A woman using her mobile phone whilst driving.

The Use of Mobile Phones When Driving

The use of a mobile phone or hand – held device whilst driving is illegal. As of 1st March 2017 police are cracking down on the continuous use of mobile phones by drivers. You could have 6 points deducted from your licence including a £200 fine. For new drivers, this could mean having your licence revoked.

When can you use a mobile device whilst driving?

You may only use your device in case of an emergency to call 999 or 112. This is only if it’s unsafe and you are unable to stop.

When can you use a mobile device in your vehicle?

You are not allowed to use your phone at any point when you are driving or even if the engine is running. You may only use a device in your vehicle if you are safely parked and the engine is off with the keys out of the ignition.

Using your device for navigation:

• A cradle is a popular option for hands-free navigation when using your mobile device for commuting.
• When using a device for navigation plug it in before you put the keys in the ignition. Holding/touching a device even if switched off is still a felony. You must not touch it at all once the engine is on.

Using your device for Music:

• Under no circumstances should you use your device to change music. Either use the car radio or prepare a playlist before you enter the vehicle.
• If you must have music from your phone device make sure it is set up before you set off.
• Use of headphones can mean 6 points off your license and a £200 fine.

Uber or cab drivers:

By law, you are not allowed to touch your device when the engine is running. If you work for a cab firm this means you cannot accept work whilst on the move.

Using Bluetooth:

You can use a cellular device via Bluetooth whilst driving. Yet, using the loudspeaker from your phone is not allowed and seen as a danger and distraction.

Be aware:

Death by dangerous driving is no longer the short term of 14 years. You can now serve life imprisonment.

If you ever make a call and the person on the other line is driving – hang up. Similarly, If you are a passenger in a vehicle where the driver is using a cellular device – take it off them. It is a serious danger to both them and the passenger/s of the vehicle.

As an employer, encouraging your staff to use a mobile device whilst driving can result in imprisonment and fines for your company, as well as possible suspension of service.

For more information:


Storing Your Antique Or Classic Car This Winter. Close up of bonnet of a cherry red antique car,

Storing Your Antique Or Classic Car This Winter

Since classic and antique cars are all so different, your insurance cover needs to be tailored to your unique needs—the exact make and model of the car, and how often you plan to drive it. There are many considerations which you and Brownhill Insurance Group will need to discuss while creating a bespoke policy to meet you.

Winter is just as inhospitable for classic and antique cars as it is for people. Cold temperatures, ice and salt could cause costly damage to irreplaceable or rare parts. In order to effectively preserve and protect the value of your car, you must take the proper precautions, which include performing thorough maintenance and purchasing a comprehensive classic car insurance policy.

Winter Maintenance Steps

Securely storing your car during the winter is vital to preserving it. Follow these five pieces of guidance to ensure that your classic or antique car maintains its value throughout the cold months.

1. Have the vehicle fully serviced, which should include the following:
• Oil and filter changed
• Cooling system drained, cleaned and refilled
• Air added to the tyres
• A coat of underseal applied

2. Have your car thoroughly washed and waxed—this should include applying grease to any chrome—before storing it in a well-ventilated garage with a dehumidifier. This will prevent the body from developing rust, and the wiring, seals and other rubber parts from deteriorating.

3. Have the car’s battery removed and stored off the floor. You may want to consider using a trickle charger to keep the battery charged.

4. Have all the air cleaner, air inlet and exhaust pipe(s) covered to prevent insects and rodents from getting into the car.

5. Have the vehicle placed on jack stands to prevent flat spots on the tyres and preserve the car’s suspension.

While you may be tempted to drive your car on those rare warm and dry winter days, doing so can potentially introduce damaging moisture, salt and dirt to your car’s every nook and cranny. Still, some experts recommend using your car once per month on a dry, salt-free road for 15-20 minutes to prevent mechanical deterioration.

Antique or Classic Car Insurance

The most effective method to preserve the value of your classic car is with a robust insurance policy. Policies can pay for the car’s full-insured value with no depreciation in the event of a total loss, less your excess. To learn more about protecting your classic or antique car, contact Brownhill Insurance Group at 020 8658 4334 today.

Winter Driving Tips. Interior view from the inside of a car looking out onto a winter scene of a motorway

Winter Driving Tips

Driving in winter is very different to other times of the year, bad weather conditions and longer periods of darkness can make even familiar roads treacherous and unpredictable.

When planning on driving in adverse conditions listen to the weather warnings and ask yourself if your trip is really necessary.

If travel is unavoidable, ensure everything on your car is in good working order, especially your tyres, lights and windscreen wipers. Keep a full tank of fuel and emergency kit in the car in case of accidents, breakdowns or jams.

Before setting off make sure all internal glass surfaces on your car are clear of mist and externally clear of ice and snow. It is illegal and dangerous to drive if visibility is impeded.

Always put safety before punctuality and leave plenty of time for your journey. Get your speed right to maintain the correct stopping distances between vehicles.

