Archives for 2011

When an Elderly Parent Moves In

La nonna Clara e Ricci 23-11-2011

There’s loads of great aspects to having an elderly parent move in with you: a chance for your children to bond with their grandparents, an extra pair of hands around the house and an opportunity to repay the sacrifices they made for you when, in childhood, you were unable to look after yourself.

But, if it’s not carefully thought through, what initially might seem like the less expensive, more traditional and caring alternative to a retirement home can turn into a situation that’s not comfortable for anyone – least of all your mother or father. So, think thoroughly about the changes that you and your parent are going to have to make to co-habit happily.

There are, of course, financial concerns to be taken into consideration: though the addition of their pension to the household income might offset expenses, there are hidden costs to having an extra person living with you. Electricity and water bills will of course be higher, and things like home insurance might be more expensive; it’s worth trying and project a year’s incomings and outgoings factoring in everything so you know what to expect. And remember, even if it looks impossible, you might be able to apply for a carer’s grant.

Also, there’s the question of what you’re going to do with their possessions: though they might be open to selling some on or putting things in storage, it’s likely they’ll want to bring a few of their most treasured pieces of furniture or trinkets to personalize the space you’re providing for them. This means you’ll need room and understanding: it might be harder than you think to relinquish control over your décor but having their own things around them will make your parents much more at ease.

At a more basic level, you need to think about your house’s layout in relation to what your parent can manage: they might find stairs challenging and are likely to feel the cold more than the younger members of your household. They’ll probably also want a bathroom on the same floor as their bedroom, so they can easily access it at night; think about how big it needs to be in order for them to manoeuvre about in.

Of course, if your parent has Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, your problem is infinitely more complex but still, not impossible: you need to make sure that locks are placed on your front, back and kitchen door, as well as carefully check the house for anything that might hurt them.

A ground-floor bedroom might be best for access, but does it mean they’ll find it easier to wander off if a door is left open? A balance needs to be struck between their private needs and the provision of care they require. Don’t forget it works both ways, too: you’ll need a good level of privacy for yourself and space to unwind. Think about getting an extra television for your bedroom so you can watch separate programs and take into consideration how you’re going to organize social time with friends.

Finally, remember that they as well as you are used to living more independently, so any frustrations you feel are likely to run both ways. Encourage them to explore other interests now you’ve removed some of the burden from their living arrangements. Community centres, sports clubs and schools all offer courses and activities for seniors, so make sure that they’re making the most of their time with you and you’re both enjoying your precious moments together.

Creative Commons License photo credit: BGO1

What is Public Liability Insurance?

A public liability insurance policy is one that will pay for a legal defense if someone walks into a place of business and is injured in an accident. These types of lawsuits can result in large judgments against the business owners. Many businesses have decided to settle out of court but, this also requires a large sum of money.

How Public Liability Benefits Business Owners

When business owners have a public liability insurance policy, their insurance companies pay for their legal defense and the money they are ordered to pay the plaintiffs if they lose in court. The price of the policy is worth it if the cost of such legal action would diable or impair the business.

Establishments Most In Need of Public Liability Insurance

The types of businesses that benefit most from public liability insurance are:

  • Retail stores
  • Bars
  • Nightclubs
  • Theaters
  • Sports facilities
  • Hotels

Some industries are very expensive for insurance companies to insure. These types of companies may be denied a policy because they are considered such high risk, or they may just be charged extremely high rates. In order to find the insurance company that will charge rates that are reasonable for any business in any genre, business owners can visit to find out what more than one insurance company will charge them for a policy. This will help them find low quotes for a policy that will adequately cover them.

Without public liability insurance, a business has the potential to be closed if there is an accident. The policy will provide a legal defense and payment of the award to the plaintiff. Those who refuse to purchase these policies will be financially responsible for everything, and they may not be able to afford it.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Garry Zeweniuk

Guide to Landlord Insurance


 by Alan Boswell

Being a landlord brings with it a whole host of challenges. Not only do you need to pay the mortgage each month, you have to protect both your property and your tenants. It’s a common misconception that a standard buildings and contents insurance policy will cover all three once it’s let – but unfortunately this is not the case.

In practice, landlord insurance is very similar to a standard household insurance policy – the buildings are covered and you can still get contents insurance to cover furnishings as well as accidental damage. However there are a few main differences…

The main difference is that, because you are physically not living in the property, it is not classed as ‘owner-occupied’. Standard insurance policies are not designed to cater for the process of earning an income through letting a property, nor is it designed to cover your legal obligations to protect your tenants whilst they are living there.

Public Liability Insurance

All landlord insurance policies include what is known as a ‘Public Liability Insurance’. This is designed to protect landlords for injury or damage to others, including tenants, as residents in the property. It will cover your legal costs in defending a claim and the legal costs of the claimants if you are judged to have been at fault. It will also cover damages awarded to the claimant as well as loss of earnings – without it you could be in for an expensive time!

Loss of Rent

Another standard cover found within landlords insurance policies is ‘Loss of Rent’. This is very important as it covers landlords against expenses they could incur should their property become uninhabitable. You could have to find and fund alternative accommodation for your tenants, as well as make up the loss of rent during the period the property is out of use – Loss of Rent covers all of these circumstances.

If you are worried about your tenants not paying you your rent each month ‘Rent Guarantee Insurance’ can often be added to most policies. It isn’t normally standard on landlords insurance but may be available as a bolt-on or as a separate insurance policy itself.

What about contents insurance?

What insurers consider contents in landlord insurance is usually slightly different than for a standard household policy. Most policies will only cover accidental damage to the contents that the Landlord has provided for the use of the tenants. This can include, but is not limited to, carpets, white goods and communal contents in hallways.

It is also worth remembering that it will only cover items and furnishings owned by the landlord and not any contents owned by the tenants – they will have to arrange their own contents insurance separately.

And remember…

How much you pay for landlord insurance will all depend on the type of property, its age, location and the buildings sum insured. It will also take into account your history of claims and how many tenants will be in the property.

