The line between the middle and working class suburbs was always drawn by the presence or absence of front gardens. Go down a less classy street and the houses where always fronting directly on to the pavements or only separated by a yard of concrete and a low wall. But walk down one of the wider roads with gardens lovingly tended by green-fingered occupants, and you knew you were suddenly in middle class land. Except come the boom of house ownership from the mid-1950s onwards and this line became somewhat blurred. The more real test switched to the presence of a garage. Common folk could park their cars on the roads outside their homes. The better-off could afford homes with their own garages. That was all wonderful until the bubble burst in the 1990s, and then again with the current recession. Now people can’t afford to buy, hold and then trade up.
One of the factors always taken into account when assessing the annual premium rates is the risk of theft. The statisticians reckon that leaving the car outside on the road is an invitation to thieves, particularly as some cars have poor security. The really cheap car insurance rates go to those who lock their cars in garages. Except if your family is growing and you can’t find a buyer, sometimes your only choice is to use the ground occupied by the garage for an extension to your home. So what do you do with the car?
The increasingly common answer is to concrete over the front garden. The fact unthinking neighbours may park in front of your home and so make it difficult or impossible to get on to or off the concrete, is something you can deal with amicably so long as your insurance rates have not shot up. The latest figures suggest only about one-third of car owners now keep their car in a garage, and this cultural revolution is forcing insurers to change the way they value the risk. In any event, manufacturers have been making their cars harder to steal. So perhaps you can keep your cheap car insurance, concrete your garden, and expand your home.
Cheap car insurance if you don't use your garage