Posts tagged home insurance
Going on holiday is an annual institution. It’s a time to relax, unwind and forget the cares of the world. But it’s also a great time for burglars. They know there are lots of empty properties around, and cruise the streets looking for easy homes to target. Worse still, they may also have been monitoring your behavior and waiting for you to leave.
There are some easy precautions you can take to deter burglars. But even the best security measures will not put off a determined burglar, so make sure your home insurance policy is fully paid up and that you have adequate cover. If you are going away for longer than two weeks, it is probably best to check with your insurance company that there are no exclusions likely to kick into action.
In an attempt to cut down the on number of break-ins while property owners are on holiday, Adrian Flux Insurance Services has put together six top tips to deter burglars.
- Make sure you have locked up properlyo look around for windows that may have been left open.
- Don’t leave garden tools outside, not only as they might get stolen but they may help the burglar gain access to your home.
- Burglars don’t like to be watched while they are breaking in, so cut back bushes to make sure there are no hiding places.
- Make your home looked lived in. Find a neighbour who can open and close the curtains, manage the post and clear up rubbish. If this is not possible there are timed switches for lighting on the market and even automatic timed curtain tracks for opening and closing the curtains.
- Move valuables away from the window so the inquisitive burglar won’t be able to assess what you’ve got. If you’ve got some spare time you could even follow this tutorial and make a false book to keep small valuables safe.
- Don’t put a name and address label on your luggage. This not only tells thieves you are not at home but also where to go to get your goodies. A mobile phone number is a better form of identification.
Take a look around at other sites on the web such as Response Electronics and Absolute Security. Although they are primarily selling security devices they do have some good information to offer. And for unbiased advice visit Crime Stoppers who, like Batman, are only interested in fighting crime.
Although E.M Forster’s novel ‘A Room with a View’ is essentially a comment on the repressed culture of Edwardian England, the sentiment of wanting to have a pleasant aspect outside the window still holds true. Any property with an outstanding view and especially those overlooking water command a premium price.
The Household Division of Adrian Flux Insurance Services arranges specialist home insurance for properties throughout the UK both for private householders and landlords. Flux is used to sorting cover for homes that may be just a little bit different from the run of the mill and has got to know where their clients go to find a home with a spectacular view .
- Waterside apartments in marinas offer relaxing retreats for those of the boating fraternity or for ‘would be boaters’ – those who just like to lounge around soaking up the atmosphere. Specialist agencies such as Waterside Properties have a great selection of homes from flats to waterside chalets with integral boathouses.
- A panoramic cityscape takes a lot of beating and night-time views can be breathtaking. For those wanting to live the high life Our Property offers advice on buying a penthouse. Dockland property such as that at Canary Wharf not only has the combined advantage of water and city views but it is right there in the centre of the action for the 2012 Olympics. Excel Docklands handles property in Canary Wharf, Poplar, E14, Isle of Dogs, Millwall, West Ferry, Wapping and Bow, Royal Albert Docks and Wapping.
- As a complete contrast, property in the Scottish Highlands is for those who like the outdoor, rural life – hiking, shooting, fishing, mountain biking or even gentler activities like painting and drawing. Local agencies such as Scottish Highland Properties based in Inverness, Nairn and Dingwall can offer first hand advice and knowledge to would be purchasers including a full rental management service.
- If you’re wondering how prices compare around the country, nationwide property sites like WelcomeHome are a first stop to browse and make comparisons.
Everyone loves social networking, and whether it’s twitter (we’re @adrianflux), facebook, or one of the other myriad social sites out there we are becoming a nation obsessed with the connectivity that the web 2.0 era has brought us.
But there are hidden dangers, and a Dutch student, called Barry Borsbroom, has recently highlighted the dangers of Geotagging your social posts.
Geotagging is where you allow your phone, computer or other device to share your current location with the web service using GPS, allowing your friends, and others to pinpoint where you are at any moment in time. While many applications are relatively benign, and companies as big as Google have jumped on the bandwagon with Latitude, there are circumstances in which this information can be used for less than savoury purposes.
Barry’s site is called PleaseRobMe, and he has created it using feeds from the popular third party Twitter ‘game’ FourSquare, where players accumulate points by tweeting locations that they are visiting and finding locations tagged by other players. No, I don’t get what the point of that is either, but grown men and women are doing this.
What Barry realised is that players, having set a ‘home’ location have given you all the information you need in order to rob them, including the data on where they are now, and how far from home they are. Some are clearly on extended vacations, based on their location updates. Not only that, but a browse through past Tweets will invariably yield useful info about their domestic situation, and lifestyle – all helpful to career burglars.
And with tools like Google Streetview available too, the crims could even ‘case the joint’ virtually.