But in order to benefit from all the cover of your particular landlords insurance policy then you will have to have a number of measures in place. This may include a boiler that’s checked annually by a registered Corgi engineer, and proper measures in place regarding the structures of the building.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Regina Rentals

Whats involved in motorbike insurance quotes?


Obtaining typical motorbike insurance quotes requires that you provide the insurer with certain key information, including:

• information about your age, sex and where you live – things such as your postcode, where the bike will normally be parked when not in use and your age may have an effect on the final premium of your motorcycle insurance;

• your estimated annual mileage – as a general principle, the higher your mileage each year is, the less cost-attractive your final insurance premium may be (be careful to avoid deliberately underestimating this figure in an attempt to keep your premiums down, as this may result in a future claim being rejected);

• the nature of your motorcycle (including the make and engine size etc) – motorbike insurance quotes for bigger and more powerful machines may tend to carry commensurately bigger and more powerful price tags;

• your licence details – if you are a young rider or have held your licence for only a short period of time, you may need to be realistic and assume that you will be paying a higher price for your insurance than someone who is older and with more experience;

• your security measures – motorbike insurance quotes may be a little more cost-attractive if you are able to indicate that you have fitted additional security devices to your bike and/or securely garage it overnight in a locked premises;

• details of any modifications to the bike – insurers are traditionally uneasy about bikes that have been modified away from the manufacturer’s original specification – so those new extended forks may look cool on your machine but you may have to anticipate a detrimental effect on the cost of your insurance;

• details of any no claims discount you may hold – this may be particularly appropriate if you are considering changing from one insurer to another, as any cumulative discounts you have may be transferable (there is little point in making a false declaration in this area, as the new insurer will typically require evidence to support your assertion);

• information relating to any claims you have made recently – related to the above points, insurers may wish to see whether or not you have a history of accidents and claims (they may also have their own sources for checking this particular point of detail);

• the final declaration that the information you have provided is accurate – remember that insurers may have ways of checking the truth of your statements and particularly in the event of a subsequent claim, making a false insurance declaration, as part of seeking motorbike insurance quotes, may be considered to be a prosecutable offence. You may also find it very difficult to obtain motorcycle insurance in future if you are caught out in being economical with the truth.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Flannol

Cheap Horse Insurance Quotes

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Why do you need horse insurance?

Owning a horse can be a huge financial undertaking, and whether your animal is a beloved pet or a business venture it makes sense to protect your investment. Horse insurance may not be a legal requirement but it’s advisable to invest in a suitable level of cover – if the unexpected should happen then the costs can be devastating, but with adequate insurance in place you can be confident that everything is under control.

There are plenty of things you need to be prepared for when it comes to horse ownership, because if your horse was to be involved in an incident that caused unexpected costs you’d be held liable. It’s for precisely this reason that you need to invest in adequate insurance – those costs could quickly add up, and whether your horse caused a traffic accident or kicked out at someone you could be facing hefty compensation claims. But, you also need to be prepared for any unexpected veterinary bills or any additional costs should the worst happen, and having adequate insurance in place will help ease the financial burden.

Features to include in your policy

There are a number of different features you might like to include in your policy depending on your circumstances and budget, and here are just a couple that should be at the top of the list:

• Public liability cover. This should always be considered as it will protect your finances against any third party claims, and considering the litigious nature of our society it makes sense to be prepared.
• Cover for veterinary fees. Vet bills can be incredibly expensive particularly with an animal of this kind, and for many owners paying those costs can often be difficult. That’s why it’s advisable to be insured for any medical treatment to ensure you don’t get a nasty shock when the bill arrives, giving you the peace of mind you need during an already difficult time.

Of course, if you’re insuring your horse you’ll probably want to incorporate cover for the rider too, making personal accident cover an important addition to any policy. This can be extended to include anyone riding or even handling the horse to ensure complete protection, putting your mind at ease no matter who’s involved. Make sure to consider the cost of any essential equipment as well – it’s often wise to include cover for saddlery and tack should theft, damage or vandalism occur, and you’ll also want to look into the option of cover for any horseboxes and trailers to ensure everything’s taken care of.

It doesn’t have to stop there either, and there are a number of additional features that you might like to consider depending on whether your horse is solely used for leisure purposes or has more financial importance. Permanent loss of use can be a valuable addition should the horse be unable to continue with its insured activity, and although not nice to think about, it’s important to be prepared for the death of the horse too – you can often have a policy extension that can be put towards the cost of removal, burial or cremation, offering valuable financial backup during a difficult period.

The importance of seeking the specialists

As you can see from the number of considerations you’ll have to make, arranging horse insurance isn’t always easy. The sheer range of choice on offer and the number of different policy features means it’s vital that you speak to specialist insurance companies – you need a policy that can give you the exact level of cover that you need but it’s also good to know that you’ve got experts you can call on to provide additional support, and they always need to be able to offer bespoke policies that can be built around you. This ensures total protection yet also means you’re only paying for the cover you require, so always discuss your needs thoroughly with your insurer to make sure you’re left with the perfect policy.

How to find the quotes that you need

The best way to source potential quotes may be to head online. This will make things far easier as you’ll be able to do your research at a time that suits you, and the number of different companies out there means you’ll soon find one that could meet your needs. You’ll want to search based on a combination of your budget and the features you want to include, and always remember to compare the options if you want to find a good deal  – it’s only by performing comparisons that you can be sure you’re making the right decision, because it’s vital you’re left with a policy that offers an adequate level of cover at a price you can afford.

But, getting the right cover doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune, because if you spend the time to look you’ll soon see where savings can be made. Different insurance companies will be able to offer different features and as such will have different prices, so always see what’s out there and you’ll soon find the deal that is right for you. Make sure to look for added discounts as well if you want to save even more, and if you insure more than one horse under the same policy you’ll often be able to enjoy even better savings – that’s why researching is so important, because if you spend the time to look you’ll soon be able to track down some great deals.

Have peace of mind and protect your horse at the same time

It’s never nice to think of the unexpected happening, but it’s important to be prepared for anything that could come around the corner. Your horse deserves that extra protection and so does your bank balance, so make sure to invest in adequate horse insurance and you can have the peace of mind you need that you’re doing the best you can for your animal.

