Elderly woman wearing glasses smiling contently upward to her partner whilst he rests his head upon hers

Care Home Contents Insurance Cover for Your Parents

Brownhill Insurance Group is able to arrange care home contents insurance cover for your parent’s possessions. Giving you and your parent peace of mind in the event of a loss.

What Do We Provide?

We are able to arrange insurance cover for their possessions whilst in the care home against all the major insurance perils.

The cover we arrange for you is a simple add on to your own home insurance policy held through ourselves. We can insure your parent’s clothing and personal belongings including jewellery, watches and hearing aids. Cover provided is on an all risks basis whilst in the care home or residential home, including out and about.

If you do not hold your insurance through us, we are happy to provide you with a free no obligation quotation.

We can also provide insurance if they live in self-contained warden assisted accommodation.

How to arrange cover

If you would like us to arrange for a quotation, please call our Personal Lines team on 020 8353 8901. We will be more than happy to assist you with your enquiry.

Record Keeping For Individuals. White files on a white table top.

Good Record Keeping for Individuals

 

Part One: Keeping your physical papers in order

 
Good record keeping is important for everyone to stay organised and well prepared.

Keeping your paperwork in order has many obvious benefits, such as:

o Having peace of mind that you have everything under control
o You are less likely to lose anything if it is kept all together
o Less wasted time trying to find something
o By keeping track of bills you can avoid missed payments
o The ability to compare premiums and help in the decision whether to look at an alternative provider
o Keep track of your outgoings and enabling you to budget
o All in one place in case you have to evacuate due to an emergency

But in today’s hectic world with little available time and even less storage space, what should you keep and for how long?

Personal information:

The following should be kept indefinitely;

Passports
Driving licences
Birth/adoption/death certificates
Marriage certificates
Deed Poll
Nationalisation certificate
Military discharge papers
National Insurance Number card
NHS Medical number
Up to date Will, Living Will or Power of Attorney
Private pension plans

Medical information:

Always keep copies of paperwork relating to treatments and illnesses, although your doctor and hospital should have them, you may need immediate access to them.

If you are entitled to a medical exemption certificate, keep it safe and remember to renew it every 5 years.

If you travel abroad and have an E111 European Health Insurance Card, keep it safe and don’t forget to renewal it every 3 – 5 years.

Private Medical Health (see Insurance documentation)

Insurance documentation:

No matter what insurance cover you might have, you need to keep your schedules and policy wordings for the current year until renewal.

Should you change insurance providers, always keep the previous insurer’s schedule as proof of cover in the event of a claim arising after the inception of the new policym, but relating to the period of the previous policy such as subsidence.

Life and endowment policies should be kept until death or maturity as applicable.

Income and Tax related documentation:

Although the HRMC advise you keep them for 22 months after the end of the tax year, to be on the safe side you should keep documentation relating to income, such as wages (part 1 of a P45, P60’s and P11D’s) benefits (Job Seekers allowance, SSP, Maternity/paternity/adoption leave and other Social Security benefits), share dividends, rental income, trust income and inheritance for the current year plus 6 years as this is the furthest back that the Tax Man can go.

Personal finance documentation:

As per income and tax related documentation, it is best to keep bank, credit card & loans statements for the current year plus 6 years.

Statements relating to your Mortgage should be kept until the mortgage is paid off.

Remember to check your statements regularly in order to spot any fraudulent activity.

Warranties and receipts:

Warranties should be kept for the validity period. (also see insurance documentation)

Important receipts for purchases of jewellery or large /expensive items or work carried out should be kept for a minimum of the current year, plus 6 years in case proof of purchase is required in the event of an insurance claim or required by the Tax Man.

Utility bills:

It is worth keeping them for a year so you can see what you actually used during that period and to help in getting alternative quotes from other providers.

Other important documentation:

Property title deeds and vehicle titles need to be kept until such time as you sell the property/vehicle.

Employment contracts should be kept until you leave that particular employment.

Keep share certificates until they are sold.

Things to consider:

You should consider purchasing a fire and waterproof, lockable document storage box to keep your most important paper documents in.

As a greater number of companies go paperless, we can readily access and retain more documentation online, however, in this instance you should always keep a backup either in the cloud or in a storage unit that is kept away from the premises.

