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The world is changing – so should your insurance!

The world is changing – so should your insurance!

The world is changing rapidly in a way that nobody could ever have expected, meaning your personal and financial circumstances are likely to have changed. It is important to regularly review all aspects of your finances and that includes reviewing your protection insurance, to make sure your policy provides adequate cover for your changing needs.

If you don’t regularly review and update your policy, any pay-out you do receive from your claim may not be enough to cover you and your family’s needs if you were to die or if you are unable to work due to illness.

Say you took out a life insurance policy covering you for a certain amount. After several years, you may have children, resulting in a move to a larger house. If you take a larger mortgage, your monthly outgoings would increase, and you would have bigger bills to pay. Therefore, the lump sum paid out to your family upon your death would no longer be sufficient to sustain their lifestyle and might leave them facing financial hardship.

New policies offer better protection
Like any industry, the insurance industry has evolved over time. Modern policies can offer you better protection and more extensive cover.

When comparing a critical illness policy sold in 2007 with one sold in 2017, the more modern policy may have better claims wording, provision for part-payment and other advantages.

If you have simply been paying your premiums on the same policy for years, it is likely that, as well as facing the risk of being underinsured, you also won’t be benefiting from the kind of comprehensive cover offered by today’s policies.

Let us protect you
With so many different types of protection insurance on the market, it’s not surprising that many people just stick with the cover they have.

It may not be the best cover for them. We can assist you in finding the very best policies for your circumstances, so you have the peace of mind that you, and your family, will be protected should the worst happen.

Please note: Older policies may cover illnesses which modern policies do not. Premiums may be cheaper due to the age of the policy. Certain cover may be excluded on a new policy due to pre-existing conditions.

Always get professional advice when reviewing your insurance policies. As with all insurance policies, conditions and exclusions will apply

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Protecting you and your family…

Family walking along the beach

Protecting you and your family…

Losing your partner at any stage in life can be devastating, but it may be particularly devastating when children are involved because of the financial pressures of raising a family. Ensuring your children and other dependants are provided for in case you die should be a top priority but less than a third of people in the UK have life insurance.

Keep it simple

Many products are available but a simple level-term policy, where a pre-decided lump sum is paid out should you die within a stated period, is among the simplest to arrange and is typically not very expensive. As a rule of thumb, life cover should provide ten times the main breadwinner’s income. The amount should cover any outstanding debts, including mortgage, regular outgoings, potential university fees and so on. The term should reflect the needs of your dependants; Children will probably need support until they leave education and a partner may need it until pensionable age.

Joint or single cover?

A joint policy will cover you and your partner, paying out on the first death within the term. Alternatively, you can have separate single-life policies; a little more expensive but potentially two payments. A young, fit individual should find life cover affordable. Be open about your lifestyle, especially if you have existing medical issues. Premiums rise with age, lifestyle factors, such as smoking and other factors that affect your life expectancy.

Keep under regular review

Reviewing your protection needs helps make sure you have the right cover in place for your financial circumstances, giving you the peace of mind that you’ve got things covered.

As with all insurance policies, conditions and exclusions will apply.

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Managing Mortgage Stress – We’re Here For You

Hackney & Leigh for sale sign in the Lake District

Managing Mortgage Stress – We’re Here For You

Whether you’re a first-time buyer, a second- stepper or further up the housing ladder, buying a home is always a big move and can feel a bit like a roller coaster ride at the best of times. Now there is the added complications and worries that the COVID-19 pandemic may have caused for people’s lives, finances and general wellbeing.

Here are some tips that can help you navigate the home moving process as smoothly as possible.

Smooth sailing

Taking advice will save you time, money and stress. We are on your side, we know the industry and the most appropriate lenders, to be able to recommend the most suitable mortgage for you and we can offer useful advice on all aspects of the house buying process. More now than ever, the value of professional advice is immeasurable. As the mortgage market changes, it’s our job to keep our finger on the pulse. We’ll be able to help you get a decision in principle from a lender, which will give a seller the confidence that you are a serious purchaser.

