Europcar will set you back £85 for example, whereas you can expect to pay £133 and £215 foe similar services at Goldcar and Firefly respectively.

Interrent meanwhile charge an upfront fee of £7.50, which could rise to £18 if you refuse to pay it and the car is retuned dirty. Worse still, but it could reach £100 if a ‘special clean’ is required.

As you can see, taking the time to ensure that your hire vehicle is retuned in a good state of cleanliness can help to keep your holiday costs down.

You may also be able to keep any potential outlays down by investing in car hire excess insurance, which protects against the excess you would need to pay should your hire vehicle be damaged or stolen.

The cover is readily available and costs a lot less than you may think – get a quote today to see how little car hire excess insurance may cost.

Discovering Italy by hire car

Date Created: 04 May 2018 by Questor Insurance

Italy1Italy is an absolute driver’s dream – roads weave their way through spectacular scenery, often against a backdrop of hills and high peaks.

The rugged coastlines and historic towns provide further reasons for you to explore the wonderful country by car, creating unforgettable memories in the process.

And while a number of routes represent a challenge, you can be sure that the experiences will make it all worthwhile.

So if you’re keen to explore Italy’s network of roads, you may opt to do it by hire car, or on the back of an iconic Vespa.

Here we’ve picked out a handful of the regions where you can enjoy a true taste of Italian life.

The Amalfi Coast

One of Italy’s most romantic regions – and spectacular for that matter – is the Amalfi Coast with its iconic views and unmatched beaches.

A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997, the coastal routes are ideal for taking in all that the area has to offer.

Salerno – known as the gateway to the coast – benefits from great Mediterranean weather all year round too so there’s never a bad time to visit.

Other towns to visit include the main hub Amalfi, the colourful homes of Positano, and Sorrento, which survives in the lurking shadows of Mount Vesuvius.

Tuscany

Famed for its wineries and delectable cuisine, Tuscany is best explored by car as it allows you to take in the beautiful countryside at your own pace.

Indulge yourself in the Renaissance architecture of Florence before heading into Chianti wine country for a tasting session – you’ll often be able to stay nearby meaning you won’t need to worry about the car!

The region is also famed for its bistecca (steak) which you could sample in Greve, or in the heart of the picturesque wine country in Panzano.

Another must-visit is the incredible medieval city of Siena and its 12th century square, Piazza del Campo, although in truth, it’s easy to get lost in the beauty and tranquillity of all Tuscan landscapes.

Sicily

From the ancient ruins of Syracuse to the historic centre of Catania, Sicily is a treasure trove of baroque treats.

You should also take in the sights of the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Noto and its 18th century cathedral at the foot of the Iblean Mountains.

Messina features a number of spectacular buildings too, with its architecture spanning numerous cultures and time periods.

And don’t forget to visit Europe’s tallest active volcano, Mount Etna – you could even trek up it if you’re feeling adventurous.

If you do intend to hire a car to explore one of Italy’s famed regions, you may want to consider car hire excess insurance to provide cover should your car be damaged or stolen.

The added extra protects the excess that you would need to pay in the event of a claim and costs less than you may think. Get a quote today to see how little it could cost you.

Be warned: Low cost might not always be best

Date Created: 01 May 2018 by Questor Insurance

Wallet1We all love to save money when jetting off on holiday, but new research has found that low-cost flights hotels and car hire deals may not always be the best option.

According to Which? add-ons can push prices up so that a quote for a ‘no frills’ holiday ends being more expensive than you want.

For instance, thanks to airport parking and drop off costs, it might cost you more to get to the airport than it does to fly to Spain or somewhere else in Europe!

The research reveals that the headline figure that is often quoted does not include many of the items that were once part of a package, and that they instead form an expensive set of extras.

So if you’re keen to keep costs down, there are several key ways that you can do just that. And it starts at the airport.

At the airport

Look to book flights from airports that do not have drop-off charges and have your boarding passes printed off in advance, or available on your mobile phone.

Some airlines will charge for checking-in at the desk or for printing a boarding pass, so these are initial costs that can easily be avoided.

