Archives for 2012

High percentage of taxi drivers do not have the proper insurance

A 2010 audit revealed that, in some parts of the country, 90% of taxis were not correctly insured, potentially voiding the insurance claims of injured passengers and
other drivers involved in accidents, and heightening the probability of taxi
drivers facing a loss of earnings if it was off the road.

While the National Private Hire Association dismissed the report as unrepresentative, an
incident in Sheffield earlier in the year suggested the problem was very real. Fifty taxi drivers were discovered to be plying their trade without the correct policies and the companies they worked for stopped offering them jobs until
they had remedied the situation.

Investing in taxi insurance is an essential part of running a taxi business. In fact it is a
legal requirement. Read on for more information.

What is taxi insurance?

Taxi insurance is really like a car insurance policy specifically set up to give taxi owners
the strongest cover possible. There are many variations grouped under the taxi
insurance umbrella that drivers can choose from. If you get your taxi insurance quote online, you can quickly see the effect of changing your requirements on the overall cost of your policy. It is compulsory to have third party insurance.

Private Hire Insurance and Public Hire Insurance

The kind of taxi driver you are or the type of taxi company you run will have a big impact on the type of policy you choose. If you only deal with customers who book your
service then you need a private hire insurance policy. This will tend to be cheaper than public hire insurance, which is needed by drivers of Hackney Carriages. Public hire insurance covers black cabs which can pick up passengers on the street as well as take appointments and because insurers view public hire as slightly riskier, it costs more.

Single and Multiple Vehicle Insurances

A single vehicle insurance policy is typically available to drivers between 21 and 70 who
operate a single vehicle as a private or public-hire taxi. Three types of cover are offered: third party, third party fire and theft and comprehensive.

Things get a bit more complicated if you need to insure multiple taxis. Fleet insurance policies require you to give examples of your individual drivers’ experience and claims
history. This is further complicated if you have different drivers using the
same car on a shift basis. The same three types of cover are provided. If you run a rural private hire taxi firm, keep your eyes peeled for rural policies.

What is covered?

As mentioned above, policies split into three types: third party, third party fire and theft
and comprehensive. Third party is the most basic, protecting pedestrians,
passengers and other drivers but not the policy holder. Third party fire and
theft adds protection against vehicles catching fire or being stolen. Comprehensive cover adds protection against accidental damage and windscreen

Personal Liability for Pets

  • If your pet damages another person’s property, you could be liable for the damage. Whilst you think that your precious dog is capable of no harm, you may find they create accidental damage that leads to significant financial responsibility.

As the pet owner, you are responsible for your pet’s behaviour. If your pet dog is unruly or dangerous, for example, you could find that you are to blame for any damage or destruction that they cause. Your dog might not intend to break a precious vase in a house your visiting, or knock over a small child– but these accidents can happen.

Out of character:

You may find that your dog behaves out of character if they are taken to new surroundings – this can include destructive or dangerous behaviour. Your dog might never urinate inside in your home, for example, but if your dog is put in an unusual place with people and surroundings he doesn’t recognise – he could cause damage and embarrassment with destructive behaviour.

Behavioural training:

If your dog is deemed to have antisocial behaviour, you may want to take them for behavioural training. “But that’s so expensive!” you may reply – what many people don’t realise, however, is that good pet insurance can sometimes cover the cost of behavioural training. Contact your pet insurance provider to confirm how much they can support the cost of behavioural training, as long as it is deemed necessary by a recognised vet.

The cost of bad behaviour:

If your dog does misbehave, you could incur significant costs for the damage they cause. Dogs can be particularly exuberant and energetic; and if that energy is misdirected, it can cause more damage than you might expect.

Pet insurance:

Pet insurance can help prevent damage from arising from bad behaviour, by financially supporting your animal through necessary behavioural training. If your dog still causes damage, then pet insurance could cover you for that cost too. Good pet insurance could protect you against 
legal liability for up to £2 million. This could cover your dog injuring, killing or passing an illness to someone not employed by you or a member of your family. This personal liability protection would also cover damage to another’s property, as long as the property isn’t not under your care or belonging to your family.