 

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and advice can differ, if in doubt it is always best to err on the side of caution.

 

Coming up in Part Two: How to store your important documentation securely online.

Police car with police tape in the foreground stating 'Police line do not cross'

The Invisible Property Protection System

Not to be confused with the drink, Smartwater is an innovative forensic marking system used to mark property in an attempt to reduce burglaries.

Invented in 1993 by Phil Cleary; a former West Midlands police officer and his brother Mike Cleary; a chartered chemist operating out of their garage, they have grown to an internationally recognised multi-million-pound business with over 50 employees with offices in Europe, North and South America.

This invisible, inorganic, non-hazardous solution contains a unique forensic code that is viewed under UV light and is virtually impossible to remove and is either painted or sprayed on.

Smartwater is currently being trialled in homes throughout the UK with a number of residents in higher risk areas being given a kit for free. Smartwater can safely be used on any surface whether it is personal belongings, business equipment, art, cultural antiquities, war memorials and even casino chips and cash machines.

With millions of combinations available, the same code is never repeated or manufactured twice. The code along with details of the item and personal contact information is kept at Smartwater offices on an offline secure database.

Just a drop the size of a speck of dust can be analysed and used to trace items, reunite property with the owners and link suspects to crime scenes up to 5 years after application.

Used in connection with warning notices, SmartWater is a proven deterrent against criminals.

Why shouldn’t I use a UV pen?

It essentially does the same thing doesn’t it I hear you ask, unfortunately, there are drawbacks to using a UV pen, firstly they can only be used if there is a large enough surface on which to write your name & postcode, secondly there is nothing stopping a thief from just crossing out your details with another UV pen!

For further information: www.smartwater.com

A black matte surface with an open wallet the top left corn revealing 6 credit cards. Font is written over the top of image stating 'Your Rights'

Your Rights: Credit Card Protection

Here is the second edition of our ‘Your Rights’ series where we inform you of your legal rights as a consumer.

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974; an important but forgotten by many UK law.

Pay in part or full for something in person or online (in the UK or for delivery from overseas) costing between £100 and £30,000 on your credit card or store card and the card provider becomes equally liable with the retailer, airline or supplier if something goes wrong.

Some typical examples of purchasing:

• a sofa from a shop that goes into administration before delivery
• a picture from overseas that never arrives
• a washing machine and finding it faulty

Please note that transactions need to be made directly and NOT via a third party such as a travel agent or Pay Pal.

Should the entire bill or the item cost over £100?

The law as it stands pertains to the single cash value of a single item (so excluding any delivery charges etc)

Some helpful examples:

• If you purchase matching jewellery for £125 but the earrings, necklace and bracelet are all individually priced then you aren’t covered. However, if it is sold as a complete set then you are.
• If you purchase flights direct from an airline which is offered/advertised as an outbound flight for £89 and return flight for £19.99, while the total is over £100, neither individual ticket is over £100 so your are not covered. It would need to be sold as a single amount for a return journey to qualify.

As long as it costs more than £100, by paying even a fraction on a credit card, you’re protected.

For further information: www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/section-75-of-the-consumer-credit-act

What if you are unlucky enough to have a problem?

Try and contact the retailer or supplier, if they are being unhelpful, it may prove easier for you to go to your card provider and make a claim. Remember credit card companies have deeper pockets than small firms who will always make it difficult for you to get your money back especially if you are after a large amount of money.

In the unlikely event that your credit provider won’t help and you feel that you have a valid claim then contact the Financial Ombudsman to make a complaint.

For further information: www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/pay-it-safe/index

Section 75a – Purchases above £30,000 on finance

With an upper limit of £60,260, for a purchase to be covered, the finance must be linked directly to an item so there is a clear relationship between the finance and the item purchased.

For example:

• A £50,650 sports car wouldn’t be covered if you’d used a credit card or taken out a personal loan as you could have used those to buy anything, however; a loan taken out with the dealership which was specifically for the car would.

There is a difference when it comes to complaining, under Section 75, you can complain to either the retailer/supplier or the credit provider as both are equally liable BUT under Section 75a, you need to have exhausted all attempts to get retribution from the retailer or supplier BEFORE you take your claim to the credit provider.

But what if I paid by a debit card?

