08 Jun 2018 Travel insurance provider Admiral has revealed that 1 in 4 people would risk travelling abroad without insurance, despite the fact the cost of getting ill abroad could end up being considerably more expensive than the holiday itself.

Countries within the EU attracted more risk takers(25%) travelling without insurance, while far fewer would contemplate uninsured travel to other destinations such as America (6%), Australia (4%) and the Middle East (3%).

New analysis of claims data by Admiral found that July is the month holidaymakers are more likely to make a claim for falling ill or having an accident abroad, with Spain, Greece and France topping the list of holiday destinations where we claim the most.

Men (30%) are more likely to consider travelling uninsured than women (23%). When it comes to age groups travelers aged 17-29 are most likely (35%) to risk travelling uninsured, whilst Londoners are the most likely of all regions (46%) to leave the country without insurance.

Analysis of Admiral’s own travel insurance claims data found that almost 4 in 10 claims made related to a medical issue****, with medical expenses accounting for nearly 70% of the total claims costs seen by the insurance company.

Almost a quarter (23%) of claims involve children under the age of 18, with 72% of those claims relating to children younger than ten.  Nearly a third (28%) of claims involving children are for medical issues such as ear and throat infections, while 17% relate to simple cuts and bruises.

Of the travel insurance cases handled by Admiral, medical related claims account for 43% of all claims, over twice the number of claims made for the loss of personal luggage or baggage delay (20%) and over three times more than the number of claims made for delayed travel or missed departures (11%).

Putting a price on your health

Admiral travel experts have revealed the average costs associated with different medical issues faced by holidaymakers when abroad, revealing that treating a simple bout of food poisoning could cost up to £5,000 in some places, while a painkiller prescription can cost anywhere between £20 (France) and £750 (USA).

Meanwhile, a broken leg that requires you being sent back to the UK could set you back by as much as £36,000 in the United States£25,000 in the Dubai and even £1,800 closer to home in France.

A cut that requires stitches may be covered by the reciprocal health agreement in Australia, but if you need patching up in Canada it can cost up to £1,000. The average cost for the same treatment varies from £100 (France) and £700 (Mexico).

In the unfortunate event that you or a travel companion suffers a heart attack while abroad, the medical costs involved range anywhere from £6,000 up to £115,000 depending on where you are in the world.

06 Jun 2018 With over 23.8 million Brits jetting off on holiday this summer, Policy Expert warns holidaymakers to be vigilant, even at the airport, as more than one in ten (11%) say they have fallen victim to theft before even boarding the plane, or know someone who has.

The study of over 4,700 people showed that almost half (46%) will be going away this summer and this number may rise, as 13% are still undecided. For some, this holiday will be one of many this year, as almost a third (32%) of Brits have at least two holidays, while one in seven (14%) have three and a lucky 9% jet off more than three times. 36% have one holiday a year.

While travellers will no doubt be excited prior to their getaways, Policy Expert is warning holidaymakers to be cautious of pickpockets, particularly at the airport. The study found that more than one in ten (11%) have or know someone who has fallen victim to theft before even boarding the plane. Money/currency is the most common stolen item, followed by mobile phones, sunglasses, purses/wallets and cameras. One in 20 (5%) also say they have actually found a lost item themselves and handed it in before taking off.

The most common items stolen at airports:

  1. Money/currency
  2. Phone
  3. Sunglasses
  4. Purse/wallet
  5. Camera
  6. Hand luggage bag
  7. Jewellery
  8. Passport/travel documents
  9. Tablet/iPad
  10. Laptop

When it comes to going away, the average traveller takes luggage worth almost £400. A third (31%) state they pack valuables worth between £201-£500, while a fifth (20%) pack items worth up between £501-£1,000 and 6% carry items valued between £1,001-£2,000.

The study also found that Brits aren’t always protected when going abroad, particularly as more than one in ten (11%) admit they don’t take out travel insurance, while a quarter (25%) of Brits don’t have away from home cover included in their home insurance policy and more than a third (37%) aren’t sure. For those falling victim to theft at the airport, many can potentially claim on their home insurance policy if they have away from home cover, however almost half (45%) are unaware of this.

