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NHS workers can get 75 percent rebate on temporary car insurance during covid crisis

NHS staff offered 75 percent discount on car insurance

NHS workers can get 75 percent rebate on temporary car insurance during covid crisis

A temporary car insurance provider has announced that working NHS staff will be eligible for a discount of 75 percent. This is in support of those working the frontline to combat the spread and impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The new discount is in place from 19 March. It’s a specific aid to those NHS workers whose local links are limited or are trying to avoid public transport.

Coronavirus insurance discount for NHS workers

Insurance could be a financial blockade to these staff members getting into their own personal transport. To get the discount, applicants need only show photo proof of their NHS badge. They will be in line to receive a 75 percent refund on their policy. 

This temporary insurance provides cover for anything from one hour to 30 days.

When is the best time to renew car insurance

“As a nation we are indebted to the amazing frontline NHS staff working tirelessly round the clock to care for the country as we fight the coronavirus,” said Jean-Baptiste Limate, CEO of Veygo.

“To help ease any concerns over getting to and from work we are offering a 75 percent discount on our temporary car insurance policies. In the event public transport is limited, we want to ensure NHS staff can get to work safely.

“This may mean borrowing a car, car sharing with a colleague and sharing driving duties or driving to work in your own car. Our policies offer the protection for these unexpected circumstances, so they travel with peace of mind that themselves, their vehicle and other road users are covered.”

Dashcam use in the UK

More drivers expected to fit a dashcam in 2020

Dashcam use in the UK

Many car insurance companies offer discounts for drivers who use a dashcam. Because the footage is accepted by the police and UK courts, insurance firms are willing to reduce the cost of a policy in exchange for their use.

Drivers see dashcams as an opportunity to prove their innocence in the event of an incident or accident on the road. Other motorists see them as an opportunity to record examples of bad behaviour, before uploading the footage to social media… 

Research by Which? shows that discounts of anything between 10 percent and 25 percent are available for using a dashcam.

‘Making motorists accountable’

Dashcam uptake likely to increase

Geoff Rolls, a psychologist from the University of Southampton, believes the use of dashcams could improve the quality of driving. He said: “Traffic accidents happen so quickly and cause such stress that it’s highly likely the recollections of the people involved will be sketchy, even without taking into account the fact that people naturally interpret things to their own advantage.

“Dashcams provide a solution to this problem, and can even discourage dangerous or inconsiderate driving by making motorists accountable for their actions.”

According to the GlobalData 2019 UK Consumer Insurance Survey, one in five car insurance customers were using a dashcam in 2019. It referenced Insurtech Inzura’s white-labelled dashcam as having the potential to increase the uptake of dashcams, with customers attracted by the opportunity to save money.

The Inzura dashcam works as a telematic device, gathering metrics of a driver’s behaviour and using an auto-upload function in the event of an accident. GlobalData says a 10 percent discount could result in an 11 percent conversion rate for dashcams. This would rise to a 43 percent conversion rate if the discount was as high as 30 percent.

‘Difficult for fraudulent claims to be filed’

Dashcam insurance discounts

Daniel Pearce, senior analyst at GlobalData, said: “Inzura’s dashcam will work as a telematics device gathering various metrics about an individual’s driving habits. It will also include automatic video first notification of loss (FNOL) capabilities. This will benefit policyholders, who will no longer need to obtain video files and manually upload them to an insurer’s portal. Insurers will also benefit, as the system will make it increasingly difficult for fraudulent claims to be filed.

“Inzura dashcam’s automated FNOL capabilities will help simplify the use of dashcams in telematics policies and should boost uptake as a result. This higher uptake should ultimately to lead to further premium reductions.

“However, despite the good news this is something of a ‘Catch 22’ situation, because discounts on policies will be far easier to offer if more people take out the policies, as an increase needs to occur for the benefits to continue to be seen.”

Rising car insurance excess warning to motorists

car insurance excesses rising

New research into what drivers are paying for their car insurance has revealed high excess figures are becoming increasingly commonplace. 

Excesses that exceed £3,000 are being quoted on older cars, despite the fact the write-off value would be significantly lower.

That means, in the event of the car being a total loss, the driver would receive nothing.

