Mini: A British Classic

The original Mini was produced from 1959 by the British Motor Corporation, which during its operation helped to produce many iconic British vehicles, including the Morris Minor, the Austin A99 Westminster and the Austin Farina – considered by many to one of the first mass-produced hatchback vehicles.

Mini produced some models up until 2000 when the brand was relaunched with a new and modern design that retained the original quirkiness of the original Minis. Some older models remain highly collectable, with some enthusiasts clubs out there for fans of older Mini vehicles.

SEE ALSO: Deciding What Classic Car To Buy

A Place On The Silver Screen

The Mini, with its unique shape and nippy driving ability, has become a symbol of the automotive history of Britain. Featured in many iconic television programmes and Hollywood movies, it has become a symbol in its own right.

Indeed, the quintessentially British Mini has made its mark in the world of Hollywood over the years as well, featuring in such movies as:

  • The Italian Job (both the original 1969 Micheal Caine classic and the 2003 remake) – seen as a classic heist movie and involving one of the most iconic car chase scenes in cinema history through the streets of Turin, the Italian Job helped to catapult the image of the Mini into film history.
  • Mr Bean – one of Britain’s most successful comedy exports, Rowan Atkinson’s bumbling but lovable buffoon drove an ‘applejack-green’ Mini Mk II, and could often be seen in a constant battle for road space with a rival vehicle – a blue three-wheeler, often causing it to tip over on its’ side.
  • Magical Mystery Tour – George Harrison of Beatles-fame owned a Mini decorated with psychedelic colours, which appears in this 1967 movie inspired by the Fab Four’s travels in India.
  • The Bourne Identity – in the first of this high-octane film series starring Matt Damon as a hitman trying to piece together his memories, Jason Bourne practically buys Franka Potente’s clapped out Mini Mayfair on the spot and proceeded to lead the police on a chase through the narrow Parisian streets.
  • Goldmember – Micheal Caine returned to driving a Mini once more during the third of the Austin Powers spy-parody movies in 2001, this time in an updated Mini Cooper, decked in Union Jack colours of course.
  • Goodbye Pork Pie – this iconic road movie from New Zealand involved a couple of misfits leading the police on a mad-dash from the North to the South of the country, having to sell bits of their yellow Mini along the way to afford petrol during the pursuit.

Redesign And Relaunch

In 2001, Mini (now owned by BMW) relaunches with a new and modern design that still encapsulated the attraction of the original Mini. Retaining the iconic vehicle shape, the newer models such as the One and the Clubman have helped to modernise the brand, even going so far as to develop convertible and estate models along the way.

Mini continues to be a popular brand both in the UK and abroad, with the new-style Minis proving particularly popular across the pond thanks to its compact size and charm.

Sporting Connections

Specially-built Minis were once a feature in British motorsport, triumphing in events such as the British Rally Championship, various rally events around the world and even winning the iconic Monte Carlo Rally several times during the 1960s.

Mini also entered the World Rally Championship a couple of times with cars based on the newer models, and several Minis also made an appearance in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012, further cementing its’ place in British automotive history.

Collectable Classics

Old-style Minis, particularly pre-2000 models are still highly collectable, and owners of older models can normally find spare parts on online auction sites, at breakers’ yards and through fellow enthusiasts.

If you have a soft spot for Minis and are looking to purchase one to either renovate or just to collect, bear in mind that the cost of specific Mini insurance may be affected by the age of the vehicle, so it can be good to have accumulated some No Claims Discount to reduce your premiums.

Prestige And Luxury Car Classification

What do you consider to be a ‘luxury’ car? Some will think of large cars such as Rolls Royce and Bentley, while some may consider sports cars such as Ferraris and Lamborghinis to be so.

Prestige can be used to symbolise a sign of wealth or status, and many luxury cars range from small and nippy compact cars to big and powerful saloon vehicles – including many models of BMW, the iconic Rolls Royce and even those new to the marketplace such as Tesla.

What Constitutes A Prestige Car?

Prestige vehicles come in many different shapes and sizes to suit all types of drivers, owners, and in some cases, the owners’ drivers.

So here’s a quick guide to vehicle classifications when it comes to luxury and prestige vehicles.

Premium compact

Those in the premium compact category are usually based around a hatchback or compact wagon style and can be a way of enticing those who are new to the luxury car market with smaller yet still prestigious models.

Vehicles in this class will usually be lower in engine size and be more fuel-efficient than some of the higher end prestige vehicles, some examples include:

  • Audi A3
  • Volvo V40
  • BMW 2 Series
  • Lexus CT
  • Mercedes Benz B-Class

Compact executive

Compact executive cars are considered to be an entry-level for luxury cars, providing the opportunity for enthusiasts to dip their toes in the executive car market.

Usually including sportier features and slightly reduced storage space inside, compact executive vehicles may not be as powerful as a higher-end vehicle with a V8 engine, but the combination of sleek design and a powerful engine can be selling points to those new to the market.

  • Audi A4
  • Alfa Romeo Giulia
  • BMW 3-Series
  • Jaguar XE
  • Mercedes Benz C-Class

Mid-size luxury

Mid-sized luxury cars are the most commonly recognised type of luxury car and can provide the next step up for those looking for a more powerful engine.

