Seven in ten energy customers in Britain (17 million) are languishing on expensive deals known as standard variable tariffs (SVTs), potentially throwing away nearly £300 each but half of all customers don’t think they’re on one.

The new research from uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service, demonstrates a distinct lack of awareness amongst consumers, with over three quarters (85%) admitting to never having heard of the phrase ‘SVT’. When shown a list of possible phrases that it could refer to, only 1% could correctly identify SVT as an energy plan.

Once they had the term explained to them, 35% of respondents said they realised that SVTs are amongst the most expensive deals on the market, but just one fifth (21%) of customers knew for definite that they were on one while 52% of customers were sure they weren’t.  Furthermore, only 26% recalled being contacted by their energy supplier in the last 12 months to inform them that they could be saving money by moving to a cheaper deal.

The majority of consumers feel that the responsibility for alerting them to changes to their tariff and possible savings should lie with their energy company. Over half of bill payers (56%) believe that energy suppliers should send an annual reminder that they could save money by switching, whilst almost a third (31%) feel that consumers should be given more information about the tariff they are signing up to.

Other initiatives that would motivate more people to switch to a better energy deal include being sent a letter that is difficult to ignore (e.g. in a red envelope) advising them they are on the most expensive tariff (29%) or changing the name of a tariff to reflect the fact it is more expensive (37%). Popular suggestions included ‘rip-off tariff’ (24%) and ‘out of contract tariff’ (14%).

Searching and switching to a better deal can be done in minutes and consumers can save an average of £357 per year, with some households saving up to £618..

British motorists who drive their cars abroad are being urged take care, as Admiral reveals the number of overseas insurance claims it has dealt with has risen 160% in the last five years.

With millions of Brits taking their car abroad each year, the car insurance specialist has identified the most common destinations for accidents as part of its new campaign to ensure drivers have a safe summer, including advice and tips for those who have accidents on their road trips.

The study of Admiral insured drivers by the insurer looked at ten years of motor accidents abroad and shows Londoners aged 30-39 and driving a VW Golf in France are the most likely to have an accident whilst driving oversees. The most common type of car to be involved in an accident abroad is a BMW (11%) followed by a Volkswagen (9%) and the Audi (9%). 

Over the last ten years, drivers aged 30-39 have made the most driving abroad car insurance claims (30%), followed by those aged 40-49 (24%). Interestingly, drivers aged 20-29 accounted for 19% of accidents.

When it comes to who’s at fault for the accidents, the 2016 data shows British drivers insured with Admiral were responsible for 51% of accidents abroad claimed for while the most common month is August, the height of summer. In 2016, a quarter of all claims for driving accidents abroad were made in the month of August.

Commenting on the figures, Lorna Connelly, head of Claims at Admiral said: “Driving abroad is a great way to have the freedom to explore new places, without the cost of flights. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be a really enjoyable experience, but just as accidents can happen at home, they can happen abroad too, and different laws and languages can cause additional stress.

“To ensure an accident doesn’t ruin your holiday we’re calling on all drivers to make sure they’re well informed, so if the worst should happen, they are properly prepared.  You can do this by having the right documentation on you, by being aware of the rules of the road in the country you’re visiting and finally by knowing what to do and where to report details of any accidents.”