27 Dec 2018 When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, pets and their human counterparts have the same goals for the New Year. Health-related commitments top the list for both UK adults and their four-legged companions in 2019, according to new research from Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance.

A third of pet owners (35%) say their pet will have a New Year’s resolution in 2019, while over half (55%) of UK adults will also have at least one.

Dog and cat owners and those planning to buy these pets are even more likely to have a New Year’s resolution. For example, almost two thirds of dog owners (64%) have made a New Year’s resolution, 9% more than the national average.

According to dog and cat owners, the most popular resolutions  for pets are to do more exercise (14%), followed by eating more healthily (11%) and losing weight (10%).

The most common New Year’s resolutions for pets and UK adults(1)

Pets’ New Year’s resolutions UK adults’ New Year’s resolutions
Do more exercise (14%) Exercise more (26%)
Eating more healthily (11%) Lose weight (24%)
Losing weight (10%) Eat more healthily (22%)

Worryingly, the research also showed that a fifth (20%) of dog and cat owners say they either could not identify if their pet had become overweight or were uncertain about it. However once they establish their pet is overweight, owners are most likely to put them on a diet or feed them less (65%), take them for more walks (42%) or give them specialist pet food (38%).

Karen Hogg, head of Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance, said: “It’s great to see that many pet owners are responsible when it comes to the health of their dogs and cats. The New Year is a good time not only for people to hit the reset button on their own health, but also to ensure a good quality of life for their four-legged friends.

“Being aware of the healthy weight range for a cat or dog, monitoring their own pet and adjusting their diets accordingly can help owners protect their pets from developing health complications such as diabetes. Pet owners should also ensure they have suitable Pet Insurance in case of accidents or health conditions that are not pre-existing.”

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance is currently offering 12 months for 9, available to new Pet Insurance customers who buy online. New customers with a Nectar card can receive up to a 12.5% discount as well as double Nectar points on Sainsbury’s shopping and fuel.

Five tips for keeping your pet healthy:

  • Nutritional diet:  While you may be tempted to indulge your pet with leftovers from the festive season, remember if it’s not good for you, then it’s not good for your furry friend either. Some foods that are suitable for humans could also potentially be poisonous to cats and dogs. In general, make sure you familiarise yourself with your pet’s dietary requirements and portion sizes, as this may differ depending on the breed and their age.
  • Get into a routine: Try to schedule activities for the same time each day, such as meal times, or taking your dog for a walk, or playtime with your cat. This will help establish good habits.
  • Social exercise isn’t just for humans:  Regular exercise is important to keep your pet healthy. If you have a dog, why not join a dog walking group – that way both you and your pet will have friends to socialise with, and you will forget you’re doing exercise at all! If you have a cat, make sure you schedule time to play with them to get them moving, or set some fun challenges for them around the house, such as a treasure hunt for their favourite treats.
  • Check in on vaccinations: The New Year is a good time to get your house in order, and that includes checking if your pet is due for any vaccinations. You can keep ailments at bay by having your pet regularly checked out.
  • Emotional intelligence: Your pet can’t tell you if they feel unwell, so make sure you look out for any warning signs, such as aggression, loss of appetite, restlessness or anything else that is out of character.

24 Dec 2018 Car insurance price cuts are slowing down but drivers are still benefiting from falls of 8.5% in the past year, new analysis from insurance data analytics expert Consumer Intelligence shows.

Its data shows average car insurance bills dropped to £757 with black box technology – so-called telematics – which rewards customers who drive more safely by making a major contribution to keeping costs under control.

There are signs however that premiums are starting to edge up – average prices rose 0.3% in the past three months for all drivers and by 1.3% for the over-50s. Bills across the market are 20.6% higher than five years ago when Consumer Intelligence first started collecting data.

Premiums are still falling for the under-25s and they can expect quotes 14.7% lower than last year although they pay the highest bills at £1,544. The over-50s pay the lowest average bills at £395 although prices have only fallen by 6.2% over the last year.

Across the market 20% of the top five cheapest quotes came from telematics providers with the under-25s the most likely to benefit. Around 59% of the most competitive policies for them are telematics compared with 13% for drivers aged 25 to 49 and 5% for over-50s.

