Insurance costs cripple market


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27 April 2024
Range Rover excess may be as high as the premium : credit: © Alisdair Cusick
Tom finds the cost of insuring his own fleet is becoming hard to meet

Poor planning means that this month is when the insurance and MoT are due on three cars in my little fleet. The wallet-draining will be reduced slightly when the Ninety becomes tax- and MoT-exempt in a year’s time, but I’ll still need insurance. That has almost doubled this year on all the cars, and my usual trick of shopping around has revealed that my current cover is the best deal.

That’s bad enough on my renewal which has gone from a laughable £77 to £136 for my County. But if I was trying to insure a Range Rover and lived in a city, that sort of percentage increase could be enough to send me down to We Buy Any Car.

In fact, there was an interesting clause in the small print of two of the renewals I received for my non-Land Rover vehicles. One simply said the insurer would not be offering cover for Land Rover models. The other renewal was slightly more accommodating, but there was a sting. The clause said: “Where your vehicle is any model of Land Rover or Range Rover and its market value is £25,000 or over, in the event of any loss of, or damage to, your vehicle (including its accessories and spare parts) caused by theft, an additional excess will apply to your claim, calculated as five per cent of the market value of your vehicle at the time of loss.”

Just imagine that for a moment: you pay £5000 to insure your new Range Rover, someone nicks it and in addition to the £500 excess you have to pay another £5000 on top. That’s going to hurt and means you’re unlikely to spend the payout on another Range Rover. The previously cast-iron values of the new shape L460 model are suffering as a result, with examples which cost £140,000-plus selling at auction for £110,000 at 10 months old with 9000 miles under the wheels.

This price drop filters down the food chain to older Range Rovers. I’ve been chatting to a couple of L322 Range Rover owners about their cars, and especially the recent fall in used values. I must admit to having a bit of an ulterior motive as I have already requested first refusal on one which belongs to an older gent in my village, and it is lovely. He’s had it from new and it’s totally original – just as I like it – and I know it has been religiously maintained by the same people who looked after my Discovery 4.

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I always ask the owner if he’s looking after my Range Rover for me in the hope that he will one day say it’s time to put my money where my mouth is. Now is the point where its value will never be lower and the original, straight ones are starting to climb up again.

Dave, the owner, tells me it is staying with him though, as he’s just spent £2600 on having the suspension refurbed, plus a few other bits and pieces. He explained that he had a few sleepless nights justifying the expenditure, as the 2007 Vogue is worth little more than that. But he’d done the sums and worked out that even if he spent £5000 on a new car it wouldn’t be as nice as his L322 when it was fixed. So he swallowed hard, paid the bill and has a car he loves back again feeling as good as ever.

On the flip side is a chap who has had his L322 for four years and used it for dragging a trailer around. He’s ‘upgraded’ it with wheels from a later L405, changed the front end to the 2010 facelift spec and plundered Amazon for stick-on chrome ‘enhancements’. There is nothing wrong with it, but he felt like a change and couldn’t find a buyer who shared his taste or opinion of its value.

So instead of selling it as a complete car, he has decided to take it to pieces and sell the bits. He’s employed his son to wield the socket set and then take pictures of the various bits before listing them online.

He reckons the engine and box are worth £1500, the 22-inch wheels will sell for £500 and then he can get £150 a panel, £500 for the interior, £300 for the premium stereo, £150 for the tow bar and £50 each for the lights. There are a few other bits he thinks will sell too and then he’ll weigh in the carcass at the scrapyard and get about £350.

I hate to see any Land Rover broken up for parts, but I can’t fault his logic or entrepreneurship. And it does mean there’s a ready supply of well-priced used parts which will make it much easier for the rest of us to run a L322 on a budget – at least until it’s time to insure them.