Car Hire Excess Insurance

When you’re hiring a car, either in the UK or abroad, investing in adequate insurance is essential. But, don’t think that a basic policy will be sufficient – even if you accept the cover offered by the car rental company you could still lose out, because you’ll still be required to pay the excess fee. This will often vary according to the conditions stipulated in your rental agreement but could be anything from £100 to £2,000, a figure that could well be difficult to pay, and that’s why investing in additional car hire excess insurance is often preferable.

This type of policy will safeguard your liability to ensure you don’t have to pay any excess costs out of your own pocket. It can be a huge weight off your mind when you’re hiring a car, because as much as we like to think otherwise, accidents can and do happen. It’s important to be prepared whenever you’re on the road but could be even more so in a hire car situation – you won’t be in charge of any repair arrangements and the fees could quickly add up, and even if the damage wasn’t your fault the excess will still need to be paid and you’ll be responsible for it. But, with the right level of protection you won’t have to worry, leaving you free to get on the road in confidence.

What can be included in a policy?

Policies such as these are often very specific in terms of the type of protection they offer, and at the most basic end of the scale you simply need to make sure that you’ve got a level of cover equal to the value of your excess. Many policies offer cover up to £3,500 per claim, for example, and usually this will be perfectly sufficient to ensure you won’t lose out should the worst happen. You can always discuss your needs with your insurer to make sure you’re getting the level of protection that you need, and depending on your circumstances you might want to look for additional levels of protection as well – some policies will offer even more to ensure you’re ready for anything, with things like lost key cover and towing costs offering total protection.

There are a few things you’ll need to remember when searching, however, and the first is to consider how often you’re likely to need the services of a hire car. If you’ll only use it for a single trip or holiday then daily cover will be more than adequate, with many individual policies being able to cover a single rental agreement for complete ease of use. But, if you travel a lot you might want to look into the option of annual cover – this could easily save you money and you’ll also save time as well, because without having to arrange a new policy each time you can enjoy optimum convenience. You’ll also want to consider whether or not you’re staying in the UK, are travelling to Europe or even further afield – your location will often have an impact on the level of cover you need and the price you pay, so always be aware of any restrictions and give your insurance firm as much information as possible.

Find a tailored quote to meet your needs

But, as with any type of insurance policy, it’s essential that you choose wisely. You don’t want to go through the hassle of searching for quotes only to realise that you haven’t actually got the level of protection that you’re looking for, so always make sure that your potential insurance company can tailor their policy according to your needs. This not only ensures you’re getting the perfect level of protection but can also mean you’re not wasting money on policy features that aren’t necessary, so always spend the time to look and discuss your requirements thoroughly.

Luckily there are plenty of specialist insurers that will be able to accommodate and if you head online you’ll soon find one that can meet your needs. Many insurers will be able to offer instant quotes to save time and hassle, and you could even arrange the whole thing online for the height of convenience. As long as you spend the time to look and compare the options you could have the policy that you need in no time, offering the perfect solution for complete peace of mind.

Reasons to invest in this type of cover

Still need convincing? Then here’s a quick overview of the benefits you can enjoy once you’ve sourced suitable cover:

• You’ll be reimbursed for any excess charges should damage occur, and considering the level of many excess agreements you could save huge amounts of money.
• Unlike most basic hire car insurance policies, this additional level of cover will normally include damage to tyres, windows and the underbody of the vehicle as standard.
• You can tailor your policy according to your needs, with annual policies helping you save money if you hire cars frequently.
• Additional options could include cover for towing costs, misfuelling, lost keys, baggage, personal accident and many more for total protection.
• Choosing cover from specialist suppliers will often be far cheaper than accepting the policy offered by car rental companies so you can save even more.

Hire your car in confidence

When you’re hiring a car, be it for business or pleasure, the last thing you want to think about is your financial obligations. But, it’s vital to be prepared whenever you’re on the road because you never know what’s around the corner, and investing in sufficient car hire excess insurance is essential. It can give you total peace of mind that everything is under control and will that you won’t have to lose out should any damage occur, so make sure to never underestimate this type of insurance if you want to be wholly confident that your finances are properly protected and you’ll be free to enjoy your trip without a thing to worry about.

Foreign Overseas Property Insurance

Be prepared with foreign property insurance

There’s nothing better than being able to invest in foreign property, but whether you’re moving abroad permanently or simply want a holiday home there’s one thing you always need to remember – foreign property insurance is vital. You want to protect your investment just like you do with a home in the UK so having adequate cover is essential, but in this area it’s even more important to be prepared. Insurance obligations will often be different for a foreign property so it’s essential you’ve got a specialist policy that can accommodate, and if you look wisely and are aware of your responsibilities you can be confident that your home is as safe as possible.

Types of policy you might need

There are plenty of different policies you might need depending on your circumstances and the type of property that you own, and here’s just a quick overview of some of the most common types available:

Overseas holiday home insurance. This is specifically designed for homes that aren’t going to be lived in year-round, and could be tailored to include the option of holiday lets and rentals. You’ll ideally want a policy that includes buildings and contents cover as standard, but there are plenty of additional options you might need as well – public liability, for example, will be vital if you let out your home to paying guests, but you’ll also want to look for things like temporary accommodation cover, loss of rent protection and cover for any emergency travel that could be necessary. Make sure that you’re aware of any limitations regarding occupancy and letting rules as well, and always ensure you discuss your needs thoroughly with your insurer for a tailored and adequate quote.

Expat insurance. If you’re planning to completely relocate abroad then you’ll have different insurance obligations once again, and it’s essential you’ve got a policy that meets your precise needs. Buildings and contents cover will be just the beginning, and depending on where in the world you’re going you’ll probably need to be prepared for different risks than usual – storms, hurricanes, floods and similar concerns could all be apparent, so having a policy that covers all these things is essential. You’ll need to make sure you’re fully aware of any restrictions that are in place as well, and also remember to look for any additional policy features that could give you additional peace of mind.