Researchers at the Mail on Sunday searched for car insurance on moneysupermarket.com. The average car on UK roads is eight years old, so the search used one of the most popular used cars, a Ford Fiesta, registered in 2012, for a 40-year-old driver in South London.

The value of such a vehicle should be between £3,440, and £3,775. The write-off figure would be around 50 percent of this. 

Car insurance auto renewal costs

Six insurers came back with staggering £3,000 compulsory excess figures. These insurers were not even the cheapest, either.

The same surprise might be in store for owners of more expensive cars. An eight-year-old BMW 3 Series with a value of £7,000 to £7,500, generated five quotes with a £3,000 excess for a 40-year-old in Stevenage.

With the average car insurance claim costing £2,600, it pays to keep a close eye on what excesses are on your policy.

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) claims one of the reasons insurers offer high excesses is that they’d rather do so than decline insurance altogether. In short, such excesses are a get-around for ‘no-quotes’.

When is cheapest to buy car insurance

“Policy excesses are often misunderstood and can provide a nasty shock during a claim – a time when there is already enough stress to deal with,” said Anders Nilsson, from gocompare.com.

“Our research shows excesses could contribute to genuine financial hardship with 37 per cent of drivers admitting they don’t have the means to pay their excess or would have to turn to credit cards or loans.”

What is car insurance excess?

Car insurance October 2019

The excess on car insurance is what the driver pays before the insurer begins to contribute, in the case of repairing their own vehicle.

For example, consider a single-car incident and all that’s damaged is the front bumper and the driver’s sidelight. If the excess on their policy is £500, and the total cost of the damage is £800, to get the car back on the road, the insurer will contribute £300 to that. 

If the damage is below £500, the insurer won’t contribute anything. The excess is only payable on damage to your own vehicle. Damage to other’s vehicles, and the associated costs, if you are at fault, is on your insurer.

When is the best time to renew car insurance

When is the best time to renew your car insurance?

When is the best time to renew car insurance

Renewing your car insurance policy eight days before it expires could save you money. That’s according to data released by a leading price comparison website.

It found that drivers who renewed with eight days to go saw an average saving of £132 (28 percent). This is in comparison to if they had taken the price quoted on the day the policy was due to start.

The data shows that prices start to rise three days before a policy’s expiry. The most expensive policies are those bought on their current policy’s end date.

This graph shows the difference a little forward planning can make.

Best time to renew car insurance graph

MoneySuperMarket is keen to point out that there’s no extra benefit to renewing your policy more than eight days ahead of schedule. Any longer than that and the curve is flat.

Being organised is the key. You should receive a renewal notification a month before the policy is up for renewal. Place the renewal documents in a visible location to serve as a reminder to search for some cheaper quotes. Never accept the renewal quote offered by your existing provider.

Figures provided by MoneySuperMarket show that car insurance auto-renewal costs motorists an estimated £565 million every year. Insurers add an average of £40 per year to existing policies. At the very least, give your current provider a call to see if they can reduce the quote.

Finding alternative prices in advance is a good idea. A price comparison website is a good place to start, but it’s worth remembering that some of the best insurance companies aren’t listed on such sites.

‘Shop around’

Rachel Wait, consumer affairs spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket, said: “If there’s one thing to remember when it comes to saving money on your car insurance, it’s making sure you shop around before your policy automatically renews – you could save hundreds of pounds.

“What our data shows is that the time you run your quotation can also have an important bearing on the level of savings you can make. Insurers know that many of us leave buying insurance to the last minute, which is why we see prices increasing closer to the date a policy is due to expire. To avoid higher costs, you should shop around for your new policy at least a week before the old one runs out and lock in the price you are offered at that point – those that do can make substantial savings.”

Car insurance will rise in 2020

Five reasons why your car insurance will cost more in 2020

Motorists are being warned to expect an increase in the cost of car insurance in 2020. A ‘perfect storm of factors’ will put pressure on premiums, according to a leading price comparison website.

It says that insurance premiums will continue to rise throughout the year, pointing to five key factors behind the higher costs. Here, we reveal the five driving forces behind the inflated premiums, along with some of the ways you can offset the cost.

Car theft is on the up

There was a three percent increase in the number of vehicle offences in the year up to June 2019. This is mainly as a result of the increase in the number of vehicle thefts (up seven percent) and incidences of theft from a vehicle (up two percent).

