Saturday 16 December 2017

Your car and the big freeze

Your beloved car took a bit of a battering during the latest freeze.

Not only has the battery died, your radiator burst because it didn't have enough anti-freeze in it. If you ditched your comprehensive car insurance policy recently so you could buy a cheaper third-party, fire and theft policy, get ready to foot the bill for a new battery and radiator. "If freeze-up damage occurred to an engine or radiator, the only time it is covered is if you have a comprehensive policy," said Jim Flannery of Balcombes Claims Management.

Next time you're tempted to leave your car engine running so it defrosts while you wolf down your breakfast, think again. Most insurers will not cover car theft or damage if you leave the ignition on while your car is unattended -- or if you leave your car unlocked.

If you're unlucky with cars, car breakdown cover, which usually covers the cost of repairs if your car breaks down, could be worth considering. The Automobile Association (AA) charges €89 a year for its breakdown repair cover. Aviva's basic breakdown rescue cover starts from €51 a year if you have comprehensive car insurance. offers car breakdown cover for between €49 and €89 a year. Some insurers, such as Quinn Direct, include free breakdown cover in your car insurance while others, such as AXA, only charge €30 a year for it. Such cover can be limited however. For example, while AXA and Quinn only cover the cost of one hour's labour to repair your car, AA covers repair bills of up to €1,000.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that car breakdown insurance covers the cost of all repairs. If your car breaks down because you filled it up with the wrong type of fuel, you usually won't be covered. The AA's breakdown insurance does not cover "the cost of repairing faults or damage caused by road traffic accidents, frost, freezing, corrosion, erosion, water ingress, theft or vandalism".

Sunday Independent

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