Across the country the biggest price cuts are in the North West at 12.6% but they pay the second highest bills at £915. Only drivers in London pay more at £1,155 while motorists in the South West have the cheapest deals at £519 marginally ahead of the Scots on £538.

John Blevins, Consumer Intelligence pricing expert said: “The past three months have seen a slowdown in price cuts and premiums have even started rising slightly across most regions.

“Telematics is making a major contribution to keeping prices under control and particularly for the under-25s who are benefiting from more bespoke pricing based on good driving behaviour.

“If the older age groups want to take more control over premiums and to avoid broad-brush price rises based on their age, they could take a look at telematics policies.”

21 Dec 2018 Christmas morning is a time we associate with opening presents and getting started on the much-anticipated Christmas lunch, but for over 10 million UK adults it will mean strapping on seat belts for a car journey. New research from Sainsbury’s Bank Car Insurance reveals 10.7 million drivers will be setting off on a Christmas car journey, almost one in five across the total population.

From picking up food to seeing pantomimes, the hectic holiday period also means UK adults who drive will be making more journeys than usual. More than seven million car owners (7.3 million) say they will be driving more during the festive period than they would in a typical week. Of this figure, three million will be breaking their normal driving habits and putting in over 30 miles during the Christmas period, which is fewer than they would in a typical week.

It seems the majority of UK drivers may be more preoccupied with parking than presents. Over half of UK drivers (53%) will undertake car journeys on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day and drivers estimate they spend an additional £56 on fuel on average in December.

Karen Hogg, Head of Insurance at Sainsbury’s Bank, said: “The Christmas period is a busy time and it means there are more reasons for people to jump in the car, whether it is collecting the turkey, heading to a carol service or picking up family to spend the holidays with.

“Our research shows Christmas day is a peak time for car journeys so it is even more important that drivers have the right kind of cover in case they have any problems or accidents. Drivers who buy their insurance from Sainsbury’s Bank can enjoy a range of benefits and rewards which will no doubt be very welcome at the start of the new year.”

Every driver needs to be insured and Sainsbury’s Bank offers customers exclusive rewards and discounts on car insurance if you have a Nectar Card. Customers can find out more onlinehttps://www.sainsburysbank.co.uk/car-insurance/index,  get a quote and pick the right cover for them.

19 Dec 2018 New research from Charter Savings Bank reveals that one in eight (12%) regular savers usually take money out of their accounts every month – and the number of savings raiders is set to grow as festive spending puts finances under strain.

Despite their best intentions, 12% of savers – the equivalent of six million people across the UK – dip into their savings every month, and over two thirds of adults (72%) say they make a withdrawal from their saving accounts at some point during the year.

Over the course of a year, savers estimate they withdraw about a third (32%) of their cash, although one in five (21%) admit to taking out at least half of their total savings. Just one in eleven (9%) say they never touch their savings.

But while we are almost all savings raiders to some extent, the study found we do at least try to put the money back. Just one in five (18%) of those who take cash out of their savings pot always replace it, while 43% try to do so.  Around 15 per cent admit they replace cash rarely at best.

The average amount saved over a year is £2,906 and the average amount withdrawn over this time is £924. Men are able to save more over a year than women (£3,344 compared to £2,476), and just over a fifth (21%) of men will always replace their savings compared to one in six (16%) of women.

Charter Savings Bank’s study found interesting differences in the reasons driving people to withdraw money from their savings, with some only doing so when they need cash for a big-ticket item like a holiday or car (30%), while others say they mainly take money out when they need it for unexpected bills (27%) or in an emergency (25%).

Main reasons people raid their savings

Event Percentage of people who take out savings due to this reason
When I need money for a big-ticket item like a holiday or car 30%
Whenever I have unexpected bills like home or car repairs 27%
Only in an emergency 25%
Usually each month when I run out of money 12%
When I have reached my savings goal 6%

Paul Whitlock, Director of Savings, Charter Savings Bank, said: “There are many different types of savers in the UK and there is no right or wrong way to save. Anyone able to set aside some money each month, whether they are saving up for a specific item or just in case of emergency, is doing well.

“Saving as much as you can afford to is extremely worthwhile. It may seem pointless putting small amounts of money aside but it is extremely satisfying to see your savings grow. Christmas is an expensive time of year but a good time to start thinking about your savings goals for 2019.”