So always think twice before sharing information online, otherwise you could get a nasty surprise when you get back home to find your home ransacked. Not only that, but, assuming you have home contents insurance (and you really, really should) you’ll be paying increased premiums for years to come.
There’s no need to be unduly worried, but you should always consider who gets access to the data you are sharing. Google isn’t going to rob you, your friends probably aren’t either. But making personal data public could well be a game of Russian Roulette.
If only the ads in the UK were as good as these, from Dutch insurance company Centraal Beheer of Appeldoorn. Why can’t Churchill, Admiral and Hastings come up with anything remotely as entertaining as these?
That was the headline in the Guardian on Saturday, where Direct Line were lambasted for charging some fellow a much higher rate for his insurance renewal than they were quoting if he had been a new customer.
On the face of it, it looks quite bad by Direct Line. They quoted him a price of £551 when a new customer would have been offered £173. There’s no getting away from the fact that Mr Robert King, 55, is paying too much for his home insurance.
But looking more closely at the story, I can’t help but feel that Mr King is at least partly responsible for his own misfortune here. He’s been with the company for 10 years and in all that time has never compared his home insurance renewal quotes until now. Says he, “I know the advice is to shop around for the best quote,” and so he should, being an accountant.
Funnily enough, on the way in this morning I saw a large billboard from Direct Line promising their renewal premiums for car insurance would not rise in year two. There is a rather vague disclaimer stating that ANY change to your details or your policy will invalidate the guarantee. So 3 speeding points, and a claim (both specifically mentioned) but remember that your guarantee is also worthless if you change cars, jobs, annual mileage, named drivers, postcode – anything really – and it doesn’t matter if the risk goes up or down. I wonder what the percentage of drivers is where no details at all change year on year.
At least they’ve got happy customers supporting them all the way and making supportive videos. Oh, no wait a minute…
Apparently, Mr Daz feels a bit aggrieved with the way Direct Line have treated him.
That’s what the Guardian says, anyway. (scroll down to 2nd story)
You’ve probably seen these home insurance ads all over the TV.* Barclays home insurance promises to beat your quote – if they can’t they’ll drop their price by up to £100 and give you £50. Of course it’s not nearly as simple as that. Reading the full terms and conditions you begin to get an idea of how complicated Barclays have made it. Rather than knocking the money of the premium, the promotion works on a “cashback” style basis, so you have to pay them the full amount first – which may well be more than your renewal – and then you have to remember to send them proof of your previous renewal offer. Finally you have to wait “up to 28 days” for your cheque to come back, go to the bank, pay it in and wait a further 3 days for it to clear. In the meantime Barclays have your money which they can earn interest on in the meantime. And of course, at each stage some people will forget to do one of the necessary steps and Barclays just keep the money.
But look what happens the second year. In their marketing spiel, Barclays say, “Next year if you remain claim free, we’ll promise to beat our first year quote.” But remember, the first year quote may actually have been more expensive than you were paying in the first place. And as the example in the Guardian shows, there’s a good possibility that Barclays won’t come near your existing premium anyway. Indeed, if the journalist had been dumb enough to go ahead with Barclays, he’d have been down £238 overall, assuming that Barclays only dropped their renewal price by £10 or so.
Then there’s the “Challenge Churchill” campaign. In respect of their claim the journalist found that while they did drop the price to match a competitor, they did not match the level of cover for his car insurance.
So the moral of the story is: beware of slick marketing campaigns. Check that no bizarre or onerous conditions are buried in small print, always check your level of cover, and if, when you phone up you find the deal isn’t quite as good as you thought it was, perhaps you should be very wary of proceeding.
Now it seems that they’ve been forced to move back a few jobs to Norwich, because their Indian household claims staff didn’t understand “cultural differences”. Particular mention has been made of the ‘graduate level’ staff not knowing what an immersion heater does. Presumably, given the rather drastic steps taken, there was no possibility of them being trained either. I suppose they don’t teach basic plumbing and heating on Eastenders.
James Evans, NU’s Media Relations Director, was in forthright mood:
“What we do as a company is see what works and see what we could do better. At the end of the day we don’t want to annoy customers, who we want it to be a good experience for. If something doesn’t work, there’s no point persevering with it.”
But they’re still offshoring another 1,000 jobs to India this year, despite the fact that their own research revealed 51% of their customers were ‘appalled’ by overseas call centres. Now that’s what I call listening to your customers!
If you want to be sure that your home insurance to be handled by someone who isn’t confused by the massive cultural differences between home heating systems, then you could do worse than give us a call on 0800 089 0203, where all of our staff are still based in Norfolk, and know all about household insurance matters. Some of them even watch Eastenders.