Insurance is a tiresome topic, but in an emergency it is indispensable. No matter whether dog owner, cyclist or hobby gardener: the risk of danger lurks everywhere. Insurance protects against these risks. We will explain to you which contracts make sense when and what you should look out for when changing to a new tariff.
Also this year starts with good intentions: One of them should be to check your insurance. Because the range of products on offer is as varied as the insurable risks: While some insurances are obligatory, others can be waived completely depending on the individual situation. Insurances should therefore be checked at least once a year in order to be able to cancel superfluous contracts. Reasons for this may be,
- that the reason for the insurance no longer exists (for example, when two households are merged),
- the insurer has increased the premiums,
- the insurer changes the scope of benefits, or
- other insurance companies offer a better service package.
Before cancelling an existing insurance policy in order to take out a new one, it is advisable to carefully compare the various insurance offers.
The different types of insurance
In UK there are certain insurance policies that are required by law. According to the Basic Law, there is freedom of contract, but compulsory insurance is subject to a specific justification. Reasonable reasons are health protection, consumer protection and the protection of third parties from damage.
Compulsory insurances for employees:
- Health and nursing care insurance
- Unemployment insurance
- Pension insurance
- Accident insurance (for defined occupational groups)
Other compulsory insurance:
- Motor vehicle liability insurance (for all vehicles requiring registration)
- Animal owner’s liability insurance (which animals in particular must be insured is regulated differently in the federal states; damage caused by small animals can, however, usually be covered by private liability insurance)
- Hunting liability insurance (whoever applies for a hunting license or its extension)
Useful voluntary insurance:
- Fully comprehensive insurance for new or very expensive cars
- Home contents insurance
- Personal liability insurance
- Travel insurance
- Supplementary dental insurance
- Supplementary hospital insurance
- Foreign health insurance
- Accident insurance
- Occupational disability insurance
New Year’s resolution: More sport in the new year
Whether Nordic Walking, inline skating or playing football – for many recreational athletes the first beautiful days of the year are the start of their personal sports season. During this time, the number of sports accidents also increases. According to the UK Insurance Association BIA, one in nine accidents occur during sport. As a sports enthusiast, you should therefore check your insurance documents and see what your insurance cover is like. Existential risks such as loss of employment, permanent disability or claims for damages by others should be covered by appropriate insurance policies.
If, after a fall, the broken arm remains stiff and permanent help in the household is necessary or the car needs to be rebuilt, accident insurance will pay for example. The basic insurance sum depends on age and income. Up to the age of 30, six times the gross annual income is recommended as the basic sum. The even more important occupational disability insurance pays a monthly agreed pension if the last occupation cannot be pursued for health reasons.
Insured against damage to others
Whether you are an athlete or not: A personal liability insurance is recommended for everyone. It protects you against claims for damages if you cause damage to others through negligence. And this happens faster than you might think: As a cyclist, for example, the risk of overlooking a pedestrian is high – and bringing him or her down. The payment of possibly lifelong pensions can threaten your existence. This is where personal liability insurance comes in. The sum insured should be at least five million GBP lump sum for property damage, personal injury and financial losses.
Compare tariffs correctly
The best contract is unsuitable if the services of your provider do not match your usage pattern or exceed your budget. When comparing rates, it is therefore useful to put the prices into relation: Which service modules are important to you? You can compare rates directly online on many consumer magazine websites. This gives you an overview of the different providers.
Never overlook a gap: Insurance tips
- Detecting damage caused by martens: Direct rodent damage to the car is covered by motor vehicle comprehensive insurance – but consequential damage is rarely covered. Therefore, in spring, check your car for marten tracks such as paw prints on the paintwork (five toes on the front paw), coolant, oil traces and rubber residue under the car, excrement and urine smell, food remains (egg shells, small animal carcasses) as well as biting cables and hoses in the engine compartment.
- The 72-hour clause: Shortly before the holiday you have to pack your suitcase in your head. But you should not forget a special section of the household insurance. This states: If nobody is at home for more than 72 hours in a row, the main water tap must be turned off. If this clause is violated, the insurer does not have to pay in the event of a claim (e.g. in the event of a burst pipe).
- Burglary protection: You want to travel. Are all doors and windows locked? Is there no key hidden somewhere in the garden? Is there really no ladder standing around outside? Good, because then the household insurance usually pays in case of burglary.
- Insure garden equipment: Garden furniture and equipment are usually covered by household insurance, potted plants and patio plants by homeowner’s insurance. However, valuable outdoor facilities such as raised beds, pools, ponds and garden sheds usually have to be applied for separately.
