Keep your house warm

Winter is coming…

From August 21st, GB Energy Supply increased gas and electricity prices by 7% and experts are saying that the Big Six suppliers (British Gas, EON, EDF, npower, Scottish Power and SSE), who supply 98% of Britain’s households with their energy, could be increasing bills as early as autumn.
We’ve researched a list of our top tips to save money whilst keeping warm in the home this winter:

Technology in the home

The Nest thermostat shows you just how much energy you use every day and allows you to adjust your home heating and your hot water tank while away from your house, using your phone. Its Auto-Away feature automatically turns itself down when nobody’s at home.

Thermal Curtains

According to GRENUM, there are two key requirements to preventing heat loss/gain through a window covering: the material needs to be an insulator, and there must be no gaps around the edges as this will result in the air between the window and curtain escaping and setting up a convection current. An insulated curtain is usually comprised of three layers: face fabric, liner (bumph) and rubber-backed curtain lining.


A good money-saving tip to prevent unnecessary heat loss from radiators, according to Sophie Neuburg, energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth, is tinfoil. Aluminium foil behind the radiator can reflect heat back into the room, rather than losing it through the wall.

Double Glazed Windows

Double-glazed windows can prove incredibly energy-efficient. Alongside lower carbon footprint and lower energy bills, double-glazed windows also reduce condensation and act as great insulation against external noises.
Double-glazed windows consist of two sheets of glass with a small gap in between which is used to create an insulating barrier, keeping heat in.

Honeycomb Blinds

Alongside offering privacy and light control, honeycomb blinds offer insulation from the cold winter winds. These types of shades have large channels which trap the air at the window. The R-value of a double-glazed window (the measurement of resistance of the shade to heat transfer) can double by just adding these cellular shades to a window.

Cover bare floorboards

Varnished wooden floors look great in a well decorated room, but according to the National Energy Foundation (NEF) can result in as much as 10% heat loss if they’re not insulated. Blankets and rugs can be used to cover floors and keep feet warm as an added bonus.

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truck driver behind the steering wheel
IAM RoadSmart, IAM Surety, IAM insurance, ROAD SAFETY for children

This blog as been approved by the IAM RoadSmart. IAM Surety is the official insurance provider for the IAM RoadSmart. IAM Surety is a trading brand of Cornmarket Insurance.

There is no doubt that driving whilst tired is extremely dangerous. However, the fast pace of modern life means we often overlook feelings of tiredness when we get behind the wheel. Whether it is the daily commute, ferrying the kids to activities or driving for a living, many of us take a risk when we put the demands of life before our wellbeing. But the risk could be fatal, so here are some facts that will make you think twice about driving when tired.

  1. It is estimated that 20% of all road accidents in the UK are caused by sleep related incidents.
  2. In addition 40% of sleep related accidents are said to involve commercial vehicles.
  3.  Peak times for accidents are after lunch (2pm to 4pm) and in early hours of the morning (2am -6am).
  4.  Tiredness-related collisions are three times more likely to be fatal or result in a serious injury because of the high impact speed and lack of avoiding action.
  5.  One in 10 motorists have fallen asleep at the wheel. That can often involve microsleeps. You might not even be aware but when exhausted you can slip into a microsleep while driving. Mircosleeps are a temporary episode of sleep that may last for a fraction of a second. It may occur as a result of sleep deprivation and can happen when driving.
  6. You can be fined up to £1,000 if you don’t tell DVLA about a medical condition that affects your driving. Also if you are in a crashand failed to make your condition known to DVLA, you may be prosecuted.
  7. Statistically male drivers are said to be more likely to crash due to tiredness than their female counterparts. It is reported that 85% of sleep-related crashes involve male drivers. So guys, get more sleep!
  8. In comparison, if you are under 30, you are at a higher risk of sleep related accidents than older drivers. The under 30’s are more likely to crash early in morning after little or no sleep.
  9. Stress and alertness go hand in hand. Stress can lead to tiredness due to irregular or disturbed sleep. If you are guilty of driving when you’re tired, check your stress levels. Perhaps your sleep and sleep habits could use some help.
  10. If your drive for living you are at a risk from falling asleep at the wheel and fatigue related accidents. Four out of 10 tiredness related accidents are caused by or involve, commercial vehicles.
  11. Research suggests that after two hours of driving continuously you will become less able to concentrate and will have slower reaction times. The longer you drive, the less alert you are and the worse your performance driving is.
  12. If you are in an accident and the cause is driver fatigue or tiredness, the driver can be charged with manslaughter and receive a sentence of up to 14 years in jail.
  13. Warning signs of driver fatigue include: yawning, heavy eyes, drooping or bobbing head, muscles relaxing, microsleeps and difficulty concentrating.
  14. The best way to overcome tiredness is sleep. If you are driving and feel fatigued, pull into a safe area, get some air and a short sleep if you can. It is possible to overcome fatigue with a short rest. Hydration is also hugely important to cognitive function and wellbeing.
  15. It is the driver’s responsibility to make sure they are well rested and fit to drive but if you are a passenger and the driver exhibits the signs of being fatigued, urge them to take a rest and stop the car at a safe location.