Remember your journey can contain many micro climates so always beware of the weather and driving conditions.

Here are a few tips to driving safe in our changeable weather;

Heavy rain:

Use the windscreen wipers to aid visibility.

Reduce speed to avoid aquaplaning. Should you find the car sliding, ease off the accelerator and brake until your speed drops sufficiently for the car tyres to make contact with the road again.

Remember you need twice the braking distance to slow down and stop.

Do not attempt to drive through deep or fast flowing flood water.

Remember to test your brakes after driving through water.

Snow & Ice:

If you start to skid when driving in snow or icy conditions, don’t panic, reduce your speed, apply the brakes slowly and smoothly, release and de-clutch, keeping the wheels pointing towards where you want to go and allowing your speed to fall.

Remember you need up to ten times the braking distance to slow down and stop.

When driving downhill, reduce speed, keep in a low gear and avoid using the brakes.

When driving uphill, choose a suitable gear in advance, keep at a constant speed and avoid stopping.

If stuck in a rut, move the vehicle slowly backwards and forwards using the highest gear you can. Do not rev your engine as this will make matters worse.

If you are truly stuck, do not leave the vehicle, switch off the engine and call your breakdown service for help.

The biggest danger is “black ice”, not really black but transparent and invisible. It forms most commonly when the temperature is at their coldest. It forms readily on Bridges and on parts of the road where the sun doesn’t shine such as under overpasses as they are normally the first to freeze and the last to thaw.


In gloomy conditions reduce your speed and always use dipped headlights, never use full beams in fog as it reflects light back.

Put your fog lights on if visibility drops below 100 meters.

If visibility is very poor, it is advisable to approach junctions and crossroads slowly and wind down your window to enable you to listen out for approaching traffic, however; if you really cannot see, you should consider pulling over and stopping until it is safe to continue your journey.

Strong winds:

Reduce your speed.

Avoid driving a high sided vehicle.

Keep tight control of the steering wheel.

Take extra care on bridges and exposed roads.

Low sunshine:

Reduce your speed

Ensure your windscreen is clean and streak free inside and out

Have a pair of sunglasses to hand

For further information:




Concourse of Elegance (Windsor Castle)

On Friday the 2nd of September we were kindly invited by Azur to attend the Concours of Elegance event at Windsor Castle. The most exceptional cars from all over the world, ranging from classic cars to high performance/ luxury cars were there for the fifth year running and this year was a very special one, celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday.

There were over 60 showcars parked in the castle’s quadrangle and outside the Quadrangle another 1000 or so cars were parked, representing some of the finest of the UK’s car clubs.

Ahead of the UK Concours of Elegance 2016, a selection of Concours of Elegance cars, led by His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent, embarked on a 300-mile driving tour ahead of the Windsor Castle event. They endured the best driving roads and backdrops — from the Cotswolds to the Brecon Beacons.

This year was a very successful turn out with over 12,500 visitors that attended the event . Best of Show at the Concours went to a 1938 Hispano-Suiza Dubonnet Xenia, which is proudly owned by Peter and Merle Mullin. This award is picked not by judges but voted on by all 60 entrants.

A key objective of the annual Concours of Elegance is to raise significant sums for charity. This years charities were The Queen’s Choral Foundation, The Household Cavalry Foundation and Springfield Youth Club Hackney. With this year’s donations of almost £200,000 the Concours of Elegance has now raised more than £1m for charity. I am sure you will agree that this is quite an achievement!


Peacock Blues

Following on from yesterday’s claims story, we have another somewhat more bizarre story from the claims team
at AIG.

A peacock-blue car ruffled the feathers of a real peacock on an estate. Whether it was the car’s colour, or whether the peacock mistook its own mirrored image for a rival isn’t clear, but it wasn’t just the peacock’s ego that had been dented after the prolonged pecking attack. This frenzied attack left the car somewhat worse for wear and although an unusual case, AIG Private Client Group quickly and happily covered the claim.

Story courtesy of AIG – Featured in Issue 1 of BIG Magazine


When Online Car Insurance just won’t Cut the Mustard

The Insurance giant AIG share with us a hair-raising story about a client who crashed his prized Ferrari Enzo causing over £300,000 in damage.

Only 400 Ferrari Enzos were ever made so, appreciating how rare the car was, AIG transported it to the Ferrari manufacturing plant in Maranello to be repaired by the people who originally built it.

AIG also flew the client out to the repair shop to view the repairs before completion to ensure that the client was happy with the work before transporting the car back to the United Kingdom.The client was very happy and the value of the vehicle was protected.

Motor insurance cover is a very competitive business. However, for many of our clients, the prime motivation for purchase is quality of cover and service as opposed to cost, whether they are owners of a Classic and High Peformance Vehicle or not. We will work very hard to get you the best quote for the widest cover available in the market.

Story courtesy of AIG – Featured in Issue 1 of BIG Magazine