Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Last updated: 31st March 2020

Following the Government’s announcement asking everyone to stay at home, we’re making some changes to the way we work to make sure we’re looking after our people and our customers. We’re setting up as many of our colleagues as possible to work from home, but this will take a few days.

In the short-term, we’re only accepting new business online. That means new customers can’t buy insurance over the phone.

Existing customers: Please don’t phone unless it’s absolutely necessary.

We need to prioritise:

  • Customers who have an urgent claim, for example your car is undrivable following an accident, you are injured, or your home is uninhabitable.
  • Customers who can’t pay now as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, call us - we want to help you.

If you have questions about your renewal or want to make a change to your policy, you can use our virtual assistant. If your policy is due to renew in the next week and you haven’t opted for auto-renewal, please call us. If you have opted for auto-renewal, please make sure your insurance still meets your needs.

For more information and frequently asked questions about COVID-19, go to our Coronavirus help and support page.

Buying online

Surf, point, click. There, you’ve just bought yourself a car. No really you have. It makes such a refreshing change from the bad old days when shopping for a car was such an effort trekking around the country and wasting your valuable time. Now you can find what you want, sometimes for less, on the World Wide Web.

Manufacturer sites

They all have them these days, (type the manufacturer plus. co.uk, or .com), with the main intention of steering you in the direction of your local dealer. However with some car manufacturer sites you can actually buy a car online at a lower price. Choose the car, preview the colour and have nothing to do with a salesman until they have to value your old car, or talk finance.

Car brokers

Potentially this can give you the best of all worlds, low prices, no haggling and the reassurance of dealing with a UK franchised dealer. Can you trust a broker? Some have been around for decades, others since last week. A good sign is that the broker does not want any money upfront and indeed wants you to pay the dealer direct. Also ask where the car is coming from – for peace of mind you should always buy cars registered in the UK. Don’t pay in full because you could lose the lot if the broker goes bankrupt. Just because the company is called a broker it does not mean it is the best or lowest price. It must be below the quoted list price and when in doubt telephone a dealer and ask if they will sell a car at the broker’s price.

Car dealers

Few let you buy online, dealer sites are basically a virtual showroom. If they do have ‘Buy Now’ buttons, ensure you read their terms and conditions before clicking them. By all means leave a deposit subject to seeing the car, but as with all online car-selling sites you must take the time and effort to actually go and look at the car you think you want to buy. Print any contractual terms. And remember that shopping for a car on an UK site means that you will have the same rights as any high street consumer.

eBay

Every minute eBay sells a car. That’s the proof if you need it that buying a used car has never been easier, or more fun and in some cases that can be the problem. So:

  • Try to bid on a car in your area that ideally you can test drive
  • It’s a good thing if there is a long, detailed description, listing good and bad points, and lots of photographs, which suggests you are dealing with a conscientious and hopefully honest seller
  • Avoid short adverts with few details, or ads with small and fuzzy pictures. You really can’t tell the condition of a car from a thumbnail-sized picture
  • Don’t get carried away – you should always check out prices for similar vehicles in other adverts to make sure you’re not bidding too much
  • Remember that in the UK at least, if the vehicle doesn’t match the description, then the seller has misrepresented it, and you don’t have to buy it if you win the auction. However, if you do win, and the advert is accurate, you’re legally obliged to complete the transaction
  • Never pay in full until you’ve seen the car

Once you know what car you want, get an online car insurance quote from Churchill today.