Title insurance. Title ownership is often a tricky business in foreign countries, and unlike in the UK it isn’t State guaranteed. This can cause any number of different issues – someone could approach you and claim to be the real owner, for example, or you might find it difficult to sell because you’re unable to prove legal ownership – and if your ownership were to be challenged it could be expensive to rectify. Not all foreign lawyers will be covered for this type of scenario either, so having your own form of title insurance is essential. This type of policy will cover you in the event that another person makes a claim on your home, if your ownership is threatened, if documentation proves invalid, if someone builds a structure that encroaches on your land and even if you’re found to have no legal right of access to your home – all of these risks (as well as others depending on your individual policy) can be prepared for, and considering the difficulties that could arise it makes sense to be prepared.

Choose specialist insurers for complete protection

The legality of owning a home abroad is often vastly different to owning one in the UK, and that’s why you need an insurance company that’s aware of the nuances and difficulties that could arise. They need to be fully versed in all aspects of foreign property ownership and all necessary insurance obligations to ensure you’re getting advice and support you can trust, and they need to provide an exceptional level of cover in the process to ensure complete protection. Seeking the specialists may take a bit more research than normal but it’s bound to be worth it, because once you’ve found the perfect company you can be safe in the knowledge that your property is in good hands.

But, don’t think that you need to seek a foreign insurance company in order to get that level of expertise, because that can often be a huge mistake. The language barrier will only be the start of your worries and you could well find that you’re not fully aware of your level of protection or of the restrictions in place, and there’ll be nothing worse that needing to make a claim without knowing which way to turn. Having inadequate cover is a very real possibility, but choosing a specialist UK-based firm will avoid all of those potential issues – they’ll have all the expertise necessary to ensure you’ve got the perfect quote, and will also be able to provide additional support when you need it most. You’ll have the peace of mind you need to know that everything is under control, and when you’re in a foreign country that can be invaluable.

Invest in adequate protection and have the peace of mind necessary

Concerns about your foreign property can create a huge amount of pressure that simply isn’t warranted, because if you have the right insurance policy in place you can be confident that your home is as safe as possible. There are plenty of different policies you might need to consider depending on your requirements but as long as you seek specialist companies you can’t go wrong, and even if you’re not completely sure of the type of cover you’re after they’ll be able to help. As long as you discuss your needs with your insurer and give as much information as possible you’ll be able to have the perfect policy that can accommodate, so get searching and you’ll soon be able to enjoy your foreign home without having a thing to worry about.

UK listed building home/holiday home insurance

Protect your home with UK listed building home/holiday home insurance

Your home is your castle, sometimes literally, and it goes without saying that you’re going to want to protect it as best you can. Insurance will be a vital purchase and even more so if it’s a listed building – you’ve got vastly different insurance obligations to regular homes and will have to prepare for the additional risks accordingly, so investing in specialist UK listed building home insurance is essential.

This type of insurance has been specially designed for the needs of listed buildings, and given the historical significance of many of these homes it’s even more important to be prepared. You need to make sure that you’re protecting the building as much as its contents, and if you use it as a holiday home (or rent it out to guests) you’ll have different insurance obligations again. Having UK listed building home/holiday home insurance that can meet your needs should be at the top of the agenda, and doing so can ensure you’re protecting your home as much as possible.

What to include in a policy

There are a whole range of things you’ll need to include in a policy of this kind and the features you’ll want will often differ according to your precise circumstances, but buildings and contents cover should always come first in your estimation. This is central to any home insurance policy and is even more important with listed buildings as you need to make sure you’ve got cover that can accommodate your specific type of construction, and always think about contents cover as well (particularly if you rent your home out to other people).

You of course need to make sure that all possible perils are included in your policy, and from here you’re free to choose additional features according to your needs. Some are optional extras whereas others will be essential, and if you let your property out you’ll need to invest in public liability cover as well – this is vital if you’re dealing with members of the public as any claims could be incredibly damaging, so always make sure you’re properly prepared by having a high level of protection in place.

Find the quote that’s right for you

In the past it was often difficult for owners of listed buildings to find suitable insurance, for the simple reason that insurance companies were reluctant to take on board such a potentially costly dwelling. The method of construction would have caused the most difficulty – these buildings are highly likely to have been built using out-of-date methods and/or from materials that aren’t readily available, meaning that any claims are likely to be much higher than for regular buildings. Specialist materials would need to be sourced and restoration experts would often have to be called in, and that meant many insurers wouldn’t even consider offing cover.

This isn’t the case anymore. These days there are plenty of insurance firms that will be able to accommodate your needs, and while it could take a bit of extra research it’s bound to be worth it in the end. With specialist insurance you can be confident that your home is properly protected and that you won’t have to spend a fortune should things go wrong, and if you head online to see what’s out there you’ll soon be able to find a few potential quotes that could provide just what you’re looking for.

Choose tailored options from specialist suppliers

Heading to specialise suppliers is the only way you’ll be able to find appropriate cover, but there’s another advantage to needing this type of company – they’ll be able to provide additional help and support as well. This can be invaluable with this type of building where it can often be difficult to know where to turn, but if you’ve got experts on the end of the phone line you can be confident that your home is in good hands.

But, you need to make sure that your potential firm can tailor their quote according to your individual needs. The very nature of these buildings means that a one-size-fits-all solution simply won’t be sufficient, because your home is likely to have very different needs to another in the same category. That’s why having a quote that’s built around you is absolutely essential, and not only will doing so ensure complete protection but you could well save some cash in the process as well.

Essential tips and points to remember

• Make sure to keep up with any maintenance requirements. Most listed buildings will need regular maintenance and restoration work to ensure they stay in good condition, so never fall behind with anything if you want to keep your insurance company happy and to reduce the likelihood of needing to make a claim.
• Don’t think you’ll have to spend a fortune to get adequate cover. While it’s often true that listed buildings insurance will cost more than a regular home insurance policy because of the higher insurance risk, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to break the bank. Make sure to do your research, compare all the options and always look for any additional discounts that can be offered, and don’t be afraid to haggle either – pitting a few companies against each other could work wonders.
• Consider “all risks” cover if you want complete peace of mind. With this type of building it’s important to be prepared, and that’s why opting for fully comprehensive cover is often advisable. With all risks protection you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re ready for any and all eventualities, and that peace of mind can be invaluable with a building of this kind.
• Make sure to double-check the small print. There’s nothing worse than making a claim only to find that you’re not covered for it, so always double-check the small print so you’re aware of any exclusions and limitations. This is particularly important with this type of building – the expense of any claims means you don’t want to lose out unnecessarily, so always know what you’re covered for and be prepared to increase your level of protection if necessary.

