Category : Insurance

Life Insurance

Peace of mind for the cost of a coffee

Peace of mind for the cost of a coffee

Many of us pick up a morning coffee on the way to work – it’s a little bit of luxury to start the day for just a couple of pounds. But did you know you could provide something even more satisfying for you and your loved ones for less than the cost of that coffee?

Peace of mind
Protection insurance (or, more specifically, life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection) should be considered essential – especially if you have a mortgage, or people who depend on your income.

A life insurance policy can provide much-needed funds if you’re no longer able to work through illness, injury, or worse. There are even some policies that will also cover you for unemployment. Cover provides peace of mind because you know you and your family will be financially supported if the unexpected happens – and cover might be cheaper than you think.

When it comes to a claim…
If you’ve declined the offer of protection insurance in the past because you don’t believe your insurer would pay out, think again. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), 97.3% of all protection insurance claims paid out in 2016, totalling £4.7bn. That’s around £13m a day paid to households hit by the emotional and financial distress and disruption that an unexpected accident, serious illness or death can cause.

Things change – and so should your cover
Even if you already have one or more of these types of plans in place, it’s still important to regularly review your cover levels. Personal circumstances can change and you should make sure your level of cover remains appropriate.

Choose security
Next time you’re in the queue wondering whether to go for a flat white or hazelnut mocha, why not consider a third option and choose long-term financial security for you and your loved ones. The satisfaction it can provide you is far greater than that from a coffee.

Based on latest data, a 35-year-old non-smoker looking for £250,000 decreasing life assurance and critical illness to cover a 25-year repayment mortgage, could pay a premium of £58.54 per month, equivalent to £1.88 per day based on a 31-day month.

Figures correct as at 7/8/2017

If you’d like more information on what sort of protection insurance would suit your circumstances, please get in touch.

Family Cycle

Protecting your mortgage repayments

Protecting your mortgage repayments

We think protection advice is imperative when you have a home or family you want to protect. So, talk to us about a mortgage and we’ll talk to you about life cover.

Buying a house could be one of the biggest financial commitments you’ll make: getting a deposit together
can wipe out your savings and paying your mortgage will take a chunk out of your income. So how would
your family continue to meet this commitment if you stopped earning?

When taking out a mortgage, it’s essential to consider how you would continue to cover your mortgage
payments if you fell ill or died unexpectedly. There are a number of ways you can do this:

Life Insurance
If you died suddenly, a Life Insurance policy would pay out a cash sum to your dependents. They could
use this to pay off their mortgage and keep the roof over their heads.

Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance (MPPI)
Also known as Accident Sickness and Unemployment (ASU) cover, MPPI covers your mortgage related
repayments if you can’t work because of redundancy, accident or ill-health. Benefits are usually paid for 12
months although some providers offer 24 months’ cover.

Critical Illness Insurance
Critical Illness Insurance pays out a lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a specified critical illness such
as cancer, stroke or heart attack. You can use the cash payout to clear your mortgage, pay for medical
treatment, take time to recuperate or anything else you choose.

Income Protection
Income Protection can replace part of your income if you’re unable to work for a long time due to illness
or disability. It will pay out until you return to work or the policy ends – whichever happens first. Income
Protection plans usually have a waiting period before the benefit becomes payable.

Choosing to protect yourself

When you take out a mortgage through us, we’ll ask if you want to take out protection as well. What’s more, we will analyse your lifestyle and any protection shortfall and recommend a protection plan that will help protect you and your family from the financial consequences of serious illness or death.

Plugging the protection gap

Plugging the protection gap

If you’re one of the increasing number of people who’ve become self-employed in recent years, you may have found the switch has left you without the employee benefits you previously took for granted.

Making the change from employed to self-employed is a big step and it’s one more people are taking.
The number of self-employed people in the UK now stands at 4.80 million, representing 15% of the working population.

But while some may find they can earn more as a result, they might overlook the importance of replacing lost employee benefits like income protection and life insurance.

Death in Service
Many employed people automatically benefit from life insurance arranged on their behalf by their employer. This would pay a multiple of their annual salary were they to die while still employed, which could then be used to pay off a mortgage or maintain their family’s lifestyle.

Some employees receive a proportion of their salary for a period of time if they become unable to work due to illness or injury (over and above statutory sick pay levels) and may benefit from access to private medical treatment.

