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Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Old Jun 6th 2011, 9:06 pm
  #1  
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Default Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

I am American and my husband is British. We are in our 50s and recently moved back to the UK after 6 happy years in America.

I (and several others) had previously been sharing practical information about moving back to the UK on another thread that, unfortunately, became quite bogged down with off-topic posts, making it difficult (regardless of what may be said about the search function) to find answers to our questions.

After receiving quite a number of very nice messages from some very nice people (and with a nod from the moderators), I've decided to start a series of NEW informational threads on a variety of practical topics so those of us already back in the UK can share our discoveries, victories, challenges (and defeats) so that, hopefully, those of you still in the midst of planning your move can benefit from our experiences, and ask questions.

It is my desire for these threads to be fun and friendly and inasmuch as possible: stay on-topic.

I intend on posting some 'starter' comments, but you'll have to bear with me as we are still in the midst of moving into our new flat, and we both work full-time. In the meantime, please feel free to introduce yourself and fire away with any questions/concerns you might have.

Also hope to see some familiar faces back here - we're all in this together!
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Old Jun 19th 2011, 7:54 pm
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Highly recommend Direct Line for car insurance. We checked around and they gave us the best deal, including a no-claims discount when we produced letters from our American car insurance company.

I don't think Direct Line quotes show up in online rate comparison websites, so best to ring them direct.

Direct Line insures me as a driver even though I only have (at the moment) a UK Provisional License. Many other companies wouldn't even insure me until I had a full license.
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Old Jun 19th 2011, 8:03 pm
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Highly recommend the AA for driving lessons. Even though I've been driving (in America) for 40+ years, I've been taking lessons here with the AA and have been very pleased with my instructor.

We live in Greater London and I am paying £29/hour for my lessons. I don't know if every instructor is the same, but my instructor only books 2-hour lessons.

Since I've never driven a stick before - and since the car we bought when we came back to the UK is an automatic - I had to locate an instructor who teaches in an automatic. From what I understand, they are few and far between.

I've been taking lessons for about 4 months now and have already passed my Theory Exam. My practical [driving] exam is this TUESDAY ... and I just found out from my instructor yesterday that he charges £80 to use his car for the exam!!!! (Which is the way you usually do it anyway when you take lessons in their car, you use their car for the driving exam but geesh, that's a lot of dosh!)

BTW, the national pass rate on the UK driving exam is something like 40%.

Wish me luck!
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Old Jun 20th 2011, 1:13 am
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

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Old Jun 20th 2011, 3:39 am
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Originally Posted by DDL View Post
Since I've never driven a stick before - and since the car we bought when we came back to the UK is an automatic - I had to locate an instructor who teaches in an automatic. From what I understand, they are few and far between.

I've been taking lessons for about 4 months now and have already passed my Theory Exam. My practical [driving] exam is this TUESDAY ... and I just found out from my instructor yesterday that he charges £80 to use his car for the exam!!!! (Which is the way you usually do it anyway when you take lessons in their car, you use their car for the driving exam but geesh, that's a lot of dosh!)

BTW, the national pass rate on the UK driving exam is something like 40%.

Wish me luck!
Hi! My brother is an instructor with the AA, and yes, this is standard practice. FYI, the AA instructors are franchisees, and pay for all their own fuel. They also pay a percentage of the lesson fees to the AA. My brother's fuel bill exceeds 1000 pounds per month. When a pupil takes a test, the instructor has to block out at least 3 hours of his time for that test - including driving to the test centre, waiting while the pupil takes the test, and then driving the pupil back home after the test. The UK driving test apparently is officially the most difficult driving test in the world. Don't feel that your instructor is ripping you off - he isn't. My brother is very successful but has to work long, hard hours to make a living.
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Old Jun 20th 2011, 6:39 pm
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Good Luck Denise will be thinking of you tomorrow! What time is your test?
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Old Jun 20th 2011, 10:29 pm
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Originally Posted by charleygirl View Post
Good Luck Denise will be thinking of you tomorrow! What time is your test?
Cheers, D. Test is at 10.24am. Meeting my instructor at 9.00 for a "warm-up" drive. Guess it'll all be done and dusted by 11.15. Both Tony and I have taken the day off work so we can both celebrate my PASSING the exam.
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Old Jun 20th 2011, 10:31 pm
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Originally Posted by Barbara1133 View Post
Hi! My brother is an instructor with the AA, and yes, this is standard practice. FYI, the AA instructors are franchisees, and pay for all their own fuel. They also pay a percentage of the lesson fees to the AA. My brother's fuel bill exceeds 1000 pounds per month. When a pupil takes a test, the instructor has to block out at least 3 hours of his time for that test - including driving to the test centre, waiting while the pupil takes the test, and then driving the pupil back home after the test. The UK driving test apparently is officially the most difficult driving test in the world. Don't feel that your instructor is ripping you off - he isn't. My brother is very successful but has to work long, hard hours to make a living.

