Category : Insurance

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.

Find your local Adviser

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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.
[/gem_quote]
Savings

Achieving your financial goals

Achieving your financial goals

We lead complex lives in an increasingly complex world. As your financial adviser we can help you better understand your financial challenges, goals and needs, and help you find appropriate ways to meet them.

Even a seemingly straightforward financial goal can involve numerous decisions and a lot of time and effort getting it right. Whether it’s buying a home, investing for the future or protecting the people and things you cherish, we’re here to help you make the right choices for your needs. Here are some of the services we provide, which our clients have told us they value the most.

Mortgages
With so many mortgage lenders offering products on the high street and online, it can be tempting to cut out the middle man. But when you’re making such a huge financial commitment, professional guidance can be invaluable, particularly if your needs are out of the ordinary. As well as arranging your mortgage we can also recommend specialist professional services that can help with other elements of your home-buying process, including solicitors and surveyors.

Protection
When using comparison sites and direct insurers, how can you be sure their “off-the-peg” solutions meet your specific needs? Using our expert product knowledge we can help you find the right solution for you. Whatever your particular need – be it income, family, mortgage or business protection – we can access high quality products from a range of handpicked providers; providers we have selected because they are proud to stand behind claims when it matters the most.

Investment planning
As well as your pension, you may have opportunities to invest lump sums – such as an inheritance or bonus – but are unsure about what strategy is best. As with all areas of financial planning, it pays to have a clear objective or vision. We can talk you through the important things to consider and help you create a balanced and diversified portfolio, taking into account your financial goals, attitude to risk, and any appropriate tax planning.

Retirement planning
The onus to create a comfortable retirement is falling increasingly on the individual, and the new pension regulations, whilst bringing welcome freedoms, introduce additional complexity to your at-retirement choices.

The right financial plan could help secure a more comfortable retirement – not just for you, but also for your loved ones and heirs. We can help you navigate the complexities of the new rules. Knowing what can be achieved and establishing the right strategy as early as possible can help you prepare for the future.

Inheritance planning
Passing our hard-earned wealth to loved ones often forms a big part of our ambitions. The right forward planning can help you maximise your heirs’ inheritance by minimising tax liabilities. We can help you put the right structures in place.

Of course, your needs in any and all of these areas will change over time, and regulatory changes can impact the effectiveness of any structures already in place, so we recommend a regular review to ensure that your plans remain on track and relevant.

HM Revenue and Customs practice and the law relating to taxation are complex and subject to individual circumstances and changes which cannot be foreseen.

The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise. You may not get back the amount originally invested.

[gem_quote style=”5″]To find out more about how we can help you, please get in touch.[/gem_quote]

Your home/property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage

Pensions

Home truths

Home truths

The LV= Home Truths Report has revealed that homemakers are happier than people working in any other occupation, despite working longer hours than most people think.

Flexible hours, being able to spend time with the children and relatively low stress levels all contribute to homemakers generally feeling happier than those in full time jobs, even though they work, on average, 66 hours in a five day week.

It all adds up

As well as being crucial to the home and family, the role of the homemaker also contributes to the economy. In fact, the Office for National Statistics suggests an equivalent salary for a homemaker would be £38,162 a year, covering tasks like childcare, cooking, cleaning, transportation, shopping and doing the laundry.

Perhaps we underestimate the value of a homemaker though, as only 7% have taken out Income Protection insurance that would replace some, or all, of the £733 a week needed to pay for alternative cover.

Deadline to the breadline

To make things worse, families would only be able to manage to pay for help for just 18 days, on average, before they ran out of savings or had to borrow money – even though their first priority would be making sure their children are looked after.

It goes to show that there’s often a gap between our aspirations for our children and the steps we will take to ensure they can be realised.

While none of us want to think that an accident or illness will happen to us, life’s nasty surprises can (and do) happen to anyone and at any time.

[gem_quote style=”5″]If you have children, or a partner who rely on you or your income, it’s important to review your personal protection plans and make sure you have sufficient cover in place. We can help. Talk to us and we’ll make sure you have the right cover for your circumstances.[/gem_quote]
Home Insurance

Is your home winter-proof?

Is your home winter-proof?

With the year coming to an end and winter just around the corner we can start to expect colder, wetter, stormier weather conditions instead of the brighter, warmer days of summer.

This makes it a good time of year to assess how well protected your home and possessions are against the potential damage winter may cause. Take action now and ensure you have the relevant home insurance, check your property over and make a plan to protect it against bad weather.

The following preventative measures can go a long way towards avoiding the misery and inconvenience that damage to your home can bring:

• To protect your pipes and water tank
– Check the lagging, including in the loft
– Leave your central heating running at a constant temperature (the coldest time is between 1am and 3am). If possible, leave it running in all rooms.
• Use draft excluders and seal around window and door frames to block out cold air and keep hot air in, helping to maintain the temperature through the coldest periods.
• Tie down or safely store any outdoor furniture to avoid damage from high winds. You can also check roof tiles and any dead or broken branches on nearby trees which could cause damage.

Check your current insurance

Dig out those certificates of cover and policy documents and check your cover levels. You should review your cover at least once a year, to check it still meets your needs. 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 exclusions (such as accidental damage), you may find that you are not fully covered.

[gem_quote style=”5″]If you’d like to review your existing buildings and contents insurance, please get in touch.[/gem_quote]