Insurance

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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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James Hammond

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Price comparison websites have become popular with millions of people frequently using them to hunt out deals.

But in searching for best value insurance quotes, many of us may inadvertently leave a footprint on our credit scores. And we all know how important it is to keep on top of that.

When consumers use comparison sites to source insurance quotes, it can trigger some insurers to access credit data to assess someone’s suitability for a premium installment payment plan (spreading payments for an annual premium over one year). Credit searches also help the insurer give customers more accurate quotes.

However, the impact on your credit score depends on the type of search that is carried out on your file. Look out for a ‘credit search’, as opposed to an ‘enquiry’, on your credit report. This indicates an application for credit and affects your credit rating directly. Plus, all credit searches will be seen by potential lenders, possibly impacting your future chances of securing a credit card, loan, mortgage or service.

Since many insurance providers carry out checks with credit reference and fraud prevention agencies, it’s important that consumers understand that in using comparison websites, they may secure a great value product in the short term, but their longer term credit rating could be severely dented.

To protect your credit rating, be wary when searching for insurance quotes on comparison sites. And although it’s a risk, it’s also worth noting that credit checks do not happen unless the consumer accepts the terms and conditions. So always read the T&Cs and/ or the website’s privacy policy.

If you’re concerned about the impact of using comparison websites on your credit rating and you want to find out more, just give me a call.

 

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James Hammond

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Back in January, I appeared in an FT Advisor article about the lack income protection with a quote:

“It’s true that confidence is low regarding protection. A minimum level of protection would be useful and a drive by insurers to dispel some myths regarding what they will pay out on would also improve confidence in protection products.”

Six months later, the situation is much the same. Mortgage Strategy recently published an article which says that nearly 60% of mortgaged homes do not have any protection insurance whatsoever.

The article goes on to note that even those which have some protection are mostly only covered for death or critical illness. Income protection (in case of the loss of a job) is even scarcer.

It is a good time to consider your mortgage, your savings, and your insurance. If you need help, give us a call. We are independent financial advisers – we are here to help you find the best protection for the biggest investment you’re likely to make.

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