Insuring Designer Handbags

The most popular and, perhaps, simplest way to obtain insurance on items such as handbags is to go through your homeowners insurance plan.  It doesn’t always provide the most comprehensive of cover however and some bag owners may not feel that it is not enough cover for them.

Another option is to learn about the warranty that your designer bag is under based on the brand that makes it. Coach, Chanel and Prada, for example, can offer a one-year warranty on all their products. Gucci purses, on the other hand, are usually under lifetime warranty. Other brands the likes of Louis Vuitton don’t offer any warranty whatsoever.

The easiest way to figure out whether your handbag falls under any type of protection plan is to call up the various brands or ask about your options before actually purchasing the product.

Most, if not all, of these warranty policies only really cover damage on your handbag and offer complementary repair services. So don’t expect to get any sort of cash back if your bag is lost, stolen, burnt or floods within your home. If that is what you are seeking protection from, you should consider additional insurances to factor these possibilities.

Once considered a mere add-on to the end of an insurance policy, the last 20 years has seen the importance of couture clothing and designer handbags come to the forefront of importance, in both value and collectability.

The world of Hermes, Celine, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, and many more of the world’s premium brands have in some cases performed better as investments than many more traditional items, and as such should be valued regularly – with prices increasing by 200% in some cases over the space of a year. Can you afford to be under-insured? Why not contact Doerr Dallas Valuations to ensure your collectible items are valued for the right price each year.

Lastly, it is hugely important to look after your collectible items. Storage should be a huge factor in how these valuable items are stored. A cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight should ensure that no damage occurs and will help ensure their value. Additionally, maintenance – such as conditioning and cleaning can help prolong the life of your handbag but take care and seek advise before you go ahead and maintain your valuable items.

For help on insuring items such as designer handbags, get in touch with us on 01256 463090 for more details and assistance.

 

 

 

Index linking and Inflation updates

Inflation has been a key theme in the UK in 2023 and now PM Rishi Sunak has announced UK inflation has dropped to it’s lowest level in two years.

Inflation is a key theme for the UK insurance market in 2023, as it is across the wider economy. Ignoring the fluctuations in the housing market, the construction sector has maintained a rapid and continued rise in the cost of labour and materials due to Brexit and the emergence from the Covid pandemic, with prolonged periods of Business Interruption and reduced business resilience, both financially and operationally.

The motor market also continues to be impacted by double digit increases due to rising costs of repair, a shortage of parts worldwide, the additional costs associated with electrical vehicles and the number of vehicles on the road now returning to their pre-covid levels.

With inflation halved, insurers have been recently relaxing index linking from its market peaks of 15% – 20% to somewhere nearer 5% which in turn should help reduce premium increases at renewal.

Historically index linking has been between 2% and 4% so with inflation halved there are glimmers of hope that we are getting back on track to previous levels.

What is index linking?

The rebuild value: This is the amount it would take to rebuild your property again.

The sum insured: This covers inflation during the insurance year, on top of the rebuild value.

Index linking:  Automatically adjusts the rebuild value when costs rise due to inflation. But it’s not just tied to inflation rates—it’s linked to how inflation affects different things needed to rebuild a home. So, there is no need for you to constantly revalue your property.is like a magic formula used by the insurance market to make sure your property doesn’t become underinsured.  It applies for both buildings and contents insurance.

How to Find Your Property’s Rebuild Cost? To make sure index linking works its magic correctly, you need to start with the right rebuild value. We recommend Rebuildcost Assessment who will professionally ensure your buildings are insured for the right amount.

Whilst insurance premiums have continued to increase, we are always consistently checking the whole market for each client to ensure we are sourcing the most competitive prices. As such we are retaining 97.3% of our clients business through these challenging times and are hopeful that the above announcement from the government will start to slowly have a positive impact on the insurance market.

Car Insurance premiums on the rise

General research shows the cost of car insurance went up by a significant 58% over the past 12 months. The average cost of a comprehensive car insurance policy is now £924.

Drivers aged 18, for example, paid £2,999 for their policy, on average – more than triple the national average. It’s also £1,415(88%) more than a year ago. This is the most expensive age for car insurance.

This is the seventh annual price rise in almost 2 years.

One of the reasons for this may be because of the continued rise of electric vehicles which means an increase in expensive, technologically advanced cars. Registrations for battery electric vehicles have  increased by almost 35% compared to last year. And with some manufacturers stating that they’re only going to make electric vehicles in future, it’s likely this will continue to rise. That’s despite the prime minister’s announcement that the ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars will be delayed until 2035.

These electric vehicles come with a higher price tag and enhanced technology, so cost more to repair after an accident. Also, the supply chain is still feeling the effects of the pandemic. So there are often delays and backlogs for electric vehicle repairs.