Adam Powell, Operations Director at Policy Expert, commented: “For many holidaymakers, going away begins at the airport. The issue is that airports are busy and with the holiday excitement taking off, it’s easy to get distracted. But unfortunately, thieves are on the lookout for victims. So keep an eye on your luggage, currency and any items purchased at the airport and be vigilant around others. Also check whether your home insurance policy includes away from home cover – this will reimburse you should a personal possession be lost or stolen while out of the house at the airport. The last thing you want is for thieves to spoil your holiday before you’re even up in the air.”

Top tips for protecting your valuables at the airport this summer

  1. Consolidate your items before going through security. While you’ll need to remove some electronics such as tablets and laptops from your bag, you can keep your purse, money/currency, jewellery and your travel documents in your bag or jacket – as long as you put them in the bins provided. This will help to prevent any items being snatched or left behind.
  2. While you may feel pressured, don’t put your items through the x-ray machine before you’re ready to walk through the security scanner. Every moment you leave your items unattended is another moment that thieves have to steal your valuables.
  3. Be cautious of leaving small valuable items unattended, such as a phone or purse. Valuables left on table-tops at airport lounges, restaurants and coffee shops will be both easy and tempting to snatch and leave behind.
  4. You should never leave your bags unattended, particularly at the airport, so whatever you do, keep your bag where you can see it. Whether you’re having a pre-drink before take-off, grabbing some food or sitting at the gate, if you can, place your chair leg through a bag handle to make it harder to move.
  5. If you’re using a cash machine or purchasing currency, be wary of who is around you and make sure your pin is covered at all times.
  6. Thieves often work in groups, so try not be distracted by commotion or attention which could be a ploy.
  7. If you do notice a missing item, report it immediately. Theft at the airport is not uncommon and reporting it means that airport security can potentially catch the thief and recover your personal items.
  8. Check whether your home insurance policy includes away from home cover, so that if the worst does happen, you at least know you’re covered financially.

06 Jun 2018 With much written about the lack of loyalty younger adults show towards brands, new research  has revealed quite the opposite when it comes to sentiment towards financial services companies.

The findings from the Nottingham Building Society, which is celebrating a year of rewarding loyal members, reveal those aged 55 and over seeing the biggest fall in the level of loyalty felt towards financial services companies including banks, building societies and home and car insurers.

When it comes to Millennials (aged 25 – 34) a significant 35% actually feel more loyal than they did five years ago with just 12% feeling less loyal than in 2013.  The percentage of customers who now feel less loyal jumps to 24% for 45 – 54 year olds (13% feel more loyal) and 26% for those aged 55 and over (11% feel more loyal).

But a key reason for the drop in loyalty among people in older age groups is concern about the decline in access to face-to-face contact with their financial services companies through, for example, the closure of bank branches underlining the need for banks and building societies to reinvent how branches operate.  Nottingham’s research shows 82% of Millennials are loyal to banks compared with 65% of 45 -54 year olds and 62% of those aged 55-plus

Research among people who feel less loyal towards financial services companies show 60% say it’s because there is more information on the best available deals making it easier to spot when the products and services being offered to them are less competitive.

This is followed by 42% who say they feel less loyal because rewards programmes offered by financial services companies have declined. One in five (20%) blame it on less face-time with representatives from their financial services companies, and 10% say it’s because the quality of the call centre service they receive has deteriorated.

Nottingham Building Society believes branches have a positive role to play in the financial services sector but they need to be made more relevant to what customers want by providing a wider range of services.

David Marlow, CEO of The Nottingham Building Society said: “Customers now have much greater access to information on products and services which means financial services companies have to work harder to keep them happy.  Our research suggests that many people worry that service levels have actually fallen, and that is making them less loyal towards banks, building societies and insurers.

“Key to addressing the drop in loyalty is offering consistently competitive products and maintaining services, rewarding customer loyalty and providing high-levels of customer service – which for many people includes face-to-face advice.