Stocked with technology, V8 engines, and superior handling systems, mid-sized cars are designed to be powerful while still retaining an elegance about them, and are a popular choice with those looking to make an impression of wealth or status.

  • Audi A7
  • Mercedes Benz E-Class
  • Saab 9-5
  • Hyundai Genesis
  • BMW 5 Series

High-end luxury

High-end luxury cars are also known as grand saloons or full-size luxury vehicles and offer a more extensive engine size, more sophisticated interior decoration and stockier design. Usually associated with bussing celebrities and politicians to and from events, these vehicles are also popular with those who have a penchant for particular manufacturers.

  • Porsche Panamera
  • BMW 7 Series
  • Maserati Quattroporte
  • Jaguar XJ
  • Mercedes Benz S-Class

Ultra-luxury

Ultra-luxury vehicles include manufacturers such as Bentley, Rolls Royce and Maserati – names that are usually associated with prestige.

With longer wheelbases, these sleek looking vehicles combine comfort with power, ultra-luxury cars are loved by the rich as famous, and can often be found in business districts all over the world.

Ultra-luxury vehicles are either driven by the owners themselves or to be chauffeured in as a symbol of wealth for some.

  • Bentley Continental GT
  • Rolls Royce Ghost
  • Maserati Ghibli III

Luxury SUV

The Luxury SUV category offers a powerful engine while retaining the spacious interior for everyday family use and off-road abilities.

  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Mercedes Benz GL-Class
  • Nissan Infiniti QX70

Insuring The Prestige

Because of the size and power of prestige and luxury vehicles, getting it insured could be an expensive business as they are seen as a greater risk to other road users and pedestrians.

As a result, younger drivers may not be able to get a particularly cheap policy, so it can be worth building up not only some driving experience but also some No Claims Bonus to help reduce your premiums in the future.

SEE ALSO: Young Drivers – Reducing Your Premiums

Indeed, because many choose to buy prestige cars later in life, ensuring you have a clean driving record once you come to buy one can help to reduce the cost of your prestige car insurance premium.

For those with chauffeurs, it is vital to ensure that you also have some specialist chauffeur insurance to protect against third-party claims.

Securing Your Motor

Because of the value and in-car technology in prestige cars, they can be vulnerable to theft, so making sure your expensive vehicles are kept safely secured at all times can help reduce the cost of your policy.

Additional security measures such as alarms and wheel locks can help protect your car and prove to your insurer that you are taking steps to protect your prestige motor.

Looking For A Quote

When searching for a prestige car insurance quote, it can be worth looking around to find a quote that suits you. There are some brokers who cater for the more expensive motor; provided you’ve got a good driving record including plenty of No Claims Bonus, you can ensure that your policy is kept low.

A Guide to American Muscle Cars

American cars are known for being big and powerful, and many manufacturers are synonymous with those known as ‘muscle cars’, including:

  • Dodge – makers of such vehicles as the Coronet, Charger and Challenger
  • Buick – maker of the Wildcat, Skylark and Grand National
  • Chevrolet – includes models such as the Impala, Bel Air and Camaro
  • Plymouth – makers of the Barracuda, Road Runner and Superbird
  • Ford – includes models such as the Maverick, Torino and the iconic Mustang
  • Pontiac – makers of the GTO, Grand Prix and the iconic Firebird

Many of these vehicles have been featured in a variety of media since the 1960’s, featuring in everything from popular music (Mustang Sally) to big Hollywood films (Gran Torino) and have become engrained in popular culture through merchandising and frequent references in modern TV shows.

What Constitutes A Muscle Car?

Muscle cars are vehicles that are built for speed and power and were designed for street racing. Many were a two-seater, rear-wheel drive vehicles with powerful V6 and V8 engines designed to tear up the tarmac in drag races.

Indeed, muscle cars are synonymous with high-performance cars and enjoyed a revival of sorts in the 1980’s as enthusiasts sought to add better tech to old models – including boosted transmission and fuel injection methods – designed to give a little extra kick and an advantage when it came to street races.

RELATED: Powerful Cars And How To Insure Them

Because of their sheer power, build and sleek design, muscle cars are still a popular feature in the world of drag racing, attracting fans with the lure of the sound of a revving V8 engine.

Muscle cars are also popular vehicles for modification, and you can find many a personalised paint job or engine modification in the muscle car scene.

SEE ALSO: How to Insure a Modified Vehicle

Why So Popular?

Big American vehicles such as Pontiacs and Dodges are deeply lodged in US motor history, providing iconic symbols that help to remember a time when car production the States was big business, allowing cities like Detroit to flourish with a booming automotive industry.

As manufacturers were looking to outdo each other, engines got bigger, and now the roar of a powerful V8 engine is a common sound at motor shows and drag racing events.

Starting out as powerful street-racing cars, muscle cars adapted to the mass market and soon became available in four-door varieties that were designed for everyday family use.

Famous Muscle Cars

The American muscle car has its roots embedded deep in the 60’s and 70’s when manufacturers such as Chevrolet and Ford were competing with each other for business with more powerful engines and vehicles that are as iconic today as they were in their heyday.