- Bicycle theft: Household insurance usually covers theft of bicycles in the event of a break-in to your home or a locked cellar compartment. Bicycles in the garden, shed or common areas must be secured so that the household insurance pays in the event of theft. Additional insurance is advisable, especially for expensive models and e-bikes. However, it is not always necessary to conclude a separate contract for this: Bicycles can also be included in the liability insurance – often this is even the cheaper option.
- E-bike/pedelec insurance: Accidents caused by riding too fast, electronic defects or theft are not uncommon for e-bike riders. Therefore, financial protection against accidents caused by or with e-bikes as well as comprehensive theft protection is sensible.
- Car insurance for electric scooters: Since mid-2019, electric scooters are allowed on UK roads. However, they are subject to compulsory insurance. Proof is provided by means of a self-adhesive insurance sticker, which you receive when you take out a motor vehicle liability insurance policy. The sticker must be attached to the back of the e-scooter. In addition to the motor vehicle liability insurance, you can also take out partial coverage.
- On holiday with your motor vehicle: Your motor vehicle liability insurance usually only applies within Europe (in the geographical sense). For other parts of the world you need an extension. If you are attached to your car and do not already have comprehensive insurance, you may need to purchase one for your trip.
- With the caravan on holiday: On holiday, your belongings are in principle insured against theft in standard travel insurance policies – but often only if the caravan is locked, not visible and parked on official campsites. For damage to the caravan itself, the caravan comprehensive insurance pays.
- Holiday clause in accident insurance: Dangerous sports such as paragliding, parachuting etc. are usually not covered by private accident insurance. However, with the so-called “holiday clause” these activities are covered as long as they are not the main purpose of the trip. Ask your insurer about this clause!
- Tick bite insured: In principle, a tick bite is an accident. The direct treatment costs are covered by the statutory health insurance. However, illness following a bite (and long-term consequences thereof) is an infectious disease, which is generally excluded from private accident insurance. However, some insurance companies have already extended their insurance cover to include common tick-bite diseases such as TBE or Lyme disease.
Termination: You must note the following
Insurance contracts are so-called continuing obligations that can be terminated in accordance with applicable law by observing a certain form and period of notice. If you wish to switch to another provider, the contract term and period of notice play an important role. After all, if you do not terminate punctually at the set deadline, you will end up paying for two insurance policies. A distinction is made between ordinary and extraordinary termination. If a fixed term was agreed in the insurance contract, no notice of termination is necessary.
1. In the case of ordinary termination
In the case of ordinary termination, the period of notice is three months before the end of the so-called insurance year for most insurance policies. This begins with the beginning of the insurance and does not have to coincide with the calendar year. It is not necessary to state reasons.
If the period of notice is not observed, the contract is usually extended by a further year. Exceptions are motor vehicle liability and motor hull insurance: These can always be terminated by November 30th of a year if the change to another insurer is planned for January 1st of the following year. In the event of immobilisation, sale or total loss, the insurance is automatically cancelled when the vehicle is deregistered with the Road Traffic Office. Amounts paid by then will be refunded by the insurance company to the vehicle owner.
2. In case of extraordinary termination
Extraordinary termination is often possible after a claim or if the insurer increases the premiums while maintaining the same benefits. Here it is worth comparing alternatives. In this case, the notice period is one month after the announcement of the premium increase or the payment or refusal of an insurance benefit. The policyholder can decide whether to terminate the contract at the end of the insurance year or with immediate effect.
3. Exceptions in the case of periods of notice
If insurance contracts with long terms, for example three, five or ten years, are concluded, they can be terminated for the first time after three years with a notice period of three months to the end of the insurance year. A short term offers more flexibility. On the other hand, providers often offer high discounts for longer contract terms.
The basics of terminating insurance
- When? Most insurance policies can be cancelled at the end of the insurance year. There is often a period of three months. The insurance year need not be identical to the calendar year. The time of the conclusion of the contract is decisive.
- How? Have your insurer confirm the cancellation in writing. Then you can be sure that you no longer have to pay the premiums. Remember: If you miss the deadline, you will usually have to wait until the next possible one.
- The special case: With some insurance contracts, slightly different rules apply, for example in the case of car insurance. It can be terminated annually with one month’s notice to the end of the insurance period.
The correct letter of termination
An insurance policy should always be cancelled in writing. To enable the insurer to assign the letter and to provide you with proof of cancellation, it is advisable to provide the following information:
- Address and full name of the policyholder
- Insurance number
- Termination date
- Request for written confirmation
Ideally, the letter of termination should be sent by registered mail so that, in the event of a dispute, there is proof that the termination has been made in due time. Termination by e-mail or fax is possible in principle. However, this is only recommended if there is still enough time to send a registered letter in the absence of confirmation from the insurer.