“Our strategy is very much focused on reinventing branches so they offer more services that customers value while providing high levels of service which is reflected in The Nottingham receiving the lowest number of complaints.”

Over the past five years, The Nottingham has doubled its network of branches to 67 across 11 counties, and seen footfall increase by around 10%. It is also celebrating the first anniversary of its Member Rewards scheme launched in May 2017 to help support its loyal savings members in achieving their financial goals and planning for their future.

Qualifying members have access to a range of exclusive benefits including discounted estate agency fees, access to free impartial mortgage advice, financial planning and money back on home insurance and funeral plans. The programme has already shared £345,000 of rewards with 5,600 members in its first year and seen the number of eligible members grow by 11%, meaning the total up for grabs in 2018 is set to eclipse that.

The long-term commitment of the scheme is reflected in the Family Comes First element, where referred family members of rewards customers are immediately eligible for the benefits if they open a qualifying savings account, rather than having to wait a year for membership under the standard criteria.

To find out more about The Nottingham’s range of products and services, where its branches are based and its Member Reward scheme, visit https://www.thenottingham.com

31 May 2018 New figures from personal loan provider, Hitachi Personal Finance, have revealed a significant increase in the number of loan applications in motoring, home improvements and leisure over the previous three years.

The lending data shows an increase of 94% in motoring loan applications and 4% in home improvements. Average loan amounts have also seen an increase across the board:

  1. Motoring: +8.67%
  2. Leisure: +7.02%
  3. Home improvements: +1.78%

The insight comes from Hitachi Personal Finance’s new ‘History of Household Expenditure’ analysis, which looks at ONS data from the previous ten years to identify trends in individual and household expenditure, versus income.

The data shows that at the end of 2017, household expenditure was 3.9% higher than the previous year, meaning British residents had gone from spending £533 per week in 2016, to £554 per week in 2017 on their everyday needs, from rent and bills, to food and clothing [1]. This is the biggest increase in the cost of household expenditure in ten years.

Analysis also showed that the individual average weekly expenditure in 2017 was 3.4% higher than 2016’s figures (£226.20 a week compared to £233.80), a difference of £7.60. Again, this is the biggest increase in the past decade.

The UK’s average weekly household expenditure has continually increased since 2014 and has seen a 1.4% overall increase in the last ten years, from spending £230.50 in 2007, to £233.80 in 2017.

However, Hitachi Personal Finance also revealed that average weekly income has remained stagnant, or even decreased, every month since December 2016. What’s more, the average weekly income in March 2008 was at £503, with new figures released this month showing a 2.8% drop to £489 per week.

The categories that have seen the largest increase in expenditure over the previous decade are clothing and footwear, increasing by 27% from £19.80 – £25.10, along with recreation and culture, which has seen a 22% increase from £60.20 – £73.50 per week.

However, the nation hasn’t been splashing the cash in every department, with education (-61%) and alcoholic drinks and tobacco (-30%) seeing a significant drop in expenditure.

The top five growth areas for household expenditure since 2007 are:

  1. Clothing and footwear – 27% increase
  2. Recreation and culture – 22% increase
  3. Communication – 18% increase
  4. Household Goods and Services –  8% increase
  5. Miscellaneous goods and services (personal care and products, accessories, childcare products and services) – 2% increase

30 May 2018  A fifth of people with pensions in the UK (20%) have no idea who will inherit their pension pot when they die, according to research released by Scottish Widows. Surprisingly, 17% of divorcees don’t know who stands to inherit their pension, even though this could be their ex-partner. This figure rises to 28% among people who are separated from their partner.

Of those who were formerly in a relationship that has since broken down, just 24% say they updated their pension policy immediately, while half (50%) said they had no idea they needed to update their personal information. A further 16% did eventually update their policy, but waited for over three months to do so, with men more likely to update a pension policy when a relationship ends. More than a quarter (28%) of men do so straight away, versus just 20% of women. Three fifths of women (60%) don’t know they should be updating a policy, compared to 42% of men. 

Co-habitees are also leaving themselves exposed as there is no guarantee a partner would receive pension savings if they are not named as a beneficiary on the policy. Over a quarter (28%) of co-habitees are unsure who will inherit their pension if the worst were to happen.