Expert navigation

We can help you familiarise yourself with all the stages involved in getting a mortgage. We’ll explain important things like how affordability checks work, what paperwork you’ll need to provide to a lender in support of your application, and what costs and fees you should budget for. You will need to have saved a deposit – in most cases the bigger the deposit you can put down, the lower your interest rate is likely to be.

Check out your finances in advance

Start by taking a look at your income and outgoings; any lender considering your mortgage application will expect you to be on top of all your bills and be comfortably able to afford your monthly mortgage payments. It makes sense to cut back on things like unused subscriptions and watch how much you spend on things like eating out. Lenders will want to see a healthy credit score – a higher score usually means you are a lower risk; the more points you score the better the chances that you’ll be offered better interest rates. Being under time pressure can increase your stress levels, so it pays to have your finances in order before you start looking for a property and a mortgage.

Work with a good estate agent

It’s worth taking the time to get to know a reputable estate agent. Explain your circumstances to them so that they can pass on relevant info

Don’t forget to get a survey done

Having a survey carried out on a property before you commit to buying it makes good sense. It can save you thousands of pounds in repair bills and a lot of stress in the future. There are various options available, and we will be able to offer help and advice on choosing the type that meets your needs.


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Embarking on a DIY project? Check your home insurance!

Home DIY

Embarking on a DIY project? Check your home insurance!

The weather is improving, you may have some extra time on your hands and judging by the queues outside hardware stores, people are seizing the opportunity to get some home improvement jobs underway, particularly with more Britons than ever working from home. Between February and March 2020, Google searches for ‘DIY’ increased by 9% year-on-year, with searches for ‘home improvement’ also growing by 12%.

Not to dampen your DIY gusto, but before you embark on a new project at home, remember to check your insurance cover just in case your efforts don’t quite go to plan.

Be realistic about your capabilities

The resources available to the novice DIYer are plentiful, with a supply of hints, tips and video guides available online, you might be feeling confident about tackling a job yourself and saving a bit of money, rather than leaving it to an expert. It is important to be realistic about your capabilities; DIY can often cause more work when jobs go wrong, with the average self-made DIY complication costing an additional £217 on top of the original amount spent to do the job. On a national scale that’s equivalent to £1.1 billion spent on DIY repairs every year.

Some of the most common DIY disasters are paint spillages, damaged walls, burst pipes, damaged electrics, flooding when mending pipes, broken windows and damaged/broken fences.

Are you covered for accidental damage?

Despite your best intentions, accidents do happen. Having the correct home insurance in place before you begin a DIY project will ensure adequate cover, if required.

Don’t assume that a home insurance policy will cover your DIY disasters, because accidental damage cover usually comes as an optional extra with most policies. Standard home insurance may provide only very limited cover for accidental damage.

In 2017 one insurer reported 42% of home insurance claims were for accidental damage. Full accidental damage insurance would cover you for things like repairing a burst pipe caused by drilling, putting your electrics back in working order after a botched rewiring job, repairing your ceiling after a foot has gone through the loft floor and replacing your carpet after a paint spillage.

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

Leave it to the experts

If in doubt, leave it to the experts. Some jobs, such as electrical work, plumbing, structural renovation and roof repair, are best left to the professionals and have a higher risk of going wrong, along with more costly consequences.

If you are embarking on a project, remember to take care, make sure you have the tools and knowledge for the job you’re undertaking, and check your insurance cover before you begin. It’s important to make sure your home and contents insurance meets your needs.

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It’s Time to Think about Life Insurance

Family walking along the beach

It’s Time to Think about Life Insurance

If you have dependants – people who rely on you financially – then you should have life insurance. In fact, if you have dependants and don’t have life insurance, you are exposing them to grave financial risk. And who would want to do that?

Life insurance tends not to feature on ‘to do’ lists because it makes us confront uncomfortable questions, such as what would happen to our loved ones if we were to die unexpectedly in the next few years.

However, we all carry a deep responsibility to ensure those we leave behind at least have sufficient funds to carry on with life if we’re no longer around. That means putting plans in place to address unpleasant possibilities.

Types of life insurance

There are two main types of life insurance. The one most people need is ‘term’ insurance. This pays out if the policyholder dies within a stated period – the ‘term’.