Check the luggage allowances with your airline too, as you may be charged if you have too many bags, or ones that are too big for overhead lockers.

It’s best to take any food onto flights with you if you want to avoid being overcharged too, although several airlines, including Lufthansa, KLM and Air France still serve free food.

Picking locations

You can also bring costs down by avoiding locations where tourist taxes are applied to the costs of hotels – those in Amsterdam charge 6% for example, while in Rome it is €6 per person per night.

Meanwhile Which? reports that US hotels will often display headline prices that are far better than they actually are – keep an eye out for ‘resort fees’ and hunt around for nearby hotels that do not have them.

Car hire

It is also reported that car hire deals may not always appear as they seem, as some firms provide discounts for a whole week – meaning hire for four days may be more expensive than hire for seven.

But returning the car early might not be an option, as rental firms may change your per-day price if the discount period is not reached. It’s therefore important to proceed with caution if you intend to book for longer than you need the vehicle.

If you want to keep costs down, you’ll also want to check what sort of fuel rules the car hire firms have – some may want it returned with a full tank and may impose penalties if that is not the case.

Others may fill the tank for you in that instance, but could charge you more per litre for doing so than it would cost if you were to do it yourself.

The key thing you consider with car hire is that cheap deals are often low cost for a reason and may not include all that you require.

While you should protect yourself by taking of pictures of the vehicle, you may also want to consider car hire excess insurance for added peace of mind.

This extra will protect against the excess that you would need to shell out if the hire car was damaged or stolen and it costs less than you may think. Get a quote today to find out for yourself.

Moving property – can you do it all yourself?

Date Created: 13 April 2018 by Questor Insurance

Van1If you’re approaching the end of your tenancy or intend to live somewhere new, moving property can be a stressful, drawn-out and often expensive experience.

However, it is possible to keep the costs down if you’re prepared to do a lot of the hard work yourself.

From packing boxes and finalising bills to cleaning and considering the moving day itself, there is plenty to consider.

Packing

When it comes to packing all your items, there are some simple tricks that can help to bring down your stress levels.

It’s best to label all of your boxes with what’s inside them, and to name the room they are intended for – this makes it easier to put them in rooms when you arrive so you don’t just pile boxes at the door.

If you have to take any furniture apart it’s wise to put all fixing into sealed bags and to tape them to the furniture they come from.

The furniture should be the first thing to be moved into your new abode, as this will free up space and make the rest of unpacking an easier process.

Cleaning

If you are currently renting a property then it’s highly likely that your tenancy agreement will require a professional clean at the end of the rental period.

While some of these costs are hard to avoid, you can do a lot of the lesser work yourself, meaning that the professionals should have less to do, in turn bringing the associated costs down.

End of tenancy cleaning costs are also the single largest cause of deposit deductions so it’s worth considering if any outlays on cleaning will result in you getting more of your deposit back.

Moving

The amount of items you have – and especially large or heavy furniture – will often determine the sort of vehicle you need for the move.

If you only have small items, or don’t have many belongings to take, then a small van or even a car will often suffice.

However, if you have larger items you may wish to consider hiring a van to drive yourself, contacting a man with a van type of service to assist you, or finding a suitable removals firm.

Of course, if you do intend to hire a van for the big move then you may want to consider van hire excess insurance to cover the excess should the vehicle be damaged or stolen.

This provides added peace of mind and you may even be surprised at how little the additional cover can cost. Get a quote today to see for yourself.

Your essential car hire checklist

Date Created: 11 April 2018 by Questor Insurance

Checklist1If you’re planning to travel around Europe or even further afield this summer, hiring a vehicle can provide the perfect opportunity to explore.

But while hiring vehicles provides a great deal of flexibility, there are plenty of things that you need to consider, before, during and after you travel.

Ahead of your trip

It’s best to look around at various car hire options to find the best one for you – you’ll want to consider things like boot space, and if you prefer a manual or automatic.

If you can in advance it’s wise to do so, as you should find you have greater vehicle choice and a better array of deals to choose from.

You’ll also want to check your insurance cover and most notably the excess, as it may be worth investing in car hire excess insurance too, which would cover the excess you would need to pay in the event that the vehicle was damaged or stolen.

