Gocompare is warning that new rules designed to make insurance renewal notices more transparent and prompt customers to shop around may not go far enough, and as such may not have the desired effect of a significant increase in the number of consumers who ‘switch and ditch’ expensive policies.

From 1 April 2017, insurers will be compelled to tell policyholders how much they are currently paying for their cover when they send out renewal reminders. However, the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules* do not prescribe exactly how the information should be laid out. They simply state that it should be clear and accurate and in a prominent place, so that the customer can easily compare the renewal price with the previous year’s premium.

In an attempt to stop longstanding customers paying more for the same cover than new customers do, insurers will be required to identify customers who have renewed with them for four consecutive years. Renewal notices issued to these customers will have to contain an additional prescribed message encouraging them to shop around: “You have been with us a number of years. You may be able to get the insurance cover you want at a better price if you shop around”.

The new rules will apply to general insurance products including car and home insurance and the FCA estimates that the new renewal process will benefit consumers by £64 million to £103 million per year.

Lee Griffin, chief operating officer of Gocompare.com: “Five years with the same provider is too long. There is a real possibility that these customers will be paying too much for the convenience of allowing their insurer to simply roll their policy over, year after year. We’d like to see a renewal process where customers are actively encouraged to shop around EVERY year.

National Rail has announced an ‘egg-citing’ Easter sale – offering £5 off its 16-25 and Family & Friends one-year Railcards.

The sale, which will run until Monday 24 April, means 16-25 and Family & Friends Railcards will cost just £25 with the code EASTER5, for a year’s unlimited usage.

Railcard owners save an average of £142.80 a year, more than four times its cost at standard price – and up to six times as much at the discount price.

Daniela Maki, Railcards Product Manager for National Rail, said: “With the Easter break just around the corner, a Railcard can help you save on ‘cracking’ rail journeys during the holidays. Whether you’re delivering Easter treats to family and friends, off to take part in an Easter egg hunt, or going on your next ‘egg-cellent’ adventure, a Railcard will save you 34% on rail fare to help you do all the things you love.”

As well as a third off fares, exclusive discounts are also available to Railcard holders on top attractions, entertainment and UK holiday destinations, including discounts on Virgin Experience Days and theatre tickets.

To purchase a Family & Friends Railcard visit: familyandfriends-railcard.co.uk/sale or for a 16-25 Railcard visit: 16-25railcard.co.uk/sale before Monday 24 April and use code: EASTER5 to take advantage of the discounted price.

Tesco Bank has today announced their support for National Pet Month, a nationwide campaign to celebrate pet ownership;

To help customers protect their cats and dogs, Tesco Bank is offering all Tesco Clubcard holders 50% off Tesco Pet Insurance Accident and Injury cover in the first year when purchased by 2nd May 2017

New research by Tesco Bank has found that the owners of 2.41 million UK cats and dogs would be unable to pay the average cost of an unplanned trip to the vet in the event of an accident or emergency. With the average emergency vet bill totalling £493*, four out of ten pet owners state that the worst thing about owning their cat or dog is worrying when they have an accident or are hurt.

However, despite this worry, the research reaffirmed that we are a nation of pet lovers, with 84% of owners stating that their pet is an integral part of their family, and the most common reasons for owning a pet is for the happiness they bring and their good company.

The new research comes as Tesco Bank announces their support for National Pet Month, a nationwide campaign to encourage responsible pet ownership, and raise awareness of the great benefits that living with a pet can bring your family.

David McCreadie, Managing Director of Tesco Bank, said; “We understand just how important our customers pets are to them, and that’s why we’re supporting this years National Pet Month. Over the coming months, we’ll help customers take better care of their pets by hosting a number of Pet Roadshows at Tesco stores across the UK*, which customers can come along to. These will offer people the chance to see vet-led demos on topics such as brushing your pets teeth and grooming.”

Since it launched in 2011, Co-op Insurance has given back over £11.8m to its Young Driver policyholders for driving well over the average policy lifetime**

Young driver policyholders, aged 17-25, have clocked up over 820 million miles driving since the insurer launched the first mainstream telematics policy back in March 2011 – amounting to 48,000,000 hours of driving.

