Category : Insurance

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Financial scams target the over 45s

Financial scams target the over 45s

The rise in technology has caused more than 1 million over-45 year olds to fall victim to online scams and left one in five feeling vulnerable.

Research by Aviva has shown that 70% of people aged 45-64 interviewed as part of this research are willing to embrace new technology, including devices, software and apps. But these ‘tech adopters’ are an increasing target for online scammers.

Even with this willingness to adopt new technology, only a quarter of 45s–65 year olds have no concerns when using technology, and falling to 18% for over-75s. So, with most 45s-65s having concerns, is there any wonder why so many have been affected by online scams?

Fears when using technology
Over-45s have described the biggest fears they have when they use technology as getting a computer virus, and being scammed or hacked.

The most common way people are scammed is through email or over the phone, and seven in ten (71%) of people aged 45-64 say they have been targeted with emails, rising to 75% of 65-74 year olds and again to 76% for over 75s. Over 75s are twice as likely (8%) to become a victim of an email scam compared with the lower 4% of 65-74 year olds.

There is a large portion (66%) of people in or going into retirement who have many concerns relating to being hacked, this will be worsened by the increase on media coverage of large company hackings being publicised.

It pays to stop and think
The Financial Fraud Action UK Take Five campaign recommends five ways to fight financial fraud:
1. Never disclose security details
2. Don’t assume an email, text or phone call is genuine
3. Don’t be rushed
4. Listen to your instincts
5. Stay in control

To find out more about the campaign and how to stay safe in a digital world visit takefive-stopfraud.org.uk

life-insurance-advisers

Time for an upgrade?

Time for an upgrade?

Have you upgraded your mobile phone in the past two years?
If the answer’s yes, your choice may have been driven by a change in your needs or wants. Perhaps you opted for a better
deal, a different contract, or a handset with new features that weren’t available with your previous model?

When it comes to updating your phone TV or even your car we all want to feel like we’re getting a good deal.

The question is: why don’t more of us do this with items like the financial products we pay for every month?

Are your current arrangements still right for you?

Take critical illness insurance as an example. If you have a critical illness policy:
• When did you last update it?
• Does it still provide the cover you need?
• Does it continue to provide the benefits and features you need?

When your needs change, it makes sense to update things
Life may have changed since you last bought or reviewed your critical illness insurance cover. You may have had children, moved house, or your income may have changed.

This means that even though you have a critical illness plan in place, it might not offer you the level of cover you’d need if the unexpected happened. However, it might also provide cover for certain conditions which may not be available on a new plan.

Insurance innovation
It’s not just mobile phone companies that compete to offer the most innovative products – insurance companies are constantly updating their products to reflect customers’ changing needs too.

Given that more of us are living longer and surviving serious illnesses like cancer it is perhaps unsurprising that products like critical illness insurance have changed in recent years. For instance, many insurers have introduced greater flexibility and extended their cover to cater for a wider range of illnesses. Some have even introduced completely new products offering partial pay-outs, or for an additional cost, allow you to claim for non-critical illnesses and injuries.

Protect your loved ones
Critical illness insurance can help you cover mortgage or rent payments, treatment, or any home alterations you may need to make as a result of an unexpected critical illness – so it’s important your cover remains up-to-date.

We can review your needs and make sure you have the right cover in place. To arrange your review, please get in touch

Pet Insurance

The importance of protection

The importance of protection

Millions of pet owners have purchased insurance in case of an expensive trip to the vet’s, but who will pick up the bill if something happens to you?

Many pet owners will know the stress and financial burden caused by an expensive vet’s bill and have taken out pet insurance to avoid having to make difficult decisions at stressful times. In fact, figures show 3.9 million dogs and cats are covered by pet insurance.

However, it seems we place more value on our pet’s wellbeing than our own, with almost 8.5 million people in the UK potentially needing some sort of insurance cover, having none.

Why aren’t we insuring ourselves?
One in four breadwinners does not have life insurance in place, risking leaving their families in financial difficulty if they were unable to work – or worse, died. It seems women are in a worse position than men, with 38% protected by some sort of policy, compared to 45% of men.

So what is it that puts us off buying insurance? Perhaps it’s the thought of paying out each month but not seeing any benefit from the cover.