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Anthea Turner, Sam Geddis, Alan Payling, Coach drivers awards at the Coach drivers tourism awards

The winners of the 2016 National Coach Tourism Awards were announced last night (Wednesday 16 March) at a prestigious ceremony at the Vox, Resorts World, NEC Birmingham, following the first day of the British Tourism & Travel Show.

The event brought together over 400 industry professionals, including coach tour operators, destinations, visitor attractions, hotels, and tourism industry suppliers, to recognise and celebrate excellence and innovation across the multi-billion pound coach tourism sector.
Seen here Anthea Turner(left), Sam Geddis (right) and Alan Payling (centre), owner of Coach Drivers Information Pack, Devon was Coach Tour Driver of the Year – sponsored by Cornmarket Insurance Services, who reward Coach Drivers enhanced driving skills with cheaper car insurance. Register for a quote here and they’ll call you back with a quote shortly before your insurance is due.
Read all about the other winners here

car speeding at night, the dangers of speeding

Continuing our series on road safety this edition takes a look at the issue of speed on the roads. When considering the speed at which people drive the old maxims and advertising slogans hold true. Arrive alive. The speed limit is a guide not a target. Speeding kills.

Higher speed reduces survival rates

That last one, speeding kills, is the most pertinent. The relationship between speeding and fatalities increases drastically the faster one drives. A pedestrian struck by a car travelling 20mph has a 95% chance of survival. A pedestrian hit by a car traveling 30mph has a 55%-60% chance of survival. And a pedestrian hit by a car travelling 40mph has just a 15% chance of surviving. The correlation is clear and the message is stark. But if the statistics don’t paint a definitive enough picture then consider that crashing into an object at 60mph has the equivalent impact to a free fall from a 12 storey building.

Higher speeds cause more accidents

Travelling at higher speed gives the driver less time to identify and react appropriately to any incident that may occur around them. It drastically increases stopping distances and it removes any safety margin that driving at recommended speeds provides. This means that near misses become crashes.
Think 30mph is slow? Think again.
Almost two thirds of crashes where people are killed occur on roads where the speed limit is 30mph or less. These areas are usually built up areas where there is likely to be a high volume of pedestrians. At the absolute maximum speed in these areas (which should be 30 mph) a car is travelling at roughly 3 car lengths per second. Therefore essentially a blink can be the difference between a hit and a miss. When travelling just 5mph faster the stopping distance increases by an extra 2 car lengths.
A Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents study has shown that if average speed is reduced by a mere 1mph the accident rate would fall by approximately 5%. At even the most conservative estimate that reduction would save 85 lives per year on UK roads.

Stopping Distances

Newton’s Law dictates that as a vehicle doubles in speed the stopping distance increases fourfold, furthermore there is four times more kinetic energy absorbed at the point of impact. The implication of this is that even a small increase in roadway traffic speed results in disproportionate increases in pedestrian fatalities.

Education, education, education.

As with most of the issues pertaining to road safety, education is the solution. While drink-driving is rightly vilified, speeding is not as frequently or strongly reviled. The facts are clear, speeding kills. If we work towards accepting this as a fact then motorists are more likely to take ownership of the problem on a personal level. Speeding is just another facet of a poor attitude towards what it means to be a good driver. Many would argue that being a good driver would be defined as a person who can react to danger and act accordingly. In reality being a good driver is not exposing oneself to avoidable dangers in the first place.