Television shows helped to catapult some models to fame, including in such series as:

  • The General Lee (The Dukes Of Hazzard, 1979-84)
  • Knight Industries Three Thousand (KITT) – (Knight Rider, 1982-86)

Movies also helped bring the vehicles to prominence, including classics such as Smokey and the Bandit, the car chase scene from Bullitt – considered by many to be the greatest of all time – and of course the iconic Delorean time machine from Back to the Future (Parts I, II and III).

Indeed, the popularity of the vehicles can be found in the sheer amount of merchandise and toy cars produced to celebrate them, many of which are still highly collectable and rare versions can still be to at auction houses for high prices.

Aside from being a big enthusiast scene for these large and powerful vehicles, there are also a fair few collectors of die-cast models, old advertisements and even parts of older cars to be used as decoration.

Still Collectible

With their big engines and big personalities, American muscle cars are popular amongst enthusiasts who like a big powerful vehicle. Many will take on rebuilds as a hobby, often trawling breakers yards and online auction houses to find replacement parts for their iconic vehicles.

Import Market

American car enthusiasts can be found all over the world, often paying to have vehicles shipped over from the US or embarking on country-wide road trips after picking up vehicles.

The US car import market is still popular to this day, with special events in the UK such as Santa Pod celebrating their power and performance, attracting fans with the sights and sounds of drag racing.

Many specialist dealerships in the UK will have American muscle cars in stock, and can also take care of the relevant taxes and import duties as part of the price.

When buying from a dealer, you must ensure that they have all the paperwork present and that the vehicle has passed an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) in order to ensure it is safe for use on the roads in the UK.

American muscle cars have remained popular to this very day, and with a flourishing enthusiast scene keeping them running, these iconic vehicles are seen to remain in driving history for a good while longer.

Buying A Japanese Import Car

When it comes to motor vehicles that have not been built in the UK, there are two types of classification to symbolise imported cars:

  • Parallel imports – cars which have been imported from within the EU
  • Grey imports – cars which have been imported from outside of the EU

Japanese cars are popular amongst enthusiasts who like a slightly larger, more powerful vehicle which is built for speed and has increased torque.

Car ownership in Japan is usually short-term, with many choosing to replace their vehicles after two or three years, this is due in part to the stringent vehicle safety checks that cars have to go through in Japan, meaning that vehicles can become available with low-mileage and in good condition.

Japanese import cars will usually have low mileage on them when you buy them, which you think would be good from an insurance point of view, but there can be other pitfalls along the way which affect the cost of a premium.

However, with grey imports, you also have to factor in the costs of importing the car into the UK and the stringent tests they have to go through to be deemed suitable to be driven on roads in the UK.

Enhanced Single Vehicle Approval

If you’re looking to import a car into the UK, there are several things you have to do to make sure the process is safe and legal. By putting the vehicle through an ESVA test, you are essentially proving that the car is safe to drive on the roads in the UK.

An ESVA test is a more thorough MOT for imported cars and is an essential part of the import car ownership process. Your car will be examined thoroughly by a mechanic, and in some cases will have to be modified to bring it up to standard for driving in the UK – including replacing tyres, modifying suspension and even having to change bodywork to meet UK road requirements.

Remember that cars built in Japan will usually have different specifications to those built in Europe, some are built for speed and so are popular with enthusiasts who like to modify them to show them off at car shows and participate in meets and competitions.

Telling The Taxman

Not only will you have to tell the DVLA about your new vehicle and satisfy their stringent safety checks, but also declare the vehicle to HMRC to ensure you’ve paid all the relevant vehicle taxes.

After you import a vehicle into the UK, you will have 14 days in which to inform HMRC using a system known as NOVA (Notification of Vehicle Arrivals). Only after your vehicle is accepted will you then be able to start the process of registering your vehicle with the DVLA.

If you’re buying from a dealership, they will usually do this for you as part of the import process, always be sure to double check that this has been done and that the vehicle has all the relevant paperwork before you commit to a sale.

How Can I Import A Vehicle?

There are a number of different outlets you can use for sourcing an import motor:

  • Specialist Dealerships

Import dealerships will be experienced in the process of buying and selling on import cars, so finding a local showroom can be your first point of call, as not only can they source and import your preferred vehicle, but they may even have one in their showroom.

After importing the vehicles, the dealership will then prepare the car to ensure it meets ESVA standards before selling it on to you, whether you’ve pre-ordered an import or bought from the showroom floor.

Be careful though, do some thorough research and look to see if they have a website and premises before you commit to a sale.

  • Online

You can buy vehicles through auction sites and private buyers these days, but you must make sure that you thoroughly research the vehicle, and in particular its history before you commit to a sale.

Paperwork is the most important part of buying an import vehicle, and you must check that the seller has the relevant paperwork to hand.

What About Sourcing Replacement Parts?

One of the main pitfalls of owning an import vehicle, especially an older model, is that replacement parts can difficult to source. Many enthusiasts will add parts such as tuning kits to boost performance

There is no shortage of specialised stockists of import car parts in the UK, while the Internet provides another source of stock, be wary of shipping costs if you’re buying from abroad though.

Do I Need Specialist Insurance?

Because Japanese import vehicles will have more powerful specifications than cars built within the EU, they will require a specialist grey import insurance policy.

There are some specialised brokers who can provide cover for import vehicles, so it can be worth researching into multiple options before you decide on a policy.