Far from being a luxury, protection insurance should be considered essential. If you suffered a serious illness or injury you may lose your income, and this could lead to you losing your home. Similarly, if you died, would your loved ones be able to maintain their current lifestyle without your income?

If you think it’s not going to happen to you, you may be surprised to know:
• half of people in the UK born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime
• In 2015/16 8.8 million working days were lost due to musculoskeletal disorders
• there are up to 175,000 heart attacks in the UK each year

Insurance policies can provide funds to help deal with the financial consequences of illness, an accident, unemployment or death. Whether that’s to help pay the mortgage, maintain your family’s lifestyle, or even help pay for medical treatment or specialist nursing support.

The next time you’re renewing your pet insurance, check our own level of cover too.

If you’d like more information on the types of cover available and whether they are suitable for you, please get in touch.

Contact us today for a Life and Protection Insurance review

Business Protection

Surviving the loss of a key person

Surviving the loss of a key person

If something happened to you, your co-owners or employees, could your business survive?

According to research by Legal and General, if a business suffered the loss of a key person:
• 40% of businesses would cease trading in less than a year of the death or serious illness of a key person
• 63% of sole traders would cease to trade immediately
• 46% of new businesses (less than two years old) would cease to trade immediately

The loss of a key person within a small or medium-sized business can cause unexpected costs and disruption. Not only would the business have to fund the cost of recruiting and training a replacement, but it would also risk suffering from a:
• loss of profits
• loss of important business contacts
• loss of knowledge and expertise
• Customers and suppliers losing confidence in the business

 

Business protection insurance can help mitigate or even avoid these risks altogether
As a business owner, you should know there are three main types of business protection: Key Person Insurance, Shareholder Protection Insurance and Business Loan Protection.
• Key Person Insurance – provides a lump sum to the business on the death of an important member of the business.
• Shareholder Protection Insurance – provides a lump sum that will allow remaining shareholders to buy the shares of a deceased shareholder.
• Business Loan Protection – provides a lump sum to help a business pay any outstanding business loans.

Deciding on the right type of cover depends on the circumstances involved and the events the business wants to insure the key person against.

People are the biggest asset to any business and Business Protection Insurance is designed to keep your business trading should the worst happen.

For further information or advice on setting up a business protection policy please get in touch.

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Money worries

Just about managing

Just about managing

Two thirds of working households in the UK consider themselves to be ‘just about managing’ financially, according to research.

The Resolution Foundation, which researches the living standards of those on low to middle incomes, has identified six million Jams (as they have become known) spread across Britain. Jams tend to have at least one person in work and most work full-time. Some will earn higher salaries, but typically they will be low earners receiving top ups from the welfare state, such as tax credits.

A priority for the government?
In her first speech as Prime Minister, Theresa May addressed the Jams directly, suggesting that the government would be working hard to help improve their lot. But the impact of years of flat wages, coupled with cuts to working-age benefits and increased rental and property prices, makes this is a huge issue to tackle.

What’s more, the Institute of Fiscal Studies suggests that the weak growth will continue, which means the situation won’t get easier for these families in the short-term.

The increasing financial pressure the Jams are under is worrying, and an unexpected change in circumstances could make their situation a lot worse. What would happen if the main breadwinner was to lose their income, or fall ill and have to take time off work?

If you’re in this situation, the first step is to understand what you’ve got coming in and how you’re spending your money. Once you’ve got your budget under control you can look for ways to save money and, if you can afford to, consider how you might protect your income in the event of sickness, ill-health, or worse.

Just about managing
Two thirds of working households in the UK consider themselves to be ‘just about managing’ financially, according to research.

JAMs tend to:
• over two thirds have have less than a month’s salary in savings
• spend 24% of their income on housing
• three quarters are likely to be in rented accommodation
• have at least one person in work
• have at least one child

If you’d like help with your financial planning, please get in touch.

Do you run your own business?

Do you run your own business?

If you do, you probably have one or more key employees that are integral to its success. They may even possess the skills, knowledge, experience or leadership that makes a vital difference to your bottom line.

But have you considered what would happen if they suddenly died, or suffered a critical illness that forced them to be absent from work for a long period of time? If the unexpected happened, it could pose a serious risk to your business, so make sure you have the relevant safety nets in place to avoid any financial difficulty.