So, never underestimate the importance of having UK listed building home/holiday home insurance. The right policy can ensure your asset is properly protected to give you the peace of mind you need, leaving you free to enjoy your stunning property for years to come.

Bed and Breakfast Insurance

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Have complete peace of mind with bed and breakfast insurance

A bed and breakfast is a business much like any other, but with one key difference – it isn’t only your livelihood, it’s your home as well. This means it’s vital to be prepared for anything that could come your way to ensure your investment is properly protected, and in order to do that you need to look for comprehensive bed and breakfast insurance for complete peace of mind.

Having such a policy is essential as it provides valuable financial recourse should things go wrong. Not only do you need to be prepared for the usual risks that could befall a home (such as theft of contents or damage to the building itself), but you need to be prepared for commercial risks as well – your income is on the line and any third party claims or financial loss could be devastating to your business, so it’s essential you put plans in place to protect your finances from any possible issues.

What to look for in a policy

Given the importance of this type of guest house insurance, it’s essential you’ve got a comprehensive level of cover that can provide the protection that you need. Of course, you need to make sure that you’re getting a policy that’s tailored to your individual circumstances, but as a baseline you’ll probably want to look for the following

  • Public liability cover. This is essential when you’re dealing with members of the public – if they were to become injured or their property damaged as a result of your business (perhaps through a mistake or negligence of some kind) they’d be entitled to sue for compensation, but with this level of protection you may not have to pay claims out of your own pocket.
  • Employers’ liability cover. This is a legal requirement if you hire more than one employee, so if you’ve got cleaners or chefs on your payroll you’ll need to make sure you’ve got this level of cover in place. You’re responsible for their health and safety and if they became injured or ill as a result of their work you’d be held liable, and this cover protects you against any claims being made.
  • Business interruption. If your business couldn’t operate for any reason (perhaps due to damage from a flood or storm, for example) your livelihood could suffer, but if you’ve got this type of protection you’ll be able to recoup some of your losses.
  • Buildings and contents cover. This type of cover is essential in any home and a bed and breakfast is no exception, and it’s vital you’ve got adequate cover to include accidental damage caused by guests as well as all other necessary precautions.

This is of course just the beginning, and you could well find you need to alter your level of cover according to your individual business needs. That’s why it’s so important to head to specialist insurers who can built their policy around you – you need something that’s tailor-made to provide the precise level of protection that you need, not only ensuring you’re adequately protected but also making sure that you’re not wasting money on features that aren’t necessary.

This all comes down to research and finding the firm who can accommodate your requirements, and if you make sure to look for additional benefits (such as 24-hour claims lines, the option of paying by monthly Direct Debit instalments, instant quotes and swift claims processes) you’ll have a policy that satisfies on all levels. Always head online to see what’s out there – it’s here you’ll have access to a huge range of options and will often be able to find great deals in the process, and with many insurance companies letting you arrange your policy there and then you’ll have the perfect level of cover before you know it.

Be prepared for any exclusions and limitations

As with most insurance policies, there will always be certain exclusions and limitations buried in the small print somewhere. It’s vital to be aware of these before you sign on the dotted line as if you’re not familiar with them it could come as a huge shock should you need to make a claim – it could easily mean the claim you were relying on won’t be upheld, and while each insurance company will be slightly different in terms of what they offer, here are just a few things you’d be wise to double-check:

  • Are you required to keep your property in a good state of repair? Failing to stay on top of any maintenance issues could cause problems with your insurance firm and could affect the validity of your policy.
  • Is your bed and breakfast situated near a river, quarry, watercourse or cliff? Some insurance companies won’t even offer cover if you’re a certain distance from any of these features, and don’t think about omitting that information either – not only will any claims be invalid but you’d have wasted money in the process.
  • Has your property ever suffered from subsidence, or is it in an area known to be afflicted with it? This could mean your insurance premiums are drastically affected and you may not be offered cover at all, and again, if you don’t disclose that information it could prove damaging in the long run.
  • Do you need to inform your insurer of any change to the property? Most insurance companies will stipulate that they need to be kept up-to-date of any changes, such as extensions or an increase in the number of bedrooms (as some will have limits on the number of rooms they’ll insure), so always make sure to comply.

Protect your investment as you serve your customers

As a bed and breakfast owner you’re dedicated to providing an exceptional standard of service to your guests to ensure they have a holiday to remember, but it’s important to think of yourself as well. Investing in adequate bed and breakfast insurance is essential and will ensure you can give customers a great experience without having any financial concerns at the back of your mind, so always make sure to source a suitable policy and you can protect your investment and run your business in confidence.

Holiday Home and Holiday Chalet Insurance

Protect your investment with holiday home and holiday chalet insurance.

If you own a holiday home it’s essential you’ve got insurance in place to protect your investment. Doing so will ensure the building and everything within it is protected from any eventuality, and it makes sense to be prepared – it’s subject to the same risks as any other kind of home and vandalism, accidental damage, theft of possessions and a whole range of other risks could all be apparent, so give yourself added peace of mind by investing in a high level of holiday home or holiday chalet insurance and you can be confident that your investment is properly protected.

What should be included in my policy?