Japanese cars are popular with those who like to tune their vehicles to increase speed, reduce drag, and spruce them up with body kits, but remember that making modifications to your vehicle can add to the cost of your Japanese car insurance policy.

How Can I Reduce My Premium?

Much like a regular car insurance policy, being careful with your vehicle as well as your driving habits that can help keep your insurance premium down.

By accumulating some No Claims Bonus and maintaining a good driving record throughout your ownership before you buy a vehicle, you can help keep your costs low.

If you’re only going to use the vehicle on occasion, either for car shows or race meets, consider adding a limited mileage allowance onto your policy, which could help keep the cost of your car insurance policy down if you stay below the mileage limit agreed with your broker.

For more details, you can check our comprehensive guide, How to Reduce The Costs of Your Car Insurance.

Insuring A Modified Car

Modified cars are popular with enthusiasts who like to beef up the performance of and change the design of their cars to impress or to improve performance on the track. Popular with boy racers as well as track day enthusiasts, modified hot hatches and Japanese vehicles can be exhilarating to drive, but expensive to insure.

What Is Considered A Modification?

A modification is a change made to a vehicle from its original factory settings to improve the performance or make the vehicle look sportier and pleasing to the eye, often for their fellow enthusiasts.

There are many types of modifications that can be added to vehicles, and these can be split into two sections; Performance and Functional, and both of which will have an effect on your insurance premium if you’re not careful.

What Is A Performance Mod?

A performance modification will change the way your car initially operates, either under the bonnet or on the bodywork of your vehicle.  Common performance modifications can include:

  • Alloy wheels – this can involve increasing the size of your wheels and adding new designs
  • Sound systems – some will make changes to their audio systems within the car, adding extra speakers and fitting a different model of radio system
  • Engine tuning – usually used to improve the performance of a hot hatch car
  • Body Kits – including spoilers and body kits
  • Paintworks – including decals, respraying, badges and specialised paintwork
  • Brake kits – used to improve performance, usually by those who own Japanese cars, which might have different specifications and need to be modified for UK roads
  • Suspension kits – used to stiffen up suspension to improve cornering
  • Tinted windows
  • Neon lighting – used for aesthetic purposes, usually installed on the underside of a car

Tuning kits are popular amongst enthusiasts who want to add a little more power to their rides, either for racing or merely to show off, and are a common addition to Japanese cars and those known as hot hatchbacks.

What Is A Functional Mod?

Functional modifications are those which are used to aid drivers in some way, either to assist with driving, navigation or to allow for better access. Useful modifications can include features such as:

  • Sat navs
  • In-car phones
  • Parking sensors
  • Roof racks
  • Towbars
  • Air conditioning
  • Sunroof

Features that help to improve access for users of wheelchairs; such as wheelchair clamps, lifting equipment, ramps and hand controls can also be classed as functional modifications and will need to be declared to your insurance company upon fitting.

What Should I Tell My Insurance Company?

You must let your car insurance provider know of any changes that you make to the vehicle immediately after making them, especially if they are those which change the specifications from those of the original factory model.

Depending on what changes you make you might find yourself having to pay a little extra on your car insurance as a result, so it could be worth thinking about whether you really can afford to fit that body kit or invest in some larger rims.

Mods that increase engine power and even change the paintwork can be seen as high-risk, as can the addition of technologies including sat navs and stereo systems. Insurers will not look kindly on some modifications as they are perceived to be at greater risk of theft due to the cost of some of the equipment, and so could lead to a higher insurance premium.

How Can I Bring Down My Premiums?

As with regular car insurance, experience can count when it comes to lowering your insurance premium. By driving carefully and accumulating some No Claims Discount, you can help reduce the cost of your premium as you’re showing yourself to be a safe driver.

It is usually the younger drivers who make a hobby out of modifying their vehicles to show off to their mates and at motor shows. Combined with a perception that they are a greater risk of having an accident as a result of their inexperience, many will find their high-performance car premiums to be sky-high as a result of the modifications to their vehicles. If you have a high-performance car, you may check our detailed guide on Powerful Cars and How to Insure Them.

While it may be more expensive to add modifications to your car, there are also some which can be seen as aiding driving, including parking sensors and tow bars. If you’re driving slower than the average driver, you could be looked upon more kindly by your insurer.

How Best To Save Money?

When searching for a hot hatch insurance quote for your modified car, it can be worth looking into several options when it comes to insurance, run searches on some providers and be as honest as you can when it comes to describing what work you have done to the vehicle.

Powerful Cars And How To Insure Them

Sports cars have long been a symbol of wealth and status, particularly in the world of celebrity, but you don’t necessarily have to be a celebrity to enjoy driving a more powerful motor.

High-performance cars are usually classified as being higher-end models of traditional makes of car, often with added features for extra power and torque, or a sports mode with differing braking systems and suspension to enhance the driving experience.

Manufacturers are always trying to one-up each other when it comes to attracting buyers, combining sleek looks with power under the bonnet. Enthusiasts of high-performance cars will use these vehicles for everyday use as well as modifying them further to increase speed or handling, electing to drive them occasionally on track days.

Whatever your reasons for owning a performance car, be it an everyday runaround or occasional track car, insurance is an essential part of owning such a vehicle, and it can be an expensive business if you’re not too careful.