The keyless car theft ‘epidemic’ is another factor. More expensive cars are being stolen, increasing the average claim for a stolen car to over £8,000 in Q2 2018. This is up from £3,500 in 2013 when records began.

How personal injury compensation is calculated

Personal injury claims

The Ogden discount rate is used to determine the amount insurers should pay as compensation to people who have suffered life-changing injuries. Because the compensation is paid in a lump sum, the amount is discounted to account for interest payments.

Government changes to the rate add to the cost for insurers, which is passed on to the motorists in the form of higher premiums.

Higher cost of repairs

Cars have never been safer, but the plethora of safety assistance systems, connectivity and associated technology makes it more expensive to repair a car following an accident. Equipment such as radars, cameras and sensors tend to be located in vulnerable areas of the car, such as bumpers and grilles.

Insurers pay-out over £12 million a day to repair damaged vehicles. New technology has resulted in insurers categorising more vehicles as uneconomical to repair.

Brexit

The economic uncertainty has led to a fall in the value of the pound, increasing the cost of imported cars and replacement parts. This simply adds to the cost of vehicle repairs.

Insurance fraud

Car insurance fraud

Car insurance fraud remains a big issue. Although insurers use robust fraud detection systems, there are many incidences of policyholders providing false information and making false or exaggerated claims. There are also many cases of people staging crashes to make a personal injury claim.

‘Perfect storm of factors’

Lee Griffin, CEO of GoCompare Car Insurance said: “We’re expecting this year to be another challenging one for car insurers, with a perfect storm of factors coming together to put further pressure on premiums. In addition to rising claims costs, economic and political uncertainty, insurers may face regulatory measures to change their pricing practices as the Financial Conduct Authority publishes its report and remedies on making the car insurance market work better for customers.

“There are also concerns that as the government seeks to raise revenue, the rate of insurance premium tax (IPT) charged on car insurance – which currently stands at 12 percent, could come under the spotlight again, with some experts fearing it could rise to 20 percent in line with other insurances and VAT. The rate of IPT has been unchanged since June 2017, and hopefully this year won’t be the year it is reviewed upwards again.

“Rather than just sitting back and accepting a bigger bill for their car insurance, motorists should shop around to find cover at a good price, that suits their needs.”

How to get cheaper car insurance

Best car insurance companies

Regardless of where you live, what car you drive and what kind of cover you’re after, you should always shop around for a better deal. Figures released today show that letting your car insurance auto-renew will cost an average of £40. In some cases it could be as much as £125.

Here are 10 other ways to get cheaper car insurance:

  1. Pay annually – paying upfront will always be cheaper than paying monthly. Consider an interest-free credit card, but make sure you repay the full amount before the 0 percent offer ends.
  2. Increase your excess – choosing a higher voluntary excess will decrease the cost of your cover. But be warned: you’ll pay more in the event of a claim.
  3. Limit your mileage – don’t overestimate your annual mileage, as this will cost you money. Instead, calculate how many miles you expect to cover and then add a buffer to account for unforeseen circumstances.
  4. Choose the right vehiclea 1.0-litre city car is likely to be cheaper to insure than a 2.0-litre SUV. You might find that an older vehicle is cheaper to insure, especially if it doesn’t have the costly tech mentioned above. That said, some safety systems can help to lower a premium.
  5. Avoid modifications – altering the design and performance of your vehicle is likely to increase the cost of insurance. Everything from new alloy wheels to a new audio system is classed as a modification, so check with your insurance company before making changes.
  6. Improve your security – adding an alarm, immobiliser and locking wheel nuts could lower your premium. As an aside, think about adding a steering lock to provide some protection against opportunistic keyless car theft criminals.
  7. Choose the right policy – if you own a cheap car to drive to the railway station, do you need comprehensive cover? A third party, fire and theft policy should be cheaper.
  8. Consider your add-ons – see what’s included in your policy and whether you need any add-ons.
  9. Consider a telematics policy – fitting a ‘black box’ can make your car insurance cheaper, whatever your age, as long as you’re a careful driver.
  10. Look out for admin fees – some companies charge a fee for making adjustments to a policy. Paying £5 extra for a policy with no admin fees might be more cost-effective than going with a company that charges £50 to make minor adjustments.

