Drivers risk safety to save money

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April 14, 2011

More than one-third of motorists in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne have forgone necessary car servicing in the past year for financial reasons, according to a new survey. Meanwhile, more drivers purchased comprehensive car insurance last month than in February 2011.

A recent report from Budget Direct revealed that almost a quarter of those drivers also deferred replacing tyres on their vehicle in 2010, while more than one-third skipped mechanical repairs due to financial strain.

"Many of our customers have put off the preventative servicing because they are feeling the pinch and as a result we have seen safety items neglected and expensive repairs become more prevalent," Ultra Tune chief executive Sean Buckley says in the report.

Cost before safety
Worryingly, the Budget Direct research also revealed that when purchasing a new vehicle, the need for good value far outweighed the need for safety features for drivers in all three cities. Overall, 64 percent of respondents said the initial cost of the vehicle was the most important factor in their decision, while only 22 percent ranked safety features top of mind.

It's a worrying result given that in NSW alone road accidents cause more than 400 deaths and 25,000 injuries each year, according to NSW government Roads and Traffic Authority statistics. Aside from the personal loss and suffering caused by accidents, the financial cost

to our community is around $3.7 billion each year.

Insurance levels up
While motorists tightened spending on car maintenance in 2010, many realised the value of comprehensive car cover and sought out car insurance quotes in recent months. In fact, there was a 20 percent jump in the number of Australians purchasing comprehensive car insurance through RateCity in March 2011 compared with the previous month.

By comparing car insurance quotes online, some drivers could save as much as $1000 for some premiums, too. For instance, RateCity's Bi-annual Comprehensive Car Insurance Comparison revealed that one of the cheapest insurance quotes available in February for a

Sydney driver was with Bingle at around $776. By comparison, Bendigo Bank's premium for the same driver and car profile was around $1764.

With the money saved on car insurance, a driver might be able to afford the services or new tyres that they were previously forgoing and feel safer on the road.




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