You should personally take direct responsibility for all your pet’s actions, as he or she could unwittingly cause damage and destruction. By taking out pet insurance, you may find that you can also protect yourself financially.

About John Lewis Insurance


With John Lewis Pet Insurance you can choose from four levels of cover for vet’s fees so you can find the right level for you and your pet. Visit for further information and a quote.

 Terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and eligibility criteria apply. A full copy of the policy wording and the insurance complaints procedure are available on request.

If you are disabled and would like to drive what is the first step?

If you have a disability, depending on it’s severity, you may well be used to facing challenges in your day-to-day life. Having a disability can be restrictive and frustrating. However, learning to drive, despite your disability can provide a kind of freedom you may not have experienced before. The feeling of freedom one feels when out on the open road is something that can bring real pleasure and joy. Depending on the severity of your disability, learning to drive is mostly exactly the same as it is for everyone else; take your lessons, take your theory and practical test and hey presto!

Age restrictions

The minimum age to learn to drive in the UK is 17, but if you receive the higher rate of Disability Living Allowance, including the mobility component you can start to learn to drive at 16. Furthermore, if you are aged between 16 and 24 you can get financial support to put towards the cost of driving lessons from a scheme called Motability.

Specialist instructors

When you have decided to learn to drive your fist step should be to seek out a professional driving instructor. Of course, all drivers should seek professional driving lessons, but as a disabled person, you may want to think about seeking out an instructor who has specialist knowledge of your specific needs. If possible try to find a driving instructor who has taken a specialist course in teaching disabled people. Always ask to see accreditation; instructors often take their special courses at Banstead Mobility Centre or the Transport Research Laboratory. Specialist instructors can teach you more than just how to drive. They can teach you how to get in and out of the car easily, how to get your wheelchair in and out of the car if you have one and how to use any adapted controls you may have. If your disability is minor, you may be able to learn in an unmodified car, or one that needs only minor alterations, making your search for an instructor and suitable vehicle slightly easier.


Once you have learnt to drive and have passed your test, you may want to buy your first car. Buying your first car is one of the most exciting things to do in life, but it comes with a big responsibility and considerable cost. Once you have decided on the car you want, adapted it where necessary and informed the DVLA of your purchase and circumstances, you will need to insure your car. It is unwise to assume that a regular insurance policy will meet the needs of a disabled driver. There are some insurers that specialise in insuring disabled people; Chartwell insurers are experienced and knowledgeable in the field of disabled motorist insurance. Their ‘Freedom’ range of disabled motorist policies offer highly competitive rates.  More so, you will not be asked to answer invasive and irrelevant questions about your disability .You can learn more about disabled motorist insurance by vising

Hidden costs of car insurance uncovered


Buying car insurance can be tricky, especially with the amount of different companies in the market and the range of different policies available to you. We all want to find the best car insurance quotes and may spend hours searching for what we think is the best deal, but what many of us may not realise is there can be significant costs hidden within your policy. So what are they and how can we avoid them?

Speeding Offences

In recent years car insurance companies have started to penalise drivers who are convicted of driving offences such as speeding or using a mobile phone whilst driving.

This can mean that on top of a paying a fine for such offences, drivers could face a considerable increase to their insurance premium in the months following their conviction. Drivers can help reduce, or in some cases even stop, this price hike by completing a speed awareness course or similar course depending on the nature of the offence.

Aside from driving offences, checking your insurance quote thoroughly before you buy could mean you avoid costly and unnecessary charges. Quite often quotes will be shown as a total price per year. However, be aware of interest rates if you decide to pay in instalments. Car insurance can be a costly affair so many people chose to pay in instalments, but if you can afford to pay for the year’s cover in one fell swoop then you could potentially save over £100.

Policy Adjustments

Policy adjustments are also an area where car insurance companies may charge you more than you’d expect. A simple change of name or address could cost you over £50 for each change made. Around Two thirds of car insurance companies will charge you for making any changes to your policy after you take it out.