For more ways to get cheaper car insurance, visit the GoCompare website. Meanwhile, for more motoring hints and tips, check out our advice section.

Car insurance ‘renewal tax’ costs motorists £674million

Car insurance auto renewal costs

New research has revealed that around 16.8 million drivers let their car insurance auto-renew last year. It cost them a heady £674million, which is an increase of 175 percent on the year before.

This is according to MoneySuperMarket, which found that around 41 percent of drivers let their insurance renew automatically, incurring significant cost increases. That’s more than double the 17 percent of drivers who allowed their policy to auto-renew in 2018.

It’s always worth shopping around

Saving car insurance renewal

So how much does your insurance increase when you let it lapse? Seventy-three percent of drivers saw increases of an average of £40. Meanwhile, 20 percent saw increases of between £51 and £125.

So why aren’t people shopping around, rather than suffering this auto-renewal ‘tax’? Well, 21 percent do so because it’s easier. Indeed, letting it renew requires the least effort, with 16 percent saying changing provider would be too much work. Incredibly, 11 percent of those that don’t shop around, avoid it because they don’t think there are savings to be made.

Are car insurers breaking the law?

When to renew on car insurance to save money

In April 2017, new rules were introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority. These required insurers to prominently notify drivers of the price they’re currently paying, and the price they will pay if they let their policy renew. Worryingly, 58 percent of drivers have no recollection of such a notification.

“If you let your car insurance auto-renew you’ll more than likely see an increase in your premiums, with our research showing that the average premium can increase by £40,” said Dave Merrick, car insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket

“Although some of us are shopping around for a better deal, the number of people allowing their policy to auto-renew has doubled in just a year, meaning that even more people are paying a loyalty tax by staying with their insurer.”

The 10 cheapest cars to insure in 2020

Every new car in the UK is given an insurance group ranging from one to 50. Although insurers can use their own system to assess risk, the lower the insurance group, the less you’ll pay for cover. Thanks to information provided by Confused.com, we can reveal the 10 cheapest cars to insure in 2020, with the results presented in no particular order.

Volkswagen Up

Generally speaking, the following factors influence a car’s insurance group rating: performance, cost of repair, the car’s value, security and safety. A 1.0-litre city car will be far cheaper to insure than a 2.0-litre saloon. According to Confused.com, the Volkswagen Up is one of the cheapest to cover.

If you want to pay the least amount, opt for the Volkswagen Up with a 60hp 1.0-litre engine. These tend to fall into the lowest insurance group rating. Before you get any ideas, the Up GTI is a little more expensive to insure, with a group rating of 17.

Nissan Micra

Even the entry-level Nissan Micra Visia+ comes with emergency braking with pedestrian recognition, which helps to keep the cost of the insurance to a minimum. It costs £14,190, but looks too much like a driving school car without alloy wheels. Upgrading to the Accenta adds 16-inch alloys, cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

All versions of the Nissan Micra slot into group one when powered by the 71hp 1.0-litre petrol engine, making this an ideal car if you’re hoping to build a decent no-claims bonus. You can expect a discount of 30 percent in return for a claim-free first year of driving.

Ford Fiesta

Not only is the Ford Fiesta Britain’s most popular new car, it’s also one of the cheapest to insure. Three- and five-door versions are available, with prices starting from £16,115. You can also opt for a crossover-inspired Fiesta Active Edition or a sporty ST.

You won’t find a single Fiesta on the bottom rung of the insurance group ladder, but the now discontinued Fiesta Style slots into group two when powered by a 1.1-litre petrol engine. Opt for the same engine in what is now the entry-level Trend model and the insurance group jumps to four.

Seat Ibiza

Thanks to the way it looks and drives, the Seat Ibiza is a popular supermini for young drivers. The entry-level Ibiza SE costs £15,825 and offers 15-inch alloy wheels, a 6.5-inch touchscreen and LED daytime running lights. It’s essentially a Spanish Volkswagen Polo that looks better and is great to drive.

To pay the least amount for insurance you’ll need to opt for the Ibiza SE and the 75hp 1.0-litre petrol engine. All the other models are in a higher bracket, but if you’re after the style and aren’t too fussed about the poke, the 80hp Ibiza FR Sport slots into group five.