18 Dec 2018 A staggering 81% of Brits believe their mortgage providers “quietly hope” they will slip onto their Standard Variable Rate (SVR) at the end of their fixed rate period, a YouGov survey on behalf of ‘always-on’ mortgage switching platform, Dashly, revealed today.

Worryingly, a significant percentage do precisely that: the survey found that nearly 4 in 10 (38%) British borrowers have been on their mortgage lender’s SVR at some point in the past. Of these people:

  • 17% said they have been on their lender’s SVR for up to 12 months
  • 21% said they have been on their lender’s SVR for 12 months or more

Less than half (45%) of respondents could confirm they had never been on their lender’s SVR, while 18% had no idea whether they had or not.

Nearly half of those polled (47%) said they do not believe their current mortgage provider would care if they moved to another lender — a reflection of the dysfunctional relationship between UK borrowers and lenders.

Only 38% of people felt their mortgage provider would care if they took their business elsewhere while 15% said they didn’t know whether their lender would care or not.

Ross Boyd, Founder, Dashly, commented: 

“That the vast majority of borrowers believe their mortgage providers quietly hope they’ll slip onto their SVR should be a serious wake-up call to UK lenders. It suggests the relationship they have with borrowers is transactional at best and dysfunctional at worst. What’s crystal clear is that very few people believe lenders have their best interests at heart but are in it purely for themselves.

“More worrying still, borrower apathy or a simple lack of awareness has seen nearly four in 10 people spend time on their lender’s much more expensive Standard Variable Rate at the end of their fixed rate period. Each month this happens people will be spending potentially hundreds of pounds or more unnecessarily.

“We live in an increasingly customer-centric age and, believe it or not, many banks don’t actually want customers to default onto SVRs. It’s these progressive lenders that are much more in sync with where the customer relationship is heading.”

18 Dec 2018 It seems keeping a New Year’s resolution to save money is as hard to maintain as going to the gym or giving up a guilty pleasure.

Research from Leeds Building Society found 10% of people who didn’t reach their savings goals in 2018 had failed by the end of January.

Two-fifths had failed to reach their goals by the end of March and 43% of respondents had quit by the mid-point in the year.

Being unable to afford to save (38%) was the leading reason why people fell short of their target in 2018, followed by having other priorities (32%) and an unexpected life event causing a change in plans (22%).

However, despite all of the barriers people faced this year, 77% of the people surveyed said they achieved their savings goals for 2018.

Jaedon Green, Director  at Leeds Building Society, said: “It’s fantastic that so many people managed to reach their savings goals in 2018 in spite of challenges and changing circumstances.

“Even though some people didn’t hit their goals for the year it’s positive to see so many set out with good intentions as developing a savings habit is something we’d encourage in everyone.

“As with many other New Year’s resolutions you’re more likely to succeed if your goals are realistic and if you fail at any point it’s important not to give up completely, but to persevere.”

The majority of people will be starting 2019 with a new list of savings resolutions, with 55% looking to build their nest egg, 14% looking to save for a life event such as a wedding and a further 14% increasing savings by investing in stocks and shares.

Just over a fifth (21%) said they have no financial plans for the new year.

Overall, people are confident about achieving their financial plans in 2019, with 54% remaining ‘very’ or ‘quite’ optimistic they will meet their targets.

 

08 Dec 2018 New research from LV= General Insurance reveals that nearly two in five (37%) adults will hide gifts for loved ones in an outdoor space this Christmas. But more than half (53%)* of Brits risk a season of sad tidings by not having contents insurance ahead of the UK’s peak burglary season.

On average, Brits expect to hide around £190 of festive goodies in outbuildings with the most popular items being bikes (30%), jewellery (8%) and televisions (6%).

The results also revealed nearly one in five (18%) of those who have insurance don’t know if their policy covers theft from outbuildings such as sheds and garages, despite them being a target for thieves. Average Xmas spends now top £856* but many households have not checked that their contents insurance is in place or sufficient.

With burglaries increasing over the festive period (to an average of 37,000 per month), LV= General Insurance is urging families to keep their home safe and secure over the festive season with these top tips: https://www.lv.com/home-insurance/staying-safe-over-the-festive-period.

