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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.

5 common home insurance mistakes

home insurance

There are a number of common mistakes that homeowners can make when it comes to their home insurance policy. With so many options and a huge amount of policy providers, homeowners need to navigate a lot to get their perfect policy. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.

  1. Choose a plan that works for you

Home insurance policies shouldn’t be considered a cookie cutter solution. Homeowners’ needs can be different depending on a number of different circumstances. Many people search for the first insurance policy they find and sign up, without taking into account their own circumstances. Take a look at your house, location and current situation and try to find a policy that best covers what is essential to you.

  1. Find out about discounts

Searching the internet for insurance is one thing, but that shouldn’t be where the search ends. A policy provider may have a number of discounts on offer, either seasonal sales or little things you can do around your house that keep your premiums down.

  1. Know your plan

In the moment that something happens, it’s best to know your policy as thoroughly as you can. It saves time before you make a claim and can calm any worries in the moment. Know the basic principles of what is covered and any extras you might have added in, and making a claim can be a much simpler process.

  1. Over or under-valuation

Don’t underestimate your contents, but also make sure not to overestimate them. Either way it can make your insurance policy ineffective for your home. If you undervalue what is in your home you may not be fully covered for them which can be a significant problem if you need to make a claim. Make sure you take into account items such as important or expensive jewellery and things such as works of art of musical instruments. Make sure the items are valued regularly so that you always have an up-to-date and accurate account of what is in your home.

  1. Not updating your policy

If your situation changes, make sure your home insurance policy does too. If you decide to sub-let or to rent out the house, your policy will need a significant adaptation. Even changes in your work life can affect your home insurance policy – if you run a business from home then a claim on your policy may be rejected. Depending on your business there might be other policies that suit your situation better.

Is travel insurance needed for a staycation?

staycation

With flight prices and other general holiday costs rising, many people – especially families – are considering taking holidays at home rather than heading abroad. Do you still need travel insurance if you aren’t leaving the country?

Staycations are increasing in popularity every year, but one cost that many travellers think they can avoid on a home holiday is travel insurance. Unfortunately this may not be the best option. If you are travelling more than 50 miles from home you can buy travel insurance – and it is a sensible thing to consider.

Unexpected problems can be costly on holiday. This is true whether you are taking a 10 hour train ride or a two hour car journey. Luggage can still be stolen, transport delays can still occur, and cancellations can disrupt your plans. Being forced to cancel a trip, or having accommodation cancelled on you, can make your staycation much more expensive than expected.

Travel insurance doesn’t just cover plane rides. Trains, ferries and coaches can also be covered by your insurance policy. This would be particularly helpful if caught up in delays or cancellations, as many of these companies don’t offer refunds if they consider the situation to have been beyond their control: weather, strikes etc.

No matter where in the world you go on holiday you are no doubt going to be packing things that you wouldn’t want to lose. Whether that’s valuable jewellery or electronic devices, a top of the range bicycle or your passport, you still need to make sure they are covered even for a staycation. Check your travel insurance policy small print though, as things like expensive electronic devices may need to be additional add-ons.

Travel insurance should be a consideration no matter how far you travel. Most travel insurance policies require you to have travelled more than 50 miles for more than a weekend, and that you are staying somewhere aside from a family member’s residence.

Car insurance and the new UK MOT tests

new MOT tests

Car owners woke up to tougher MOT tests and a potential knock-on effect on their car insurance on 20th May. The new rules make the MOT test a more severely strict process that ranks cars in three defect categories. If a car is driven before it is repaired to standard, the driver faces a £2,500 fine and three points.

One in three cars already fail their MOT, and critics believe that the new testing system will mean more people will be reluctant to get their car tested. The rules are also going to have an impact on car insurance. Car insurance companies are already warning that drivers caught driving a car without an up-to-date MOT could invalidate their car insurance.

Instead of a ‘pass’ or a ‘fail’, a car will now be placed in three defect categories – dangerous, major or minor. With the three categories indicating the seriousness of the problems. Cars with the most serious problems will not be allowed to be driven until the car is fixed or taken to a scrapyard.

As well as the difference in results, the tests themselves will delve much deeper into the health of the car. The new tests will check for things such as fluid leaks that pose an environmental risk, missing brake pads and discs, obviously underinflated tyres and an emissions test that will be harder to pass.

With the rules only just being rolled out, it will take some time to see how they impact drivers going forward. Drivers need to be aware of the MOT changes and think carefully about its implications, even on things such as their car insurance.

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.