It’s the perfect time of year for opportunist thieves. It’s dark, people are often away from home, and there’s more around to take.
The cost of an average burglary claim goes up by 14% in the winter compared to the summer, according to Halifax home insurance. But it’s not all about material possessions. Burglaries are costly and stressful, and items with sentimental value can be impossible to replace.
So, what’s useful to know, and what can we do to secure our homes? The following video (with transcript and further tips below) contains advice from a professional locksmith on how to protect your home and belongings without breaking the bank.
- Thieves are most likely to strike between midnight and 1am.
- Use dummy security devices over none at all.
- Standard UPVC locks can be vulnerable. Consider upgrading.
- Basic vigilance: user timer-lights and don’t leave keys in sight.
- Ensure your home and contents insurance is sufficient in case you become a victim.
The most popular single hour for a break-in is between midnight and 1am. Stay alert!
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How much do you know about the specific insurance requirements for your business? Ashley Curtis tells us more about the liabilities that employers face and why finding the correct insurance package is an important step.
As a small business owner, acquiring the correct insurance for your business needs to be one of your top priorities; not least because one type of insurance is a legal requirement in the UK. However depending on the type of industry your business resides in, it might not be necessary to acquire every type of policy under the sun.
Admittedly, this can lead to some confusion amongst small business owners and their insurance policies. I often hear entrepreneurs boasting about the deal they got on their professional indemnity insurance when they didn’t need that particular coverage in the first place!
Consequently, it’s worth going through any existing policies and asking yourself, “Is my small business insured correctly?”
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The average Brit misses almost a year and a half of their working life through illness, according to a new report. But over a third of workers receive no sick pay cover from their employer, leaving them vulnerable to a damaging loss of earnings. So, what can you do to protect yourself against illness or injury? Read on for more!
A report from insurance company London Victoria (LV=) has shown that the average Brit spends 360 days on the sick. Across the British workforce, an average of six days per person per year is lost to sick days.
Around a tenth of all sick days are a result of stress and depression, with sufferers needing over two months (or 81 days) to recover on average. Workers with chronic back pain have taken an average of 57 days off work, while those reporting severe migraines have taken an average of 18 days.
Some have experienced a more severe plight, with around 650,000 people taking more than a year to recover from stress-related illnesses.
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Following our piece on speeding up an insurance claim, this guest post from Insurance Claim Solutions focuses on choosing the right policy. To ensure you never face a shortfall after theft, loss or damage, it’s important to get your home and contents insurance right. Having the right cover for the right value is the surest way to an adequate pay-out should it come to it.
Getting the right cover
The first thing is to make sure you get the right policy for your needs. Most home insurance policies are broadly similar, but be careful when reading through the policy, you may find your property doesn’t meet all the requirements, or that extra cover will be needed.
In particular, you’ll need to make sure your security meets the minimum requirements specified by the policy. Not only will this help guard against burglary, but not meeting these requirements will invalidate your cover against break-ins, making your monthly premium a waste of money.
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The number of complaints regarding payment protection insurance (PPI) may have already past its peak, with figures from the Financial Ombudsman Service showing that volume has fallen by a third since reaching 3,000 per day in mid-Winter. But banks will not be allowed to rest easily.
Estimates suggest the vast majority of customers who were sold a PPI policy (as many as 85%) have yet to file a complaint.
Some may not realise that they are entitled to compensation, while many have been dissuaded or outwardly dismissed by banks’ complaints handling teams.
Last month, one of Lloyds’ complaints handling centres were caught dismissing PPI cases on the basis that most complainants simply give up once they are rebuffed the first time.
Lest we forget, this is the same bank whose ‘salespoint’ system incentivised staff to sell products that were more valuable to the bank than to the customer.
Banks are continuing to sit upon a compensation pot worth £10 billion, while rejecting valid complaints out of hand and then, to add insult to injury, extending a hand to firms like CPP which carried out mis-selling behaviour on their behalf.
A disaffected public now wants banks to be forced into proactively tracking down affected customers rather than waiting for them to complain first. Some in the financial services industry are not happy to let the matter rest either.
Gary Verschuur, Founding Partner of Forbes Douglas, has offered advice to people who are unsure about claims or whose complaints have been dismissed out-of-hand.
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I’ve lost count of the number of bad experiences I’ve been reading about lately involving insurance firms, and it’s simply not acceptable. Insurance, lest we forget, is a form of compensation for victims – victims of crime, accidents or emergencies. These victims are then left to trust that an insurer will keep their end of the deal if a claim ever becomes necessary. But during these straitened times, insurers have been ready to reinterpret their own policies to deny claims and shirk responsibility.
And, frankly, it’s horrible not to have that confidence. Unlike other standard financial products where we tend to know what we’re getting, insurance is a precautionary product, designed to reimburse only after an unexpected event. Increasingly, it’s turning into more of a gamble that the insurer is, to coin a phrase, “a man of its word”.
We may think this is surprising; not because of the mentality of profit-making insurers per se, but because the social media age makes it far easier to expose bad customer service. Common sense suggests that insurers should be improving their game to avoid bad publicity. But it wouldn’t surprise me if insurers believe that they’ve already weathered the storm. It’s only exposure in national newspapers that seems to trouble them a great deal.
Until now, that is.
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