Although this may seem steep, it is essential that you do tell your insurance company about any changes that affect your policy. It could prove to be much more expensive if your policy is incorrect as the insurance company could refuse to payout if you need to make a claim.

Cancellation charges

Finally, if you have to cancel your insurance policy mid way through the year, you may find that you get the remaining month’s payments back, but you could be charged a fee for cancelling your policy. On top of this you may also face increased premiums later on because you don’t receive any no claims discounts on future policies. By transferring your car insurance to another vehicle you could avoid these charges and also continue to build up a no claims bonus.

Other charges you may want to look out for are renewal or re-activation fees, which car insurance companies, justify as administration fees. These are uncommon but are definitely something to be aware of when you’re looking for car insurance quotes.

Employing Family Members

If you owned a small business back in the day, keeping it in the family was a no-brainer – in the same way that the eldest prince of a nation spends his life preparing to take over the throne, the eldest son of a business-owning family would’ve been trained up from birth to take over his parents’ little kingdom.

Nowadays, when more opportunities are available for everyone, personal ambition is more important and the laws of equality trump the traditions of ascension, having a family member take over your business is an altogether more complicated affair.

Public liability insurance

Perhaps you’ve always assumed that your son and daughter will join the family business, and their education and involvement in the company reflects this. Hopefully, this means they’ve got valuable experience and have already proven their worth to you and your team – your staff has faith in their abilities and their ambitions, and will support your decision to keep them around full time.

But it could mean that your offspring have never really considered alternatives to joining the family business, or your staffers have insights about their character which give them cause for concern. Talk to everyone – in depth – about what they expect and what you expect. Raising potential problems now will save time, hassle and relationships in the long run.

  1. 1. Separate earnings, shares and dividends

Your family member might have a share in the business, or otherwise profit from its running: it’s crucial you don’t take this into account when working out their salary. The money they earn is for the job they do, it’s not an extension of their pocket money or part of what is ‘owed’ to you. Dividends are also taxed differently to earnings, so it’s important they’re clearly defined income streams.

Also make sure you’re open about your business plans: do you want it to evolve and improve as a company, or just make it a valuable asset to sell on? Your family member hasn’t just got a financial interest once they’re employed by you: they’ve invested time and effort. You want to be on the same page or you risk alienating them.

  1. 2. Have a set appraisal, advancement and awards system for every employee – family and non-family

If you haven’t already got one, it might be helpful to employ someone from outside the family in a HR role. Having someone dedicated to employee wellbeing will give staff a place to turn when they’ve got concerns, without them feeling as though they’re in danger of crossing family lines. Yearly assessments of all staff, including yourself, will give people a chance to discuss any issues they have; if they’re handled by the HR department then you can’t be accused of nepotism or favouritism.

Which you’re less likely to be, if you have a bridge between you and your staff: not only will a person who’s objective and well-versed in conflict resolution, assessment procedures and employment law reassure them that the company is still professional and open, they’ll give you a sense of perspective when it comes to decisions about any family you employ. You need to make sure they’re advancing at a similar rate to everyone else, and not being promoted without it being reflected in an increase of their responsibilities.

  1. 3. Employ a small business consultant

The service that consultancy firms offer will be invaluable to you – find one that specialises in small or family-run businesses, and they’ll act as an impartial eye, a mediator and an advisor. If your son or daughter is looking to take over from you when you retire one day, it’s likely they’ll have ideas to modernise or do things differently: a consultant can help you balance the old with the new, help resolve any disputes and provide flexible solutions in difficult times.

Who should get personal accident insurance?

bike accident
Accidents can happen when we least expect it. In our day to day life we can be exposed and vulnerable to various risks and accidents which can happen at any time, causing bodily injury, disability or even death. While accidents cannot be avoided completely, even if you observe all safety measures and precautions, their impact can be reduced by monetary compensation if you take out personal accident insurance.

Personal accident insurance provides monetary compensation in the case of an accident, which can sometimes lead to death, injury, total or partial disability. This type of policy will cover accidents of all types and in many cases also incidents of terrorism. The various events covered under personal accident insurance are personal damage caused due to accidents in a variety of circumstances, such as on the road, rail and air, injuries due to fall or impact or collision, injuries due to drowning and poisoning and burns.

