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Spring into action to protect your home this Easter

By Emma Drew

March 24, 2016

Spring into action to protect your home this Easter

As the evenings become brighter and the buds start to bloom, the first signs of spring have arrived and as we wave goodbye to those dark winter days it isn’t just the Easter bunny who could be paying your home a visit.

The warmer temperatures could see people heading outdoors, or leaving their homes unattended to make a last minute Bank Holiday getaway. Over the Easter Bank Holiday your home could become vulnerable to thieves waiting for the perfect opportunity to give your home a “spring clean” of your valuable possessions.

According to the Association of British Insurers, over £15 million of claims were paid out last year for over 100,000 home burglary related cases.

If you are going away this Easter:

  • And you have alarm protection, ensure wiring is concealed to prevent a burglar disconnecting the security system
  • Use outside security lighting to deter intruders
  • Never leave keys hidden outside or in a shed or leave keys in window locks
  • Keep expensive garden equipment stored in a shed when not in use secured by a padlock or mortise lock
  • Always lock windows and doors at the front and back of your house, even if you only leave your house for 15-20 minutes
  • Secure windows and doors with good locking systems.
  • Store pedal cycles out of sight.
  • Leave a car on your driveway, if possible
  • Ask a neighbour to check your house and collect your post from outside
  • Don’t leave an answer phone message or post comments on social media indicating you are away on holiday
  • Cancel magazine and newspaper subscriptions and your weekly milk delivery while you are away
  • Keep expensive items out of sight of passers-by peeping through your windows
  • Conceal and dispose of any branded packaging of expensive items brought recently
  • Take photos of valuable items as evidence for when making a claim

 How can we help?

For further advice or to check the cover of your home  insurance policy, please contact Private Clients on 0121 698 8070, or email them on privateclients@perkins-slade.com

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Is your precious jewellery underinsured?

By Emma Drew

February 11, 2016

Is your precious jewellery underinsured?

Whether you are planning a proposal or treating your loved one to something sparkly this Valentine’s day, make sure your new purchase is insured.

Jewellery is one of the top gifts received each February but according to research from Halifax almost a quarter of home owners do not have contents insurance cover in the event their treasured possession is lost, stolen or damaged.

Insurance cover shouldn’t just apply to new purchases as the value for jewellery brought years ago may have increased in value since the price of precious gems and metals fluctuates year on year. It is advisable to have jewellery such as wedding bands and engagement rings re-valued every three or five years to ensure your possessions are not at risk of being under-insured.

Tips on keeping your precious jewellery safe

  • Don’t keep your jewellery in obvious places like a jewellery box or branded gift box as this is the first place a thief would look.
  • Keep jewellery in a secure unapparent place or in a safe or a fire resistant container.
  • Have your possessions appraised by a qualified jeweller for insurance replacement purposes.
  • Take extra caution when wearing gloves as rings and bracelets can easily snag on fabrics.
  • Don’t put jewellery in pockets which could become lost or damaged when clothes are put through the washing machine.
  • Take extra caution when wearing or removing jewellery near sinks.
  • Maintain your jewellery to ensure clasps are secure and loose gems are fixed.
  • Keep a copy of your receipt of purchase along with a photograph of your item to give to your insurance company in the event you need to make a claim.

Contents insurance cannot replace the sentimental value of your lost, stolen or damaged jewellery but it can at least alleviate the financial loss incurred.

How can we help?

For further advice or to check the cover of your home  insurance policy please contact Private Clients on 0121 698 8070 or email them on privateclients@perkins-slade.com.

 

 

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Protect your property this winter.

By Emma Drew

December 17, 2015

Protect your property this winter.

While a blanket of fresh white snow may resemble a winter wonderland, the icy conditions that come with it could cause serious damage to your property.

This time of year sees an increase in insurance claims with the most common incidents occurring when temperatures fall below freezing, causing damage to pipes, ceilings and roofs. Many households presume their home insurance policy is enough to protect their home against weather damage, but often underestimate the cost of replacing the contents within the home that may also be damaged.

Severe property damage can be a very distressing and disruptive experience, as demonstrated by the devastating images of Storm Desmond, with many people having to go into temporary accommodation while repairs are carried out on their homes.

Follow these preventative measures to minimise the risks of severe weather damage to your home this winter.

