Read the latest insurance and finance guides guides to help you consider the different insurance providers, credit card offers, mortgages & bank accounts. Our guides are up to date and cover the current trendng topics in the in the insurance and financial marketplace.

Home insurance warning

Home insurance policy holders are being warned that the cover might be invalid unless they abide by the rules.

A number of cases have come to light where home insurance policy holders have been caught out and risk having to foot large bills themselves.

One of the main reasons for invalidated home insurance is faulty smoke detectors. It is the home owners’ responsibility to check that the detector is in full working order. If it transpires that it wasn’t working and a fire was not detected, then the claim could be refused. Therefore, home owners are advised to ensure that they test their detector at least once a month.

Another way that home owners fall foul of the rules is by either renting out their whole house, or even renting out just a room. Both actions, if the insurance company is not informed, could invalidate a policy.

Industry experts point out that the majority of insurers will not cover a home, or room being rented to a third party. That in their eyes is a higher form of risk and is not covered within the average policy.

Then there’s the question of security. If you make a claim for items stolen from your home and it turns out that you left a window open, failed to lock a door, or have not reported the break-in within 24 hours, then you could be refused compensation. What’s more, should you have advertised your absence on your social media platforms – insurance companies do occasionally check their client’s online update – then you could be regarded as being negligent and your claim invalid.

It is also very important to get a crime number as most insurance companies require that before they process a claim.

DIY fans should also be aware, because most home insurance policies will not cover accidents to you, or your home, which will be regarded as outside the policy.

Finally, for those travelling for business, or pleasure, many home insurance companies only allow people to be away in a single period for around 30 days; any more than that and they could say that the house is empty and vulnerable to a break-in, or pipe-burst etc.

As always, home insurance users are advised to check carefully the small print.

Cruises might not be covered by travel insurance

As demand for cruises is on the increase, there’s shocking news that many holidays on the waves might not be covered by certain travel insurance policies.

Those planning to take to the high seas are being warned by travel insurance experts not to assume that they will be automatically covered.

A recent study by Defaqto revealed that of the nearly 900 single trip policies that can be purchased for travel insurance, only just under 40% of them included cruising as a standard. What’s more, that around 10% of those policies would never cover a cruise holiday.

This will be shock to the huge numbers that partake to the hotels on the waves every year. They will board their ships thinking that they are covered for such a holiday, when in fact they are as good as travelling without any insurance whatsoever.

Which means that should you become ill on your holiday, or be hospitalised, or have to be repatriated, then the medical bill could be huge.

But that’s not the only problem.

Even if you do have a policy that covers cruising, there can be many conditions attached. For example, you might get compensation for being confined in your cabin, per day, but that the sum total is actually far less than the cost of the cruise itself.

Part of the problem is that cruises can theoretically sail anywhere in the world and visit a large number of countries, each with their own level of medical costs and varying conditions of access to help.

Therefore, travel industry experts are recommending that people who go on cruises should take out special travel insurance that covers all the countries you intend to visit. Also, the cruise ship might offer other activities, which can, like jet-skiing, need a whole level of cover in itself. Then there is the matter of travel to where the ship is berthed, late arrivals (when the ship has sailed) and cancellations.

The advice is to choose a travel insurance policy with great care.

Pet insurance premiums could rise as trend for dog clothes spread

Funny Dog

Pet insurance industry experts are warning that the latest fashion to clothe dogs could lead to higher pet insurance premiums as treatments increase for skin complaints.

The trend to put dogs in human clothes is causing increased bouts of skin damage.

This is backed up by a recent research report from a leading pet insurance company which said that a staggering 80% of dog owners are actually dressing their canine loved ones in coats and jumpers.

Yet vets are confirming that dogs should not be dressed like humans, even if owners say that most of the time they are just protecting their dogs against the cold winter weather.

But even those owners who say that its done to keep out the cold, the report found that 10% do it because it looks good and 7% openly admitted doing it as a fashion statement.