There are three main features to personal accident insurance which you should be aware of to make sure that you are covered in all eventualities.

Death Due to Accident
If the policy holder dies in an accident, the amount assured under this policy is payable by the chosen insurer. However, it is important to note that if death takes place after 15 days of the accident the cause of death could be contested and therefore the insurance company may not entertain the claim. To avoid this, if you do suffer an accident be sure to make sure medical notes are taken by your doctor, as well as keeping personal notes, evidence and photos.

Permanent or Partial Disability
If the insured party sustains injury in an accident and therefore becomes physically disabled either partially or wholly, the insurer is liable to pay compensation to the insured party, depending on the seriousness and intensity of the disability. However, the claim becomes payable only if the disability of the insured party continues beyond 180 days. If the injured party is able to work and is not impaired after 180 days, they will not be entitled to receive any claims.

Disability Due to Severed Limbs
If an accident should result in the severance or removal of upper or lower limbs of the policy holder’s body, thus causing permanent disability then they are entitled to receive compensation as per the terms and conditions assured in the policy. The compensation for loss of limbs are as follows:

  • For loss of one leg or one hand, the compensation payable is 50% of the assured sum.
  • For loss of both hands and one leg, the entire assured sum as per the chosen policy, is payable in full as compensation.

It is vital to note that there are a variety of incidents which are not covered under policies, and therefore the policy holder will not receive any personal injury compensation, these include:

  • Natural Death.
  • Injury of disability that is due to suicide, intentional suicide or intentional self-injury.
  • Due to participation in extreme sports such as bungee jumping, mountaineering, hot air ballooning etc.
  • Acts that are done with criminal intention or are against the law.
  • Arrests or detention by the law.
  • War, civil disturbance or an attack by a foreign country.
  • Anything related to childbirth and pregnancy.
  • Any injury caused by the ingestion of alcohol or drugs.

When choosing  personal accident insurance, make sure that you read the finer details and understand policy restrictions completely before deciding on what course to take. Many insurers also advise that you take out insurance for your entire family, so that you are covered for a wider variety of accidents.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Oneras

Top tips for buying non standard insurance

Alan Boswell Group

Alan Boswell Group

Being in business for yourself is the dream of many offering the opportunity to innovate, be your own boss, work the hours that you want and build something to be proud of. The downside is all that responsibility on your shoulders with the need to market the business, do the work and deal with any problems all ending up at your door. It’s imperative to have adequate insurance cover in case the worst happens. Thankfully it’s possible to obtain cover for disasters, both small and large, enabling you to have the peace of mind and sleep well at night.

Some types of insurance are essential whatever your business. For example, Employers Liability Insurance is a legal requirement in UK for all businesses that are not single man operations or employ only close family members. This cover will protect you against claims made by employees due to accidents at work. Public liability insurance is not a legal requirement but it’s recommended if you interact with the public at all. This includes any work done outside of your premises and protects you in the event of you causing damage to property or people. It will also indemnify you against claims made by members of the public who have an accident whilst on your premises.

Some businesses will have specific requirements to cover them adequately. For example, farming is a tremendously rewarding vocation but can be a tricky business at the best of times. With costs on the rise and profits hit hard farmers need to have great farm insurance to protect against the unexpected.

A farm is an intricate machine with many  interlocking processes; machinery, livestock, crops, people and most importantly weather. A break in the chain, something as simple as a broken tractor can have reverberations throughout all of the work that needs to be done. It may be something as big as a threshing machine, or as small as a laptop but it’s essential to be able to recover quickly from such situations and get back to work as soon as possible. Both Material Damage Insurance and Mechanical and Electrical Breakdown Insurance may come into play depending on the situation, enabling you to seek replacements or repairs and get on with the task in hand. Crops and livestock can be protected as well. In the UK, Insurance against hail damaged crops is vital, as is insurance for livestock against diseases such as bovine tuberculosis, foot and mouth and brucellosis. Commercial property insurance should also be considered to cover farm buildings.