A policy of this kind needs to offer complete protection, and because holiday homes come with slightly different requirements to regular homes it’s important to be fully prepared. For example, you won’t be there year-round so you need to make sure it’s insured both when unoccupied as well as when it’s occupied, and if you let it out for certain months of the year you’ll have different insurance obligations once again. Because of differences such as these a regular home insurance policy simply won’t be sufficient, and here are just a few things you might want to look for in a policy of this nature:

• Buildings and contents cover. This can cover any damage to the property and its contents caused by fire, theft, storm, flood, loss or vandalism, with an extension of accidental damage cover often being available.
• Cover during periods of unoccupancy, being an essential consideration if you’re not there year-round.
• Lock and key replacement.
• Public liability cover. This is vital if you let your property out to guests during the year, thereby ensuring you’re not held financially liable should they be injured or their property become damaged whilst staying there.
• Loss of rental income protection should the property be unavailable.
• Cover for temporary accommodation.
• Legal expenses cover. Not essential, but well worth considering if you rent your property out as if any claims were to be made the legal fees could quickly add up.

These are just a few things you’ll want to look for when choosing your policy, but as is the case with so many insurance products it all comes down to personal circumstances. It’s essential that you’re left with a policy that meets your precise requirements because a one-size-fits-all solution simply won’t be adequate, so always make sure your policy is tailored according to your individual needs if you want to be confident in its suitability.

How to find the perfect quote…

Despite the various considerations of this type of policy, finding a quote that meets your needs doesn’t have to be difficult. All it takes is a bit of careful research and a thorough understanding of what you’re looking for, and if you head online you’ll soon be able to find plenty of different options. It’s the perfect solution as it’s here you’ll have access to all the best quotes and will be free to browse at your leisure, and if you make sure to compare all the available options you’ll soon find one that’s perfect for your needs.

Seek the specialists to help

But, if you really want to be confident in your decision, you’ll need to seek specialist insurers to help. You’ll invariably need additional advice before you make your final decision and that can only be sought from experts in the field, and likewise it’s only experts that will understand the nature of this type of policy – it’s essential you’re fully prepared for any eventuality, and the only way you can look forward to having complete protection is if you get a tailor-made policy from the holiday home specialists.

Sourcing holiday home insurance – points to remember…

There are plenty of additional considerations you’ll need to bear in mind if you want to be certain you’ve found the right policy, and here are just a few final points to remember when searching:

• Make sure to give your potential insurance firm information that’s as accurate as possible. This is the only way to ensure you’ve got adequate cover and also makes sure your claim won’t be nullified, and always remember to include any outbuildings and swimming pools – they can all make a difference to your quote and the level of protection you need, so don’t leave anything out if you want total peace of mind.
• Always get a policy that’s tailored according to your individual requirements. Each holiday home is different and as such each insurance policy should be different too – it’s essential you’ve got a bespoke policy that’s been built around you and your circumstances, not only ensuring you’re adequately protected but also making sure you’re not spending money on cover you don’t need.
• If you’re renting your holiday home out to paying guests when you’re not there, always make sure that you abide by necessary regulations. Failing to do so could have severe consequences and could mean that your insurance policy is null and void, so always check the small print and any legislation guidelines to ensure full compliance.
• Make the most of any discounts you can find. With budgets becoming more important than ever before it’s essential you’re not wasting money on insurance, so always make sure you take advantage of any discounts offered. This could be anything from no claims bonuses to discounts if you have added security at your property, so always see what can be offered and don’t be afraid to haggle to get costs down even further.

Ultimately you need to make sure that you’re getting a comprehensive policy at a price you can afford, and as long as you spend the time to research and compare the available options you could soon have the perfect policy for your needs. Choosing wisely will ensure you can enjoy your holiday home for years to come and with added income potential it’s vital to make sure everything is in order, so always invest in a suitable holiday home or chalet insurance policy and you can be confident that you’re protecting your investment as best you can.

Collectors urged to get the correct level of home contents insurance

Two wedding rings and a freedom ring

A MoneySupermarket home contents insurance expert is stressing the need to find out the exact worth of any valuables before getting annual cover after research revealed that the average British household currently insures over £3,500 of gold items among other treasured belongings.

Findings by the Monitor, which delivers analysis and insight into home insurance, show that Brits are collecting all sorts of antiques and rare objects as long-term investments at a time of economic uncertainty for some many people.

Nearly three million home insurance quotes were examined between June 2010 and May 2011 and as well as insuring 10 per cent more gold than last year, average households are also getting cover for coin and medal collections worth over £4,400 each, stamp collections worth £6,138, art or paintings worth £4,209, furs worth £2,819 and almost £3,500 of antiques. An average of £3,619 is also being spent on ‘curios’ and these are rare and interesting items.

Julie Fisher is the head of home insurance at MoneySupermarket and is urging collectors of all paraphernalia to correctly value their belongings or risk being left without adequate insurance.

She said: “The era of ‘Rule Britannia’ is alive and well but whether people have inherited valuable heirlooms, or have scoured shops and markets to unearth valuable retro treasures, it’s crucial to understand how underestimating the overall value of home contents could leave you underinsured and severely out of pocket.”

Fisher continued: “This ‘hoarding’ is an interesting phenomenon seemingly borne out of our current difficult economic times.

“Perhaps many are shunning more traditional savings routes, buying gold and antiques rather stashing their money in the bank. It seems we are all looking at our possessions and scrutinising their proper value, keeping and insuring things that we may have thrown away or sold.

“Also, with the price of gold hitting close to a staggering high of $1,900 an ounce, it’s interesting that many homes in Britain are holding onto their gold, rather than selling it for cash as many have done in the past.”

Laptops (42 per cent) proved to be the most frequently insured individual items by homeowners in spring 2011, followed by bicycles (22 per cent) and jewellery (19 per cent).

The Monitor is also reporting that the average annual buildings and contents insurance premium now currently stands at £152.44 following a decrease in price of 0.4 per cent from June 2010 to May 2011.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Gray Marchiori-Simpson

A Detailed Overview of Touring Caravan Insurance

Colorful Roulotte Sculpture

Touring caravan insurance is an essential purchase for anyone that intends to take their caravan on public roads. It’s there to provide valuable financial backup in the event of an accident or any kind of damage occurring, and whilst some car insurance policies will include this level of cover it’s often wise to go for a separate policy if you want complete peace of mind.

What should be included in a policy?