Prior to driving overseas, you should also check the local driving regulations to see if any are applicable to where you are going.

In Switzerland for example, you must have a warning triangle in your vehicle at all times and you’ll need to have a vignette (vehicle sticker) if you intend to use the motorways, even if just for an hour or two. Expect to be fined heavily if you’re pulled over without one.

If you intend to hire a vehicle after flying, be sure to confirm the start time of the rental and to update the car hire firm should there be delays, as they may otherwise cancel reservations.

You may also want to print of an English translation of the European Accident Statement before you leave, just in case something does go wrong.

When you get to the car hire desk

It’s always handy to have a spare credit card available, although this should be in the name of the driver listed on the rental.

This is for peace of mind as much as anything, although there are reports of rental desks saying a card is declined where drivers have opted against added extras or have sorted their own insurance.

You’ll need to check all of the details carefully too, as if you fail to dispute any extras or unclear items early on then you’ll have to pay them.

Check the car thoroughly when you receive it too and ensure that any marks, dents or scratches are listed on the contract, and that any items that are legally required are available.

When you return your hire car

Ensure you have a receipt that shows when you filled up the car (if a full tank is required) and take photographs of the vehicle again if it cannot be signed back in.

While this should protect you if any disputes occur, know that you can also approach the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association and the European Car Rental Conciliation Service for assistance.

If you are considering car hire excess insurance for your trip, get a quote today and find out how little it can cost.

Skyscanner boosts travel options for iOS customers

Date Created: 06 April 2018 by Questor Insurance

Skyscanner1Travel website Skyscanner has moved to provide extra services for its UK customers by launching a train booking option.

Although it is only available on its iOS app, it means travellers can now compare rail options alongside flights, hotels and care hire.

Chinese online travel firm Ctrip owns Skyscanner, following a £1.4 billion purchase in 2016, and the firm’s Trip.com site will power the new service.

This means customers will have access to 24-hour customer service and the option to makes bookings anywhere and at any time of day.

Rail tickets for the UK network will be included on the app, which will enable individuals to search for the most cost-effective means of travelling across the country.

The addition of rail tickets is said to target those that are not served by nearby airports, and who require a means of accessing those locations.

Skyscanner’s chief technology officer Bryan Dove has said that the company wants to make travel “as easy as possible” for people in Britain.

He explained that being able to use Ctrip’s technology means the company can take advantage of a wealth of information concerning consumer habits to ensure they receive the services they need.

A version of the app is also due to launch on Android in the future, although a date is not yet known for the release.

To date, the app has been downloaded more than 70 million times across the world, while more than 60% of Skyscanner’s web traffic comes via mobile devices.

By having flight, hotel and car hire deals in one place, customers can find the most affordable options for their travel.

However, one aspect that is not included, and which is applicable to those considering hiring a vehicle, is additional insurance cover.

Car hire excess insurance provides cover on the excess fee that a driver would need to pay should their hire vehicle be lost or damaged, therefore providing added peace of mind when travelling. Get a quote today to see how much the added cover could cost.

How can van hire be beneficial to businesses?

Date Created: 01 April 2018 by Questor Insurance

VanHire1For many businesses that are just starting out, funds can be tight and it can be tough to know what money really should be spent on.

Vehicles are one such asset for which expenses can quickly add up, but advances in technology, and the van and car hire sectors more generally, can help businesses to save.

Hiring commercial vehicles removes the need for a large initial outlay and could be a cost effective alternative to purchase depending on how long a vehicle is required for.

According to the latest figures from the British Vehicle and Rental Leasing Association, the number of vans being rented in the UK in 2016 jumped by 16.2%.

A major reason for this was an increased uptake in rental services by businesses that only required seasonal vehicles or who had very small workforces.

It’s not just the initial outlay that a business is protected form in this instance, as maintenance and upkeep costs are also not required.

Nearly every vehicle will depreciate in value over time and that is another factor that must be considered by any business prior to purchase.

