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 firstname.lastname@example.orgBack to top
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 email@example.com.
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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.Back to top
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.Back to top
The first signs of Autumn are upon us; the chilly morning air, the streets are covered in leaves and the darker night’s are drawing in; it can only mean one thing, that Halloween and Bonfire night are fast approaching.
This time of year brings many concerns for home owners and you don’t need a crystal ball to predict what horrors could lie in store for your property.
It isn’t only the visits from those little monsters in fancy dress you need to worry about, but the dark conditions could prove to be perfect opportunities for potential thieves looking for the chance to break into the properties of unsuspecting households.
Most insurance companies report that Halloween and Bonfire night sparks a high increase in insurance claims; with the most common criminal damages to homes including: smashed windows, forced entry and broken doors and vandalism to garden property.
Top tips to ensure your home is properly protected:
- Install outdoor lighting to deter thieves
- Ensure windows and doors are locked (not just when your home is left unattended)
- Never leave keys hidden outside under plant pots
- If possible, park your car in a garage for the night
- Leave a light or TV on when you leave the house (to appear someone is occupying the property)
- Ensure your garden shed filled with valuable equipment is secured with robust locks
- Avoid answering the door to trick-or-treaters, especially if you are alone in the property
Are you holding an event at your club?
If you are organising an event at a local club premises, you have a duty of care to ensure all potential risks are kept to a minimum, otherwise you could be found liable in the event of an incident.
To avoid further accidents resulting in injury, make sure light is provided where possible outside the venue including pathways used by spectators and that there is a clearly marked access site for emergency services.
Since most insurance policies do not automatically include cover for firework displays, cover for a specific event can often be arranged. You should immediately check with your insurers if you are planning on holding an event at you club to ensure adequate cover is in place.
How can Perkins Slade help?
For more information on protecting your home this season please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0121 698 8070. Or for advice on minimising the risks to your club premises please email email@example.com or call us on 0121 698 8160.Back to top
Do I need different insurance if renovating or extending my home? Why do I need additional insurance? These are just a couple of the questions we are often asked when arranging client’s insurance.
The reason insurers look at renovation insurance differently is due to the nature of the work; major changes to your property increase the risk in insuring it. Structural changes and extensions often involve the temporary weakening of the building, there will be periods when the property will be unoccupied whilst contractors complete the works, as well as careless contractors who’ve often been found to be the cause of serious floods and fires; insurers have good reason to be cautious!
A major area of confusion relates to the insurance that contractors hold, or rather don’t. Contractors often represent themselves as being ‘fully insured’, however most of the time this relates to liability insurance, not the insurance of the works they are undertaking, or the property they are working on.
Many insurers seek to restrict the cover they offer on unoccupied properties undergoing works. ‘Contractor’s All Risks insurance’ provides cover for just that, all risks. This may not matter too much at the start of a contract, but is a serious failing if not in place, towards the end when the likelihood of burst pipes and water damage claims are at their highest. In an ideal world you should have your property and the works insured on an ‘all-risks’ basis to avoid problems. Additionally, if your insurance is split between you and your contractor there will always be two insurers dealing with a claim which inevitably leads to squabbling over who’ll pay for what.
Joint Contracts Tribunal (JCT) contracts set out and make insurance obligations during the works very clear, but can cause very specific problems for standard home insurers. Perkins Slade is not a standard home insurer; by working with us and selecting the correct renovation insurance you will be covered for:
- Your existing home up to the cost of rebuilding it
- The value of the works being undertaken
- The materials on site prior to fitting (important for kitchens, bathrooms and expensive materials)
- Your Public Liability exposure
- Liability to your neighbours under The Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall etc. Act 1996
The Party Wall Act is an enabling act that provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings. Read the Department for Communities and Local Government Party Wall advice booklet for more information.
Party Wall insurance (or non-negligent liability insurance) as it is technically known, is there to pick up your liability to your neighbours both during the works and for the defects liability period (usually 12 months after completion). This insurance operates if liability for specific damage, noted under the policy, cannot be levied at the contractor or professionals involved in the works. This cover mostly relates to serious structural damage, rather than smaller claims for minor problems or redecorating.
How can we help?
Perkins Slade is a mid and high net worth insurance broker, with experience of providing expert advice and the provision of bespoke insurance policies for its clients. It is extremely important that you ensure your property is protected, after all, for most it is our single biggest investment.
Our key message is to follow the advice we provide when undertaking major changes to your property, and to not assume that your insurer will be content to provide the same cover they were before the works began. For more information or assistance on any of the topics in our blog please call your usual Perkins Slade representative or contact:
Jill Kerrigan, Relationship and Development Manager
T: 0121 698 8073
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