The expense of electric vehicles has led many drivers to turn to second-hand cars. Because of this, they’re keeping their value for longer. This means more expensive claims for insurers if the car is a write off after an accident. This pushes up insurance costs for drivers.

Insurers say the main culprit is inflation. Rising energy bills and the higher cost of paint and materials have added to the cost of repairs, which have increased by 33 per cent, according to the Association of British Insurers. Courtesy car costs are increasing by around 30 per cent, while inflation has also pushed up the cost of personal injury claims.

Add to that an overall increase in claims frequency following the pandemic, and it could explain why car insurance costs are so high.

The cost of living crisis has seen insurance fraud explode. Motor insurance fraud was the most common type of opportunistic fraud referred to the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department between March 2022 and April 2023.

Car insurance is fast becoming one of the most expensive household bills, adding more financial pain at a time of high inflation and surging mortgage rates and rents.

If you’d like to call us to see if we can provide a better quote on your car insurance, please call us on 01256 463090 or visit our website Speak to an Insurance Expert | Bloomhill Insurance Solutions (bloomhills.co.uk).

Consumer Duty

CONSUMER DUTY

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires all brokers to be fully compliant with The Consumer Duty requirements for all open products by 31 July 2023.

At Bloomhills, we have always put our customers’ needs first to help support positive customer outcomes. The Consumer Duty requirements have provided an excellent opportunity to conduct a thorough and targeted review of how we are delivering to our customers and delivering good outcomes – to ensure we continue to deliver the most suitable products to our clients and great service, at all times.

We’ve been looking at:

  • Assessing the principal of fair value and ensuring good outcomes for our customers every time
  • Providing communications which are clear and easy to understand
  • How we support our customers, including those that are vulnerable
  • The governance of our products and services

We recognise the importance of assessing, testing and monitoring the outcomes of our customers.

Our review takes into account every aspect of the FCA’s new Consumer Duty regulations including our relationship with insurers and customers.

  • Products and services
  • Price and Value
  • Customer understanding
  • Customer support

The FCA’s new Consumer Duty requirements create a fairer, more transparent financial services industry. Consumers will be protected in a better way and they’ll be in a better position to make informed decision. It will create increased accountability, support consumer trust, provide better clarity and reduce the risk of harm.

If you’d like to talk to us about any part of what we are doing or if you need any support, please contact us 01256 463090.

Cyber Insurance

WHAT IS CYBER INSURANCE?

Cyber insurance is cover designed to protect your business from threats in the digital world that we now live in. Data breaches or malicious cyber hacks on work computer systems are some of the issues companies now face when dealing with cyber breaches.

A business is responsible for its own cyber security, but in the event of a cyber-attack, having the right insurance will mean you aren’t alone. Cyber cover can provide crucial support to help maintain the continuity of your business.

WHO NEEDS CYBER INSURANCE?

If your business uses, sends or stores electronic data, you may benefit from cyber insurance. Cyber insurance can help with the cost of data recovery. All data, whether it belongs to the business or is sensitive customer information is vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data breaches.

Cyber insurance helps offer financial support if the worst happens.

WHAT ARE COMMON CYBERCRIMES?

Here are a few common cybercrimes to be aware of:

  1. HACKING– This is the partial or complete acquisition of a computer system or certain functions within it. Its main aim is to access important data.
  2. MALWARE – Malicious software can install itself in your systems via phishing scams and targeting software vulnerabilities. When it’s installed, the attacker can spy on online activities and steal private data.
  3. RANSOMEWARE – This is a form of malware that attacks your computer system and encrypts data. The attacker will then demand a ransom payment in exchange for the return of the data. It’s important to formulate a data recovery plan as a precaution and maintain at least one regular backup of your data.

WHAT DOES CYBER INSURANCE COVER?

In the event of a breach, illegal threat, cyber-attack or security failure, some insurance policies will cover the first-party and third-party financial and reputational costs if data or electronic systems have been lost, damaged, stolen or corrupted.
Some cyber insurance policies also offer support with income loss if your business needs to close temporarily because of a cyber-attack.
Cyber insurance can also cover crime costs, this cover goes beyond cybercrime. If your business faces fraud by an employee, cyber insurance may help to pick up related costs.

Client Satisfaction Survery

At Bloomhills we are always striving to ensure our clients are happy with our services. We were delighted after a recent survey revealed that 97% would recommend us and we obtained a 4.82/5 star reviews!

Here is some of the amazing feedback we received:

“It is always just a weight off my mind to have someone I trust to sort things out for me. Thank you”

“Mark has always been a really supportive broker for me. Great Guy”

“Have several insurances. Never have to worry about renewals as reminders, with updated quotes are provided in time. They are always value for money”

“Great company, Matt is a super nice person”

“A very honest company who understands Customer service, no frills, no hard sell, just good old business at a sensible price”

 

The survey revealed to us that some of the most important factors our customers consider when thinking of taking out a policy is cost and what cover is included within that price.