A spokesman from LV said: “The festive season is unfortunately the most profitable time of the year for burglars, so it’s worrying that so many people are leaving their precious Christmas gifts at risk. Don’t let burglars use your front window as their shop window by leaving presents on show – keep them well out of sight. Outbuildings can be a great place to store a bike or toy car, but they can be a soft target for thieves – so keep garages and sheds securely locked and avoid storing valuables in them. Also, check your policy to ensure you’ve got the right cover.”

LV= Contents insurance covers items stored in outbuildings as standard. Over the festive season, contents insurance also increases by 10% for all customers and applies from 25th November – 25th January.

UK’s top 10 presents to store in an outside storage space:

  1. Bike
  2. Jewellery
  3. Books
  4. Children’s role play sets
  5. Scooter
  6. Television
  7. Children’s electric car
  8. Outdoor playground equipment
  9. Board games
  10. Doll’s house

UK’s top places to store Christmas presents:

  1. Wardrobe
  2. Under the bed
  3. Outbuilding (e.g. shed, garage)
  4. Airing cupboard
  5. Under the stairs

04 Dec 2018 The majority of mortgage shoppers are looking at fixed-term deals following the rise in interest rates this summer, new analysis from Experian has revealed. At the beginning of August, the Bank of England increased the Base Rate from 0.5% to 0.75% – it’s highest level since March 2009.

The increase in the cost of borrowing looks to have discouraged potential homeowners from considering tracker mortgages as an attractive option for their loan. Instead, borrowers want to future-proof their largest financial commitment.

Data from Experian shows that in September three-quarters (74%) of searches were for fixed-term deals, rising to 83% in October, and 84% in November. In comparison, just 4% looked at tracker mortgages in September – the month after the rate rise – followed by 6% in both October and November.

Meanwhile, further analysis from Experian has found mortgage holders could find themselves overpaying by £1,800 a year if they fail to switch deals when their introductory rate finishes and they slip onto their lenders’ Standard Variable Rate (SVR).

Based on the average mortgage amount taken out by Experian customers in October 2018 of £151,955 with a typical SVR of 4.39% over a 25-year term, the monthly payment equals £822.41.

But with an average introductory rate of 2.38% offered to Experian customers in October, those signing up to this product would have repaid £672.55 a month on the same mortgage amount – a difference of £149.86 monthly and £1,798.32 annually.

A spokesman for Experian said: “Mortgage shoppers have switched their attention to fixed-term mortgage deals to protect themselves from any future rate rises.

“But it’s important for potential homeowners to consider all their options – after all, buying a house is likely to be the largest purchase anyone will make.

“If people are either on a standard variable rate, or approaching the end of their introductory deal, then now is the time find the next mortgage as the potential savings are significant’.

Potential homebuyers can check their mortgage eligibility with Experian, giving them the opportunity to find out which mortgages they are likely to be accepted for and how much they could borrow, based on lenders’ criteria.

03 Dec 2018  New research by Royal London reveals that 5.4 million adults without a will in the UK would not know where to begin if they were to write one.

Worryingly, the data also shows that 59% of parents either do not have a will, or have one that is out of date. It is especially important for parents to have an up to date will so that if the worst were to happen, their children would be brought up by who they choose.

The research also found that since writing a will three in ten (31%) experienced a significant life event such as marriage or having a baby, yet more than half (53%) have not updated their will. Many people do not realise that if they were to marry, any previous will is automatically invalidated and is no longer of any value, so it’s vital that wills are reviewed and kept up to date.

More than half (54%) of the adult population do not have a will. Of those who do not have  a will one in four (24%) admitted they have no intention of making one, compared to a third (34%) who said that an illness would encourage them to do so.

Support from a solicitor

Using the services of a solicitor is the most popular way of writing a will, with two thirds (68%) using legal assistance. The majority of people who had a will described the process of writing a will as being ‘quick’ (85%) and ‘easy’ (90%).

Mona Patel, consumer spokesperson for Royal London, said:

“It is incredibly important to have a will, not just to protect your finances but to make sure vital decisions, such as who will look after your children, are noted. Once you have a will, you should update it after any significant life events that could affect your financial situation, such as getting married, divorced or starting a family. Taking these important steps allows you to have peace of mind knowing that when you’re gone your wishes will be met.”