Skoda Citigo e iV

It’s quite a surprise to see the electric Skoda Citigo making this list, but it suggests that the overall cost of owning an EV is starting to come down. Prices start from just shy of £17,000, with up to 170 miles of range available.

Electric versions of the Skoda Citigo slot into insurance groups 11 and 12. Although you can no longer buy a new petrol version of the Citigo, finding a used example would make sense if you’re looking to minimise your costs. Some of the old 1.0-litre MPI versions fell into group one, making them inexpensive to insure.

Hyundai i10

There’s a new and exciting* Hyundai i10 on the way, but it’s unlikely to be as cheap to insure as the outgoing version (pictured). That’s what happens when you get carried away with funky LED lights and bold alloy wheel designs. It’s also more expensive, with the cheapest model coming in at £12,500, rather than £10,000. In fairness, you do get more for your money.

*It’s not that exciting.

Helpfully, Hyundai lists the insurance group ratings on its website. To pay the minimum amount for cover, avoid the 1.2-litre engine and opt for the 1.0 version. The i10 1.0 S and SE slot into group two, while other models range from four to seven. The groups of the new i10 are likely to range from six to 11.

Fiat Panda

It’s getting increasingly difficult to recommend the Fiat Panda. While it remains a fun and practical city car, it just too long in the tooth to make it a viable prospect in 2020. The zero-star Euro NCAP safety rating doesn’t help its cause, but it does have cheap insurance on its side. Well, in theory…

To achieve the lowest insurance group rating of three, you need to opt for the basic Fiat Panda Pop with a 1.2-litre engine. The Pop trim is just too miserly for most, so you’ll probably end up paying more for cover. The new mild hybrid versions should slot into group six.

Toyota Yaris Y20

Toyota is celebrating 20 years of the Yaris with a Y20 special edition. It’s packed with standard equipment, including 16-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch media display, reversing camera and heated door mirrors. Prices start from £16,770.

Of course, the group rating is only one influence on the cost of insurance. Your age will affect how much you pay, along with where your car is parked overnight and during the day, any previous convictions and how many miles you drive in a year.

Kia Rio

If common sense is your thing, the Kia Rio is one of the best superminis you can buy. Prices start from just £13,000, all models are well-equipped, plus you benefit from Kia’s seven-year warranty. Even the flagship GT-Line S costs less than £18,500, making it a worthy alternative to the Ford Fiesta.

The Kia Rio highlights that opting for the entry-level model doesn’t always result in cheaper insurance. Although both cars are powered by the same petrol engine, the Rio 1 is group six, while the Rio 2 is group four. That’s thanks to the improved level of safety kit on the Rio 2.

Smart EQ Forfour

Rob Griffin of Confused.com said: “We’ll all be driving electric vehicles one day – and this is a great example for those wanting a four-seater option for nipping around the city.” So now you know.

All versions of the Smart EQ Forfour slot into insurance group 11. The car delivers up to 70 miles of electric range, which is great if you’re ‘nipping around the city’. If you intend to venture further afield, the electric versions of the Vauxhall Corsa or Peugeot 208 might make more sense.

Cost of van insurance rises 2.2 percent in three months

van insurance prices up

Insurance costs for van drivers in the UK have shot up in recent months, following a period of stability over the course of the last year. Premiums have risen by 2.2 percent in three months, with the average UK premium now £1,515.

For reference, that rise is faster than the UK rate of inflation. Data from analytics company Consumer Intelligence also shows that premiums are up 37 percent since 2014.

It’s worse still for large section of van drivers. Those aged between 25 and 49 who use their van for business have seen an increase of 46.9 percent since 2014. And those aged over 50 are paying 45 percent more.

Younger drivers who use their van for work have faced a much smaller increase of 1.2 percent.

DPD to take delivery of 300 electric Nissan vans

So, what’s to blame? It’s partly a reset of the Ogden rate, plus patterns in insurance claims. Indeed, we’ve reported on increases in van-related crimes and thefts in recent months.

“Pricing fluctuations are based on claims experience and we’ve observed no other seismic events within the van market,” said John Blevins, pricing manager at Consumer Intelligence.

“The recent increases are hardly surprising following the government’s reset of the Ogden rate in August.”

