Back to basics – car insurance explained . . .

Friday, October 31. 2014
As everyone should know, motor insurance (for cars, vans and motorcycles) is compulsory under the Road Traffic Act. According to the consumer organisation Which? around 25 million motor policies are currently in operation in the UK and, of course, that means that there’s significant choice in the insurance market. To say the least, it can be tricky to pinpoint which cover at what premium cost best meets your motoring requirements.

Let’s start at the beginning with the three basic types of motor insurance. By law, to drive on the public highway you must have Third Party cover. This is the minimum level and it protects against damage or personal injuries that you or your passenger(s) may cause to another person or to their property in an accident. Your insurer will not pay for any damage to you or your vehicle.

The second option is Third Party Fire and Theft. This is the same as Third Party but, as the name suggests, with the added protection that if your vehicle is stolen (sometimes it can be attempted theft), damaged or destroyed by fire, then you will also be compensated.

Finally, the third alternative of a Comprehensive policy further extends your insurance to include accidental damage to your own vehicle.

If you are contemplating taking out Third Party, Fire and Theft cover, do ask for a comparable Comprehensive quote as well. The difference in premiums may not be as substantial as you imagine, particularly if you have a solid No Claims Bonus record. As a rule, 20 years ago a Comprehensive policy would cost twice as much as one for Third Party Fire and Theft. However, for complex underwriting reasons, that disparity is now often less than 20% and, in some cases, Comprehensive premiums can actually be lower.

Insurers calculate premiums by assessing a range of factors, among them age, occupation (some professions qualify for discounts) and insurance history. For example, you might be a 55 year-old male driver with many years experience on the road but, if you’ve put in numerous claims over the last three years, underwriters will inevitably consider you a higher risk. Other criteria that come into consideration are the type of vehicle you drive (the smaller the engine, the lower the car group and the premium cost – however, be careful as some ‘hot hatches’ have a smaller engine but higher car group), your postcode and whether the vehicle is kept overnight in a garage or on the public road.

When it comes to choosing vehicle cover, it makes sense to consult an experienced broker who is familiar with the complexities of the sector. At Haden Welbeck we collate as much information as possible in order to get a feel for the perfect policy for each client – and which is the best value for money. It’s well worth being aware of all the options before you make a final decision.

Protect your business against costly claims for compensation

Monday, August 4. 2014
Protect your business against costly claims for compensation

Every business organisation – from sole traders and limited companies to multi-nationals – strives to deliver a consistently excellent service to their customers. But, with the best will in the world, on occasion that service falls short of expectations and results in significant financial loss and, inevitably, demands from the unhappy client for appropriate compensation. That’s when it’s essential, particularly for small companies and those who are self-employed or work on a freelance basis, to have Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance.

Any individual or company that supplies knowledge, skills or advice as part of a professional service should seriously consider taking out PI insurance. Once known as ‘Errors and Omissions’ cover, it protects against claims made by dissatisfied clients due to negligence, breach of intellectual property rights, loss of money or goods, loss of original documents and data and the unintentional disclosure of confidential information. Importantly, PI insurance will also safeguard your business against the usually high legal costs incurred in defending the service or guidance you have given.

While it is not mandatory by law for any business to have PI cover, there are many professions – accountants, solicitors, architects and surveyors – in which it is required as part of regulatory practise. Interestingly, we have noticed a significant rise in the number of major contractors who now expect their sub-contractors, such as electrical engineers and gas and heating system installers, to have PI insurance in place. Premiums are assessed by taking into account the size and nature of your business and what sort of service you offer (for a sole trader a premium can be as low as £100*).

Here’s a hypothetical example from my own industry. A client calls his insurance provider to change the vehicle on his motor policy with immediate effect. All the information relating to the switch is taken down by one of the team, who makes a note to update the details at a later, more convenient, moment. Unfortunately, it then slips his mind. The next day the client’s new car is stolen and, when he discovers that it isn’t covered, he obviously wants redress for the insurer’s mistake. This is precisely the sort of situation covered by PI insurance.

Underwriters offer a whole array of extensions to a standard PI policy, such as Employer’s and Public liability and office contents and business interruption cover. Pinpointing the most attractive option can be confusing: for example, it might be that your office insurance policy already has Employer’s and Public Liability, so you wouldn’t need to buy the same protection twice. This is when the team at Haden Welbeck can be of great assistance. We will help you find the perfect policy for your requirements at the most competitive price – just give us a call!

* This quotation is based on a sole trader (an electrical contractor) with a turnover of £25,000 and a sum insured of £50,000.