Every day "peace-of-mind" insurance offers land on doormats
across the country. The utility companies are now at the forefront,
blitzing householders with various plans. But are they worth
it? Some offer valuable protection, others are near junk.
We found that a typical family could spend more than £7,000
a year on cover if they bought all the offers. Our guide pinpoints
the insurances worth having, and the ones you should simply
chuck in the bin
The Guardian, Saturday February 19, 2005
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Cost? £135 (Norwich Union -
"new for old" cover, includes no claims discount and £60
excess). Average contents policy is £151, although shopping
around can reduce this to £87, according to the AA. Standard
policies cover loss or damage by fire, theft or flooding.
having? You'd be daft to go without, but one in four
households doesn't have it. In particular, many people who
rent don't insure their possessions.
Cost? £175 First Direct (worldwide
annual family policy).
Having? Not at that price. Much better to go for one
of the internet providers - Insurefor.com will offer the
same family cover for £75, or a pared down version for £60
Cost? For a cat, £45 (Saga
basic plan) to £142.50 (Petplan - SuperCat). For a dog,
Saga's minimum is £93, while Petplan's Supreme is £343.
Prices depend on age, the excess and levels of cover.
Having? If you seriously dote on your cat then it is
worth it. For example, to fix a broken leg on a cat costs
£1,000. But those on tight budgets will find the average
£50 excess policy proves expensive and Moggy is better off
staying fit and healthy.
Cost? £50 (for a £500 bike).
Having? Half a million bikes are stolen each year, but
unless you own a £2,000 bike, avoid a stand alone policy
and stick it on your home contents which will add £10-£15
to the premium.
Cost? £350 (comprehensive cover).
having? The one insurance we are legally obliged to
buy, but most of us pay too much because we are too lazy
to shop around at renewal time. Insurers quote a low first
premium and hope for an automatic renewal. Most people will
save £50-£80 by switching.
Cost? £59.40 (Pinnacle child
policy) to £312 (B&CE Insurance) according to level of cover.
Offers lump sum for broken bones and weekly payout to cover
lost earnings while off work.
having? Only if you're self-employed (and it runs out
after 3-6mths). Largely a waste of cash for the employed.
And why should children need it? An income protection plan
may be better value for the self employed.
Cost? Around £2,800 for a policy
paying a one-off lump sum of £150,000 if you contract any
one of the insurer's specified illnesses.
having? Can be hideously expensive, and prices vary
markedly. Regularly over sold as an add-on when people are
taking out a mortgage. Use a broker such as lifesearch.co.uk
to find a better quote; for £150,000 cover on a 47-year-old,
it said NU charged £2,436, while BUPA were £2,820 a year.
Cost? £100 to £300 (British
Insurance Brokers Association). Covers the bridegroom breaking
a leg or the marquee burning down.
having? If it's going to be a very fancy do, perhaps
it's worth it. But the average couple can probably do without
this additional cost.
Cost? For a £250,000 policy
covering both partners should either die in the next 15
years, the Prudential charges £1,070. Legal & General is
cheaper at £869 while Scottish Provident is around average
having? This policy will pay out while the children
are still at home. But before signing up, the parents should
check on life cover provision at their workplace and through
Cost? The Link charges £96
for a typical policy for each contract phone. Pay-as-you-go
phones for the children cost £19 to £49 according to the
having? Only if you are very careless, keep strictly
to the policy conditions and are prepared to be patient
in claiming. It is generally cheaper to buy a new phone.
And most companies will give a reconditioned phone to contract
customers whose phone is lost or stolen.
Cost? £24.84 (Saga - only available
as an add-on to its home insurance). Insures items such
as plants, lawns, rockeries, ponds, pergolas and gazebos
for up to £1,000 against a range of incidents including
theft and malicious damage.
having? Cover for outbuildings (sheds, greenhouses etc)
is standard with most buildings insurance policies, and
most home contents policies also offer some cover for possessions
in outbuildings and those in the open, says insurer ensure.
So most people probably won't need garden cover.
Cost? Our family would typically
pay £399 at Denplan assuming they were all in top dental
health. This is not technically insurance but a form of
maintenance contract which spreads costs monthly. The fees
pay for almost all care.
having? Children can normally find free NHS treatment.
Adults can avoid sudden big bills should they need major
Cost? Yes, it does exist. A
family is covered for life for a one-off £100 premium. The
payout, assuming you survive the abduction and can claim,
is £1m. It's only available from insurers GRIP.
having? Depends on your view of aliens and whether you
believe they will scoop humans up into spaceships and then
return them to Earth. So far, no claims have been successful.
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