To prevent frost damage:

  • Insulate all water pipes and water tanks
  • Insulate loft spaces but allow for ventilation and open loft hatches frequently for warm air to circulate
  • Keep room temperatures to a minimum of 15 degrees C
  • Use thicker curtains to retain heat in your house
  • Never use fire to thaw frozen pipes
  • Ensure sprinkler systems are winter safe
  • Check stop-taps are working correctly

To prevent flood damage:

  • Monitor weather warnings and in coastal areas check for the risk of high tides
  • Move valuable or electronic equipment to a higher level of the house
  • Learn how to correctly turn off gas, electricity and water mains supplies
  • Use sandbags to reduce the amount of water entering your property
  • Ensure windows are sealed

To prevent storm damage:

  • Clear unsafe levels of snow from rooftops
  • Check roof tiles and slates are secure
  • Replace any damaged roof tiles to avoid water damage to loft spaces
  • Remove leaves and debris from gutters, use a leaf guard to prevent build up
  • Cut down any loose hanging branches from trees
  • Store garden items away during high storms
  • Secure any loose fencing panels

Chimneys and heating systems:

  • Have your chimney cleared of debris at least once a year
  • Place wire over chimney cans to prevent a build-up of leaves and to keep birds out
  • Check boilers and central heating systems to ensure they are working efficiently
  • Wood burning stoves should be checked by a HETAS approved supplier to ensure the safety of the chimney flue

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a loss, it is advisable to take photos of any damage caused to your property and to keep a reference from local newspapers as evidence of the flood, fire or storm taking place. Also keep hold of receipts for any urgent repairs you carry out on your property after an unexpected event to later make a claim.

How can we help?

For more information on home buildings and contents cover please contact Private Clients.

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Black Friday begins! – Tips on safe shopping this season.

By Emma Drew

November 27, 2015

Black Friday begins! – Tips on safe shopping this season.

Black Friday is back! The biggest shopping day of the year returns, when retailers drastically reduce the price of their stock ahead of the festive shopping season. However, it isn’t just the consumers who benefit from Black Friday but this day also creates the perfect opportunity for thieves.

This year’s Friday frenzy on November 27th 2015 expects to see a high increase in online sales which is predicted to exceed last year’s figure of £810 million. With Cyber Monday following just three days after Black Friday, this is thought to bring the total sales of the shopping weekend to over a £1bn.

Online security remains a very current topic, major retail events like Black Friday provides the perfect opportunity for fraudsters who could pocket up to over £600,000. These tricksters entice shoppers by creating fake websites offering bogus deals on this year’s most sought after Christmas gifts and high end designer brands. Other fraudulent methods include dubious email and text scams or by placing false listings on genuine websites.

How to stay safe online:

  • Check the validity of a website before browsing.
  • Look for any spelling mistakes or poor graphics which could indicate the site is fake.
  • Avoid opening unsolicited emails containing links or clicking on flashy pop ups which could direct you to a scam site.
  • Make sure the website URL is displayed as HTTPS (and not HTTP).
  • Read customer reviews when using unfamiliar websites.
  • Use payment verification systems such as “Verified by Visa”.
  • Avoid using someone else’s computer to make a purchase which may not be installed with a protective security product.
  • Use a credit card instead of a debit card as most credit cards offer protection against fraud.
  • Look for the padlock security icon before transferring a payment online.
  • Use alternative payment methods such as PayPal, gift cards or pre-paid credit cards.
  • Use a secure password and change this regularly.
  • Protect your computer by installing Anti-Virus or Firewall security.

As well as online security, shoppers should be extra vigilant when out shopping on the high street, which is a prime target for opportunistic thieves. Shoppers should keep their handbags and personal belongings safe and carry a credit card instead of large amounts of cash.

If you have become the victim of an online scam you should report the crime to Action Fraud.

How can we help?

Perkins Slade High Value Home insurance covers your handbag and contents up to the amount insured against loss or damage at home or abroad. We will also cover you for fraudulent use on credit and debit cards and for reasonable and necessary expenses for identity fraud.

To find out more on the enhanced features of our High Value Home insurance contact our Private Clients team on 0121 698 8070.

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What is car hire excess insurance?

By Emma Drew

November 20, 2015

What is car hire excess insurance?

