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Lots of things are always happening at Cougar Accident Repair Centre and we endeavor to keep you informed of our activities on this page.
Top Industry award for Cougar...
Cougar Accident Repair Centre, of Eaton Green, Luton, was recently named Large Bodyshop of the Year at a glittering industry event at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport. The black-tie Bodyshop Magazine Awards evening played host to the bodyshop industry’s most prestigious, respected and long standing independent awards programme – recognising the ambassadors of the automotive accident repair industry. The award was presented by AkzoNobel’s Sales Manager Jon Amor to Cougar Accident Repair Centre’s Managing Director, Gary Cohen and General Manager, Virgil Blennerhassett.
Everything You Need To Know About Black Boxes
Telematics, also commonly known as Black boxes, are GPS systems that can be fitted behind your dashboard so that insurers can monitor and track your driving, therefore determining your insurance premium. These black boxes were originally introduced and targeted at young male drivers as that category had the highest insurance prices due to being deemed as high-risk drivers. Fortunately this has now been changed as gender discrimination amongst insurance policies has been banned.

This means that black boxes are now being offered to more than just young drivers and those who have only recently passed - they're being offered to anyone who thinks it would benefit them. Although they can be a cost-effective solution to those with expensive policies, if it's not suitable for your driving type, you could end up paying more than you would have without the box.

So, exactly how do these ominous black boxes work and who are they most suitable for? These are the frequently asked questions surrounding telematics, and are important for determining whether or not it would save you money. Knowing the ins and outs of telematics will help you to understand how beneficial this could be to you, or someone you know.

How does the black box work?

These boxes are designed to track the way you drive, so they can create a comprehensive profile of you as a driver, which determines how much you'll pay for insurance. They're only the size of a smartphone and are attached behind your dashboard so that they are not noticeable. What they track when you're driving is what really counts, and every aspect makes a difference money wise.
If you have one installed, this is what you'll be monitored on:
• The speed you drive at
• How many miles you drive
• The time of day or night you're driving
• The types of roads you use the most
• Acceleration, breaking and taking corners

This information is then stored on a secure website, where you can see your driving score and where you need to make improvements on your driving to become safer.
If you're a considerate driver that doesn't drive too many miles, doesn't use dangerous roads and doesn't drive late at night, then it will save you money. Although, if you're not as safe as you thought and they deem you as a risky driver, you are going to face consequences. But there is the chance to change your driving behaviours to become more responsible and bring the premium down.

Who is it most suitable for?

Nothing is ever suitable for everyone and telematics are no different to that. These black boxes are targeted mainly at young and new drivers, but due to an increase in the desire for cheaper insurance, some insurers are offering them to all ages.

The people that will benefit the most from having a black box installed are:
• If you are a young or new driver and you want to secure yourself a discounted premium (some beginner premiums cost thousands)
• If you're a parent and you want to sign up your son or daughter to a telematics scheme that has a joint responsibility and allows you to monitor their driving
• If you are an older driver who doesn't travel for many miles and usually drives out of peak times

What are the advantages of using a black box?

Obviously the biggest advantage of using a black box is the amount of money it can potentially save you on your car insurance premium. This is important to many drivers, as some are quoted extortionate prices for their premium and cannot afford to pay it.

What it can do for you is if you're involved in an accident and it wasn't your fault, then the black box stores information that can pinpoint exactly how the accident occurred and who is to blame for it. Not only this, but because it's a GPS, if your car was stolen, they would be able to locate it and get it retrieved.

There is speculation suggesting you could keep the data from the black box for future reference of being a good driver, however, some insurance companies will not allow you to use this information in any other way than with them.

What are the disadvantages of using a black box?

Unfortunately, it seems that there are quite a few disadvantages to having the box installed. However, if you are going to drive carefully and under the restrictions the insurance company give you, you should only reap the benefits.
Here's what you need to be aware of before getting a black box insurance policy:
• If you are deemed to be a risky driver, your insurance premium may be higher than if you had not opted to have a black box fitted
• If you drive between 11am - 6pm it will either affect your driver score or you could incur a charge of £100
• It's not easy to switch boxes between insurers - if you need to, you may need to have another black box fitted next to the previous one
• It can cost to have the black box removed all together
• Changing your car. Example: Ingenie charge £75 for the first change, and £100 - £150 for anything after. Similar prices apply to other insurers
• Cancellation of a policy within the first year
• Damage to the black box itself

Data protection is a concern to some, however, most insurers will have terms and conditions stating they will not share the data, but you should check this before buying your policy.

Which insurers can I get a black box with?

Many insurers now offer the option of the telematics insurance policy, but they're all very different and come with different charges, fees and some only have it applicable to certain drivers.
Some car insurers, including Co-Operative, Aviva and, are moving away from the black box and replacing it with an application that can be downloaded onto your smartphone. It works the same as the box - you put it on your dashboard and then drive as normally and you'll receive a score from it.

For a full list of insurers offering a telematics insurance policy:
Why Should You Invest In a Dashboard Camera?
Dashboard cameras are the newest phenomena in the UK, however they've been around for a long time in countries where driving qualifications aren't really needed. Some of the footage captured by these cameras has provided us with hilarious clips of motorists doing the strangest of activities, but for some the footage has provided essential evidence in accident claims where fault cannot be determined easily.

Accidents happen all the time, but the process of finding out who is to blame, what the damage is and making claims is enough to give anyone a headache. Then there's the frustrating and wallet-crippling matter of when you've had an accident, and you are not to blame, yet false evidence suggests otherwise and leaves you with no car, no ‘no-claims’ bonus and a higher insurance premium. Situations like that are where we need some sort of evidence - hard evidence, such as video footage.

Dashboard cameras are wired into your car and automatically turn on and off when the car is started and turned off. From there they continuously film on a loop, recording everything and anything that happens whilst you're out driving. Many also have built in memory, therefore they're practical and will not run out of battery just as an accident or incident occurs.

Concerns over "crash for cash" scams have also driven up the sales of these cameras. Drivers have decided to fight back against these fraudsters in order to ensure that in the case of a scam, they have the proof to show Police and insurance companies what really happened.

Market research company GFK, have shown that in the last 12 months, sales of dashcams have increased by 918%. These nifty little gadgets are suitable for the majority of car types and can be bought for as little £20 to as much as £400, dependent upon what you're looking for. If you're concerned about accidents and having to prove your innocence, then a dashboard camera could really benefit you. In fact, they could benefit all drivers and help to cut down on expensive, incorrect and unfair claim disputes that often have a major impact on someone's life.

Dashboard cameras are now available at all major motoring shops across the UK.
Windswept and Struggling
Frustration can creep up on us quickly when a simple task that we've performed a million times, just isn't as simple as it should be. Another thing that can get us really frustrated is when the gales become so blustery they manage to make us cry and lose all sense of direction.

For one van driver in Scotland, he unfortunately encountered both of these infuriating circumstances at once, whilst his friend uncontrollably laughed at him. We wonder how many people this has happened to…

Watch the video:
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