Latest data from Co-op Insurance has found that on average its Young Driver policyholders receive £140 back in their pockets over the average policy lifetime.

The Young Driver Insurance policy works by rewarding policyholders for safe driving and Co-op was one of the first mainstream insurance providers to bring telematics to the mainstream market. It prices discounts based on four factors:

  • Speed – keeping within limits
  • Acceleration and Breaking – not accelerating/ breaking suddenly
  • Cornering – driving in a controlled manner around corners
  • Time of driving – certain times can be risker to drive at

Conversely, policyholders who drive badly may also see an increase in their premium policy price.

Co-op Insurance was also the first insurer to offer young drivers safe driving education modules which they can access online to refresh their knowledge.

James Hillon, director of products at Co-op Insurance, said: “These are challenging times for young drivers when it comes to insurance due to changes by the Government in the Personal Injury discount rate and the level of Insurance Premium Tax, both of which disproportionately affect young drivers and are likely to hit them hard when it comes to cost.

“These added pressures are a risk to a generation of drivers who may be unable to obtain insurance easily, which could have a detrimental impact on their ability to work, or even lead them to drive uninsured which is not something we want to see happen.

“In the current climate, telematics policies could likely become more attractive to young drivers who are keen to keep their costs down. Indeed, ‘pay how you drive policies’ could be an ideal choice for young drivers who can prove they are safe and then benefit from reduced premiums as a result. However insurers can only go so far and more needs to be done to safeguard this group of drivers for years to come.

“At the Co-op we believe that helping young drivers to adopt safer driving habits as soon as possible is key to ensuring the UK’s roads, and the communities they run through, are safer in years to come. Giving consistent driving feedback, especially when somebody has recently passed their test, is a really good way to help driving styles improve sooner, rather than later.”

Young drivers can download the Co-op Young Driver app on iPhone and android device before they take out a policy. If they drive well enough, drivers could receive a discount of up to 20% off the initial policy price they would have been quoted had they not used the App. This is a great way for young drivers to try the app, before committing to taking out a policy.

As the new 12-sided £1 coins come into circulation next week, Gocompare.com Money has found that Britain has a collective £420m worth of soon-to-be useless currency in coin jars and glove boxes.

New research commissioned by the comparison site reveals that nearly half (49%) of Brits say they have £1 coins lying around in the house and in their cars – worth a collective £420m.

Those who don’t round-up up their old £1 coins, could lose an average of £17.55 each when the currency becomes worthless in a just few months’ time.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults found;

  • 18% of adults have £1 coins in pots of loose change lying around their home;
  • 13% say their kids keep £1 coins in their piggy banks;
  • 17% of Brits keep £1 coins in their car to use in supermarket trolleys;
  • 15% of people keep £1 coins in the glove box of their car to pay for parking;
  • 14% say they have pound coins down the back of the sofa.

Matt Sanders from Gocompare.com Money commented, “The new state-of-the-art, £1 coin will be rolled out on 28 March 2017.  Heralded as the most secure in the world, the new coin has a range of security features against counterfeits.

“To allow for the change, from the end of March to mid-October both the old and new £1 coins will be in circulation at the same time and will be accepted by shops and banks.  After 15 October 2017, the old £1 coins will no-longer be legal tender.

“So, if you’ve got a collection of old style £1 coins in a piggy bank, coin jar or if you keep some in the car to pay for parking or to use to release the lock on a supermarket trolley – you’ll need to round them up and either spend them or pay them into the bank before the October cut-off date. Otherwise, you could be left out of pocket.”