What can you do?

Never ever break the speed limit.
Remember that the speed limit is exactly that – a limit.
Drive with extreme caution in busy pedestrian areas.
Remember that 30mph zones are where most accidents occur. Reducing speed in these areas has the greatest effect on the safety of others.

Human Transport

Paul Cochrane, Frank Mitchell, UTV, IAM

The “Business Award” in the first Northern Ireland Road Safety Awards was won by Cornmarket Insurance Services!

The awards took place on Friday 27 November 2015 at Cultra Manor which is located at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Belfast and were supported by the the Road Safety Council NI and sponsored by accident management specialist, CRASH Services.

Cornmarket road safety initiative - the Cornmarket Advanced Motorcyclists group who train motorcyclists to become IAM Advanced Riders

A total of 25 awards were presented across 10 categories and winners consisted of individuals and groups from the business, voluntary, education, emergency service and public sectors.


Cornmarket were recognised for incentivising motorcyclists and drivers to do additional driver training by rewarding them with a motorcycle or car insurance discount if they successfully completed a BikeSafe assessment or an IAM Advanced riding or driving test.


  • Find out more about BikeSafe by visiting or
  • Find out more about the Advanced Drivin/Riding test by visiting
  • If you’re a motorcyclist from Northern Ireland, find out more about the IAM Advanced Riding Test by emailing the Cornmarket Advanced Motorcyclists group or call 028 9044 2200.
  • If you’re already an IAM advanced Rider or Driver, see how much you can save on your car or bike insurance by getting a quote here from IAM Surety
  • If you’ve had a successful BikeSafe assessment, register for a quote with Cornmarket Insurance Services and we’ll get back to you with a quote shortly before your insurance is due.

Autumn trees, Ashdown Forest, East Sussex, England

AS the last glow of summer fades and leaves begin to fall across the UK, our areas of natural beauty take on a particularly evocative character. Truthfully, there are too many places to count for a picturesque autumn daytrip, but we’ve picked out five of the best. Before you go, make sure your car insurance is up to date, and then take your pick from our selection of scenic getaways.

peaceful autumn walking trail in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England

Sherwood Forest

The legendary abode of Robin Hood is home to some of the most beautiful traditional woodland in England, including many of the oldest trees in Europe. The king of the forest is undoubtedly the gigantic Major Oak, which is estimated to be between 800 and 1,000 years old and has regularly been voted Britain’s Favourite Tree. The ancient oak’s sprawling canopy is now supported by a series of metal bars and is regularly attended to by a team of tree surgeons. The forest park itself stretches over 450 acres and is covered by a series of trails, which provide ample opportunity to explore the home of Little John, Friar Tuck, and friends.

 Elan Valley, Wales

Elan Valley

Sometimes referred to as the Welsh Lake District, the Elan Valley winds through the rugged surroundings of the Cambrian Mountains in mid-Wales. The valley’s unique landscape, which includes over 70 square miles of stunning scenery, was formed by a series of dams and reservoirs built over a hundred years ago to supply the rapidly growing city of Birmingham with water. The area is particularly prized by cyclists, with the varied terrain offering challenges for all skill levels and age groups. If you’re setting your sights a little higher, the Elan Valley reserve was recently granted International Dark Sky Park status, in recognition of the exceptionally clear night skies which delight stargazers.

Autumn trees, Ashdown Forest, East Sussex, England

Ashdown Forest

Just 30 miles outside London lies Ashdown Forest, originally planted as a hunting reserve for Norman nobles, but best known today as the birthplace of Winnie the Pooh. Author A. A. Milne had a house on the edge of the forest in the 1920s, and this magical landscape became a playground for his son Christopher Robin and the inspiration for the honey loving bear and friends’ Hundred Acre Wood. A gentle area of open heathland and scattered forest, Ashdown offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and a series of tranquil walks which belie its proximity to the hustle and bustle of the capital.