There are always different levels of cover to choose from depending on your needs, ranging from basic third party protection to fully-comprehensive cover that ensures you’re ready for anything. The type of policy and the added extras that you’re looking for will often come down to a combination of budget and personal circumstances, but the following will always be worth looking for in any kind of policy:

• New for old cover.
• Breakdown assistance.
• European cover.
• Accidental damage cover.
• Windscreen protection.
• Legal and medical expenses cover.
• Storm damage protection.
• Cover for alternative accommodation.
• Public liability.
• Contents and personal effects cover.
• 24-hour claims lines.
• “All risks” protection (including fire, theft, accidental damage, storm and flood cover).

These are just a few things worth thinking about when searching for your policy, but always remember that different caravan insurance companies will be able to offer different levels of protection accordingly. That’s what makes research so important, and if you spend the time to look you’ll have a much better chance of finding the policy that suits your needs.

How to find your perfect quote

In order to find the perfect quote you’re going to need to scour the market thoroughly. Doing so gives you a far better chance of finding the policy that’s suitable, and never be tempted to save time by opting for the first quote you come across – this will invariably mean you’re left with a policy that’s inadequate, so if you want complete peace of mind make sure to spend the time to look.

This needn’t be that time-consuming though, because if you head online and seek specialist price comparison sites you’ll be able to find the perfect quote before you know it. Comparing the options is key and will ensure you’re left with a quote that gives you the perfect level of cover at a price you can afford, and if you make sure to carefully look at the policy features and price of each quote you’re bound to make the right decision.

There are a number of things you’ll need to bear in mind when searching for your policy, however. The first one is to be aware that your postcode will often affect the quote you’re given, with certain areas being deemed to be more of an insurance risk than others. You’ll also have to provide totally accurate information to ensure the validity of any subsequent claims, and always remember to check the small print of your policy so you don’t get any nasty shocks – exclusions and limitations will always be apparent, so it’s essential to know exactly what’s covered before you head off on your holiday.

Essential tips to reduce your premiums

Once you’ve done adequate research you’ll have a much better idea of the options available to you, but don’t think you have to spend a fortune to get a policy that meets your needs. Comparing the options is only the beginning – there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your premiums even further to result in extra cash in your pocket, and here are just a few you might like to try:

• Invest in as many security features as you can. Basic security precautions (e.g. hitch locks and having securely locked doors and windows) are essential and failing to have them could nullify your claim, but it’s often best to go for more advanced options such as burglar alarms and even satellite tracking devices. Not only will doing so ensure the safety of your caravan, but many insurance firms will be able to give you great discounts as you’ll be less likely to make a claim.
• Store your caravan securely when not in use, preferably in a locked garage or storage area. Again, this could result in fantastic discounts as theft and vandalism will be less likely.
• Become a member of a recognised caravan club. This many not seem that important initially, but it can actually be a great way to reduce your premiums. By signing up to one of these clubs you’re showing any potential insurance firm that you’re a responsible caravan owner who takes their obligations seriously, and you’ll often be given discounts accordingly.
• Increase your excess. Excess options aren’t always fixed and many insurance firms will let you choose your own level in order to reduce your premiums, and as long as you keep it realistic it can be a great way to keep costs down.

These options all require advance consideration if they’re going to be worthwhile, but spending the time to properly arrange everything can be one of the best things you do. Of course, there are plenty of simpler things you might like to try as well – haggling, for example, or simply keeping an eye out for any additional discounts – and if you bear in mind all the options you’ll be able to get the policy you’re looking for at a price to suit.


So, always remember the importance of investing in touring caravan insurance if you want complete peace of mind when you’re on the road. Not only is it a legal requirement to have your vehicle insured but it also makes sound financial sense, particularly when you consider the cost of your caravan and of the possessions contained within it, and with the right policy behind you you’ll find you don’t have a thing to worry about. Spending the time to search can make all the difference and can ensure you find the level of cover you need without spending a fortune, so head online and you’ll soon have the perfect policy that will leave you free to enjoy your holiday.

Creative Commons License photo credit: pedrosimoes7

Protecting your new business with public liability insurance


Developments around health and safety in the workplace in the United Kingdom are sparking fierce debate on the issue of employer responsibilities. The discussions taking place in the UK are shaping the future for businesses all over the world, as companies get to grips with what they need to do to protect their profits and their staff against the dangers of illness and injury. Many are asking important questions, such as what is public liability insurance?

Thanks to public liability insurance UK businesses have been well protected against the cost of insurance claims by employees who have been injured or taken ill in the work place. This type of insurance cover is very common in Britain and it is expected that most businesses purchase a premium as a matter of course.

But the harsh economic climate of 2011 is taking its toll on all businesses, big and small, and everyone is making cut backs where they can. Unfortunately, it is often the purchases made ‘just in case something goes wrong’ that come under close scrutiny when business owners are looking at where they can make quick and easy savings.

Those owners might look at their public liability insurance and see it as being ‘less-than-essential’, but they risk the wrath of their customers and the public at large.

Just this year in Ireland, no less than 14 member clubs of the Donegal Gaelic Athletic Association failed to renew their property and public liability insurance.

The Donegal Democrat reported that Naomh Ultan’s Terrence McGinley raised the matter at a county committee meeting.

He said: “It is highly irresponsible of these clubs not to have their property and public liability insurance. I don’t know who the clubs are, and for that matter my own club could be one of them, but it is not good enough and it is not on.

“What happens if a supporter or someone from another club or a member of the general public turns up at one of these grounds and gets injured and makes a claim – who is liable?”

The UK’s Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has delivered a word of warning to employers who may seek to take advantage of more relaxed health and safety laws as an excuse to not report workplace injuries.

APIL President David Bott told “It is only right that an employer, whose negligence has caused an injury to a worker, should meet the cost of the investigation into the incident. But there needs to be a mechanism which helps ensure that businesses abide by the rules and continue to report workplace injuries to the Health and Safety Executive.

“By making the failure to report workplace injuries a criminal offence, negligent employers will fear steep consequences for not complying. This will increase the onus on them to observe the rules properly, and not ignore them at the expense of workers’ safety.”

