Monthly news round-up: insurance stories hitting the headlines

StormtrooperTruly bizarre insurance claims

It’s the start of the silly season when news slows down and journalists have to dig deep to generate newsworthy headlines. A favourite of this time of year is the annual round-up of ‘bizarre insurance claims’ and one leading provider has come up trumps. Among the more peculiar claims include damage caused by a hungry badger who decided to dine out on a swimming pool liner and shot wiring when a scuba diver accidentally fired a harpoon through his bedroom wall. They have also been asked to insure some rather strange things over the years including: a life-size fiberglass model of a brontosaurus, a decommissioned MIG fighter (kept in the garden), and a mint condition collection of Star Wars figures estimated to be worth £700,000. All of which goes to show that insurance covers much more than you might think.

When is the best time to buy car insurance?

It’s one of the insurance industry’s best kept secrets, but policy costs fluctuate throughout the year and there’s a right and a wrong time to buy cover.  A leading comparison site has been crunching the numbers and discovered that car insurance policies bought in December are 13% higher than at any other time of the year. So, what’s behind the seasonal price hike? Industry experts a blame lack of competition as providers wind-down for the festive period (fewer call centres are open at Christmas and it’s a good time for insurers to overhaul their IT systems). The cheapest months vary from year to year, but are always in spring and summer.

Smile you are on camera

The Brits love a bit of driving tech; from smartphone apps that pinpoint the cheapest petrol to sat navs that help you find the quickest route. In recent years another piece of tech has been growing in popularity and it could cut the cost of your car insurance. It’s estimated there are 3 million dash cams in the UK and they could help drive down your insurance premiums. In the year from 2014-15 dashcam sales skyrocketed by 918% and dashcam footage is acceptable in court and can be used to support insurance claims. A number of insurers now offer discounts for dashcams (about 10%) and the equipment is comparatively cheap and easy to install.  Given the growing popularity of dashcams it’s likely that more insurers will get on-board.

Travel insurance in Thailand

The government in Thailand is seriously considering making travel insurance compulsory and other countries may follow suit. Travellers without insurance are currently costing the country an estimated £70million a year in medical bills at state hospitals and it’s putting a sizable dent in the country’s economy. The proposals being discussed mean holidaymakers would need to show proof of insurance at immigration before entering the country. It just shows the need for travel insurance and given the cost and other benefits it seems like a ‘no brainer’. Last year nearly 500,000 brits visited Thailand according to figures from the ONS.

GPs having a hard time finding affordable insurance

A recent survey by the Medical Defence Union has revealed that up to one third of GPs would consider quitting if insurance premiums continue to climb. General practitioners have seen the cost of cover soar as much as 50% thanks to the rising cost of indemnity claims. GPs must pay for their own insurance, unlike hospital doctors, and rising costs could be ‘the final straw’. It’s worrying news when the number of GPs are falling and medical professionals are urging the government to step-in and help foot the bill.

 


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