Clearly, moving from employment to self-employment would mean these benefits cease, and potentially
leave a protection ‘gap’.

Mind the gap
Fortunately, the benefits you may have received automatically as an employee are also available to you as a self-employed individual – and they may be more affordable than you think.

Income protection insurance will pay you a monthly income if you become unable to work through illness
or injury. Self-employed workers should consider this an essential piece of protection because it can help
prevent your family suffering financial hardship and allow you space to recover more quickly without the
burden of financial worry. Many insurance companies also provide support for customers to help them return
to fitness as quickly as possible.

Life and critical illness plans can be individual plans or combined. Life insurance will pay out a lump sum or
a regular income to your dependants if you were to die during the term of the cover. Critical illness plans pay out a lump sum if you are diagnosed with a specific illness. Both can help secure your family’s financial future.

Private medical insurance (PMI) may be considered less of a priority than either income protection or life
insurance, given the treatment you are entitled to via the NHS. For those seeking to replicate all the benefits
they may have enjoyed when employed, there are a range of policies available at varying price levels. If you are interested in PMI we can introduce you to our PMI referral partner.

Are you covered?
If you’re self-employed it’s easy to make sure your employment status doesn’t put your long-term financial
security – and that of your family – at risk. Get in touch to discuss your protection options.

home-insurance-fire

Bonfires and fireworks

Bonfires and fireworks

Autumn has arrived, the days are getting shorter and the nights longer. You may be preparing the garden for winter and arranging any rubbish for a seasonal bonfire. And, at this time of year, where there’s a bonfire there could be fireworks.

Keep your distance
Bonfires and fireworks can be a good excuse to bring together family and friends to enjoy the autumn nights, but they do require a bit of caution as many people, including children, are at risk of injury. In fact, in 2015-16, there were over 5,200 injuries caused by fireworks.

Often the best way to enjoy fireworks and bonfires is at larger public displays, where ‘official’ health and safety precautions are in place. With private displays, you might be tempted to ignore basic rules like making sure people are a safe distance from where you’re launching the rockets or setting off the Catherine Wheels.

Take sparklers, for instance. They could be seen as harmless, given you can hold them when lit, but be warned! Sparklers can burn at temperatures similar to a welding torch, upward of 1000°C so it’s important to take precautions by wearing gloves and supervising youngsters.
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Are you covered?
One thing you should also check before you organise this sort of event is whether your home insurance covers you for any accidental damage. This could be caused by things like stray fireworks or bonfires spreading to a shed, or worse, your house.

Safety first
If you decide to have a bonfire, or put on your own fireworks display with sparklers, consider
these safety tips to make it safe and enjoyable.

  • Keep spectators at a safe distance.
  • Always light your fireworks at arm’s length and never return to it once it’s been lit.
  • Have one person in charge of the bonfire, making sure it can’t spread and always have a bucket of water or sand nearby as a precaution.
  • Supervise children at all times around fireworks and bonfires.
  • Wear gloves when using sparklers, and don’t hold them near your face.

If you’re not sure what your home insurance covers or you’d like to review your cover, please get in touch

A sporting chance

A sporting chance

A sporting chance

Are you one of the one in three parents who worry about the risk of serious injury from school sports?

Research from MetLife has found that one third of parents with school age children are concerned about serious injuries from sport – and there could be real reasons to be worried.

The research shows that:
• around 17% of parents have had to take children to Accident & Emergency units in the past five years because of injuries sustained while playing sport at school
• nearly a six have had to visit GPs for advice on sports injuries
• over 30% of parents have had to seek medical or dental treatment for children due to school sports injuries in the past five years

Parents are also becoming increasingly keen to see action from schools and sports bodies to help reduce the risk of injury:
• one in five say they would be happy to back a ban on full contact rugby in schools
• more than a third want better recording of injuries suffered as a result of school sports
• 40% want children to be able to opt out of rugby one third would support opt-outs for hockey and football

Should contact sports be banned?
The benefits that playing sport brings to children are huge. Aside from the enjoyment, it improves physical fitness and health and builds self-confidence. However, it is clear that a substantial number of parents are worried about the risk of serious injury.

The Sport Collision Injury Collective, a group of doctors, academics, sports scholars and health professionals, have called for a ban on tackling in school rugby matches. These calls may be controversial and many will argue that playing contact sports is a great way to develop team work and a broader set of skills. No doubt the debate will continue.