Hiring vans or other commercial vehicles has another advantage too, as there is a certain degree of flexibility and simplicity when it comes to increasing or downsizing the size of their vehicle fleet.

A business can find the vehicle that best suits their needs, often when they require it and at short notice.

Any business that opts to hire should also be able to access the latest models of cars and vans, in turn increasing the quality of service that can be provided.

Not only does a business have transport it can rely on, but the majority of hire firms will also provide support should something go wrong.

One aspect to consider if you do want to hire vehicles for a business is van hire excess insurance, as this will cover the excess that would need to be paid should a hire vehicle be damaged or stolen.

Get a quote today and see how the added extra can provide peace of mind when hiring a car or van.

Increased pothole fund a boost for UK drivers

Date Created: 27 March 2018 by Questor Insurance

Pothole1More government money for the repair of potholes across the UK will come as a massive boost to drivers across the UK.

Not only will the move mean better road surfaces but it should also mean reduced damage to vehicles as a result.

The Government has committed an additional £100 million to tackle potholes in the wake of recent poor weather, as unveiled by transport secretary Chris Grayling.

He has suggested that the funding will repair close to two million potholes in the UK road network and follows other efforts to ensure the roads are fit for the future.

Mr Grayling said the finance is necessary following the spate of freezing weather that has caused chaos on UK roads before adding that drivers should be able to enjoy their journeys without having to avoid potholes.

Around £900,000 has also been awarded to eight councils to develop vehicle initiatives that will make the process of spotting potholes easier.

The latest funding follows the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey for the current year which warned that it might take 14 years to get roads to a reasonable state.

At the same time, Cycling UK report that local authorities have spent more than £43 dealing with legal costs and compensation claims relating to potholes since 2013.

The RAC has also warned that the state of UK roads could suffer as a result of the cold weather and has suggested that the funding is a “drop in the ocean” when looking at the wider road network.

Potholes are a major issue for all drivers, and especially those with hire vehicles, as they can cause considerable damage to a car or van.

While insurance will often cover any damage, you may still need to pay an excess fee should the vehicle be damaged and that could amount to hundreds or thousands of pounds.

However, if you do plan to hire a vehicle, opting for car hire vehicle excess insurance could cover the outlay. Get a quote today to see how much the additional cover may cost.

Exploring Iceland by car

Date Created: 12 March 2018 by Questor Insurance

Iceland1Iceland is a truly spectacular country, packed with beautiful natural scenery, stunning coastal settings and picturesque buildings.

It’s also a prime spot to spy aurora borealis – the Northern Lights – in their true glory, and is definitely a country best explored by car.

However the weather also has a part to play, as wintery conditions often continue through to April and visitors that hire cars will need to ensure they are prepared.

The capital Reykjavik is relatively easy to get around using public transport and by walking, but venturing beyond it requires a vehicle.

Highway 1 circles the island and you can see all of the main region’s by driving along it. In the summer you could do the journey in just over a day, but it’s more fun to stop off and sightsee on the way.

What to consider

Although it is well maintained, the road is still susceptible to sudden weather changes and heavy snowfall, which means drivers need to take care.

The good news is that you can hire manual and automatic cars that are set up for driving on the right-hand side of the road.

You’ll need winter tyres by law in the winter and may need them in spring – most rental companies can supply the necessary equipment.

Any driver will also need to have their driving licence in their possession at all times when they are behind the wheel and you could be fined if you are stopped by the police and cannot produce it.

If you intend to hire a car, you may wish to consider car hire excess insurance to cover what you would need to pay should your car be damaged or stolen.

Where to visit

Reykjavik is packed full of restaurants, shops and bars, while the original geyser at Geysir, Pingvellir, the waterfalls at Gulfoss and the renowned Blue Lagoon are all within easy reach.

Snaefellsnes Peninsula offers accessible hiking while the most spectacular scenery can be found in northwest of the country, although there are few settlements.

Akureyri is known as Iceland’s second city and there’s plenty of spectacular scenery nearby, as the landscape is dominated by past volcanic activity.

If you visit in the summer months, then a trip to the volcanic island Heimaey is a must, as it plays host to one of the largest puffin colonies in the world.