Young van drivers cut some slackvan insurance prices up

It’s not all bad news, though. For young van drivers who are using their van for non-work purposes, there have been big savings over the last year. Social, domestic and pleasure (SDP) premiums for 17-24 year-olds have shrunk by an average of 11.6 percent. Still, that doesn’t make the average premium cheap, at £4,112. 

The 25-49-year-old and over-50 categories pay £840 and £509 for non-business use respectively. The average SDP policy, in spite of the recent cuts for young drivers, has risen by 41.6 percent since 2014.

Revealed: The cheapest months to buy car insurance

When is cheapest to buy car insurance

New research has revealed the best times of the year to buy car insurance. In addition to this, it shows the average fully comprehensive premium has risen in cost by 16 percent (or £68) since 2013.

The analysis by MoneySuperMarket involved 49 million car insurance quotes from the last seven years, between 2013 and 2019.

It showed that August may be the best month to buy car insurance – being the cheapest, on average, for the past two years. In 2017, February was cheapest, however, and has been three times between 2013 and 2019.

Where in the UK cheapest car insurance

Last year, those who insured their car in August paid £469. On average, that’s a 10 percent (£52) cheaper than December. In 2018, that saving was £43, with the average price being £495, compared with £538 in December. Generally speaking, December is considered the priciest month to buy car insurance.

Insurance is also more expensive than it was in 2013. The average fully comprehensive premium in the fourth quarter of 2013 was £435. That compares to an average of £503 in Q4 2019. As noted, the £68 jump represents an increase of 16 percent.

“People purchasing a car often wait until December to secure a bargain, as dealers try and lock in sales before the end of the year,” said Emma Garland, data scientist at MoneySuperMarket.

“The only downside, is that it is generally the most expensive time to buy a car insurance policy. Our data shows that February and August are typically the cheapest months to buy car insurance. This could be because fewer cars are bought, due to people holding off for the new vehicle plates that are issued in March and September.”

Insurance companies refuse cover for using the wrong fuel

insurers don't always cover misfuelling

In the past, if you made the mistake of putting the wrong fuel into your car, your insurance company would usually cover it. In recent years, however, many are declining to pick up the bill.

According to new research by Defaqto, payouts for putting the wrong fuel into a car have been declining since 2016. Using the wrong fuel can potentially destroy your engine, and cost thousands to put right. This has lead insurers to back away from covering it under ‘accidental damage’ in their policies.

In 2016, 49 percent of insurance products on the market excluded misfuelling damage, although 51 percent would have covered the claims. In 2020, nearly two thirds (59 percent) exclude it.

insurers don't always cover misfuelling

As insurance providers ditch misfuelling, breakdown providers are more likely to cover costs of recovery. In 2016, 49 percent excluded cover for this, compared with just 36 percent who exclude it today. 

Running an engine with the wrong feel can be catastrophic. However, just because you’ve filled up, that doesn’t mean the damage is already done. If you realise before you fire the car up, the fuel can be drained and the cost mitigated.

insurers don't always cover misfuelling

“It is easy to put the wrong fuel in your car by mistake, particularly if you are driving one that you’re not used to,” said Michael Powell, consumer motor expert at Defaqto.

“If you do have breakdown cover, call your provider and ask if they can help. Otherwise, you may need to call a repairer and pay for the costs involved. Either way, it is essential that you do not start your car’s engine as the potential damage could be very expensive to repair.”

Misfuelled your car? Here’s what to do:

  • Push, don’t start. Save your engine by not firing up
  • Call your breakdown provider. They may be able to recover you
  • Check if your recovery also covers draining the fuel
  • Check if the repairer will be able to get you the right fuel

What’s worse? Diesel in a petrol, or vice versa?

insurers don't always cover misfuelling

Petrol in a diesel car is generally worse news, and unfortunately is more common. Diesel acts as a lubricant in a diesel engine system. Petrol, however, causes more friction. It can be especially damaging to high-pressure common-rail diesel systems.

Diesel in a petrol, while inconvenient, shouldn’t be as bad. It’ll clog the spark plugs and the fuel system, but the AA says petrol engines shouldn’t sustain permanent damage: the engine simply won’t start when fed diesel. It’s also harder to put diesel in a petrol car, as the fuel nozzles usually don’t fit.