Protect the most important assets
You may have covered the tangible assets of your business, but have you protected the most important assets: the people that directly contribute to your profits?

Key Person Protection is a simple way for you to insure your business against the losses you might suffer as a result of the death or critical illness of a key individual.

To find out more about our full range of Business Protection products, please get in touch.

Home Insurance

The cost of a burglary

The cost of a burglary

Figures have revealed that burglary costs the average homeowner over £2,800 in stolen valuables and almost £600 to pay for damage caused by the break-in. There were 713,000 domestic burglaries in 2015, and while you may see many of these reported in local newspapers you rarely hear about the cost to victims.

Fixing the damage
The damage burglars can cause during a break-in results in costs to repair doors, broken locks and windows, and damage to furniture.

Then there’s the cost of replacing stolen items – particularly jewellery, money and wallets, which tend to be the most desirable items to burglars. But it’s not just the intrinsic cost of these items; sadly the sentimental value can never be replaced.

Computers, cameras, watches and mobile phones are also desirable to thieves. Generally speaking a flagship phone will cost between £500 and £600 to replace and a digital camera between £100 and £250. But again it can be hard to account for the emotional cost of lost pictures and videos.

Protecting your home
Adding security devices to your home will help reduce the chances of your treasured possessions being stolen and give you and your family peace of mind. Installing a burglar alarm or external lights can help deter would-be thieves and you can buy timer switches that turn internal lights on and off while you’re away.

You could also consider upgrading to more secure locks on doors, windows, garages and sheds.

Getting the right cover
According to research carried out by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), one in five households could be underinsured because they don’t know how much their home contents are worth. If you’re unlucky enough to have to make a claim, having insufficient cover could leave you facing an unnecessary bill at a time when you and your family are struggling to deal with the disruption and worry caused by a break-in.

Here’s how to calculate the value of your contents:

  •  go through each room (include your attic, basement, shed and garage) and make an inventory of all your possessions
  •  file your receipts, or go online to work out the cost of each item
  •  tell your insurer about any expensive items you own to make sure they are covered
  •  contact your insurer to make sure new purchases are covered

Review your cover
Your home and contents insurance should be sufficient to repair any damage and cover the cost of stolen items. It makes sense to review your cover, especially after Christmas or birthdays when you may have bought or received expensive items.

[gem_quote style=”5″]If you’re concerned you may not have the right type of contents cover, or you think you might be under-insured, please talk to us.[/gem_quote]
home insurance

Protection through the years

When it comes to protection insurance, we hold two firm beliefs:
1. it should form the foundation of your financial plan.
2. cover should be reviewed regularly to make sure it continues to meet your needs.

The latter is particularly important when you are at a particular ‘life stage’. Whether that’s buying a house, getting married, starting a family, setting up in business, or all of the above, protection insurance will help to protect your loved ones and your financial responsibilities.

So what type of cover is right for you?
• Term Insurance pays out a lump sum if you die within the agreed ‘term’ (the amount of time you have chosen to be covered for, eg. 20 years). Suitable for mortgage protection or while children are financially dependent on you.

• Whole of Life Insurance pays out a lump sum when you die, whenever that is, as long as you are still paying the premiums. Suitable for estate planning or to cover things like funeral expenses.

• Critical Illness Insurance pays out a tax-free lump sum on the diagnosis of certain life-threatening or debilitating conditions, like cancer, heart attack or stroke. You may decide to buy Critical Illness Insurance when taking on a major commitment, like a mortgage or starting a family, but it can be bought at any time to provide peace of mind.

• Income Protection Insurance pays out a regular, tax-free income if you become unable to work because of illness, injury and some policies cover unemployment. It could help you keep up with your mortgage or rent payments, as well as other living costs, until you’re able to return to work.

Things change – and so should your cover
You may already have one or more of these in place, but it’s still worthwhile reviewing your current cover levels – especially if your circumstances have changed. Ask yourself:

Whether your family could cope financially if either you or your spouse/partner died?

How much income would you have if you were taken seriously ill and couldn’t work?

Would your business survive without you or your key people?

How would your lifestyle change if you had an accident and couldn’t do the things you do today?