With the constantly rising costs of living, it is clear that many Brits are concerned about how they will ever be financially secure enough to retire. Peer-to-peer lending platform Lending Works surveyed over 1,500 non-retired adults in the UK , whose results you can see on their infographic, and made some concerning discoveries. 
There is clearly more of a worry amongst single adults that they will never be in a financial position to be able to retire. 24% of single adults said they believe they would never be in a secure enough position to finish work, compared to 19% of those who are married or living with their partner. On top of this, 40% of those who were not in relationship said that they are currently unable to put any money aside each month for their future, compared to 29% of those in long-term relationships, (married or co-habiting). 
Aside from relationship status, the figures show that overall, 1 in 5 of those who aren’t yet retired – 22% – gloomily believe that they’ll never be financially secure enough to retire. This suggests they have visions of working until they drop, as they won’t be able to afford to stop earning money. This pessimistic view is highest in the 35-44 year old category, with 25% of them not seeing themselves as ever being financially secure enough to retire, although only 17% of 18-24 year olds, who technically have more time to start saving, agree. And countrywide, the outlook is bleakest in the West Midlands (27%), perhaps due to relatively high unemployment, compared to only 19% in London, where there are, theoretically, more jobs.
The main reason, of course, that we can’t see ourselves retiring is because we can’t afford to. Over a third of non-retired adults – 34% – don’t save a single penny towards retirement each month. Let’s face it, it could be that when you’ve got bills and rent to pay, you’re trying to feed yourself and your family, you’ve got to pay for your transport to work and you also want to have a social life, sparing a few pence, or pounds, for the future tends to slip far down the priority list… And women are guiltier of this than men, with 41% of non-retired females not saving towards retirement, compared to 26% of men.
‘It is clear from this research that many Brits are quite pessimistic when it comes to the future,’ commented Nick Harding, CEO and co-founder of Lending Works. ‘It is also particularly concerning to see how many people aren’t planning adequately for their retirement, although it is perhaps somewhat understandable given the slow economic recovery and poor returns on savings currently available.

New analysis from Santander UK reveals that 10.3 million Brits (20 per cent) have no savings, leaving them exposed to unexpected expenditure. Although the average Brit saves £150 per month, a collective £81.8 billion a year, almost a fifth (18 per cent) save £50 or less.

The study, which investigates the savings habits of the nation, reveals that 52 per cent of people wish they could save more, on average an additional £388 each month. The most popular way to put money aside is in a savings account (53 per cent) followed by a Cash ISA (27 per cent). However, many Brits overlook investing as a way to manage their money with only one in 10 (12 per cent) saying they invest and utilise Stocks and Shares ISAs.

In fact, half of Brits (53 per cent) wish they had received more money advice at a younger age, rising to two thirds (66 per cent) for those aged 18 to 34, and decreasing to 42 per cent for those aged 55 and over. A quarter of UK adults (26 per cent) wish they had been taught more about investments and 21 per cent about budgeting, while almost one in five (19 per cent) wish they had received more advice about the different savings options available to them.

Helen Bierton, Head of Savings at Santander, said: “Our research shows that although many of us are saving, there is still a significant number who have no savings to fall back on or are not aware of all the options available. Developing a savings habit – no matter how small – is so important as it not only provides a safety net but is a way of providing for your future, and those of your loved ones.

“Santander offers a range of savings products with different options to suit individual customer needs and to help people achieve their savings goals, including both Cash and Stocks and Shares ISAs. For those considering investments, we recently launched our Investment Hub to make investing more accessible with investments from as little as £20 a month.”

The findings also highlight that more than three quarters of UK adults (78 per cent) believe that being “good with money” is a learned behaviour that anyone can pick up with practice. In comparison, only 13 per cent believe that being either good or bad with money comes naturally and is a behaviour that cannot be learned or influenced in any way.

Research shows that 5.2 million UK pet owners did no research before buying their pet, leading many to underestimate the true cost of ownership. Satsuma’s survey, which covered 2000 respondents, found 40% were relying on borrowing or credit to cover unexpected expenses such as Vet bills.

Keeping an animal can be an expensive exercise, with 98% of pet owners incorrectly estimating the lifetime cost of owning a pet. A recent survey from Satsuma found that 18% of those questioned said the cost was the hardest part of ownership.