Although not covered by Section 75, “Chargeback” is part of Scheme Rules that participating banks subscribe to and lets you ask your card provider to reverse a transaction.

The rule applies to all debit cards (please note that conditions may differ between cards) and is useful for items purchased on credit cards that fall below the £100 requirement of Section 75.

Where Chargeback differs is that there is no joint liability, your bank contacts the retailers or supplier’s bank to request the refund, there is no guarantee that the money can be recovered.

Conditions:

• You must prove that the retailer or supplier was in breach of contract, for example, the goods purchased did not arrive.

• There is a time limit of usually 120 days.
For airline tickets purchased where the company has gone bust, this starts from the date the flight was due.
For goods purchased in person or online the time starts from when you received your goods.

But what if I paid by Pay Pal?

If you use your debit or credit card to top up your Pay Pal account, it is the loading of your card that is counted as the transaction.

A tip is to check you Pay Pal account and ensure that there is a nil balance so that the amount debited from your card goes straight to the seller and matches the item purchased thus showing a direct line of purchase.

Pay Pal have their own payment protection both for the buyer (If an eligible online purchase doesn’t match the seller’s description or fails to turn up, you will be reimbursed for the full amount of the item including p&p) and the seller (If an unauthorised fraudulent payment is received or it’s claimed that a purchased item does not arrive, they will be reimbursed for the full amount of eligible sales)

For more information: www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/paypal-safety-and-security

Does Your Insurance Cover You When Renting

Renting your property, by either buying a 2nd home and renting it out for weekends or renting your main residence out on an ad hoc basis can have serious implications on your home insurance.

Handing your keys over to someone who is not a member of your household could lead to your insurance cover being void.

Using a house renting facility such as Airbnb is a good idea if you are looking to make some extra cash, but you must always make sure your insurance company are aware of this material fact. If you are paying your insurance and haven’t informed your insurance company you could find yourself uninsured. Your policy could be made void as well as a potential claim not being paid.

You should always make your insurance company aware of any material fact which may affect the terms of your insurance. This can be anything from changing your occupation to renting your property. Whether it is for a weekend or on a permanent basis, they need to know.

Airbnb Host Guarantee

Sites like Airbnb will provide you with a Host Guarantee. Do not confuse this as a replacement for your insurance policy, it is just a back-up. Inform your insurance company immediately of your intention, if they are unable to continue your cover under your original contract they may be able to offer you an alternative. If they decide not to continue to insure you, do not worry as there are companies that will offer reasonable premiums with correct terms and conditions for your specific needs. It is always better to be safe rather than sorry, especially when it comes to insuring your property and worldly possessions.

Brownhill Insurance Group are happy to get you the correct cover. Please call us for a quotation on 020 8658 4334 or contact us here.

Products Recalls. Pictured Samsung S5 phone laying screen down of a surface

Product Recalls: From Tumble Dryers to Smartphones

First it was tumble dryers and now mobile phones are bursting into flames.

Following the problems with certain models of Whirlpool tumble dryers earlier in the year, you will have seen the news headlines that Samsung have issued a product recall on their Galaxy Note 7. This is due to reports of devices exploding or bursting into flames because of an issue with overheating batteries.

On October 10 2016 Samsung took the decision to stop sales and shipments of Galaxy Note 7 devices.

Everyone with a Galaxy Note 7 has been asked to stop using their device and to replace it for another device in the Galaxy lineup.

Samsung is reminding their customers that the Note 7 is the only affected device in their range of smart phones. It was reported last week that the recall has caused the division’s operating profit to drop by nearly 98%.

Not a good time for Samsung at the moment as they have just announced a voluntary recall of washing machines in the U.S. over injury reports.

Read Samsungs consumer guidance for the Galaxy Note 7 here.

Info on switching your device here.

(Pictured above: Samsung S5)

Engagement-Ring-Insurance

Do you know the current value of your engagement ring?

Do you have engagement ring insurance?

At Brownhill Insurance Group we strongly recommend reviewing whether you need more from your insurance than your current cover can offer, as you may be surprised at the rise in value of your extra precious items.

Did you know?

Many individuals regularly underestimate their sums insured by at least 40%.

Over the last 10 years the price of gold and silver has increased by around 300%.

