I am lucky, in that, as a single woman living alone, I have a neighbour called Derek who, whenever I need anything doing, he comes to help. So far he has fixed my washing machine, changed the oil in my car, lent me his carpet cleaner for a red wine spill that wouldn’t come out and replaced some broken roof tiles for me.
If you don’t have a friendly neighbour however, you’ll probably rely on insurance to get these problems fixed, but, in these times of economic recession, are there some insurances we can do without and others that we absolutely must keep? Of course, it is the law to have car insurance but what about private medical insurances or pet insurance?
And what about the small print that many of us neglect to read? What should we be looking out for?
Pet insurance is one that often gets forgotten until there is an emergency and then the bills can mount up into the hundreds if not thousands. It is essential to get your pet insured when they are very young, as when they get older it becomes difficult to insure them, particularly if they have a previous complaint.
Keep vaccinations up to date as the small print may not allow you to claim if they are not vaccinated. When pets get older you will find your premiums increasing. Now is the time to either look around for specific older insurers or decide whether you are going to continue to insure them.
Some premiums charge as much as £50 a month and a hefty excess of around £250, plus you often have to find 30% of the final cost of the treatment. Better perhaps to set up a savings account for your pet, adding the amount you would be paying to the insurer into it.
Remember that people who are in receipt of Housing and Council Tax Benefit can get free emergency pet treatment from the PDSA. The cheapest pet insurer I found was Tescos and Direct Line will pay your vets bills directly.
Contents insurance is a must, even though you may think you have nothing worth insuring, perhaps all your furniture is second-hand and you do not have the latest HD TV. But if you had to replace every item in your house hold due to a burglary or a house fire, how much do you think it would cost?
It would run into the hundreds. Contents insurance is especially important if you rent a property as a ruined carpet may mean you do not get your security deposit back. Make sure you have accidental damage included in the contents insurance and read carefully what it includes.
Cheap insurers include Endsleigh Insurance and Sheilas Wheels and did you know that Kwik Fit now offer Home and Contents Insurance?
Health insurance may not seem a necessity as we all have access to the NHS and with premiums from £14 a month to £100 can we do without it? Some health insurances will pay you back some of the premiums you have paid in so it is worth checking these out, but do you know there is an insurance that covers you if you become unemployed due to sickness?
Accident, Sickness and Unemployment (ASU) Insurance will provide you with a monthly payout if you are unable to work as a result of long-term sickness, incapacity or unemployment. You can get short-term ASU cover which covers you for three or six months or longer cover for up to two years and typically policies pay out around 60 per cent of your income. Google PMI Partners for ASU cover.
Finally Life Insurance. Not many younger people think about insuring their life and with less and less of us buying a house, is this something we should be worried about? If you have a mortgage it makes sense to have life insurance and indeed you will not get one without being insured, but what if you do not?
Do you have a family and children to consider? Would you like to leave an inheritance behind after you have gone? If the answer to these questions is no then the choice is yours. If you do have dependants and bricks and mortar to pay for then get the best deals on life insurance at Aviva, Legal & General and AXA.