Catherine Stewart, Retirement Expert at Scottish Widows, said: “A relationship ending can be a really stressful time and sorting out your pension may not be the biggest priority. However, it is important that you know who stands to inherit a pension when you die – for all you know, it could be an ex from many years ago.

“Likewise, just because you and your partner live together and are in a committed relationship, there is no guarantee they’ll receive your pension savings when you die unless you make specific requirements.

“We know that in general terms, women’s retirement prospects are worse than men’s. This is largely because of the persistent gender pay gap and maternity and other career breaks, which can all hold back women’s earning potential. That’s why it is even more important that women review their finances and who will benefit from pensions. Taking a few small actions can financially insure their future, and that of any dependents who could benefit from pensions after they’re gone.”


Scottish Widows has prepared the following top tips to ensuring you stay on top of your finances:


  1. Make sure you know who stands to inherit your pension pot when you die
  2. If you are co-habiting, many pension policies will require you to name that person on your policy as the beneficiary upon your death
  3. Periodically check all finances including pension pots, bank accounts and insurance schemes and ensure the right dependents and beneficiaries are named.

29 May 2018 Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, has reported a 5.4% increase in the value of detected fraud in 2017, worth £90m (2016: £85m) – or £246,000 of fraud every day. This increase has been driven by a 6.3% growth in the number of fraudulent claims Aviva detected.

This is the second consecutive year in which the value and volume of fraudulent claims detected by Aviva has grown. By detecting and avoiding paying fraudulent claims, Aviva is helping to keep premiums low for genuine customers.

Whiplash fraud still dominant

Motor insurance remains of particular concern, representing two-thirds (£59m) of the total value of fraud detected, and an increase of £9m over Aviva’s 2016 figures. Highlighting the scale of the problem, Aviva now rejects around one out of eight whiplash claims it receives which are suspect or fradulent.

Despite recent industry figures showing a drop in the number of motor claims paid, these figures show that the UK’s largest insurer is not seeing any let-up in the number of bogus personal injury claims it is dealing with. In fact, the insurer is currently investigating nearly 17,000 personal injury claims for suspected fraud – 1,000 more than last year.

Aviva’s fraud figures demonstrate the importance of the Civil Liability Bill which is making its way through Parliament. The proposed legislation would, if passed, reduce financial compensation for minor personal injury claims such as whiplash, as happens in other countries. It is intended that this will remove the financial incentive for opportunistic fraud and bring down the cost of motor insurance. The proposed legislation should also remove the financial incentives behind the nearly 900m nuisance calls and texts made chasing an injury or insurance issue.

One improvement from 2016 is that the level of organised motor fraud has declined. However, the insurer still has nearly 3,000 suspect claims under investigation linked to organised fraud or gangs. This decrease was offset by an increase in the numbers of low-speed accidents which have resulted in bogus injury claims. Aviva’s case involving a champion cage fighter* who was knocked out by the court for an exaggerated whiplash injury is one of thousands of examples of this type of exaggerated or fake claim.

Tom Gardiner, Head of Fraud at Aviva, said, “Whilst it’s good news that the number of accidents is falling, we are still detecting more fraudulent claims than before. Whiplash fraud continues to present the biggest threat to customers – not just in terms of pushing premiums up, but by fraudsters putting innocent motorists at the risk of real harm by deliberately causing accidents to make bogus whiplash claims. 

“Change is urgently needed. The proposed Civil Liability Bill will deter fraudsters from pursuing their campaign of crash for cash, simply to line their pockets. The good news in the meantime is that we are detecting, disrupting and prosecuting more fraud.”

Detecting Fraud and Defending Customers

In addition to detecting fraud, Aviva is working closely with the Police to bring fraudsters to justice. This action has widely been supported by the courts: last year Aviva helped to bring 68 successful criminal prosecutions for fraud, carrying 143 years of prison sentences.

