Appliance, Pet, Cyber Insurance

Over the past month we have tackled the various insurance challenges when buying or renewing motor, travel, home and medical insurance policies. For our final piece, we turn our attention to the more niche areas of pet, appliance and
cyber insurance. Whilst not as headline-grabbing as the "big four”, we thought it useful to share our experience and research in these areas to help understand the risks and rewards involved and to benefit from annabel’s top tips.

Appliance cover

Beware the extended warranty! Whilst there may be circumstances when you feel this is a really worthwhile investment, there are even more reasons why these manufacturer’s warranties can be a waste of money.

These days, appliances cost a lot less to buy and are made to a high standard so the chances of them breaking down within a few years of purchase are fairly minimal. It’s worth bearing in mind that you already have a high level of protection with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which states that a product should be of satisfactory quality, fit to do the job intended and last a reasonable length of time.

If your appliance breaks down within six months, you can take it straight back. Finally, if you use a credit card, you are automatically covered for goods of the value of £100 to £30,000. And don’t forget, most manufacturers guarantee their products for 12 months or more anyway and, if you ask, the retailer may well offer to top this up for free for anything up to a further four years. It’s always worth asking!

The thought of your boiler on the blink is a likely trigger for spending far too much on a policy that offers terrible value for money. 

Firstly, consider whether you actually need cover. It can often make more sense to build up your own emergency fund to dip into should things go wrong.Secondly, don’t feel pressured into buying insurance from your energy provider – this is rarely the cheapest option. Shop around and also check existing home insurance in case you’re already covered. Finally, if you do take out boiler cover, make sure you check what it does and doesn’t cover (particularly how long it will take to get an engineer out) and have your boiler serviced annually.

Pet Insurance

The family dog is often the only one in the household with private health insurance but with MSE telling us that the average pet insurance claim is around £1,220, it doesn’t take much to work out why some sort of plan is essential. The cost of your insurance will depend on your pet’s age, pedigree and where you live (naturally, London is the most expensive place to get your pet insured!).

Firstly, you need to decide what you want your policy to cover and then you can start shopping around. The four types of pet insurance are:

Accident only: Provides cover for vet bills if your pet is injured in an accident. It’s the cheapest type of pet insurance.

Time limited: These policies provide cover for a specific time, usually 12 months, to cover accidents or short-term illnesses.

Per condition: Also known as ‘maximum benefit’ cover, per condition policies allocate a fixed sum of money to treat each illness or injury.

Lifetime: This type of cover is more expensive than the others but protects your pet over the course of its life.

Top Tip from annabel consultant, Avril Robertson:

It’s paramount that you check the small print. If you don’t, and you find that you aren’t covered for a particular treatment, you could find yourself shelling out a fortune in bills.

The older the pet, the costlier the insurance. This often rears its head in the form of increased excess or you may find yourself paying a percentage towards the claim in addition to the fixed excess. The percentage amount is often known as ‘co-insurance’ and this can vary between policies but is usually in the region of 10% or 20%.

As well as age, the breed or pedigree can be a factor. For example, the more aggressive breeds are difficult to insure and pedigrees tend to command a higher price due to the likelihood of hereditary illness and theft. If your pet is used for commercial purposes (hunting, farming or racing, for example), this will also push up your premium.

An alternative to a traditional policy is ‘self-insurance’. This is where you put by a regular sum (preferably into a high-interest account) so that you have the necessary funds needed for medical treatment. The dangers of this are that you may not have saved enough by the time treatment is needed and also that if you are sued for an injury or accident caused by your dog, you won’t be covered for public liability.

If you are switching provider, bear in mind that the new policy probably won’t cover pre-existing conditions or historic illnesses or injuries. It may be cheaper to stay where you are.

Cyber Insurance

As we become increasingly reliant on technology, the potential impact of cyberrelated incidents continues to grow. Whilst the cyber insurance market is relatively new in comparison with other lines of cover, it is fast becoming a necessity with the realisation that traditional insurance policies are not designed to handle 21st century threats.

A good introduction guide explaining how cyber risk and insurance has evolved and how a good cyber policy addresses these modern exposures, can be found here.

Top Tip from annabel co-founder, Annabel Bunch:

Cyber-related incidents are very real and prevention is better than cure. Invest in good anti-virus and malware protection and password protect any sensitive documentation. Research on-line or find a good IT technician that can help you with this.

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Appliance, Pet, Cyber Insurance