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2021 staycation road trip – can the nation’s cars take the strain?

Ahead of the half-term getaway – Gocompare Car Insurance shares 10 tips for safe road trips.

  • Two thirds of households are planning a staycation this year, and majority are going by car!
  • Warning that some insurers consider fitting external accessories such as a roof rack, a bike rack or a tow bar as a modification.
  • Drivers are urged to check with their provider to ensure they are covered.

After months of being cooped up in lockdown, 66% of households are planning a UK staycation this year and, according to new research1, the car is set to take the strain with two thirds planning a Covid-safe road trip. 

GoCompare Car Insurance has compiled a list of 10 top tips for safe road trip, but is warning drivers thinking of adding a roof rack or bars, a bike rack or tow bar to their car to check with their insurer.  Some insurers consider these accessories to be modifications, which could affect your cover.   

All modifications, no matter how minor, have the potential to affect the cost of car insurance and can lead to higher premiums.  Drivers may find their insurer will refuse to pay out in any accident claims if small changes have been made to a vehicle without their knowledge.  So before fitting external accessories such, it is best to check their insurance cover.

Drivers should also ensure that external accessories are fitted correctly and securely.  Accessories fitted to a car will affect its dimensions and weight.  Before setting-off drivers should check that they know how their vehicle is affected.  For example, fitting a roof box will increase the height of the car, which may cause problems accessing height restricted areas such as car parks, a rear fitting bike rack may obscure parking sensors. 

Drivers fitting a rear mounted rack should also make sure their car’s rear number plate and lights are still legible.  Otherwise, they will be flouting the law and risk points on their licence, and a significant fine.  To avoid this problem, a lightboard with a number plate, rear lights, brake lights, indicators and reversing lights, can be fitted onto the cycles or the rack itself.  Also, the extra weight of a fully laden roof box will affect the handling of a car and, the tyres will need to be inflated correctly for the extra load.      

Ryan Fulthorpe, motoring expert at GoCompare commented, “When driving-off for a staycation it’s all too easy to pack more things for your holiday than you would do if you were taking public transport or flying to your destination.  To help ensure that they travel safely and fully insured, we’re urging anyone thinking of fitting a top box, cycle rack or trailer to their car to contact their insurer as soon as possible – and not to wait until it’s time to renew they cover.  If they neglect to do so, and need to make a claim, their policy could be invalidated.”

10 tips from GoCompare Car Insurance for a safe road trip

1.  Before setting- off carry out basic checks on your car including:

  • Checking fluid levels are topped-up (windscreen washer bottle, brake fluid, engine oil).
  • Checking tyres are in good condition – the tread depth is above 1.6mm and pressure is correct.
  • Checking all the lights work.
  • Arrange for problems flagged-up by any warning lights to be fixed.

 2.  Clean your car, making sure the windows, lights, and numberplate are clean.  Put a bin bag inside the car for rubbish from your journey (e.g. snack wrappers, banana skins, car park tickets, etc.).

3. Pre-programme your satnav before you set off.  If you are using a mobile phone as a satnav make sure that it is mounted correctly.  It should be in a secure, hands-free holder which does not block the driver’s view of the road or traffic ahead.

4.  If you don’t already have it consider a breakdown, roadside assistance policy.  

5.  If you are taking a long journey, plan where you can take a break.  The Government’s ‘Think!’ campaign recommends a 15-minute break every two or three hours of driving.

6.  Make sure you have all the documents you need including your driving licence, insurance details, accommodation booking, tickets, etc. and have payment for any road tolls, congestion charges, car parking.

7.  Pack a basic first aid kit (e.g. sticking plasters, antiseptic cream and wipes, painkillers, cream for insect bites).

8.  Be Covid-safe – make sure you have face masks for every passenger, hand sanitiser/wipes, tissues, and disposable gloves.

9.  Pack and upload music, games, books, drinks, and snacks to keep your passengers entertained and happy. Don’t forget charging devices for phones and other electronic devices.  

10.     When packing your car make sure that the things that you want during your journey are easy to access.  Also, make sure that your luggage and other belongings are securely stowed and do not block the driver’s view of the road.    

As part of its series of offers to support customers and help them better protect the things that are important to them, drivers purchasing car insurance through GoCompare Car Insurance could benefit from free £250 excess cover plus a £10 MOT2.


For further information please contact:

Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare

Notes to editors

1On 16 April 2021, an online survey of 2,008 randomly selected Great British adults was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.1%. The results have been weighted by age, gender, region and social grade to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

2The £250 excess offer applies to fully comprehensive car insurance policies and is open to anyone who buys a valid car insurance policy from GoCompare during the offer period.  The policyholder must be 17 years of age or older and a permanent UK resident. The customer will qualify for the free excess protection cover for the duration of their car insurance policy (12 months max).  Excess Protection Insurance is provided by a separate policy, underwritten by AXA Assistance (UK) Ltd. Up to £250 refunded after claim settled. Excludes breakdown, windscreen, and glass repair/replacement.

To qualify for the £10 MOT, customers need to complete their booking by 30 June 2021.  Participating garages only. 

About GoCompare

GoCompare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.

It does not charge people to use its services and does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. GoCompare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.

When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. It is this approach to comparing products that secured the company an invitation to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) in 2008, and it is still the only comparison site to be a member of this organisation.

GoCompare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest and works with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.

GoCompare is part of Future Plc and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

More information can be found here www.gocompare.com or here https://www.futureplc.com/brands/.