Ownership And Insurance

Because of the increased specifications of vehicles such as performance cars and those with built-in ‘sports’ features, high-performance cars will have more powerful engines and higher spec brakes to cope with an increase in speed.

Because of the powerful nature of these vehicles, insurers may look upon them as a high risk to other road users, and as a result, you could find yourself paying a sky-high premium. But there are a few things you can do to ensure that you can keep your premiums low and allow you to enjoy your motor.

To save on premium costs, see our detailed guide on How to Reduce the Costs of Your Car Insurance.

Age Matters

Younger drivers who want to drive more powerful vehicles will find it more difficult to get a decently-priced high-performance car insurance quote.

Depending on the type of driver you are can help to reduce your premiums in the future. By ensuring that you drive carefully and accumulate some No Claims Discount over many years, you can help to reduce your premium price.

Older drivers are usually seen as more trustworthy drivers, remember though that offences such as speeding can also add to the cost of your premium if you’re not careful. So while you might have more power at your pedals, be careful how you use it for it might end up costing you more on insurance in future.

ALSO SEE: Young Drivers – Reducing Your Premiums

Reduced Use For Lower Prices

If you intend to only use the vehicle for track days or occasional trips, speak with your insurance broker about the possibility of setting up what is known as an approved mileage limit on your policy.

An approved mileage limit essentially allows you to set a maximum mileage for the year, and providing you don’t exceed this limit you could find yourself saving on your premiums as a result. Every broker is different when it comes to offering this feature, so it can be worth double checking not just with your current broker but with others when it comes to your renewal.

Don’t Overly Modify!

High-performance cars are usually very powerful vehicles, designed for increased horsepower and handling to boot. Some enthusiasts like to make modifications to their cars – including body kits, tuning kits and new alloy wheels.

You will have to declare all modifications to your vehicle to your insurance company as you apply them, and applying too many aesthetic extras to your car could have an effect on your insurance policy, so bear this in mind if you’re thinking of adding to your already powerful vehicle.

Be Wary Of Being Tech Savvy

Be wary when buying gadgets for your vehicle as well, as electronic devices such as sat navs and stereo systems are usually a prime and easy target for thieves, so be sure to bear this in mind if you’re thinking of adding them to your vehicle.

However, some gadgets may also help you to reduce the cost of your premiums, especially when it comes to alarms, security devices or even parking sensors. By showing that you’ve taken steps to increase the safety of yourself and other road users you could stand a chance at reducing your premiums.

Watch Where You Park It

Locations can affect the price of your insurance premium, particularly when it comes to storing the car at night, and keeping it covered could be the best way of saving yourself some money.

Those kept on roads outside at night could be seen as being at a higher risk of theft, whereas those stored in secure parking spaces or secured compound, such as private parking at apartment complexes are seen as being of a lower risk.

If you commute using the vehicle every day and your workplace has a secure car park you may find yourself with further savings as your vehicle would be well protected during daylight hours.

Be Part Of A Club

It can be worth hooking up with fellow enthusiasts by finding a car club for your vehicle type in your local area. Not only could you chew the fat over your vehicles and pick up hints and tips for better performance, but some may even offer the chance to reduce your high-performance car insurance premiums.

High-performance cars may be expensive to buy, but by ensuring that you drive safely and are sensible with your ownership, you can help reduce your insurance premiums.

Young Drivers – Reducing Your Premiums

When it comes to car insurance, first-time and young drivers can find it particularly challenging to find an affordable car insurance policy. Because they are seen as a high risk due to their driving experience and their age, their insurance premiums will usually be much higher than those of an experienced driver.

So what can you do to help reduce the cost of your young driver’s car insurance policy and save yourself as much as you are able early on in your driving career?

Further Your Knowledge

Early on in your driving career, gaining additional knowledge can help to reduce your premium, so look into courses such as Pass Plus – which helps to teach more advanced driving techniques, such as driving on a motorway or at night time. Pass Plus courses can help to take a little off your premium, and investing in it early on could prove worthwhile in the long term.

While you’re learning to drive, you’ll be driving your instructors’ car, but after passing your test, you’ll have the responsibility of car ownership to worry about yourself. When starting off as a new driver, it can certainly be worth thinking about what you’re going to be wanting to drive.

Consider Your Car Model At First

When you’re first starting out on the road, consider the car you’re starting off with. Cars with smaller engines and that haven’t had any modifications put on them are going to be cheaper to insure, so consider starting a little more modest to start.

Ok, so it might not be your first choice or ideal car to start with, but by starting small, you can help yourself to save big on your young driver’s car insurance.

Consider adding extra security features such as steering wheel locks and alarm systems to help deter thieves and prove to your insurer that you have taken steps to protect your vehicle by making it less attractive to wannabe thieves.

ALSO SEE: 10 Easy Ways to Reduce the Costs of Your Car Insurance

Accumulate Some No Claims Discount

As your driving experience increases, your risk level will gradually drop, and you will find your premium reducing. By ensuring that you drive carefully and safely, you can begin to accumulate No Claims Discount which could help to reduce your premiums over time. But with the advent of technology, there are also other options for proving you’re a good driver, so why not try…

Tracking Yourself With Telematics

Telematic technology allows insurance providers to monitor drivers and, more importantly, their driving habits in order to determine the kind of driver that they are. While it might seem a bit Big Brother-ish, driving a car with a black box fitted in it could be useful for proving you’re a good driver.