The excess is the amount you, as hirer, will be asked to pay if the vehicle is damaged or stolen. If you hire a vehicle you will probably take out the vehicle rental outlet’s Loss or Collision Damage Waiver cover (sometimes referred to as LDW or CDW). This will include an excess which varies depending upon the vehicle hired and location but it is often over £500 and could reach up to £5,000.

How does excess insurance work?

Car excess reimbursement cover is not compulsory but if you choose not to purchase an excess policy in the event of the rental vehicle being damaged or stolen, you will be liable for the amount excluded under the vehicle rental agreement.

The policy covers the policy holder, not the hire car company and is available on an annual basis or on a short term daily basis to cover a specific hiring.

What does the product cover?

The policy offers you cover for the excess as a result of accidental damage (including damage to windscreen or windows, tyres, the undercarriage and the roof), damage by fire, theft or attempted theft, vandalism or loss of use.

In addition, it covers drop off costs of returning the rental vehicle to the original rental outlet up to a maximum of £200, due to accident or illness (excluding one way rentals) and there is also cover for costs incurred for replacing a lost or stolen rental vehicle key, locksmith charges up to £500 for costs incurred to open the rental vehicle and up to £50 in the event of unintentional lock out.

What type of vehicles aren’t covered by the policy?

Excluded are vehicles with a Retail Purchase Price in excess of £50,000 and “Antique” vehicles which are over 20 years old or which have not been manufactured for 10 years or more. This also applies to the rental of motor homes (if you have not purchased the motorhome cover), trailers or caravans, vans, trucks, non-passenger carrying vehicles, vehicles that carry more than nine people including the driver, motorcycles, mopeds, motorbikes, off-road vehicles and recreational vehicles, unless agreed by special acceptance from the Insurers.

How can we help?

Perkins Slade, in association with travelexcess, can offer a range of policies to insure against the cost of the excess.

For further information on car hire excess insurance or to arrange a quote for excess insurance cover please visit travelexcess.

 

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Tips on storing your classic car this winter.

By Emma Drew

November 13, 2015

Tips on storing your classic car this winter.

The purchase of a classic car brings enjoyment to any discerning motor enthusiast. If you are an owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your vehicle is fully protected, especially during the winter months.

Statistics from the Historic Automobile Group index suggest, classic cars have become one of the most recognisable investments over the past decade, generating an average return of 456%.

Whether your purchase is for recreational purposes, or purely an investment, maintenance can often gear up added expenses and finding replacement parts can also be difficult.

As a policy holder you have a duty to ensure your vehicle is stored correctly and protected from loss or damage.

Tips on storing your classic car: 

  • Fill the fuel tank before storing the car for winter to prevent condensation corroding the inside of the tank; however be sure not to overfill it.
  • Ensure the car is topped up with anti-freeze to prevent damage.
  • Carry out an oil change before the car is put away for winter, as oil will absorb moisture.
  • If the car is being stored for a longer period than a few months, it is recommended that oil is put into the cylinders so that they do not rust.
  • Connect a battery conditioner to the battery, to avoid it from draining.
  • At least once a month, start the car and let it run up to its usual temperature.
  • Wash the car before storing to remove dirt which may cause corrosion. Also, use a good cleaner to remove dirt particles from leather interiors which could cause mould or fungi.
  • The car should ideally be stored in a dry area. A dehumidifying pod is worth considering if the car is of a particularly high value as this will help to reduce any moisture caused by condensation.
  • Place the car on axle stands so the weight is not resting on the tyres. (Alternatively, you could over inflate the tyres by roughly 10psi whilst storing, but remember to reset when taking on the road).
  • Use breathable car covers like cotton, as plastic covers can cause excess moisture which will have a detrimental effect on the car.

As an additional point, ensure your garage is securely locked to protect your vehicle from theft. Also, never leave your car unattended with the key in the ignition while you wait for the car to warm up, as this provides the perfect opportunity for would be thieves.

Following these tips could give you the peace of mind knowing that your classic car is fully protected and in the best condition possible ready for the start of the new car season.

How can we help?

For further information on classic car insurance please email Ross Chatterton or speak to him on 0121 698 8076.

Are you thinking about investing in a classic car? Read the blog on Motoring ahead – Tips on investing in classis cars.

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