  • 95% of our clients feel that we respond to them in a timely manner
  • 97% of our clients feel that we treat them fairly and have their best interests with insurers
  • Wonderfully 87% of our customers have stayed with us for over 5 years and 92% felt that their current policy represents good value.

 

Thank you to all of those that took the time to respond to our Client Satisfaction Survey! We will continue to always look to our valued clients for feedback throughout the years to ensure we provide the very best service!

 

 

 

 

Winter tips and advice for your car

As we approach December the temperature is now dropping significantly following a very mild October and November this year. 

If you already have breakdown cover, this time of year you can be kept waiting for a good couple of hours for help to arrive.

The most common call out in the winter between December and February related to a flat batteries and tyre issues.

How to avoid a winter breakdown

Prevention is better than cure, and some simple maintenance and common sense steps could keep you on the road without event this winter.

  • Always MOT your car by the due date and service your vehicle as required for optimum safety and performance.
  • The average lifespan of a car battery is 4 to 5 years. Check your car battery voltage with a voltmeter.
  • Check your headlights and replace any bulbs now – including your fog lights.
  • Make sure your windscreen washer is topped up and antifreeze is available.
  • Keep an eye on your tyre pressure and tread in the winter months. If you live somewhere where it’s prone to snow and ice, it may even be worth considering purchasing a set of winter tyres. Tyres drop pressure in cold weather so keep checking the tyre levels to ensure they are safe.

Emergency winter car kit

Whether you choose to buy one, or make one yourself, it’s important to spend time getting the contents right.  Many of these items can be bought at a supermarket or online, and some you may already have at home.

Items you may benefit from having:

  • De Icer and Windscreen Scraper
  • Spare Phone Charger
  • Bottle of water
  • Hat and gloves
  • Torch with spare batteries
  • Warm blanket
  • Hi vis Jacket
  • Jumper Cables
  • Hazard Sign
  • First Aid Kit

Depending on your boot space you could consider a snow shovel, snacks for emergencies, jump starter power packs just in case another vehicle isn’t around and an umbrella.

How to charge your car battery

The most common cause of winter breakdowns is a fault with a battery.

A common cause of a flat battery is using your car for lots of smaller trips, leaving the battery little time to charge up in between journeys. This is particularly common if your battery is old.

Additionally leaving lights on when the engine is off is another main factor.

If this happens to you, there are some things you can do to jump-start your car.

  1. Park the vehicle with the fully-charged battery facing the car with the flat one.
  2. Turn both cars off and engage parking brakes.
  3. Dead car: place red clamp on the (+) on the dead battery.
  4. Helper car: place red clamp on the (+) on the battery on their car.
  5. Helper car: place black clamp on the (-) on the battery of their car.
  6. Dead car: place black clamp on an unpainted metal surface.
  7. Wait 5 minutes.
  8. Start the helper car first, then start the dead car.
  9. If it doesn’t start immediately, wait another 10 minutes.
  10. Once running, leave the leads attached for 10 minutes to charge the dead battery.
  11. Remove clamps in reverse order.
  12. Take the car for a 30-minute drive.
Remember – safety first!
  • Call an expert if you are unsure, see signs of leaking, erosion, smoke or anything suspicious.
  • Never touch the battery with anything metal.

If you are still unsuccessful, you will likely need breakdown cover. A lot of motor insurance policies offer breakdown cover for an additional fee.  For peace of mind, you can add this to your car insurance policy – if you haven’t arranged this already and would like to find out about adding this to your existing policy – give us a call on 01256 463090 or contact us here.

Underinsurance

Underinsurance – Its important you are insuring the correct sums insured…

Your home is one of the most valuable assets you are likely to own

With raw material prices increasing and inflation on the rise, it’s important to acknowledge the very real cost of under insurance. Rebuild costs have increased over the last 18-24 months – brought about by a combination of Covid-19 and Brexit – rebuild costs have inevitably gone up.

 

Why are the sums insured so important?

 

The sums insureds are one of the main factors in how the premium is calculated. It is now more important than ever that you are not underinsured at the time off a loss.

What to do if you are unsure about your sums insured…

 

Buildings – The most accurate way to calculate this figure is to have a rebuild cost assessment carried out by a qualified RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors)/SCSI (Society of Chartered Surveyors) surveyor. We do not recommend the use of online calculators as they can provide a generalised figure that may not be appropriate for your specific property, particularly if it has any unusual features.

