The Collapse of Monarch Airlines Leaves Thousands Stranded

Following the news that Monarch Airlines have gone into administration, the Government is advising all Monarch customers currently abroad to continue their holidays as planned. Additional flights are being organised to repatriate all passengers affected at no cost.

You should visit the dedicated website or call the helpline number at least 48 hours before you are due to return home for details of your new flight departures.

Monarch.caa.co.uk
Helpline number 0300 303 2800 (from the UK)
+441753 3300330 (from abroad)

You should be flown back to the UK as close as possible to your original departure date and time, however, delays should be expected.

There will be no online check-in thus you should arrive at the airport more than 3 hours before your confirmed new flight.

As you will not be able to check in with your old flight details, you will be issued with a new flight and boarding card.

Foreign office officials will be available at affected airports to help venerable British citizens with specific needs.

Once on board, you will be asked to provide details of your original Monarch booking.

Please be aware that you may not be flown to your original UK destination but coaches will be laid on to transport passengers to their relevant airports.

For passengers who are due to fly, the advice is NOT go to the airport as there will be no flights.

We will provide further details of what you can do if you have booked flights or a holiday and how to make a claim shortly.

Towing a Caravan or Trailer This Summer? 9 Useful Tips

With winter now in the rear view mirror and the warmer weather ahead of us, thoughts turn to days out and holidays.

If you are considering on hitching up a caravan or trailer, then beware. What you can tow depends on its size, weight, the type of license you have and when you passed your test.

Follow our guide to hassle free and safe journey;

• New to towing?

Be aware that towing a trailer will affect the handling of the vehicle. Extra care needs to be taken when braking and reversing.
Consider taking a towing course with one of the caravan clubs.

• Insurance:

Don’t assume that your car insurance covers you for towing. Even if it does there may be certain size or weight restrictions. This also applies to Breakdown cover. Check with your insurance company as cover varies between policies.

Have you declared your tow bars and roof racks? These are often regarded by insurers as ‘modifications’.

Unlike motor vehicles, there is no legal need to insure touring caravans or trailers. Thus it is unlikely that you have cover for this under your car insurance policy. You need specialist caravan insurance to provide cover against theft, damage and liabilities.

You should also consider insuring any contents as these are often a target for thieves.

• Equipment:

For vehicles registered after 1st August 1988 –
Any equipment used for towing must be type approved for your vehicle and meet EU regulations.

Fit suitable towing mirrors if the trailer is wider than the rear of your car.
Fines for towing without proper mirrors – up to £1,000 and 3 penalty on your license.

You must display the same number plate on the trailer as the towing vehicle.

Braking systems are required on trailers over 750kg.

You must use a breakaway cable or secondary coupling. This engages the trailer’s brakes (if fitted) or stops the trailer should it become detached from the vehicle.

• Know your weight limits:

The maximum authorised mass (MAM) also known as gross vehicle weight (GVW) is the weight of a vehicle or trailer including the maximum load that can be safely transported on the road. Check the maximum weight in the owner’s manual and shown on a plate or sticker fitted to the vehicle.

Date of driving test Maximum weight
Before 1 Jan 1997 Drive a car/van/ minibus towing a trailer up to a combined weight of 8,250kg
1 Jan 1997 – 18 Jan 2013 Drive a car/van up to 3, 500kg
With a towing weight up to 750kg
N.B. to tow more than 750kg the combined weight should not exceed 3,500kg
Since 19 Jan 2013 Drive a car/van towing a small trailer up to 750kg
N.B. Total combined weight not to exceed 3,500kg

(Information correct as of 26/04/2017)

To tow anything heavier you need to take a car and trailer driving test (also known as the B&E test).

Know your speed limits
Built up area 30 mph
Single carriageway 50 mph
Dual carriageway/motorway 60 mph

These are the maximum limits allowed and are not necessary safe driving speeds. Always take into account the weather conditions and adjust your speed accordingly.

• Know your towing width limit:

The maximum trailer width is 2.55 metres.

• Know your towing length:

The maximum trailer length is 7 metres.

• Be prepared:

Carry out maintenance checks on both vehicle and trailer.

Ensure the trailer is correctly secured in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.

Adjust the tyre pressure of the vehicle accordingly for the load towed.

Take care when packing, do not overload. The load should be evenly distributed by placing items centrally and above the axle. The loaded weight of your caravan or trailer should be no more than 85% of the kerb weight of the towing vehicle. This can be found in the manufacture’s handbook.

Fines for a vehicle in a dangerous condition – up to £2,500, a ban and 3 penalty points on your license.

• Whilst driving:

Incidents involving towed vehicles are not only distressing for those involved but cause long delays for other road users.

Be considerate of other drivers, don’t keep switching lanes.

It is illegal to drive in the outside lane of a motorway whilst towing a caravan or trailer.
Be aware when travelling abroad that the laws vary from country to country, so read up before you go.

For the latest rules and regulations about towing go to: www.gov.uk/towing-with-car

Blue sky with pink cloud and the silhouette of an aeroplane flying overhead. Text on left hand said reads 'Your Rights'

Your Rights: Can You Claim Compensation for A Flight Delay

Welcome to our first feature in our ongoing blog series titled ‘Your Rights’ where we inform you of your legal rights as a consumer.

In October 2012 the European Court of Justice ruled that passengers were entitled to compensation for cancelled or overbooked flights and delays over 3 hours.