School sports aren’t the only culprit though. MetLife reports that over two-thirds of claims on their accident and hospital cover policy are for broken bones – mostly caused by kids just being kids. With the summer holidays around the corner, children are likely to spend more time outside playing with friends and taking part in summer activities and sports clubs.

Although we can’t wrap our children in cotton wool, we can take preventative measures and give them the tools they need to avoid unnecessary risks, as well as putting protection in place in the event an accident does happen.

If you’d like information or advice about accident protection cover, please get in touch

Critical Illness Insurance

Why crowdfund the cost of your healthcare?

Why crowdfund the cost of your healthcare?

Crowdfunding is becoming increasingly common among people who need healthcare that’s not freely available through the NHS.

Protection Websites such as justgiving.com, crowdfunder.co.uk and gofundme.com are full of campaigns from families trying to raise funds for treatments, or seeking help to avoid the financial hardships that a serious illness such as cancer or stroke can cause.

Even though the vast majority of proven effective treatments for cancer are funded by the NHS, 2,348 crowdfunding campaigns to cover medical treatment were launched on JustGiving in 2016, a seven-fold increase from the year before when there were just 304.

One fundraising charity, Tree of Hope, specialises in helping these young people and their families by running campaigns to raise the funds they need to pay for specialist care.

Supporting young people
Although cancer in young people is rare, it is still the most common cause of death for children aged up to 15. Sadly, 1 child in every 500 under 15 is diagnosed with a form of cancer and 2,200 teenagers and young adults (15-24 years old) are diagnosed every year.

Don’t rely on crowdfunding
Instead of crowdfunding at a time when you should be concentrating on treatment and recovery, taking out a critical illness plan will help protect a breadwinner from the financial impact that the diagnosis of a serious illness could have on their life or their family’s life.

Many critical illness policies also include cover for children (including step and legally adopted) as an automatic benefit. This can pay out a lump sum if a child is diagnosed with a specified critical illness or is hospitalised.

To discuss critical illness protection for you and your family, please get in touch

Home Insurance

Don’t pay for your DIY disasters

The cost of a burglary

Don’t pay for your DIY disasters

The warmer weather might prompt you to finally get those home improvement projects underway, but are you covered if your DIY goes awry?

With a free supply of hints, tips and video guides available at the click of a button, you might feel confident about saving a bit of money and tackling tasks that you would otherwise leave to an expert. Before you get started though, it’s worth bearing in mind that British property owners pay out a massive £4.4 billion to repair the damage done by DIY.

If you’re diving into a project remember to take care, make sure you have the tools and knowledge for the job you’re undertaking – and, just as importantly, check your insurance cover before
you begin.

Are you covered for Accidental Damage?
Despite our best intentions, accidents do happen. Having the correct home insurance in place before you begin a DIY project could cover the cost to repair or replace broken or damaged items.

You might assume that a home insurance policy will cover your DIY disasters, but Accidental Damage cover can be additional cover with some policies, rather than automatically included. Standard home insurance tends to provide only limited cover for accidental damage to things like windows and bathroom fittings, rather than the effects of a stray drill, spilled paint or blown electrics.

In fact, full Accidental Damage would cover you for the following:
Buildings
• Repair of a burst pipe caused by drilling through the wall to put up a shelf
• Putting your electrics back in working order after a botched rewiring job
• Repairing your ceiling after a foot has gone through the loft floor
Contents
• Replacing your carpet after spilling a tin of paint
• Covering the cost of valuable ornaments damaged by the failure of TV wall mountings
• Replacing garden furniture damaged by falling tree branches

As with every type of insurance cover, there are exclusions and excesses that will apply, so it’s important that you check your cover meets your needs and expectations.

Leave it to the experts
If you’re hapless with a hammer or dodgy with a drill it might be time to admit defeat, accept the limits of your DIY skills and pay for a professional. Some jobs, like those listed below, have a higher risk of going wrong – along with more costly consequences:
• Electrical work
• Plumbing
• Structural renovations
• Roof repair

And when you consider that one in 10 DIY attempts result in the need of a professional after the initial attempt fails, you might actually save yourself time, money and hassle by hiring a qualified tradesman from the outset.

It’s important to make sure your home and contents insurance meets your needs and expectations. Talk to us to find out what you’re covered for – and what you aren’t.

downsizing your home

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