Insurance

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James Carter

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Compared to 10 years ago the number of young people (aged between 24 and 34) renting homes has shot up. In 2004, almost 60% owned their own home. These days, it’s just 36%.

Rises in house prices are the main culprit in causing this trend, with nearly half of this age group, known as ‘generation rent’, renting from private landlords.

Although I’m sure many of these renters would prefer to own their own place, they still need to treat their accommodation like any other long-term abode.

With that in mind, any home and its contents need to be protected. In the case of renting, tenants need to ensure their possessions are insured – just as they would if they lived in a home that they owned.

But many renters don’t realise there is a difference between tenants insurance and contents insurance. The latter might be taken out by the landlord but restricted to furnishings in the flat or house – a tenant’s personal belongings may be excluded.

This is when tenants insurance comes in; it covers possessions including those taken away from the home like phones, laptops, tablets, sport equipment and jewellery.

Together, the value of all such these items could really add up, and tenants could regret not investing in insurance if any were destroyed, stolen or damaged.

I can help you look into policies – give me a call on 01223 266140.

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James Carter

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Recently I’ve had to help clients who both live next to watercourses. That in itself isn’t a major issue, but the conversations reminded me that people can get caught out when it comes to home insurance.

If for some reason the watercourse isn’t included on an insurance application, it can lead to problems come renewal time. Whether it’s intentional or genuine error, if you fail to mention this vital detail on your application, the insurer will deem it to be non-disclosure.

The best possible outcome is that the insurer continues to cover your home, but with an increase in premium. The worst case scenario: the insurer refuses to renew the policy (they can research whether you have been declined by other insurers), resulting in you having to buy non-standard policies. This can continue into the future, potentially costing you more in the long term.

Best practice is to simply be very careful (and honest) when completing an application. And read all the information in the quote to make sure the details are accurate.

If you need help on this issue, talk to us. You can also read more on the Environmental Agency website or contact your local authority about watercourses on your land or near your property.

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James Hammond

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Changes to pensions are due in just five weeks’ time. But despite being announced a year ago, it seems that many insurers aren’t going to be ready in April, potentially delaying over-55s dipping into their pensions. Some providers are apparently not setting up new schemes at all.

This could be frustrating. Especially if you plan to use your pension pot to invest in B2L – a good alternative to investing money in shares that remain volatile, investments that are risky and falling annuity rates. Understandably, you would probably prefer to push on with plans than wait for the industry to sort itself out.

If you think you’re going to be affected by possible delays, I suggest using the time to make sure you know the B2L market well before taking the step to being a first-time landlord.

  • Falling rates – Keep a close eye on rates. B2L mortgage lenders are following in the footsteps of residential lenders, which have recently been slashing rates. A record low of 3.82% on a B2L mortgage was recorded by Moneyfacts recently. Plus, lenders are also beginning to accept smaller deposits.
  • Get covered – We suggest using your time to look into landlord and B2L insurance. Whether you’re thinking of buying one property or a few, insurance is there to protect the building, its contents, your tenants and you – the landlord. It’s essential to you maintaining an income and preserving your investment.

If pension reforms arrive later than planned, at least you’ll be ready to roll when the money becomes available. To find the best B2L mortgage deals and insurance policies, give us a call.

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Daniel Jarvis
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So far this winter we haven’t been hit too harshly by the weather. Apart from a few dips into sub-zero temperatures and expected snowy conditions, we’re doing all right…so far.

But don’t rest on your laurels – polar conditions could descend upon as at any time. This is Britain after all.

This is particularly important when it comes to looking after your property during winter. Freezing temperatures can cause pipes to burst or leak, potentially causing serious water damage. So, if you haven’t done so already, check that your home insurance covers damage caused by freezing pipes. You’d probably expect it to be included, but, sometimes, it isn’t.

Insurers handle policies differently, with some including a so-called ‘thermostat clause’ in the small print. A policy might require you to leave the thermostat set at a minimum temperature if you leave the property for five or more days, for example.  So, keeping your heating on a timer for an hour in the morning and evening or relying on the thermostat frost setting might not be enough should the worst happen and you need to make a claim.

With one in five claims originating from burst pipes and escaping water during the winter, and the average claim for related damage ranging from £6,500 to £7,000, you’re best advised to make sure you’re covered as soon as possible.

If you’re in any doubt, give us a ring or call your insurer.

 

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James Carter

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Imagine the scene…Your Christmas tree is looking resplendent; lights blink and tinsel glistens. The presents have been lovingly positioned under the pine branches look tempting. And they happen to be in full view of passersby. Including those looking for opportunities to break in and undo all of Santa’s hard work (not to mention hard-earned cash).

Perhaps now’s the time to look at updating your contents insurance for the festive season. If you’re buying expensive presents that’ll be in your home until you give them to the lucky recipients, or you’re expecting to receive a gift of value, check what’s covered by your policy.

Some insurers will automatically increase the value of your premium for a temporary period by around 10%. If there’s a ‘special event’ clause in the paperwork, you should be covered at no extra cost. With other insurers you’ll need to get in touch to extend the policy so the premium covers the extra value of goods at home.

Even if you think your property is burglar-proof, you need to take into account other risks such as accidental breakages, burst pipes in freezing weather, and other nasty things we’d rather not think about as we tuck into the first mince pies of the season.

And whatever you do, never leave presents in your car, keep receipts somewhere secure (and not with the presents), and break down boxes and hide them among the recycling to prevent giving possible burglars clues as to what’s in your home.

Make sure Christmas Day TV is the only bad thing this festive season – take steps now to prevent other disasters! Start by giving us a call.

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