Insurances come in a variety of different guises, to help protect us financially, should we experience difficulties, harm or loss with our homes; car; health; pets; holidays etc. Insurances are often complicated and daunting and we hope our selection of advice can guide you on how best to protect you and your family.
We all look forward to our holidays, and often they can cost a considerable amount of money; the Consumer Council has compiled a holiday booking check list, to keep you and your holiday booking safe;
Financial Protection for your Holiday
Before booking you should check whether your flight or holiday package is ATOL protected and don’t leave home without your ATOL Certificate
- ATOL (the Air Travel Organisers Licence) is a financial protection scheme for air passengers. If you book an ATOL protected holiday or charter flight and your tour operator, airline or accommodation provider goes out of business before you travel you can claim a full refund.
- If a service provider goes out of business while you are abroad, you will be able to continue your holiday and arrangements will be made for you to fly home once the holiday is over.
- Jersey residents must be aware that ATOL only protects packages or flights, which originate in the UK ñ always check with your tour company/travel agent regarding ATOL protection and eligibility.
Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) Protection
- Many Jersey residents will enjoy the FlyDirect options (and ferry packages) now available from Jersey; it should be noted that these are not eligible for ATOL protection (as described above).
- However, such packages and flights would be financially protected as long as the company with whom you make your travel contract in Jersey is bonded with ABTA (and they are current members).
- ABTA includes protection both in the event of failure of the tour operator prior to departure, in which case deposit/balances paid would be refunded, and for repatriation in the event of tour operator failure whilst clients are abroad.
Financial protection if you are not covered by ATOL
o If your flight is not ATOL protected, you should ensure your travel insurance policy provides cover in the event that the airline goes out of business. Take out travel insurance adequate for your destination, activities and everyone in your party.
o If you buy a ticket using a credit card and the airline goes out of business, you may be able to claim a refund from your credit card company under the Consumer Credit Act. The cost of a single (i.e. one leg) ticket must be at least £100.
Other Holiday booking pointers;
- Double check all details such as travel dates, itineraries, destinations and travellers before confirming payment, as you may be charged for amendments
- Do not reply to unsolicited emails from companies you don’t recognise.
- If renting a private apartment or villa, call the owner/agent directly to ensure that it is legitimate. If the number is not provided, email and request it. Check reviews on TripAdvisor or similar site. Get the full address of the property and find it on Google maps to check its location and legitimacy.
- Ensure that any holiday or travel company unfamiliar to you is reputable by researching them online. Ensure that they are a member of a recognised travel authority which offers financial protection and a complaints service.
- When making a payment to an individual, never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal, where money is transferred between two electronic accounts.
Put your travel insurance in place sufficiently ahead of your trip to make sure that you benefit from all of the cover. Channel Islanders are advised to make sure that the element covering missed flights and missed connections includes the flights to and from home.
The medical cover needs to be adequate to help pay medical bills; £2 million medical cover is advised by Which for just Europe and £5 million for worldwide. but do check what counts as Europe or Worldwide by your insurance company.
We usually travel with many of our gadgets and you should consider cover for these too whilst traveling, you may need to extend your home insurance to cover as single items on your travel policy may only be covered for £250.
A good travel insurance policy should provide cover for Illness, injury or death while you are away, to allow you to be repatriated. Illness or the unexpected can interrupt travel plans therefore it is advisable to check the cancellation provisions – how much are you covered for in the event of the holiday being cancelled by unexpected events e.g. illness. You must declare pre-existing medical conditions – as otherwise your cover will be voided.
Check that the policy covers
- Liability for accidents involving others;
- The airline going out of business;
- Natural disasters, natural events e.g. volcanic ash cloud and severe weather;
- Political instability;
- Security risks.
If you plan to enjoy risky activities whilst away you should say so to make sure that you are covered for risky activities, for example skiing, scuba diving or climbing.
And finally you may be better to buy an annual policy rather than single trip cover plus READ THE SMALL PRINT…always check what isn’t covered.
Most people have two or three main protection needs that can be covered by Life Insurance (often known as Life Assurance):
- Paying off large debts such as your mortgage in the event of your death.
- Family protection, where you leave behind money for your family to live on after you’ve died.
- Funeral expenses
Different types of insurance policies are good for different protection needs:
The most basic type of life insurance is called term insurance, where you choose the amount you want to be insured for and the period for which you want cover. If you die within the chosen period, the policy pays out. If you don’t die during the term, the policy doesn’t pay out and the premiums you have paid are not returned to you.