To be covered, your flight must be either:

• Arriving at a European airport and operated by a European airline
• Departing from a European airport and operated by any airline (European airports include Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland)

If your flight is delayed for more than 2 hours, you are legally entitled to:

• Meals and refreshments
• 2 free telephone calls or emails
• Accommodation if you’re delayed overnight
• Transport between the accommodation and airport

If your flight is delayed for over 3 hours:

• All of the above plus:
• Entitlement to compensation if the delay is the airline’s responsibility

Examples of delays that are the airline’s responsibility:

• The flight is overbooked
• The flight is cancelled because of too few bookings
• Mechanical fault
• Staffing issues

Examples of delays beyond the airline’s control:

• Extreme weather (snow, hurricanes, tornadoes etc)
• Major incidents (e.g. earthquake, volcanic eruptions, fire, flood, terrorist attacks/alerts, viral outbreak)
• Strikes
• Closure of the airport
• Government advice not to fly

Claim compensation:

Compensation depends on the length of the delay and the flight distance up to 600 Euros.

For a full list of compensation rates please see www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/holiday-cancellations-and-compensation/if-your-flights-delayed-or-cancelled

Should your flight be delayed for over 5 hours it doesn’t matter whose responsibility the delay is

If you DON’T take the flight you are legally entitled to:

• Meals and refreshments
• 2 free telephone calls or emails
• Accommodation if you’re delayed overnight
• Transport between the accommodation and airport
• A full refund for the flight
• A full refund for missed connecting or return flights
• If you are part way through a journey, the option of returning to your original departure airport.

If you DO take the flight you are legally entitled to:

• All of the above including:
• Entitlement to compensation if the delay is the airlines responsibility

If the flight is cancelled you have the legal right to either:

• The same as if your flight is delayed more than 2 hours
• A replacement flight to your booked destination
• You are entitled to compensation if you would be delayed for more than 2 hours by the offered replacement flight and is the airlines responsibility
OR
• A full refund including connecting or return flights

What you cannot claim for:

Unreasonable expenses such as booking into a hotel of your own choosing, expensive meals and drinks, telephone calls and entertainment.

It is also very unlikely for the airline to pay for the added expense of you abandoning your flight and making your own arrangements to get home.

Making a claim:

Contact the customer services department of the airline who actually operated the flight. Have all your flight details and booking reference numbers to hand. Make detailed notes of your conversation.

Write to them outlining what went wrong and what you are claiming. The Civil Aviation Authority website www.caa.co.uk/Passengers/Resolving-travel-problems has information on how to write a claims letter or alternatively you can download a letter template from Which website www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/letter/letter-to-request-compensation-for-cancelled-flights Remember to only include copies (not originals) of your tickets and expense receipts (keeping a copy of your claim for your records).

If you don’t feel you are getting the compensation you are entitled to:

You can take your issue up with Civil Aviation Authority.

(To download or read articles 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the Regulation (EC) No. 261/2004 which appertain to this article go to www.flight-delayed.co.uk/regulation-ec-no-2612004 )

Travel Insurance:

Don’t let cancellations, delays, medical emergencies, loss or damage to belongings ruin your trip, whether you are travelling within the UK and Europe or to the far ends of the earth contact us for comprehensive single or annual travel insurance.

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.

17 Essential Tips To Driving This Summer

17 Essential Tips to Driving This Summer

With the holiday season upon us, many of will be jumping in your cars for that day trip out or holiday with the family. While we can’t do anything about the British weather, traffic delays or the incessant “are we there yet?”, we can give you 17 Essential Tip to Driving this Summer to keep you and your passengers safe and help your journey run that little bit smoother.

  1. Check your fuel, oil, water, coolant and tyre pressure before setting off to avoid breakdowns.
  2. Plan your route especially if you are travelling to an unknown area.
  3. Ensure you have refreshments and a fully charged mobile phone in case of emergency.
  4. If you suffer from hay fever, remember to take your medication, you don’t want to have a sneezing fit driving at 70mph.
  5. When loading luggage inside the vehicle do not obscure your view through the rear window and if using a roof rack, do not overload and ensure it is strapped securely.
  6. When travelling with children pack toys, books and iPad’s etc. to keep them occupied.
  7. Buckle up and consider buying an in car safety harness for the dog for their and your protection in the event of a road traffic accident.
  8. Stay focused, keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel and never check your phone while behind the wheel.
  9. Don’t drive tired, schedule regular stops of at least 20 minutes.
  10. Have sunglasses to hand; dazzle from the sun could cause an accident.
  11. Beware of slow moving or wide vehicles such as tractors.
  12. Slow down and give a wide berth to horses being ridden or cattle crossing the road.
  13. Give consideration to learner or newly qualified drivers; we have all been there once.
  14. Road repairs are a common sight in summer but loose chippings can cause cracks and chips to your windscreen and paintwork. Keep to any temporary speed limits and keep your distance from the vehicle in front.
  15. Take extra care when driving during or after rain as the road surface can become slippery.
  16. Keep your keys safe, it is all too easy to lose your keys whilst playing on the beach or taking a dip in the sea.
  17. Never leave a child or a pet unattended, heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 14c and on a hot day, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels within minutes.

So remember, be prepared, keep your cool, don’t rush, expect delays and have a safe journey!

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)