Additional cover may be required when pursuing activities beyond traditional farming. For example, farms that are open to the public will require extended liability cover or those intending to host hunting, fishing and shooting events will require specialized insurance for this type of activity.

Likewise, pub landlords have a very specific set of needs that are best met with specialised pub insurance. With such diversity in opening hours, styles of properties, locations and business sizes it pays to get advice from a specialized broker.

Top Tips for Getting Cheap Van Insurance

Broken Window Theory, burgled fish van, Hackney, London, UK.jpg

The cost of keeping your van on the road is creeping up all the time and it is difficult to know where to start cutting costs. Like the MOT and road tax, van insurance is required by law and you risk losing your vehicle if you drive without it. Unfortunately, cheap van insurance can be hard to find, especially if you fall into a “high-risk” group such as young drivers. Luckily, there are several things you can do to reduce the amount you have to pay to insure your van or van.

Insurance companies work out how much insurance you pay, by deciding how much of a risk you and your vehicle are to insure. For example, if you park your van on the street outside your house and it has no type of alarm, you will pay more than a driver who parks off road and who has an alarm system. Where possible you should try to park your van on a driveway or, ideally, in a garage. This will reduce the cost of your van insurance premiums. Purchasing a simple alarm system from a van accessories specialist will also mean less money going towards your insurance. This way, the extra money goes towards your van and not towards an insurance premium you may never claim on.

Another way to get cheap van insurance is to ask for it. While you may not think your insurance company will reduce your payments, most companies will consider a reduced premium for valued customers. Insurance is very much a buyers’ market and if your insurance company will not budge on the quote they offer you, another company will be only too happy to take your business. You don’t need to wait till your premium runs out either, even if your policy still has months left to run you can ask the company for a deal. If they agree, you will receive a refund of any money owed to you.

Whether you need affordable cover for your van or cheap car insurance, using a comparison website means you can view a number of suitable policies in one place. It also means you can compare quotes between different companies, so you know you are purchasing the absolute best deal around. Some of the larger comparison services also have special deals that are only available if you purchase the policy with them. This means the cheapest van insurance for you may not necessarily be available straight from an insurance company. There are several comparison services available and you should get quotes from each one before deciding which the best is for you.

Creative Commons License photo credit: gruntzooki

Rise in burglaries pushing up home insurance costs


Burglary Infographic


New research by has identified the places in the UK where householders are most likely to claim on their home insurance policy due to being burgled or being the victim of theft.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the dubious honour of the worst burglary hotspot goes to London and the Stoke Newington area in the north of the city. The N16 postcode saw nearly 34 people in every 1000 making a theft-related insurance claim.

With statistics such as these, it’s no surprise that customers who have recently searched for a moneysupermarket contents insurance quote, will be keen to properly protect their belongings and get a cost-effective and competitive price for their premium.

In joint second place were the postcodes B71, in West Bromwich in the Midlands and BD10, which covers the upmarket Apperley Bridge area of Bradford. Both had nearly 32 claims per 1000 people. Leeds and London have the most entries in the most burglary prone postcodes, but no areas in Scotland or Wales made it into the top 20.

The research was conducted using data from three-million home insurance quotes gathered on the site and covers the period from December 2010 to November 2011.

For the insurance companies, various factors, including the burglary rate in a particular postcode, are considered when they are working out how much to charge you for your policy.

There was better news, however, for people living at the opposite end of the burglary risk scale. The survey showed seventeen places where you are least likely to be burgled. They included Heston in Cornwall, Elgin in Moray and Peterlee in County Durham, which all recorded less than one claim per 1000 people.

If the burglary hotspot research does show that you live in an at-risk area, then you may want to take measures to upgrade the security of your home. However, wherever you live it’s important to protect your property from burglars and make it as difficult as possible for them to gain access to your home (including your garden, shed or garage) and take your belongings.

A few simple measures, such as having security lights and installing effective door and window locks, can all help to deter thieves from choosing your property to break into. A Neighbourhood Watch scheme is also a good idea – you could join an established one or, if none exists in your area, set one up.