Creative Commons License photo credit: Garry Zeweniuk

Britain’s Postcode Lottery for Home Insurance

Thirty-27: Lucky?

Homeowners across Britain are experiencing differences to their home insurance premiums and it all seems to be based upon which postcode you live in.

Data from’s Home Insurance Monitor, compiling nearly 3 million home insurance quotes from summer 2010 to spring 2011 has found which areas are the biggest winners and which areas are the biggest losers when it come to home insurance premiums.

 Homeowners lucky enough to live in Jersey, South and East London and Norwich are enjoying the biggest reduction in their premium costs. Jersey saw the biggest reductions with their premiums being cut by 13% followed by South and East London with both areas enjoying a 7% reduction and Norwich 6%.

But why are these areas experiencing such decreases when other areas of the UK are having their home insurance premiums increased?

Julie Fisher, head of home insurance at explains: Our research shows some areas have seen more of a decrease in the cost of their premiums than others. Unfortunately, postcodes can dramatically affect how much people pay for their home insurance premium. For example in Jersey, one fifth of the population is retired, and low crime rates coupled with mild weather conditions means that the cost and frequency of claims are likely to be lower than other areas of the country. East London is undergoing significant regeneration and infrastructure improvements and insurers may be adjusting premiums as a result.”

Here is a table to show the 10 postcodes which saw the biggest decrease to their home insurance costs:

Postal Area Region/City Summer 2010 Spring 2011 Change from Summer 2010 – Spring 2011
JE Jersey £148.38 £129.71 -12.58%
SE London SE £180.07 £167.43 -7.02%
EC London EC £147.80 £137.65 -6.87%
NR Norwich £134.12 £125.69 -6.29%
DT Dorchester £143.71 £135.10 -5.99%
EX Exeter £137.80 £130.48 -5.31%
LE Leicester £150.82 £142.92 -5.24%
IM Isle of Man £147.00 £140.00 -4.76%
WS Walsall £146.47 £140.30 -4.21%
CW Crewe £153.30 £147.00 -4.11%

Data sourced by

In contrast some areas are experiencing a large rise in their premiums, with Jersey’s Channel Island neighbours, Guernsey experiencing the biggest rise of 32% with Orkney and the Shetland Islands following with 21% and 20% respectively. But what, you might ask, are the reasons for this? Julie Fisher continues “In the case of Guernsey, Orkney and The Shetland Islands, home insurance cover in Summer 2010 was lower than the national average premium price. It is likely that insurers have brought these prices in line with the rest of the country, rather than responding to any specific ‘occurrences’ on these islands, although climate may play a part.

Other areas that experienced an increase to their home insurance include Llandrindod Wells, Stevenage and St Albans, Julie Fisher explains possible reasons for these increases “If your property is classified as being in a ‘high-risk’ area – whether for crime, flooding or even fraudulent claims – it will be reflected in your home insurance premiums. Living in a more affluent area will also increase premiums as property and contents values will generally be higher. Insurers use postcodes as a part of the overall risk factors when calculating premiums. Although there is very little you can do about the postcode in which you live, except move house, there are steps you can take to reduce your premiums, such as, installing a good home security system and security lighting.”

Here is a table to show the 10 postcodes which saw the biggest increase to their home insurance costs:

Postal Area Region/City Summer 2010 Spring 2011 Change from Summer 2010 – Spring 2011
GY Guernsey £119.73 £158.33 32.24%
KW Kirkwall £125.22 £151.58 21.05%
ZE Lerwick £131.78 £158.27 20.10%
LD Llandrindod Wells £127.69 £144.13 12.87%
SG Stevenage £140.29 £153.77 9.61%
AL St Albans £154.43 £168.03 8.81%
TF Telford £137.86 £147.00 6.63%
DA Dartford £161.29 £171.48 6.32%
SS Southend-on-Sea £171.66 £181.42 5.69%
CA Carlisle £139.54 £147.00 5.35%



Creative Commons License photo credit: LulaTaHula

Set Up as a Sole Trader


Setting up as a sole trader can be the simplest, and most rewarding, way to run a business. You won’t need to pay any registration fees and it’s straightforward to keep accounts and records. Most importantly, however, you get to keep all the profits. You will be on your own though, so it’s you alone that needs to make sure you are up to date with all legal requirements and have the appropriate business insurance in place. It’s also not without its risks as you’ll be personally liable for any debts that your business runs up, which can therefore make it a risky option for businesses that may need a lot of investment.

Raising finance

You’ll need to raise the money to get your business off the ground, by using your own assets and/or with loans from banks or other forms of lenders. This can be an extremely daunting prospect, so make sure you go in with a full business plan, get the amount you need to borrow right from the outset, and treat negotiating for money with the same passion and tenacity as you would do when trying to make a sale.

Business Insurance

While operating your business as a sole trader you’ll still need to ensure you have appropriate business insurance in place. In most instances this will be either public liability or professional indemnity insurance. With that in mind it’s worthwhile to seek professional advice on which is the most appropriate insurance for your business needs.

Tax and National Insurance

When setting up as a sole trader, you’ll be self employed, which means:

  • Your profits are taxed as income
  • You pay fixed-rate Class 2 National Insurance contributions (NICs) regardless of any profits you make
  • You pay Class 4 NICs on any profits
  • You need to register for Self Assessment and complete a tax return each year

Records and accounts

It is imperative that you keep records showing all your business income and expenses. When starting off it may be advisable to get in touch with a professional accountant who can provide you with all the details on how to keep your accounts professionally maintained and up to date.


One of the biggest factors to take into consideration when setting up as a sole trader is that you are personally responsible for any debts that are run up by your business. In reality, this means that your home or other assets may be at risk if your business runs into trouble.

>Creative Commons License photo credit: kylemac is owned by Mediamash (NI) Limited, who are an Introducer Appointed Representative of Seopa Ltd. The quote system is owned and operated by Seopa Ltd, who are authorised and regulated by the FCA, number 313860. You can view our registration at We do not give financial advice on this website. If in doubt get professional advice and always read the policy information before purchasing an insurance contract.