Unexpected vet bills were one of the most notable expenses and one that owners were least prepared for. Of those surveyed, 25% had encountered an unexpected bill and 42% of those said the average cost was over £100. 40% of respondents reported that they relied on borrowing money, whether on a credit card, borrowing off friends or taking out a loan to cover the expense. A further 24.5% had to dip into their savings.

Less than half the people (43%) questioned had pet insurance in place.

It seems that the key to a stress-free life as a pet owner is doing thorough research before you buy or adopt. Having realistic expectations of how much you’re likely to be spending over the pet’s lifetime is key. But more important still is making sure that you choose the right pet to suit you and your lifestyle.

Some of the key findings from the research were:

  • 43.5% spent more than £20 per month on essential goods for their pets including food etc..
  • 4.95% spent over £20 per month on non-essentials such as treats and clothes.
  • 24.9% of those asked have had an unexpected Vet bill in the previous year. Of those, 47.19% had more than one.
  • 41.5% said the average cost of those unexpected bills was more than £100.
  • 35-44 year olds are the least prepared for an unexpected vet’s bill. 52.63% of them borrowed from the bank, credit card or family and friends to pay for the bill.
  • Over 55s were the most prepared. Only 31.16% of those had to borrow money to pay an unexpected vets bill.
  • 18.4% said cost was the biggest difficulty in having a pet.
  • 24.8% of people pay money to a pet sitter or to leave their pet at a kennels when going on holiday

Satsuma also have some interesting online tools for pet lovers including the Pet Selector and  Amazing Pet Facts

Official crime data reveals that, on average, 1,220 mobile phones are stolen every day in the UK, but better security systems are having a huge impact on mobile phone theft with the numbers stolen at their lowest level for 10 years.

Analysis of the latest crime data, commissioned by mobile insurer Protect Your Bubble, shows that around 1% of mobile phone owners had a handset stolen in the year from April 2015 to March 2016. But as 94% of people over 16 have a mobile that still means that 446,000 phones were stolen.

The data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales reveals the rates of theft are twice as high for younger people as the general population. 2% of 22-24 year olds have had their mobile stolen and 2.4% aged 18-21. Women in this age group are the most vulnerable to mobile phone theft.

The favourite methods of the thieves are pickpocketing and snatch theft, where a phone is grabbed from the victim’s hand. More than 40% of phones are stolen this way compared to just 5% that are taken during a mugging.

But just over a third (35%) of stolen mobiles go missing when they are left out and unattended. Figures show this happens on public transport and other public places more often than it does in bars and clubs. And 15% of such thefts happen at work.

The theft of mobiles peaked at 897,000 in April 2008 to March 2009, according to the data in the Crime Survey of England and Wales, which is used by the government to track trends in crime.

The numbers declined sharply the following year and once again fell substantially between 2013 and early 2015. They are now at 50% of the peak in 2008.

Research for the Home Office1 suggests the reductions are linked to the introduction of better manufacturer security systems. It says the introduction of better security since late 2013 by the likes of Apple and Samsung had an impact on the black market value of phones, which made them less attractive to thieves.

Many people do little to protect themselves. Just over half (53%) the owners surveyed use a PIN code and around a fifth (21%) use apps to track their phone if it is lost or stolen. Nearly a third (31%) of people take out mobile phone insurance, but nearly the same proportion (32%) takes no security measures at all.

  • There are 30 fixed dual fuel tariffs ending on March 31.
  • Households could see their energy bills rise by more than a quarter (27%).
  • Two of the ‘big six’ suppliers have deals ending that will result in price increases: EDF Energy and Npower.

Families could be set for a shock a 30 fixed dual fuel deals expire on March 31st, resulting in an average rise of £269 (27%). However, customers could save as much as £305 by shopping around for a better deal.

Research by Gocompare.com Energy found that a range of fixed dual fuel energy tariffs, including deals from energy giants Npower and EDF Energy, are due to expire at the end of the month.

Unless they take action now, customers who are currently on these tariffs will be automatically rolled onto a standard variable rate (SVR) which, in the majority of cases, are more expensive than the deal they are currently on.