Make sure you have adequate contents cover in place by accurately calculating the value of your possessions, just in case the worst does happen and you are burgled. You may need to update the policy if you buy new high-value items and you might also need additional cover for items that are regularly taken out of the home, such as jewellery or laptops.

Savings On Classic Car Insurance

 1966 Barracuda

Having proudly acquired my first classic car I was faced with the problem of finding suitable insurance, as the needs in respect of a classic car are specific and different from mainstream vehicles.

I need not have worried, the internet came to my rescue in the form of classic car insurance comparison sites. It is less than 13 years since it was difficult to access a large number of insurance companies in a short period of time. Often, people did not go beyond searching their yellow pages directory, and the local newspaper adverts.

With the development of personal computers and access to the internet for people of all income brackets, shopping for classic car insurance has completely changed.


Comparison sites offer a fabulous way to find suitable and reasonably priced insurance for your classic car. The main benefit is that you can compare quotes from a variety of car insurance companies simultaneously, from the comfort of your own home.

There are an overwhelming number of choices and it is helpful to narrow these down by focussing initially on websites that specialise in this type of insurance. The search can be widened to companies providing insurance for a range of vehicles, which include classic cars, if this becomes necessary.

Pointers to Finding Savings

Specialist cover is needed for classic cars and this includes elements of cover not available on a standard policy. Make sure you look for:

  1. Discounts for senior citizens if you are in that age group.
  2. Limited mileage discounts if you do not anticipate driving a high number of miles.
  3. Discounts for membership of a classic car owners club.
  4. Agreed value cover so you know the amount that will be paid in the event of a claim for total loss.
  5. Discounts for classic cars kept in a garage.

There are many benefits to using car insurance comparison sites, but you should be aware that not all insurance companies advertise on them, and consequently, carrying out a search of individual companies should not be ignored.

It is also important to compare like for like products, for example, one policy may appear cheaper than another, but on closer examination it may have a number of exclusions/restrictions, and a higher excess figure for the customer to pay than other policies.

Comparison sites are a useful tool for securing significant savings!

This guide was written by the editorial team at Classic Car Insurance. For more information – please visit our website at

Creative Commons License photo credit: Hugo90

Why is public liability insurance so expensive?

You have a fantastic business idea and are ready to leap into action. Whilst you are completely aware that you need public liability insurance until you start to get quotes, you have no idea just how expensive it can be. Hopefully the explanation below will help you understand why it’s so valuable and give you some tips on how to keep the costs down.

Public Liability insurance is essentially protection for you and your livelihood. It covers any costs  incurred through damages given to a member of the public because of an injury or damage to their property caused by you or your business. It also covers any related legal fees, costs, expenses or medical treatment.

To understand the value of this insurance we have listed some examples of when you might need to claim:

  1. You are a plumber. When visiting a customer, you install a hot water valve improperly and a child is burned by hot water. Perhaps you leave a tool behind and someone trips on it and breaks their arm. In both cases, bodily injury claims insurance would cover you against any claims the individual may make.


  1. You are a restaurant owner. A family comes for a nice meal and two of them suffer from food poisoning from accidental use of out of date ingredients. If found responsible you may have to compensate your customer, but the business is in its first year of profit and you really cannot afford to do so. Again you will be covered if you have public liability insurance.


  1. Obtaining a business insurance quote is vitally important, especially if you own a painting and decorating business. Your employee drops a tin of paint onto the customer’s carpet.  The insurance will cover the cost of replacing the carpet should a claim be made.


Cover does not always have to be expensive and can actually start from as little as £40 a year. You can make significant savings by shopping around and tailoring a package to suit your business needs. The amount of cover you need will vary according to your business type and several other factors, so it is best to speak to an advisor to see what suits you best. You can usually save money by using a previous no claims record to get costs down.

Public liability insurance isn’t compulsory, but will give you, as a business owner peace of mind. You can sleep soundly knowing that a small incident or mishap will not end up causing you thousands of pounds to put right. In today’s ‘no win, no fee’ claims culture it pays to be safe rather than sorry, as there are too many eager ambulance chasers who will try to profit from even the smallest mishap. 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.