Telematic black boxes are used by insurance companies to record certain aspects of your journey – including acceleration, braking, overall speed and cornering position – before feeding back the details using wireless technology.

Some policies will even allow you to view your current progress using a smartphone app, giving you the chance to check your progress while giving your insurer an idea of the type of driver you are, calculating your next policy price using the data you provide.

If you’re still not sure about using technology, turning to other people can help in the meantime, especially if you consider adding…

Second Drivers

While it may seem a little ‘uncool’ to add one of your parents to your insurance policy, this may help to reduce your premiums in the long term. By adding a more experienced driver with a good driving record as a second driver on your policy can help to reduce your costs by adding them as an ‘occasional driver’ – just make sure to not add them as the primary driver, or you may find yourself facing a fraud charge.

It can also be worth seeing about adding your car to a multi-car policy, especially if you still live at home with the folks. Multi-car policies can help reduce your costs by insuring them under the same household rather than as individual policies, and speaking of yourself as an individual it can be worth looking into a few details about yourself to try and bring down your premiums, so why not try…

Checking Your Job Title

If you are currently in work, have a think about your job title, and try running a quote through with several job titles that apply to you, you may find it cheaper for one than the other, but be sure to be honest as you can when applying.

Also think about how much cover you want to take out, so during the application process think about…

Checking Your Cover Level

Don’t just assume that getting a third party-only insurance policy is going to be the cheapest option, be sure to research into as many policies as possible before deciding on the one that’s right for you.

For some, taking out a fully comprehensive policy can be a cheaper option than just limiting yourself to a third party-only policy, but by taking steps to ensure you drive safely and are honest with your insurance company about your details you can save yourself a small fortune on your young driver’s car insurance policy.

Young drivers and first-time drivers can have a pretty raw deal at first when it comes to finding an affordable car insurance quote, but by taking action early on you can help yourself going forward.

By taking the time to make a few changes to driving habits, ensuring you drive safely, and taking the time to have a look at your policy options, young drivers could save themselves some money which could set them up for a long and happy driving career.

Deciding What Classic Car To Buy

Classic cars are popular among enthusiasts who like to while away the hours tinkering with an older motor and getting it running again.

And with many more restoration programmes on television these days, the world of car rebuilding remains a popular hobby for those who love restoring vehicles to their former glory.

We all have a favourite vehicle, either old or new, and for a lot of people, restoration and renovation projects can be a great way of revisiting the past, practising mechanical and engineering techniques and sprucing up the vehicle to as close to its’ original form.

Enthusiasts usually invest time and money into bringing an old favourite back to scratch and then break it out every so often to attend car shows, attend meets with fellow enthusiasts, and even use them for rallies and drives along iconic routes.

If you’re interested in joining enthusiasts and getting your hands dirty by working on an older car, what should you consider before you take the plunge and make what can be, in some cases, an expensive hobby?

What Model Of Car Do I Want?

Many enthusiasts will have a favourite make or model of car, particularly if it reminds them of their past, or just interested in renovating an older car to practice their engineering skills.

With hundreds of manufacturers to choose from, both from bygone years and more modern motors, the options are vast and diverse.

Sourcing your chosen vehicle can be varied and, in some places, tricky too, but by doing some thorough research before embarking on such a venture, you can help ensure that your hobby can be a good pastime, rather than an expensive lemon.

And it’s not just cars either; there are enthusiasts out there who renovate anything from old buses and trucks to motorbikes, scooters, and even golf carts.

You may also check our article about Mini: A British Classic Vehicle.

What Vehicle Age Do I Want?

Age can make a real difference to your project, so depending on the make and model of the vehicle, it’s worth looking into what era of car you wish to buy.

Older vehicles will require a lot more time and money, and while you might get a sense of pride from your work, you may find yourself out of pocket if you’re not careful.

Older vehicles may also be more expensive to insure, but there are plenty of classic car insurance brokers out there who will be able to help determine the cost of securing your investment.

Where Can I Source It?

Depending on the make and model of the vehicle you’re after, sourcing could be as easy as finding one at a specialist classic car seller, or as tricky as finding private sellers. Try looking in the following places:

  • Classic car magazines – these will not only provide useful information on your chosen vehicle and tips for sourcing parts and materials but will also have a classified section, where enthusiasts will sell anything from individual parts to fully-restored vehicles.
  • Breakers yards – these can be a goldmine for finding replacement parts, particularly if you find vehicles which may be beyond repair from a bodywork point of view, but could still have useful replacement parts still intact.
  • Internet – Googling the make and model of the vehicle you are looking for is a useful way of finding sellers, advice on renovating vehicles, finding parts suppliers, and joining enthusiasts clubs.
  • Auction sites such as eBay and Gumtree can also be a way of finding parts for sale, and you may end up finding what you need more locally than you thought. Bear in mind that some vehicle sellers may insist on a ‘collection only’ stipulation, so be sure to check the advert carefully.
  • Classic car shows – these can be particularly useful for finding not only merchandise and fellow enthusiasts, but also seeing your chosen vehicles in use if the event happens to have a parade lap.