Aviva is also investing in defending customers who have been wrongly accused of being at fault in an accident. The majority (80%) of fraud that Aviva detects is committed by  other people against its customers. This helps to protect customers’ premiums and excesses from the impact an ‘at-fault’ claim can have. Aviva defended its customers against more than 800 spurious claims at court in 2017 and in the last two years has had more than 250 claims against its customers ‘struck out’ due to findings of fundamental dishonesty. Such a ruling means the entire claim can be thrown out, and the claimant faces paying the costs of the action, which often exceed £10,000.

23 May 2018 Brits are woefully under-protected should serious illness strike, according to new research from Scottish Widows. Despite more than a fifth (21%) of people admitting their household wouldn’t survive financially if they lost their income due to long-term illness, fewer than one in 10 have a critical illness policy. People are, in fact, more likely to insure their mobile phones than to protect their own health.

Taking out life insurance also appears to be falling down the population’s priority list, with just 27% having a life policy, equivalent to 14 million people.Worryingly, this has dropped by 7 percent compared with 2017, a year-on-year decrease of 3.6 million individuals.

Leaving households at risk

This is an especially precarious position for the two-fifths (42%) of UK households that are reliant on just one income, and it’s clear that many are in lack of a ‘Plan B’. Despite 43% of people saying they’d rely on their savings if they or their partner were ill and unable to work, a third (35%) admit their savings would last no more than three months if unable to work and more than half (54%) say they’d last no longer than a year. Three in ten (30%) – or 15.5 million people – say they aren’t saving anything at all.

One in five say they’d rely on state benefits if they or their partner were unable to work for 6 months, but at a time when welfare reform is resulting in significant changes to benefits such as child and working tax credits, income-based job seeker’s allowance, income support, housing benefits and bereavement benefits, Scottish Widows says that families need to do all they can to protect themselves and their families.

On top of this, people are leaving themselves and their families unprepared for other aspects of illness or bereavement. One in five (20%) people aren’t sure who would take care of them if they fell ill, and nearly half don’t have the protection of a will, power of attorney, guardianship or trust arrangement in place for their families.

When asked why they haven’t taken out life or critical illness insurance, almost a third (30%) of the UK’s primary breadwinners say they don’t see the need for cover, raising concerns over their financial resilience should the unexpected happen.

Lack of trust and understanding

The research also reveals that a lack of trust and understanding could be contributing to the UK’s protection gap. On average, people think that just a third (34%) of individual protection claims are paid out by insurance providers each year, based on the misconception that insurers will do anything not to pay. In reality, however, virtually all protection insurance claims (97.8%) were paid in 2017.[4] In addition, almost four-fifths (78%) of people are unaware that cover often comes with practical advice and emotional care, as well as financial support, without having to make a claim.

Gary Burchett from Scottish Widows, said, “It’s a worrying truth that people are more likely to insure their mobile phones than their own health. On a societal level, we increasingly think in the short-term, caring more about tangible things in our day-to-day lives.  On a more fundamental level, we’re programmed not to think about the worst happening. Together, these are dangerous inclinations, as people aren’t thinking about insuring their health or life until it’s too late.

21 May 2018 An investigation comparing two years of summer holiday prices has revealed that families taking kids out of school to avoid summer holiday price hikes are also being penalised with prices inflating as much as 32% for term-time holidays, travel currency expert FairFX has revealed.​

As part of FairFX’s long-running campaign investigating the school holiday price scandal, the travel currency firm compared over 350 package holidays from four holiday operators to four destinations flying from 7 UK airports in 2018 and 2016 to reveal where families are being ripped off.

The analysis showed the cost of holidays during term-time have gone up by 32% in some family holiday destinations, costing families more than £700 more in 2018 than in 2016 and rising at a faster rate than trips taken in the official school holidays.

On average, the cost of term-time holidays have increased by 21% over the last two years, compared with an 11% increase in the cost of holidays taken during the official summer break.

The new research shows that parents taking their children out of school to avoid official summer holiday dates and the associated price hikes continue to be at the mercy of travel operators.