Dogs are not suited to clothes which can cause irritable skin complaints due to the material rubbing against the animal’s coat, stress and overheating. Common dog skin complaints are atopic dermatitis and otitis, which is an inflammatory disease in the ear.

These conditions are most commonly treated with steroid creams. Some dogs also need to be given hypoallergenic foods.

Vets believe that rarely do dogs require layers of clothing to keep out the cold. They are physically designed to cope with varying degrees of temperature change and can adapt quickly to external conditions.

A vet, who did not wish to be named, told “Most owners do try and do the best for their dogs, but some are guilty of thinking of their dogs as almost human. That is a mistake. Most dogs can survive the harshest conditions without human clothing and have an inbred ability to survive. By dressing their dogs in human clothes, owners can be doing more harm than good and this is becoming apparent in our practice as we see more and more dogs brought in, some with quite serious skin complaints.”

What young drivers can do to combat a hike in car insurance premiums

When it comes to car insurance, young drivers need all the help they can get and some companies are suggesting they adopt a disciplined approach to their motoring.

The backdrop is a recognition that the costs for young drivers car insurance could be about to rocket, as new personal injury laws are introduced. These new laws, brought about because of the change in the Ogden rate which calculates how much victims get following a lifelong injury, could mean a £1,200 hike for some young drivers.

So, to help youngsters prepare for the worse, a number of advice tips are doing the rounds at the moment and the key points are highlighted below:

  1. Downsize the car

Not always easy to do admittedly, but it makes sense that if you have an expensive car, or one that is considered sporty, or has been modified in some way, then your premiums will be higher. Drivers often need to be remined that car insurance is based on how much the car costs to replace should it be damaged, or stolen. Generally, the older the car and the smaller in terms of body and engine size, the cheaper it will cost to put right.

  1. Up the security

It’s amazing how many people will spend money on making their car look better, yet forget basics such as security. Make it harder for it to be stolen and this could merit a discount from the car insurance company.

  1. The black box trend

Some regard it as a spy in the car and it does track your driving style, telling the provider of the black box – the insurance company – your driving style and how many miles you are covering. Behave yourself and  having this on board could save you up to 20% on your premium.

  1. The sober parent

Name a parent on your policy and the car insurance company could view it as a good thing, because the parent might be using it occasionally and should be a more experienced and careful driver.

  1. Shop around

There are so many companies providing car insurance policies, that getting the right coverage is far easier than before, but you have to be patient and shop around. And you have to create a policy that suits you and one that could save you some money.

Home Insurance Costs on the Rise

Its reckoned that home insurance costs have risen over 3% in just the last three months.

It’s all down to the recent bad weather that the UK has been experiencing since the start of the new year, with storm after storm battering the country. And the home insurance companies have had to pass on some of the rising costs of storm damage to their customers. It also reflects the rise in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), which went from 6% to 9% last November.

IPT is paid by the insurance industry to the Government and insurance companies, and the rising level of this industry tax is driving the increase in premiums. The insurance industry is uncertain whether Chancellor George Osborne will further increase the IPT come the budget, but if he does, then this will likely affect customer premiums again.

The Association of British Insurers hopes that the Chancellor will keep his hands off an attractive way of raising money. It will already raise £8 billion for the treasury.

A spokesperson told the media: “IPT should not be seen as a soft touch tax to raise revenue as any increase leads to a further financial squeeze on millions of households and businesses who have done the right thing and taken out insurance.”

Its reckoned that the IPT effect has actually reduced a regular fall in home insurance premiums over the last few years. Figures suggest that current premiums are almost 10% lower than in 2014, but not for long.

It’s also been revealed that home insurance is the least likely to pay out when compared to say travel insurance and car insurance claims. Whereas they enjoy 87% and 99% pay-out rates respectively, one in five of home insurance policies are not paid out. The reasons for this are varied, but mostly it comes down to the complexity of many policies and the lack of maintenance to many properties, which makes the policy often void.