Contents – You may find it helpful to create an inventory of your contents, including contents in the garden and outbuildings which should be reviewed on a regular basis, particularly after purchasing new items. For jewellery or fine art, guidance from a specialist valuer should be sought (it may be a requirement of the policy that valuations are conducted on a regular basis – normally every 3 years as a minimum).

Buildings – Reminders/Pointers

  • Building sum insured – Needs to be the full value cost of rebuilding the property by a professional third-party contractor. This includes rebuilding expenses such as architects & surveyor fees, clearing the site of debris, complying with local building regulations etc.
  • Outbuildings, Walls, Fences, Driveways, Paths etc. also need to be included in the building sum insured.
  • The policy wording will contain a definition for buildings which explains the things which need to be considered by you.
  • Does the sum insured seem adequate for the size of property? Consider the number of bedrooms for example.
  • NOTE: The rebuild cost of the home is not the same as the market value.

Contents – Reminders/Pointers

  • As a general rule of thumb if you were to turn the property upside down anything that isn’t fixed would be classed as contents.
  • For general contents and personal possessions, the figure must be the cost to replace as new.
  • For valuables the figure must reflect the current market value.
  • The policy wording will contain a definition for contents which explains the type of items which need to be considered.
  • Does the general contents sum seem in proportion with valuables?

 

We’re here to help – If you need help, clarification or have any questions regarding the advice in this email, please contact us on 01256 463090

Proposed EPC Changes

From 2025, under current proposals all newly rented properties will be required to have an EPC rating of C or above.  Currently, properties only require an EPC rating of E or above.

Existing tenancies will have until 2028 to comply with the new rules.

Following this news, there is a concern that a substantial amount of properties risk potentially being declared “unrentable” and therefore “unsellable”. With older properties falling out of line, this could leave current owners unable to sell their properties without doing the necessary improvements. It isn’t going to be possible to ignore this energy drive towards improving efficiency.

Landlords that have been renting out properties for over 10 years are more likely to be unaware of the new rules coming into force.

Nearly a quarter of landlords said their properties are currently rated D or below for energy efficiency. This means that from 2025, unless improvements are made, they face being unable to begin a new tenancy.

Tenants may see their rents go up as they pass on the cost of improving their properties. Once these improvements have been made, tenants expect their rents to naturally rise due to the improved EPC ratings.

On average it is expected that it will cost landlords £6,000 to make improvements to each of their properties. With the cost of building materials ever increasing, that figure it likely to rise in the next few years ahead of the deadline.

We as brokers, need to help support landlords and encourage them to make improvements as quickly as possible. It’s important that lenders and brokers work together to come to practical and effective solutions.

Finance may be needed to help landlords manage the cost of these improvements. We would expect in the longer term, a greater range of incentives and green mortgage products entering the market. Things such as bridging loans may be something to consider. Bridging can provide the flexibility and growing needs of the market. This could be a useful tool to mitigate the impacts of EPC changes as it is a way of providing a quick cash injection to make improvements ahead of a deadline.

Are you a landlord, concerned about your EPC rating? Give us a call and we can help navigate you through these challenging next steps.

 

 

 

 

 

Trees and Subsidence

The extreme hot, dry summers and reasonably dry winters in recent years has caused the insurance industry to see an increase in subsidence in buildings.

Subsidence is the downward movement of the ground supporting the building. Damage occurs because the movement is often uneven, causing cracks in walls, floors and ceilings. The main cause of subsidence
in the UK is the shrinkage in dry weather of clay soils which expand and contract with changes in their moisture content. The escape of water form leaking or damaged drains below the ground can also cause
subsidence.

Research has shown that the majority of subsidence problems involve trees to some degree. Trees more likely to cause problems than other have fine root structures longer than other species, such as poplars,
willows, elms and oaks.

Typical signs of subsidence usually show with the following:

  • Cracks from both inside and outside the property
  • Doors and windows sticking, this suggests distortion of the building

All buildings can suffer minor cracking from other causes such as “settling” when a new building has been built. Drying and shrinkage of building materials – which can be sorted during routine maintenance or redecoration.

How can we avoid issues?

  • Do not plant trees or large shrubs too close to property, including garages and outbuildings.
  • Trees that were planted before a property was built must be kept at a manageable level to ensure the amount of foliage produced is in control. This will help reduce the amount of water it requires and will avoid the tree taking over the area and potentially causing damage to property.
  • Trees that were planted before a property has been built should never be removed as this can cause uplift of the ground or “heave” (upward movement of the ground supporting the building – the opposite of subsidence).
  • Always check before altering or removing a tree whether there is a preservation order. You must obtain appropriate consent before commencing any works.

Try and always ensure you have subsidence cover within your policy. It may be that subsidence cover is excluded for various reasons but if it is included it certainly is worth having included in your policy.