Thanks for that, Barbara. I didn't really feel that he was ripping me off, I just didn't realise that there was going to be a charge for the use of his vehicle for the test; he really threw me for a loop at my lesson on Saturday when he told me, but hey ho. I really like my instructor and he, like your brother, really does put in long hours.
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Old Jun 21st 2011, 2:30 am
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Originally Posted by DDL View Post
Thanks for that, Barbara. I didn't really feel that he was ripping me off, I just didn't realise that there was going to be a charge for the use of his vehicle for the test; he really threw me for a loop at my lesson on Saturday when he told me, but hey ho. I really like my instructor and he, like your brother, really does put in long hours.
It is a lot of money, I agree. I hope you pass your test! I will be thinking of you and wishing you luck. I'm moving back in August, but I passed my test in London and luckily my licence is valid until I'm 70!! I've been driving a stick for decades, so all I have to relearn is switching to the other side of the road and the different road etiquette and rules.

Interesting your instructor only books two hour lessons. My brother is quite happy to book one-hour lessons. Two hours is a long time if you're a brand new driver, which you're not.

Let us know how you get along! You know you can ace this!
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Old Jun 21st 2011, 11:01 am
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Originally Posted by DDL View Post
Cheers, D. Test is at 10.24am. Meeting my instructor at 9.00 for a "warm-up" drive. Guess it'll all be done and dusted by 11.15. Both Tony and I have taken the day off work so we can both celebrate my PASSING the exam.
The very best of luck, I would guess about now you are on that test or about to find out if you have passed!
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Old Jun 21st 2011, 12:25 pm
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Hope it went well D!!! I know how hard that darn thing is..........
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Old Jun 21st 2011, 9:14 pm
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Thank you everyone for the good juju but I didn't pass the driving exam although I had a brilliant drive. Only TWO faults (you are allowed FIFTEEN!) but I screwed up at a Y-junction (thanks in part to my examiner thrusting out her arm telling me to turn right) :curse: and it was a 'serious fault' - of which you are allowed ZERO.


So, pick meself back up, dust meself off, and try, try again. That means another £62 ... and I can't get another test date until late SEPTEMBER. But they do have a telephone number you can ring every day to check on cancellations, so hopefully I won't have to wait that long.

I was pretty gutted because it was a good drive, I was very relaxed, examiner (a woman) was chatty. It wasn't until almost the very end of the exam that I messed up.

Sorry about this font, etc. - I copied and pasted from somewhere else and am too lazy to format it.
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Old Jun 21st 2011, 9:21 pm
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Originally Posted by DDL View Post
Thank you everyone for the good juju but I didn't pass the driving exam although I had a brilliant drive. Only TWO faults (you are allowed FIFTEEN!) but I screwed up at a Y-junction (thanks in part to my examiner thrusting out her arm telling me to turn right) :curse: and it was a 'serious fault' - of which you are allowed ZERO.


So, pick meself back up, dust meself off, and try, try again. That means another £62 ... and I can't get another test date until late SEPTEMBER. But they do have a telephone number you can ring every day to check on cancellations, so hopefully I won't have to wait that long.

I was pretty gutted because it was a good drive, I was very relaxed, examiner (a woman) was chatty. It wasn't until almost the very end of the exam that I messed up.

Sorry about this font, etc. - I copied and pasted from somewhere else and am too lazy to format it.
I failed my driving test twice and past it the third time. (barely)
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 6:43 am
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Don't worry about it - you'll sail through next time. It's so rare to pass first time, and you have the added disadvantage of driving for so many years in another country and then moving to one where they drive on the other side of the road! I think you did fabulously well, and I sent this to my bro (the instructor) and he says he thinks you did "bloody marvellous." Hope that makes you feel better - you should be proud of yourself!
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Old Jun 22nd 2011, 7:11 am
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Default Re: Over 50s Moving to UK INFO Thread: DRIVING/CAR INSURANCE

Originally Posted by DDL View Post
Highly recommend Direct Line for car insurance. We checked around and they gave us the best deal, including a no-claims discount when we produced letters from our American car insurance company.
What kind of document did you ask for from your US insurance company? I know my OH has been asking if we can get a "No Claims Bonus" letter, but I've never heard of such a thing here. Plus, we are not with any of the large national carriers (i.e. Geiko, State Farm), so I don't know if our smallish carrier would provide such a document. We have only been with our current carrier for about 18months, so do you think they would want a letter like this from any previous carriers?

Ah well, I will give them a call tomorrow and see what I can find out.
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