There are three main types of term insurances to consider: level term, decreasing term and family income benefit. Sometimes a combination is the best answer.
- Level Term Life Insurance
A level term policy pays out a lump sum if you die within the specified term. The amount you’re covered for remains level throughout the term – hence the name. The monthly or annual premiums you pay usually stay the same, as well.
Level term policies can be a good option for family protection, where you want to leave a lump sum that your family can invest to live on after you’ve gone. It can also be a good option if you need a specified amount of cover for a certain length of time, e.g. to cover an interest-only mortgage.
You might also consider including an automatic annual increase of the sum assured to counteract the effects of inflation or increasing expenses. There are even budget versions where the monthly cost is lower during the first few years.
- Decreasing Term Life Insurance
With a decreasing term policy, the amount you’re covered for decreases over the term of the policy. These policies are often used to cover a debt that reduces over time, such as a repayment mortgage.
Premiums are usually significantly cheaper than for level-term cover as the amount insured reduces as time goes on.
- Family Income Benefit Life Insurance
Family income benefit life insurance is a type of decreasing term policy. Instead of a lump sum, though, it pays out a regular income until the policy’s expiry date if you die.
The upside of family income benefit is that it is easier to work out how much you need. For example, if you take home £2,000 a month, you can arrange for the same amount to be paid out to your family if you die.
As the name suggests, whole-of-life policies are ongoing policies that pay out when you die, whenever that is. Because it’s guaranteed that you’ll die at some point (and therefore that the policy will have to pay out), these policies are more expensive than term assurance policies, which only pay out if you die within a certain timeframe. These are often used when cover is required for funeral expenses.
The good news is that Life Cover in general is now more affordable, and most importantly can provide you with peace of mind, knowing that your family will be financially protected in the event of your passing away.
For and on behalf of Cherry Godfrey Insurance Services (Jersey) Ltd
Regulated by The Jersey Financial Services Commission in the carrying on of investment and general insurance mediation business
HAND LUGGAGE put in the hold on a busy flight might seem like a mild inconvenience – but if your bag gets lost, stolen or damaged, it might not be covered by your travel insurance.
More of us are opting to travel with just hand luggage opting out of paying to check in a bag. However, this often means there are too many cabin bags to fit in the overhead lockers and airline staff need to stow a certain number in the hold.
Consumer watchdog Which? found that the leading five UK travel insurance companies including Aviva, LV and Axa don’t cover valuables placed in the hold for loss, theft or damage.
Which? is warning travellers to take any valuables out of their hand luggage before they hand it over to cabin crew.
Another issue with having to check your bag unexpectedly is waiting to pick it up from the baggage carousel. If this process is delayed and a passenger misses a connecting flight as a result, airlines are not required to pay compensation.
These days, it is highly likely that passengers may have their cabin bags taken and put in the hold, because planes simply don’t have the capacity to takes all bags in the cabin.
If you have to put a bag in the hold at the last minute, try to remove wallets, keys, laptops and other valuables. If any items go missing from the hand luggage bag that you had intended to keep with you, do make clear to the airline that you expect compensation.
Make sure that you know if your own travel insurance covers this eventuality before you travel.
Are you paying unnecessary IPT?
Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) is a UK tax applied to general insurance premiums. There are two rates. Standard at 9.5% and a higher rate of 20% for travel insurance, mechanical / electrical appliances insurance and some vehicle insurance.
Premiums for risks located outside the UK are usually exempt. Therefore if you are taking out an insurance policy with a UK supplier, ask about exempting IPT before you enter into the contract or renewal. Some suppliers may ask you to fill out an IPT exemption declaration form confirming your residential status as being permanently outside of the UK for the period of insurance. It is likely that you will have to return this before the supplier deducts the IPT. Ask what the arrangements are before you sign up or renew. In most cases they will not refund retrospective overpayments.
3 Recent Case Studies Mick and Pam have private medical insurance. They are automatically charge IPT even though the supplier knows they are non-UK residents. In the past, they used to send Mick an IPT exemption form to fill out with their annual renewal. When it was returned they would send out a revised renewal with the IPT removed. They have stopped this practice and it is now down to Mick to request and send in this form on renewal and he will not receive a reminder. Remembering to follow these steps on renewal has reduced their premiums by £60 per month, although the provider will not entertain a retrospective refund for the couple of years Mick did not realise he was being charged IPT.