Being underinsured is a common problem for jewellery items that gain value over the years, or can be vulnerable to market fluctuations. Gold, silver, diamonds and wristwatches are key examples.

To be safe, you’re better off organising a valuation with a certified jeweller every three to four years. Likewise, don’t forget to include items you’ve been gifted that accumulate over your policy period through birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas.

There is no use in making guesses regarding the cost to replace items because underinsurance will rear its ugly head once again and you will be left paying more money to cover the remaining costs.

If you think you may be underinsured then please talk to us, we can help you make sure that your insurance policy accurately reflects the value of your home and its contents, we can happily offer advice and will be able to recommend the steps you need to take if you find you are underinsured for any of the policies you have taken out with us.

The Brownhill Insurance Group Difference

Brownhill Insurance Group can give you the best of both worlds — we pride ourselves on our personal touch and market expertise combined with many distinctive products and an exceptional, professional service.

We offers a comprehensive selection of covers, with dedicated and highly experienced Client Managers capable of assisting you with your personal requirements.

If you’re interested in learning more about cover that goes further, please give us a call on 0208 353 8901 or contact us.

Understanding-Your-Home-Insurance-Policy

Understanding Your Home Insurance Policy

Deciphering all of the parts of your home insurance policy can be difficult; It is important to understand the terminology used, therefore a home insurance policy will always include a definitions page in the policy wording which defines and explains the vocabulary used to make it easier to understand.

Home insurance policies will usually follow the same general format: A declarations page, a definitions section and sections for property insurance and liability insurance.

Policy Schedule

When you receive a copy of your policy, it is important to review all of the information for accuracy. Your policy schedule is the part of your insurance policy that provides an overview of the details specific to your policy, such as:

  • The name of the insurer
  • Your policy number
  • Your name and address
  • The premium payable
  • Any specific conditions, changes or endorsements
  • Sums insured

You should retain a copy of the schedule to refer to in case you have any questions or queries concerning your policy. If you change or revise your policy at any time, a new policy schedule will be issued to you reflecting those changes.

Endorsements

It is of particular importance to read and understand any endorsements or exclusions which may be applied to your policy, as these could determine whether or not cover is in force in the event of a claim. For example, your policy could have an endorsement which states that your property has a burglar alarm installed and in working order, however if this is not the case and you were subject to a theft from your home an insurer could refuse to pay your claim.

Property Cover

Buildings: This provides cover as a result of damage to your home and other detached structures at the same address due to a loss such as fire, flood or subsidence to name a few. It does not cover the normal wear and tear of your home or any maintenance related problems. You need to have enough cover for the rebuilding cost of your home, minus any cost of the land or location.

Contents: This provides cover for your contents and personal items in your home such as furniture and clothing. You can also extend this cover to include your personal belongings worldwide by specifying certain items such as jewellery. It is important to create and keep records of your personal belongings for proof of ownership in the event of a claim; these can include receipts and pictures.

If you have any questions or queries regarding your home insurance policy, give our dedicated household team a call on 020 8658 4334.

Keep Your Home Safe While On Holiday

Keep Your Home Safe While On Holiday : 10 Essential Tips

The holiday season is a great time to unwind and experience exotic destinations. The use of technology has allowed us to protect the homes we leave behind, and we’ve therefore taken the opportunity to highlight our top ten tips to ensure your future holidays remain memorable for all the right reasons.

1.Managing social media

Hacking into social media accounts can be an easy way to check if your house is unoccupied and  increases the chance of a burglary. Children in particular can be unaware of the pitfalls of providing details of forthcoming holidays.

2. Electronic alarm systems

An approved intruder alarm is a good deterrent but don’t forget to set the system and let the key holders know that you’re away. A remotely monitored system can also incorporate the fire protection – so consider upgrading the fire alarm to link into the intruder alarm panel.

3. Install time switches

The use of time switches for lighting and audio systems is a simple way to give the impression of  occupancy thus reducing the risk for opportunist burglars.

4. CCTV cameras

Modern CCTV cameras are good visual deterrents. Cameras can be used simply as a means of access control or arranged to provide full perimeter protection. Some systems allow remote viewing via your smart phone or tablet device too, which is useful if you’re away from home regularly.