Package price hike: How average holiday costs have risen since 2016



Term Time July

Summer Holiday July

Term Time July

Summer Holiday July

Term Time July 2016 v 2018

% Increase

School Holidays July 2016 v 2018

% increase
























del Sol





























In terms of individual destinations, Tenerife has seen the highest increase in prices over the last two years, with the average family trip increasing by32% during term time and 31% for holidays in the summer break since 2016.

Trips to the Costa del Sol during term time have gone up by 16% while trips during the school summer holidays have seen a 2% price increase over the last two years.

Looking into the cost of holidays in 2018, families travelling abroad this year face paying an average of 22% extra for a holiday taken within the summer break, compared to the same package holiday just two weeks earlier within term-time.

FairFX found that prices shot up by an average of 22% for trips departing the weekend of July 28th 2018, than trips leaving two weeks earlier on July 14th 2018. These price hikes mean families face paying nearly £650 extra on average for holidaying during the official summer break in some instances.

18 May 2018 UK motorists could save £1.8bn thanks to the first ever MOT test repair cost calculator for drivers ahead of the new MOT changes, which come into effect on 20th May.

To help motorists estimate MOT repair test costs, WhoCanFixMyCar.com has created the first online calculator where drivers enter in their postcode and find out how much it costs to repair defects in their local area.

The new MOT test changes include how car defects are classified, in three categories; dangerous, major and minor – with dangerous and major defects resulting in an immediate MOT test fail. These defects render the car illegal to drive in the UK and will need to be repaired and retested before the driver can drive it on the road again.

Drivers can use the calculator here: https://www.whocanfixmycar.com/car-service-cost-calculator

Diesel cars will be targeted more under the new rules, with a focus on pollution and emissions. Instead of visually checking the diesel particulate filter, mechanics will need to remove and examine it to determine whether it passes, and diesel cars that do not have one or have tampered with it will incur an automatic fail. A car exhaust that emits ‘visible smoke of any colour’ will also be issued with a major fault and will fail the test.

MOT testers will focus more on steering systems, lights and brake pads, with a steering box leak, worn brake pads and blown out bulbs all resulting in a test fail.

The new MOT laws will put more pressure on motorists to have any unsafe defects repaired either instantly if the vehicle has failed the test or quickly if advisories or minors have been given.

WhoCanFixMyCar.com is an online car garage and repair marketplace connecting 11,000 garage and repair centres with drivers around the UK. The site has 1m users and recently processed more than 170,000 quotes through the site in one month.

Al Preston, co-founder of WhoCanFixMyCar.com, said,

I’m sure many drivers are nervous about the new MOT legislation coming into effect, however the stricter guidelines will ensure the safety of all motorists in the UK, which can only be a good thing. My advice would be to have your car checked over by a professional before the MOT, so you’re not surprised by any defects that can leave you carless for a while.

11 May 2018 M&S Bank research reveals that a third of people with a garden shed admit to leaving it unlocked, with nearly one in five (17 per cent) saying they never secure it, despite the contents of a typical shed being valued at £550 on average. More than 15 per cent of respondents revealed that their shed contained more than £1,000 worth of items such as gardening goods and equipment.

Nearly a third say either they or someone they know has fallen victim to theft or damage to items stored in their shed; rising to 40 per cent for those in the North. Half of shed owners with home insurance said items stored in their shed either weren’t covered by their home insurance, or they didn’t know if they were covered.

It isn’t just sheds that are targeted by thieves or vandals; more than one in ten UK adults (14 per cent) say either they and/or someone they know, has had their garden greenery damaged or stolen.

Despite the average garden containing £369 worth of plants, bushes, trees and shrubs, it’s perhaps surprising that many garden owners didn’t know whether their garden is insured. Only ten per cent were confident that their plants, bushes, shrubs and trees were covered under their home insurance.

Paul Stokes, from M&S Bank, said: “People often invest significant time and money into their garden, and the value of items, whether in the shed or in the garden itself, can quickly mount up.

“That’s why it’s surprising that a significant proportion of homeowners still don’t know whether they have adequate cover for theft or damage to both the shed and garden, should the worst happen. As we head into spring, we would urge households to review what measures they may need to secure their garden, as well as what is included within their policy, to ensure they are covered.”