How Easy Is It To Source Parts?

Now comes the tricky bit, the rarer the car, the more difficult it’s going to be to find parts. Owning and renovating classic vehicles can be an expensive business, and you might see yourself having to source parts from further afield than you think.

Parts have to be sourced depending on where the vehicle is from.  If you can find parts providers within the UK, it’d be ideal. But don’t be too surprised if you have to source some parts from your vehicles’ country of origin – which could add to the costs through postage.

Parts providers exist online, though there are some that have physical shop fronts and allow you to check the condition of their stock before you buy.

RELATED: 10 Easy Ways to Reduce the Costs of Your Car Insurance

How Expensive Will It Be To Insure?

While the vehicle itself can be quite a costly investment, insuring a classic car can be equally expensive if you don’t know where to look. Because of the age and risk of breakdown, older vehicles will usually cost more to insure than most modern cars.

Consider the following points before embarking on such an investment, as being wary of these could help decrease your premium prices:

  • How often will you use the car?
  • Where will you store the car?
  • Will joining an enthusiast’s club get you a discount?

There are specialist classic car insurance brokers on the market, including those who will deal in insuring specific makes and models, so depending on what you want to buy, it can be worth seeing if specifics might lead to savings.

ALSO SEE: Insuring A Business Car vs Your Regular Car

Research

The most important thing to remember when buying a classic car is researching. It’s important to not only find out as much as you can about your vehicle but also put yourself in touch with your fellow enthusiasts to ensure you have a wide pool of knowledge.

Classic vehicle ownership can be an expensive hobby but worthwhile, and by making sure that all your bases are covered before you embark on your potentially costly purchase, your ownership of a classic vehicle can be a rewarding pursuit.

What Is Green Laning?

If you drive a 4×4 vehicle, you will be behind the wheel of a vehicle that is large and able to drive on tough terrain. Off-roading is a popular pastime for 4×4 owners, giving them the opportunity to escape the tarmac and put their vehicle to the test on unpaved and uneven roads, putting the normally chunkier tyres to good use.

There are many types of recreational off-road driving on various terrain, including dune bashing on dunes, mud-plugging through very wet areas and rock crawling over mountainous areas. For those who like to enjoy the countryside at a leisurely pace and from a different perspective, green laning is a popular pastime for off-road enthusiasts.

So What Can I Drive On?

A ‘green lane’ is defined as a road that is rural and unpaved, usually including country lanes and those which run through fields.

There are four classifications of public road according to English law:

  • Footpath – these have pedestrian-only access and are commonly used by ramblers
  • Bridleway – these paths were traditionally used by those on horses, but pedestrians and cyclists also make use of them
  • Byway Open To All Traffic (BOAT) – these unsurfaced roads are open to being used by all kinds of traffic; including both pedestrians and horse riders, but also by vehicles such as trail motorcycles and 4x4s
  • Restricted byway (RB) – these offer the same access to pedestrians and horse riders, as well as any vehicle other than a car or motorbike – including bicycles or horse-drawn carriages

What Is Green Laning?

Green laning is a form of recreational off-roading, usually undertaken by those with 4x4s. Many of the roads travelled on by off-roaders will be those off the beaten track, but not the most beaten of tracks.

Green lanes and byways can be found all around the UK and can be a good way of exploring national parks and hidden roads around the country. Different places such as national parks will have a Code of Conduct for drivers within their boundaries to protect fellow path users and drivers.

Code Of Conduct

It pays to take care when driving on unfamiliar and uneven roads even if your wheels are chunky enough to handle the terrain. If you remember a few things as you go, you can help protect yourself and other road users while you’re exploring:

  • Respect fellow road users – be sure to drive carefully and to give way to other users, such as horse riders, cyclists, and walkers, slowing down or stopping to let them pass where necessary to give way.
  • Keep to the track – ensure that the road you’re driving on can actually be driven on, it can also be important to report hazards that you spot along the way to the park authorities – including fallen trees and very soft grounds.
  • Travel quietly and unobtrusively – be considerate not only to other road users but also to all nearby residents en-route.
  • Ensure your vehicle is road-legal – while green roads are seen as off-road, the rules of the road still apply. It is important that you ensure that your vehicle is safe to travel on such roads and that you have 4×4 insurance in place to protect your vehicle in the event of an accident.
  • Use only vehicular rights of way – not all green roads will have vehicular access, so it’s important to check before you travel to ensure you won’t be breaking the law.
  • Don’t use the trails after dark – even if you are familiar with the route already, night time can bring additional hazards.
  • Respect the local wildlife – be wary that some areas may have high concentrations of wildlife, especially deer, so it’s best to drive very carefully to avoid spooking the animals and potentially causing damage to your vehicle.

Aside from the guidelines set out by each national park or local authority, there are also a few ‘common sense’ factors you should ensure you follow when green laning, these are known as the ‘Four W’s’.

The Four W’s

These are essential to bear in mind when green laning:

  • Weight – ensure that the road you wish to travel on will not get damaged or loosened by the weight of your vehicle.
  • Width – don’t attempt to travel down any road which your vehicle will not fit down. And if navigating narrower roads, ensure that you don’t cause damage to hedgerows, trees, and walls outside properties.
  • Winch – while many 4x4s will have a winch at the front, these should only be used as an absolute last resort. You should never place your vehicle in a situation where a winch may be required.
  • Weather – the weather can change the landscape very quickly, especially when it comes to flooding and damage during the winter months, so pick your moments carefully and try not to green lane after periods of heavy rainfall.

