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In or Out? – Seven car-related things to think about for the EU Referendum

In or Out? – Seven car-related things to think about for the EU Referendum

Just before you head off to the EU Referendum polls, here’s one last thing that might change your mind – what it means for car owners.

There are seven car-related things that might be raising questions in your mind, including insurance, fuel prices and driving in Europe. But what's the truth about what'll happen if we stay in or leave? The leave campaigners say one thing, and the remain campaigners say another – it’s all a bit confusing.

So, here we’ll try to sift through the ‘facts’ and give you some insight into what you need to help you make up your mind.

You’ll see words like ‘probably’ a lot in this blog. And that’s because what’s presented here are just best guesses by the experts. No one really knows what will happen if we leave the EU.

1 - Insurance

The main here is with the EU Motor Insurance Directive, and whether this will remain in place if we leave the EU.

What it basically does is offer you protection if you have an accident overseas by ensuring that your insurance is valid in all EU countries. The directive means that all cars driven in countries throughout the EU have a minimum of third party insurance.

It decided what the maximum paid out amount should be when you are at fault, and put in place a system of compensation for people who are involved in accidents with cars from other EU countries. It also ensures that those cases are dealt with quickly.It gives you the right to request a copy of all the claims that have been made on your vehicle from the last five years, which they must provide within 15 days.This allows you to move easily from one insurance dealer to another, helping you get the best insurance deals available.

If we leave the EU, it’s likely, according to Graham Trudgill, from the British Motor Brokers’ Association, that we’ll have to get extra insurance cover if we take our cars onto the continent, as 4.1 million of us Brits do each year.

We could also see a drop in the number of providers of insurance and policies available, which could push up prices. This is simply because a large proportion of insurers providing cover in the UK operate out of Gibraltar. Leaving the EU would make it more difficult for these companies to trade here, potentially leading to higher prices.

2 - Car prices and trade

In the used car market, which is the most relevant to our customers at Zuto, there’s also debate about what will happen to prices. Some experts don’t expect to see any huge change in what you’ll be paying, regardless of whether we stay in the EU or not. But others, such as Glass’s, believe that leaving the EU could affect car prices if new imports/export trade deals need to be created.

Car manufacturers may find that buying raw materials and components from the remaining EU member states becomes more expensive. The knock-on effect of which would be for new car prices to rise, resulting in used car prices rising too.

3 - Fuel prices

Again here the prices could go either way. There’s not likely to be much difference in the price of fuel if we leave the EU, according to the RAC. But, according the AA, fuel prices could rise as a result of a drop in the value of Sterling, which will affect the price of a barrel of oil. The AA predict prices could rise by as much as 19p per litre. However, no one really knows what will happen to the pound if we leave the EU. If it were to strengthen, instead of weaken, we could end up paying less.

4 - Driving Abroad

Another point you may be wondering about, if we leave the EU, is the validity of your driving licence on the continent. Thankfully, it’s unlikely that leaving the EU would make any difference to the acceptance of UK driving licences throughout Europe. This is because the EU already has agreements in place to recognise licences with other non-EU countries, so the UK would probably enter into one of these agreements in the same way.

5 - Breakdowns

Two of the UKs biggest motor breakdown companies, the AA and the RAC, offer European breakdown cover. And they also believe that, after a long and happy history of working alongside European motoring organisations, leaving the EU would have no effect whatsoever on these packages.

6 - Emissions

It’s likely that not much would change regarding emissions if we decided to leave the EU. Most of the UKs car manufacturers also sell in the EU, so will have to continue to make cars that meet these standards. And, in turn, we’ll have to accept cars that meet EU emission standards here, as it’s unlikely that EU manufacturers would want to change the way they make their cars to suit us. That might be a blessing in disguise, as, if they were made to change the way they make their cars, it’s likely prices would increase significantly.

7 - Safety

Nothing would change regarding the levels of safety built into cars. The UK is a leader in safety and is a driving force behind getting safety standards improved throughout the EU. The current safety testing comes through the Euro NCAP tests and rating system, and most of the standards are based on the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, which is not connected to the EU at all. There are already many non- EU countries, signed up to this agreement, so there’s no reason to think this would be affected.

Has that helped, or made it about as clear as mud? The former, we hope, but only time will tell what’ll really happen after we had our say tomorrow.

Polls open at 7.00am and close at 10.pm and you can find your local polling station on your polling card, which you should have received in the post. If you’ve not received one, you can contact your local authority office and ask.