Home Insurance: The Basics

Home insurance mostly comes in three packages: building cover, contents cover and building and contents cover. As the names suggest, building cover protects fixtures and fittings, whereas you require contents insurance to cover your belongings usually kept inside your house. While building and contents cover only really applies to those who hold the freehold to their home, i.e. those who are not renting their property, building cover is mostly designed for landlords, yet contents cover is worth everyone’s while and worthy of consideration by everyone. In general, most people tend to undervalue their belongings and estimate their worth to around £25,000. However, figures show that the true value of an average household’s combined belongings is actually upwards of £50,000.

As part of your home insurance, contents cover comes in two categories: new-for-old cover and indemnity cover. In the event of a successful claim, new-for-old cover insures you a new replacement for an old item, without taking wear and tear into account. If you make a claim for an old sofa, for whatever reason, you will be given a new sofa in its place. Indemnity cover insures you for the item, but factors in wear and tear and will not offer you a new item in place of an old one. Of course, this will be reflected in the price of your insurance, which will be more for new-for-old cover.

The most important aspect of contents cover, whichever type you choose to go with, is that you develop an accurate inventory of items that come under this category of cover, with a copy of proof of purchase and/or ownership in the case of making a claim. Items include but may not be limited to electrical items such as laptops, televisions and computers, furniture, jewellery, money and clothes. Basically, anything that you would take with you when moving house.

Stay tuned for more on home insurance.

Driving without car insurance: what are the consequences?

It is a legal requirement to possess car insurance when driving on a public carriageway. This means that theoretically one can drive without insurance in a place to which there is no public access. Car insurance is available in the following three options: comprehensive, third-party and third-party fire and theft. Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle, as well as to that of the other party. Third-party insurance covers damage to the other party involved in a road traffic collision. While third-party fire and theft insurance is similar to third-party insurance, except that it covers the owner’s vehicle in the event of fire damage or theft. The law of the land states that a driver must be in possession of third-party insurance, as a minimum, when driving a vehicle in a public access area.

The immediate consequences of driving without any form of vehicle insurance are a fixed penalty fine of £300 and six penalty points against the driver’s license. The police are allowed by law to seize the vehicle, even in the event it is not owned by the person driving it, and the power to destroy it. Courts have greater jurisdiction than the police, depending on the severity of the instance in which a vehicle was being driven without insurance, such as driving a heavy goods vehicle without insurance or driving with neither a driving license nor insurance. Courts can deliver an unlimited fine and even disqualify you from driving. The expenses of driving without insurance are not easily shaken off. The court may consider you liable for paying court costs and you are most likely to receive higher premiums from insurers when you seek a return to the roads.

Car Insurance: Our Guide to Reducing Your Premiums

When it comes to your vehicle insurance there are many considerations that must be made, with an almost equal number of options to choose from. In today’s feature, we will offer you a number of simple tips and tricks and important considerations to make when you are purchasing your car insurance, or your existing policy is up for renewal. In times as unscrupulous as ours, where claim culture costs insurance companies millions annually, you may not see much room for manoeuvre on premium prices. Our simple suggestions will provide you with some hope.

It goes without saying that shopping around is a must! With numerous comparison websites granted special discounts by providers, they are an obvious first step. Save your details with them and they will even contact you with regularly updated offers. Remember, some providers don’t appear on these websites, such as Direct Line and Aviva. Apart from shopping around, haggling also works. Contact your insurance company and haggle with them hard. If you don’t ask, you don’t get, simple. If there is more than one vehicle in your home, consider a multi-car option with Admiral. Admiral also offer a no-claims bonus accelerator, particularly useful for new drivers who don’t have a no-claims discount to start with. When it comes to new drivers, be careful of adding them to your policy as your premiums will increase unavoidably. Also, if there are people on your policy who rarely use the vehicle, remove them from your policy. It is now very easy to get cover for limited periods of time, by keeping them on the policy you will be paying without good reason to.

While the above points relate to specific circumstances and may not necessarily reduce your premium, the following tips definitely will do so: 1) fit a Thatcham-approved alarm, immobiliser or vehicle tracker, 2) increase your voluntary excess, 3) consider a telematics policy and 4) consider an approved advanced driving course (such as RoSPA or Pass Plus).


Have You Been Mis-Sold P.P.I.?

We’ve all seen the ads, heard them on the radio, had many many phonecalls about it, but what’s it all about and how many people have actually been mis-sold PPI?

Payment Protection Insurance is designed to cover costs of payments such as credit card payments, store card payments, loans and mortgages, in such events that prevent the person who owes the payment from making the payment, such as redundancy, illness, accident or death. Presented as a useful utility for the purposes of debt management, the scandal that ensued resulted from unfair and illegal practices being used to sell PPI to unwitting customers, in some cases people didn’t even meet the criteria to be eligible for PPI pay-out and, in others, weren’t even aware of being sold PPI.

In a 1998 article appearing in Which? Magazine, questions were first posed at the value and worth of PPI as a product. Between the years 1998 and 2005, various newspapers took PPI to task. Questions were raised as to the increased cost to loans added by PPI, the ineffectiveness of PPI structure, the nature in which PPI was (mis-)sold to customers and the inefficient nature in which claimants struggled to complete claim procedures. In September 2005, Citizens Advice published its Protection Racket report and lodged a “Super Complaint” with the Office of Fair Trading concerning PPI sales. The following month, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) issued its first report on PPI, discovering mis-selling and failure to comply with policy during undercover investigations. As smaller firms’ culpability came to the fore, investigations continued into the practices and PPI deals offered by the bigger banks. It took some time for the broader picture to emerge. Which? magazine led the charge publishing findings that up to 3 million people had bought PPI under false pretences, in 1998. In January 2011 the High Court launched a case against the banks, culminating in a ruling against them in April 2011.

Insurance Finance Talk: Plan for today, tomorrow and the day after, with our latest finance and insurance information.

Welcome to your new one-stop resource established to discuss all things related to insurance and finance. Join the discussion at Insurance Finance Talk, as we seek to create an engaging forum. Forthcoming posts will cover a broad swathe of topics, offering you the latest information on everything to do with insurance and finance. Follow our posts to see how to improve, grow and protect your personal finance. Our discussions will shed light on key terminologies and translate all the unnecessary industry jargon into helpful, accessible and practicable information. Ensure your tax planning is up to scratch, afford yourself adequate protection, look towards investment, plan for your retirement, insure your credit standing, with our information.

Scouring the latest offers, from the country’s largest insurance providers and most useful comparison websites, with us you will understand how the home and vehicle insurance industry works and how best you can benefit from knowing the quirks of the trade. Put simply, insure your home and vehicle for less. Consider boiler insurance, for that cold winter’s day when the boiler packs in. Do you live in an area which is at risk of flooding? At InsuranceFinanceTalk.co.uk we will introduce you to the best providers for your needs. If you operate a small business that is open to the public, public liability insurance will be at the top of your list. If you own a pet, veterinary bills can spiral quickly out of control. Protect yourself with pet insurance, avoiding spiralling costs. Tomorrow is uncertain, and the day after even more so. Who will take care of your loved ones, in your absence? Now is the time to consider life insurance. Perhaps your employer offers a death-in-service payment, and your funeral expenses may be covered, what if this isn’t the case? Choose between a funeral plan, or funeral insurance.