The other type – ‘whole of life’ insurance – pays out on your death, whenever that occurs. This is more of an investment vehicle than a financial protection plan and is typically used for estate planning.

Dealing with debt

Term insurance pays out money that can be used to clear debts such as a mortgage, lifting a huge financial burden and enabling your loved ones to stay in the family home.

It can also provide for day-to-day living expenses – everything from groceries to utility bills, and from school and university fees to family holidays.

Key points

Buy sufficient insurance to take care of your family until the youngest is financially self-sufficient.

If you’re in a couple, you both need cover, even if one of you stays at home. The proceeds can pay for services such as childcare and keeping up the house.

Joint life insurance covers you both under one policy, but separate policies are more flexible and provide greater protection, although they cost a bit more.

Many firms offer ‘death in service’ life insurance. However, once you’ve worked out how much cover you need, you’ll probably realise this isn’t enough and you’ll need a policy of your own.

The older you are, the more expensive life insurance is, so bite the bullet and buy young.

Doing so places the proceeds outside your estate so it can be paid to your beneficiaries without any delay associated with probate. It also keeps the money from the clutches of the tax man.

Monitor your life insurance coverage to make sure it keeps pace with your circumstances. Events such as marriage, the birth of children and moving home might prompt you to increase the amount of insurance you have.

It is important to take professional advice before making any decision relating to your personal finances.

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Accidental damage protects against life’s little mishaps

Hackney & Leigh now let board outside of a house

Accidental damage protects against life’s little mishaps

Accidental damage protects against life’s little mishaps

Nobody knows what is around the corner. Accidents can and do happen and the most commonly reported household claim in 2018 was for Accidental Damage. It’s therefore wise to check what is included in your insurance policy to help protect the valuable items in your home.

Standard contents insurance usually protects you if you have possessions stolen, destroyed or damaged. Accidental damage on the other hand, isn’t typically included in contents insurance but may be an optional add-on to your standard policy. It covers you for unforeseen events that cause damage to your belongings.

We have all heard of stories of red wine being spilt on new cream carpet, and kids breaking TV screens with a games console controller gone awry. There are also those more ‘comical stories’ of toddlers painting the sofa with nappy rash cream, puppies rather enthusiastically playing with TV cables or mugs of tea being dropped in the bathroom and smashing the toilet. Insurance doesn’t have to be for significant claims; it’s also to protect against these types of life’s little mishaps.

It’s probably worth taking a few minutes to consider your day-to-day needs and it’s definitely worth checking what your insurance policy covers as you may already have accidental damage in place. And if you don’t, you might want to consider arranging accidental damage to ensure your valued belongings remain protected

Five expensive and weird pet-related insurance claims

Tortoises torching homes 
Clare was relaxing at home when she smelt smoke. She saw flames coming from another room and realised that her two tortoises had knocked over their heat lamp and started a blaze. Luckily her pets were unharmed, and she had home and contents insurance to cover the damage.

Destructive dog
Lee was watching his daughter’s puppy when the neighbour’s cat strolled through the garden. The dog charged straight towards the cat and through the patio door. Lee had accidental damage cover which meant he could claim to replace the shattered glass.

Faye returned home from work to find some of her favourite antique ornaments smashed on the floor. Sitting amid the chaos was her neighbour’s cat who had climbed in through an open window. The cat, like many in Instagram videos, had knocked the items over. Faye’s contents insurance was able to cover the cost of the broken ornaments, so she could replace them.

Painting paws 
Ian was doing some DIY and adding a coat of paint over some marked walls while his wife was out walking the dog. When they returned the dog excitedly ran through the house, through a paint tray and onward through the lounge leaving ‘painty’ paw marks all over the carpets. After cleaning the dog’s paws Ian was able to claim on his home insurance to have the carpet replaced.
Hungry husky 
Lisa took her hearing aids out to clean them. She placed them on the coffee table whilst she went to collect clean water and a brush. When she was out of the room her dog was sniffing around the table and mistook the hearing aids for treats. Lisa had already planned ahead and made sure her hearing aids were covered under her home insurance and she was able to successfully make a claim. 
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