Vicky and her friends required travel insurance for a European holiday. As they booked through one particular operator, they opted for their travel insurance which was available online (through a third party provider). After obtaining a quotation, Vicky resisted the temptation to pay there and then. Instead, she called the provider giving her quotation reference and asked for the IPT to be deducted. After a little convincing and reference to their own website to prove the policy extends to Jersey, the provider was happy to take payment over the phone for the insurance cover less the IPT and the insurance policy was then emailed to Vicky.
Finally, Rob had experienced a few problems with hire cars. On one occasion he refuelled his hire car with the wrong type of fuel which turned out to be a costly mistake! He was also concerned that he would have a high insurance excess but felt the additional insurance available on the hire car desk seemed to him to be excessive (often referred to as Excess Waiver Insurance, Super CDW). As he was likely to hire other vehicles in the coming year he decided to look into an annual car hire excess insurance policy. He found one online that included £6,000 towards the hire car excess, £1000 towards misfuelling and other key benefits. Whilst ‘checking out’ he couldn’t see how IPT could be deducted. He sent the provider an email enquiry and they came back to him advising that if he took out the policy and sent them the policy number and the last 4 digits of the payment card used to pay for the policy, they would be happy to refund the IPT within 5 working days. Rob is now driving his hire car safe in the knowledge that he has comprehensive annual European car hire excess cover but also paid a reasonable price less the IPT!
Check out your insurance policies and let us know if you are paying unnecessary UK IPT. How much can you save?
Holiday fraud: look before you book
Get Safe Online is joining forces today with ABTA (the UK’s leading travel association), Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) to warn you about the dangers posed by holiday booking fraud. Anyone booking a holiday either in the UK or abroad is at risk.
For information and advice on safe holiday and travel booking, click here
We all look forward to our holidays, and often they can cost a considerable amount of money, which most of us simply cannot afford to lose. Unfortunately, more and more people are being affected by holiday fraud, which means that not only do you not get your holiday … you normally end up losing your money too. The holiday, accommodation or flight they paid for doesn’t exist, or the booking hasn’t been made.Read More
Insurances a necessary part of modern living?
Insurances – where are you buying yours?
We pay annual premiums to cover our homes, holidays, health and cars to name but a few. At the time of renewal we understand that some islanders are buying polices from UK based insurance companies.
We have done a small piece of research to determine whether Jersey residents who take out either household or motor insurance policies with UK-based insurance providers are disadvantaged in any way by onerous claims procedures, which do not necessarily apply to policies from Jersey, based insurance companies.Read More
Are you eligible for the Pension Plus Scheme?
If you are 65 or over, you may be eligible for the Pension Plus scheme which helps with the costs of looking after teeth, feet and eyes. It is funded and administered by the Social Security Department and replaces the 65+ Health Plan. You can join the scheme if you are 65 or over; if you do not pay Income Tax because your income is below the relevant tax limits; if you are resident and have lived in Jersey at some point for a period of five years; and if you have assets below a set limit. Your home is not included in any consideration of assets, and there is no membership fee.
Members of the scheme have their appointments paid for directly, up to set the limits, at the time of the dentist, optician or chiropodist visit. They do not have to claim any money back. Included in the benefit are allowances for dental treatment and towards the cost of glasses or lenses.
For more information and to apply, contact:
Critical illness insurance- How critical is it?
Research conducted by Omega Financial Services who advise on Critical Illness policies have established that a quarter of Critical Illness claims in the UK occur before the age of 40!
Back in 1986 Abbey Life launched the first Critical Illness policy with just 5 conditions covered, now there can be as many as 64 critical conditions covered.
People need to consider taking out appropriate cover earlier in life when premiums are cheaper. The excuse of ‘it won’t happen to me because I am young’ could not be more wrong.Read More
Is pet insurance an imperative purchase or are we barking mad to be forking out £20/£30 a month for a terrier? The tough recent financial climate has been well documented but whilst it was estimated that 48% of UK households owned at least one pet, over half do not have insurance for their canine companions and two thirds haven’t covered their feline friends.
There is no question that pets are expensive members of any household (dogs cost an average of £16’000 over the course of their lifetime) but this sum can balloon if we fail to take out a suitable pet insurance policy.Read More
Life Insurance ….
Is life insurance another expensive ploy? Our research indicates that life insurance is a worthwhile commitment depending upon your circumstances.
There are lifetime events that might lead you to consider purchasing life insurance; such as becoming a parent, getting married, a change in your income level, moving home, buying a house or taking out a substantial loan (for buying a car etc.).Read More