5. Water leaks

When the home is unoccupied there is a higher risk of water damage going unnoticed. If there is daily attendance by a neighbour or staff then this can reduce the risk. Alternatively the plumber can shut-off the water supply before you leave or you could consider a water leak detection system which would turn off the water supply in the event of an abnormal flow.

6.Allow a friend or neighbour to leave their car in the driveway

Some private clients also use professional house sitters while on extended vacations who can look after pets while keeping the house occupied too.

7.While in another country

It is easy to relax and forget where you are when your holiday starts, which is the whole point of a

holiday. However, this makes you more vulnerable and an easier target. Try to lower your profile and blend in to avoid attracting attention and ensure that you are never isolated away from your group.

8. Store valuables in the main hotel safe

The guest room safes provided by hotels only have limited security features so we recommend using the main hotel safe for any valuables taken on holiday.

9. Have a mobile phone available at all times

For emergencies with speed dial for the police, friends and family nearby.

10. Remember your personal safety is more important than your personal property

If confronted by criminals, agree to their demands as this will diffuse the situation and avoid confrontation.

by AIG Private Client Group (PDF of article here)

Keep Yourself Warm This Winter – And Save Money

The clocks go back this Sunday (25th October); the good news – we’ll get an extra hour in bed that morning, the bad news – it’ll be dark at 4pm! With the darker days comes the colder weather and the annual ritual of turning on the heating.

For many, this time of year can be daunting, with high energy prices it is costly business heating our homes. A cold home can lead to many problems such as frozen pipes, it can also have health implications for its occupants. Large fluctuations in temperature can cause damp and mould to grow leading to further issues and additional costs.

We’ve put together some useful (low-cost) tips for keeping you and your home warm this winter, whilst saving yourself money:

  • Don’t leave your heating on all day. Some people believe it is possible to save money by leaving heating on all day at very low temperatures. This is not true and will not save you money, it is also a huge waste of energy.
  • Set your boiler’s timer. If you are out of the house for most of the day, set your heating to come on for a couple of hours in the morning (ideally an hour before you wake up) and four or five hours in the evening. More modern timers have the ability to set different schedules depending on the day, so you can have the heating on for longer over the weekend.
  • Set your radiator valves. You should have the ability to control each radiator in your home independently, spend a bit of time getting the temperature levels comfortable.
  • Closed doors keep heat in. If you have a living room off the hallway and your front door is made of wood, you may find you get a draft. Close your living room door during the evenings and you will notice the difference very quickly.
  • If you have gaps under external doors, consider investing in a draught excluder.
  • Put up curtains over your front door. Thick curtains really do work, especially if you have a large hallway and a wooden draughty door.
  • Close all curtains during darkness hours, to help maintain warmth in your home.
  • If you don’t have central heating, try oil heaters, they are more cost effective than electric heaters, quieter and do not create dust (like fan heaters). Once the oil is heated up the electricity turns off and the temperature is maintained for a long time.
  • A modern solution would be to use a smart thermostat such as the ones from Nest or Hive. These devices connect with your heating systems and learn your daily routines and adjust temperatures accordingly. You can also control them remotely (via a Smartphone) to set your heating to be ready for you when you arrive home.
  • Loft installation is possible the greatest heat saver. Some energy companies may give discounts or even fit for free, so make sure you call them before starting any work.

Make Sure You Are Covered

Winter in Britain brings with it many headaches. If you do find yourself falling victim to the cold season, make sure you have the correct insurance cover in place to help you get back on your feet. Brownhill Insurance Group can help you cover against:

  • Frozen and burst pipes
  • Escape of water
  • Storm damage

To discuss your needs, please call us on 020 8658 4334.

Winter MOT

Looking after your home is important all year round but during the winter months, a small problem can soon turn into a major issue. Here are a few things to consider checking around the house before the winter arrives:

  • Loose tiles – Check your roof for any loose tiles that may fall off during a storm. Falling tiles could cause damage to cars parked near your property, garden furniture or worse.
  • Gutters – Getting your gutters cleaned of any build up such as autumn leaves can prevent leaks and overflowing.
  • Drains – Clearing leaves from around drains can prevent flooding around your property.

Brownhill Insurance Group are a leading independent insurance Broker based in Kent.