Green laning can be a great way of exploring the hidden paths around the UK and the vast expanses of national parks. By ensuring that your vehicle is adequately equipped to deal with the terrain, keep to the rules of the various roads so you can ensure that you get the best from your experience.

Starting A Mobile Catering Business: All You Need To Know

In recent years there has been a bit of a revolution when it comes to street food. Entrepreneurs are pitching up in town centres and using local ingredients to create delicious meals and snacks we can grab on the go, and have a bit of fun doing what they enjoy while they’re at it.

Many who enter the world of street food will have a story to tell about why they do it, from those who chose to leave busy kitchens to ply their trade in a more public setting, to young and enthusiastic chefs with a passion for what they’re cooking and serving

If you have a passion for food and fancy trying your hand in the world of mobile catering, well there’s a lot to think about:

  • What do you want to serve?
  • How are you going to cook it?
  • Where are you going to source your ingredients from?
  • What are you going to serve it from?
  • How much can you afford to charge?

The street food scene may be bustling, but it’s also very competitive. Budding entrepreneurs are always looking for more exciting flavours and quirky pitches – anything from bizarre fusion foods that somehow come together, to food being served out of pitches ranging from simple gazebos to converted vehicles that catch the eye and draw you in.

What is the best way to start if you want to take the plunge into the world of street food?

Get Educated

Caterers’ courses can be a great resource for those wanting to start out in the world of mobile catering. Whether you want to open a pop-up shop or street food stall for your wares, you’ll find everything you need to know through organisations such as the Nationwide Caterers’ Association (NCASS). They can help provide advice on all aspects of your business – everything from health and safety to tips on establishing a pitch.

Get Equipped

Just like a mechanic is no good without his tools, a chef is nothing without his oven, and so finding out about what you’ll need to prepare your delicious creations is kind of important.

There is a multitude of options to choose from when deciding where to serve your food from, whether you’re looking to hit a festival or just set up a pitch in your local town centre:

  • Gazebo
  • Pop-up stall
  • Trailer
  • Van
  • Cart
  • Bicycle

These are just the basic options, but there have been all kinds of quirky vendors selling from converted VW Beetles and campervans. Consider your options depending on what you want to sell.

You’ll also need to shell out for the cooking equipment itself; this can be anything from a gas-powered oven, electric hot plate, barbeque or even a pizza oven crafted from an old oil drum.

Utensils are essential too, so you’ll need to price those up as well, so when you’ve got your tools it’s now time to…

Get Stocked!

Because what good is going to market if you have nothing to sell? Look into where you want to source your ingredients and try and negotiate the best deal you can. Speak with local farmers to see about sourcing good quality produce, for local produce can be an appealing draw for consumers.

Also look into where to source your packaging from – whether you want to serve your food in paper cartons or simple clamshells – catering and retail warehouses can be good resources for items like these.

Costing

After this stage, it’s time to establish your pricing, work out your overheads and the cost of ingredients once you’ve found them to determine how much you want to sell a portion for.

Remember that the world of street food can be quite competitive, so do your research into how much similar vendors are charging, as well as those around them.

And keep your audience in mind as well, think of how much you’d be likely to pay for what you are offering, keep it competitive but be careful not to sell your wares short!

Insurance And Safety

Once you’ve decided on your choice of pitch and have the equipment to cook it with, it’s time to protect it against accidental damage. Mobile catering insurance policies are available to help cover your vehicle, any equipment you use, your stock (Product Liability), and most importantly your customers (Public Liability) against any claims you might have brought against you. If you employ anyone to assist, you’ll also need to protect them against injury during work (Employers’ Liability).

You’ll also have to go through rigorous health & safety checks to make sure what you are selling is safe for consumption, so keep an eye on things like the cleanliness of your cooking area and any refrigeration units you may have to keep ingredients chilled.

RELATED: What is a Business Insurance?

Get Your Name Out There

So you have the pitch, the know-how and the kickass recipe, so you should be all set to go, right? But, no-one knows who you are yet, so…

It’s time to make some noise! Marketing is an integral part of the process when setting up a new business, so look into ways you can get yourself out there with flyers and business cards.

If you want to create a buzz for free to start with, establish a presence on social media and get yourself a website to show off your products – don’t be afraid to be quirky when coming up with a name and pitch!

Don’t be afraid to network either, by getting out there to trade shows, street food festivals and by speaking to and befriending vendors just like you on social media; you can pick up useful tips as to how to start out, what makes a good pitch and even find new and exciting taste inspirations.

Perfecting Your Recipe

With so many vendors out there vying for business, you need to make sure you stand out from the crowd with something that’ll draw customers in and tantalize their taste buds! Experiment with recipes, tweak things and put your own spin on familiar combinations, even make these the basis of your business with eye-catching names on the menu.

By doing your research thoroughly beforehand and ensuring you have everything in place before you set up, you can then pitch up and start dishing up delicious dishes to punters, wherever you choose to set up.