Home Insurance: Making a Claim

Compared to 99% of motor insurance claims and 87% of travel insurance claims, home insurance claims are the least likely to be successful, coming in at a 79% success rate, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI). The ABI’s findings showed that most claims were rejected on account of the customer not being aware of their home insurance policy’s terms and conditions. Basically, customers either bought the wrong policy or did not possess the cover that they assumed they did, and this was discovered only when a claim was made. Following our previous posts, you should by now be well informed about the particulars of home insurance. You should know exactly what type of policy covers which eventualities and what scope you have for when you are forced to make a claim.

So, how do you claim on your home insurance? Most of the time, when we are burgled, the shock and horror of an intruder rummaging through our home and possessions has us in shock. Here, your first instinct to contact the police is correct. In the event of a burglary, contact the police and take further steps afterwards. The police will issue you with a crime reference number, which will be a vital piece of evidence for any claim you intend to make. The next step would be to review your policy documents and ascertain your policy number and your insurer’s dedicated claims helpline. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a telephonic queue. Once the ball is rolling with your insurance provider, you will be asked to provide proof of purchase and/or proof of ownership. If you can’t find receipts for purchases, then you can utilise cred/debit cards bills. Also, photos which show you in possession of these items, such as jewellery and watches, will suffice as evidence.

Home Insurance: Approved Alarms

There are no guarantees that the installation of a home alarm system will reduce the cost of your home insurance premium. Even in the case that it does, the cost of its installation and maintenance may not necessarily offset the saving you could make on your home insurance premium. However, the additional security provided by an approved alarm system and the peace of mind that it provides, definitely make the investment worth its while. According to the Metropolitan Police, a home with an alarm system fitted is five times less likely to be burgled than a home without an alarm system. In the long run, a home alarm system could still definitely save you money, by deterring burglars and allowing you to protect your no claims discount, having not made any claim against your policy on that count. In today’s modern age, a plethora of options exist in the home alarm system market, offering a range of extra services.

The two bodies in the United Kingdom that exist for the approval and ratification of alarm systems and alarm installations are the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB). The NSI offer contractors certification and auditing services across the security, fire and facilities management sectors. Contractors are checked according to the highest industry standards. NSI approval in the security sector covers electronic security systems installation, alarm receiving centres (ARCs) and monitoring services and security guarding services. You can rest assured with NSI’s thoroughly vetted approval. The SSAIB check organisations on various levels against criteria designed to assess their competency to offer the services they provide across various sectors. To put it simply, when purchasing any home security system, it is vital that you check that they carry NSI or SSAIB approval. This can be verified from the respective body’s website.


Home Insurance: Approved Door Locks, Window Locks and Alarms

Home insurance approved door locks, window locks and home alarms are another way to possibly reduce your home insurance premium. Some insurers may offer you a discount on your policy if you have approved door locks, window locks and alarms fitted. Other insurers may require them as a necessity, for your home insurance policy to be valid. In this post, we will explore the basics surrounding approved locks and alarms.

British Standards BS3621, BS8621 and BS10621 relate to door locks. BS3621 relates to mortice and cylinder rim locks in which a key is used on both sides. The lock is secure, as long as there is no key inside it, and cannot be unlocked by breaking a glass panel and reaching inside. BS8621 relates to locks that require a key for entry but not for exit, using a thumb turn mechanism instead of a key upon exit. These locks are suitable for applications where a quick and safe exit is required, without having to look for a key, like in the event of a fire or other emergency. BS10621 relates to locks that can only be locked from the outside. These locks can be opened from the inside without a key and are used where there are multiple points of exit. To check to see if your locks comply with British Standards, you need to look for either of these numbers and their associated kite marks.

When it comes to home insurance, it is absolutely vital to ensure you are aware of the compliance, or lack thereof, of your locks to the British Standards above. Your insurer will ask whether or not all your locks are compliant with British Standard. If, in the case of a claim it transpires that your locks did not comply, it will invalidate both your insurance policy and any claim you may make.

How to Ensure You Get the Best Quote for Your Home Insurance

Now that you know which type of home insurance suits your needs, and what sort of optional extras you might like to add to your policy, it’s time to look at where and how to get the cheapest possible quote for your premium, and what factors will affect the cost of your premium. In this piece, we will briefly take a look at how you can reduce the cost of your home insurance. When searching a new home insurance policy, or for a policy on a new home, your first port of call should be your mortgage provider. While it is not necessarily a certainty, mortgage providers may be able to offer better deals to existing customers. Of course, it’s wise to shop around before committing yourself. However, once you’ve followed the steps outlined in our previous posts on home insurance, there’s no harm in getting a quotation from your mortgage provider.

Another tip that applies to all manner of insurance, be it for your vehicle or home, is to increase your voluntary excess. More often than not, this will reduce the price of your insurance premium proportionately. When it comes to choosing providers for building and contents cover, this can pose a dilemma. Some home insurance providers offer discounts when building and contents cover are combined. In other circumstances, you may save money going with two different providers. Always choose to pay annually, as opposed to monthly, as the administrative charges added to monthly payments will increase the cost of your premium. Finally, try to avoid making small claims against your policy, which could short-change you out of your no-claims discount, and seek to maintain a good no-claims discount (NCD). A NCD could easily save 25% on the price of your premium.


Home Insurance: The Common Types of Optional Extras

Our previous post discussed the three general categories home insurance comes under. Not only is it important to make sure you get the right cover and the right type of cover, but it is equally important to be aware of the terms, conditions and inclusions to your home insurance policy. On one hand, you may be paying more than you need to by adding unnecessary optional extra to your home insurance policy, while, on the other hand, you may be assuming to be under the protection of cover which is not necessarily a part of your home insurance policy as standard. The types of cover which tend to come under the category of optional extras include accidental damage cover. Accidental damage cover protects you in the instance of damage or destruction to your property caused by yourself.

This would also include friends, or family. Personal possessions cover protects your valuable items outside your house, such as mobile phones, cameras or jewellery, while you are using or wearing them outside your house. The added option of home emergency cover protects you in the instance of a breakdown of a vital service, such as a boiler breakdown, an electrical breakdown, a plumbing problem or even the loss of keys and a pest infestation. Legal expenses cover can prove an invaluable addition to your home insurance policy as, in the event of a legal dispute, over poor workmanship with contractors working in your home or neighbours disputing a boundary fence, legal costs and court costs can easily spiral out of control. Insurers provide you with cover in these eventualities at a comparatively lesser extra cost, which could someday prove invaluable. And, remember, not all insurers cover the contents of your garden shed as part of the home insurance’s contents cover policy. Be sure to check the details of your policy.

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.

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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.