Contact us today for a Life and Protection Insurance review

Vitality Health

Keeping your heart healthy

Keeping your heart healthy

Dementia and Alzheimers have replaced heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales, but the latter still accounted for 11.5% of all deaths in 2015. In fact, every three minutes someone in the UK has a heart attack and 30% of those are fatal.

The good news is there’s a lot you can do to keep your heart healthy.

Watch your weight
Research shows keeping to a healthy weight cuts your risk of heart disease. The British Heart foundation offers support on eating well and being physically active which can help you manage your weight and keep your heart healthy. Find out more at www.bhf.org.uk

Stop smoking
Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared with those who’ve have never smoked. It’s a difficult habit to break, but stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart’s health. If you smoke:

• ask your doctor, practice nurse or pharmacist for advice on how to stop.
• make a date to give up and stick to it.
• tell your family and friends that you’re quitting and ask for their support.
• keep busy to help take your mind off cigarettes.

Don’t drink too much
Drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol can also have a harmful effect on your heart and general health. If you drink alcohol it is important to keep within the guidelines and drink no more than 14 units each week.

Manage cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure
If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, have diabetes or high blood pressure, this can increase your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases. Eating healthily and exercising regularly can help lower cholesterol, reduce your risk of developing type two diabetes and reduce blood pressure.

Get financial protection
Life and Protection Insurance offers a financial safety net for you and your loved ones, should heart disease strike. In fact, Scottish Widows recently revealed that heart-related disorders were the second only to cancer as the most common reason for a policyholder to claim on their life cover and critical illness plan. They can provide a regular income or cash payout to ease the financial burden caused by serious illness or untimely death:

• Life Insurance can provide financial security to those who depend on your income when you die. It could pay off your mortgage, or provide an income to help cover things like regular household bills
• Critical Illness Insurance pays out a tax-free lump sum on the diagnosis of certain life-threatening or debilitating conditions, like cancer, heart attack or stroke.
• Income Protection Insurance pays out a regular, tax-free income if you become unable to work because of illness, injury, and in some cases, unemployment. It could help you keep up with your mortgage or rent payments, as well as other living costs, until you’re able to return to work.

You may already have one or more of the above in place, but it’s still worth reviewing your current cover levels. Personal circumstances can change regularly so it’s important to ensure your level of cover remains appropriate.

[gem_quote style=”5″]Contact us today for a Life and Protection Insurance review.[/gem_quote]
Home Insurance

Are your contents underinsured?

Are your contents underinsured?

When it comes to insuring your home and contents, many people take out far less cover than they need, risking potential upset if it comes to making a claim.

The average UK home contains around £55,000 worth of possessions, but an average insurance policy covers just £35,000, leaving a huge £20,000 worth of uninsured valuables per household.

Why are people undervaluing their possessions?
One reason could simply be a lack of awareness – both in terms of the real value of possessions and the items we should be thinking about insuring. When you’re reviewing your contents insurance, don’t just think about your jewellery and electronic equipment or other high-value items. Make sure you consider things like clothing, shoes, books, furniture – and contents in your garage, garden shed or other outbuildings.

Another reason why people underinsure could be a desire to keep insurance premiums down – but this really misses the point of taking out cover in the first place. If you’re in the unfortunate situation where you need to claim and you haven’t included certain items in your policy, you won’t be covered and this could leave you even more out of pocket.

Ask us to review your cover
By seeking our professional guidance, you may find you’re able to reduce your outgoings, identify instances where your protection could be improved or uncover gaps in your insurance.

We can help you understand what you’re covered for – and what you aren’t. While buying home insurance may feel like an expensive chore, it’s critical to ensure it meets your needs and expectations. If you don’t fully understand your policy excesses (the contribution you are required
to pay towards a claim) and policy exclusions (such as accidental damage), your insurance could end up letting you down when you need it most.

Alternatively you may not even realise you actually require specialist insurance. If your home is classed as a ‘non-standard construction’, or you have high-value contents in the home, it may be appropriate to call in a specialist insurance provider that can meet your needs.

It can be easy to question the value of insurance – until the day you need it most. If you’ve ever been unfortunate to make an insurance claim, you’ll know just how valuable it can be.

[gem_quote style=”5″]For more information about protecting your home and contents, please get in touch.
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