Hilltop view through trees of Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England]

Alnwick Castle

An exquisitely preserved relic of a bygone age, this magnificent 11th Century castle lies just outside the picturesque market town of Alnwick, amid the rolling hills of County Northumberland. The castle has gained renewed fame in recent years due to its use as location for film and television productions, most notably the Harry Potter series, where it doubles as the Hogwarts School of Witching and Wizardry. Adjacent to the castle is The Alnwick Garden, an endlessly surprising contemporary pleasure garden built at the behest of the Duchess of Northumberland. Some of the unusual sights on offer here include an array of ornamental water features, a giant treehouse complete with restaurant, and the safely locked away Poison Garden, which contains many of the world’s deadliest plants and aims to educate children and adults in the beauty and danger of botany.

Castlewellan Forest Park and lake in Autumn, Mourne Mountains, Northern Ireland

Castlewellan Forest Park

The magnificent Mourne Mountains stretch across County Down and contain many of Northern Ireland’s tallest peaks, including the highest mountain in Ulster, the 850m Slieve Donard. Castlewellan Forest Park, which nestles in the shade of the range, is the site of the National Arboretum of Northern Ireland. As well as extensive biking trails and kids’ adventure areas, the park is home to rare tree varieties from Asia, Australia, and the Americas, most notably a pair of giant Redwoods – the world’s tallest species of tree.

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car, car insurance, woman driving, IAM car insurance

WE’RE more attached to their cars than ever, with the average driver spending roughly ten hours a week behind the wheel and driving seven thousand miles each year.* With so much time now spent in our vehicles, it’s not surprising that a messy, unorganised car can quickly become a source of stress. Good news however – it’s easy to keep the clutter at bay. Read on for our four tips to keep your prized possession like new, inside and out. For added peace of mind, make sure your car insurance is up to date. You’ll be on the road to a clutter free car in no time!

Be prepared for a cleaning emergency

A small bag of cleaning products stored in your glove compartment is the perfect item to have to hand, when you need to quickly get rid of a mess. Pop a fresh bottle of cleaning spray, cloths, and paper towels into a plastic bag and you can take care of any sudden spillages. Likewise if you have a spare moment, you can use the kit to give your interior a quick wipe-down. You won’t believe the difference regular cleaning of your dashboard and steering wheel will make.

cleaning interior surfaces of car

A little bin goes a long way

It might seem obvious, but having a small bin or bag to temporarily store litter in will make a huge difference to the cleanliness of your car. You can now buy a range of handy little rubbish containers which can be stored unobtrusively in the passenger footwell. Get into the habit of emptying the car’s bin every time you fill up with petrol and you’ll soon be on top of your rubbish problem.

clean car in motion

Organize your clutter

Anyone who spends a significant amount of time in their car knows that the glove box can quickly become a repository for a jumble of bills, receipts and general rubbish. You can easily solve this problem by purchasing an over-the-seat organiser, which drapes over the back of the passenger seat. Many organisers even come with a range of different sized pockets and compartments for storing larger and smaller items. Now you’ll easily know where everything is, and won’t make the mistake of throwing out that important business document!

man handwashing a car

Get your hands dirty

It may take a little more time and effort, but washing your car by hand is by far the best way to ensure it gets a proper clean and doesn’t get damaged. Do make sure to purchase a proper carwash solution. If you really want that professional finish, a coating of wax after the wash will protect the paint for a few months and prevent it from being scratched.

car quote, car insurance comparison, Road trip insurance

*The Telegraph Motoring News. 

Cornmarket Insurance Services average teacher car insurance premium Quarter 4 2014, £248. ABI average comprehensive motor insurance premium tracker for Quarter 4, 2014 £372. Car insurance: Proposers and named drivers must be aged 21+.
All Policies subject to acceptance criteria, terms, conditions and minimum premiums

Action Cancer, Fundraising Cornmarket Insurance

Aaron Magee and Lauren McFarland were among six of the Cornmarket Insurance Services staff who gave up their time on Sunday 6 September to collect donations at the shopping complex in Boucher Crescent, Belfast for Action Cancer. This is just another of many other initiatives staff are volunteering for to help raise a targeted amount of £10 000.

Lauren commented that

“The public were so generous and we managed to raise over £240 on the day, a great result for just 2 hours of fund raising!”.

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Recently published article on explains how Cornmarket Insurance Services saved well known actress and author a wopping £1172.17 on her car insurance!

Read all about it in the insurance times here.

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