VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Watch out for sneaky deductibles in your home insurance – that's cash
Flood warnings are a homeowner's worst nightmare. And if you can follow this week's doomsday report on climate change, extreme flooding will become more common.
It has never been more important to have first-class home contents insurance that pays off in the worst case.
For years, households in flood-prone areas were routinely denied affordable coverage.
Warning: If this week's doomsday report has anything to say about climate change, extreme floods are becoming more common
But the government's launch of the Flood Re program in 2016 has helped hundreds of thousands of homeowners save hundreds of pounds in rewards.
Yet, as Laura Shannon relates, insidious small print means you can still end up on a big bill – even if you don't live near a river, lake, or ocean.
This is because some insurers charge a separate flood deductible – this is the amount you need to pay before your provider steps in to cover the damage. And in Laura's case, that was a staggering £ 2,500.
Despite having worked as a personal finance journalist for more than a decade, I put my hands up and say that I've never heard of a flood excess. And like Laura, I would never have thought of checking if I didn't live in a known floodplain.
Even more amazing was their insurer's definition of what counts as an “outbuilding”.
From my own research (by interviewing five friends) I can safely say that no one would ever think that driveways, fences, and patios are considered outbuildings when it comes to how much cover they need.
Laura's story should be a strong warning to anyone who chooses the cheapest policy they can find on a comparison site.
Too often, the scramble over the best buy tables results in vendors reducing their coverage or introducing costly exclusions.
In the meantime, a tick box approach to buying policies online means that it's all too easy to make a mistake on the application form. And as we see again and again at Money Mail, even the smallest mistake can be devastating and throw away all future claims.
Given Laura's experience, you can be sure that I have now dug up my own home insurance and sifted through the fine print with an even keener eye.
I would highly recommend you do the same.
Well, that didn't take long. After promising not to repay expensive roaming charges for vacationers using their cell phones in Europe, two major UK providers have broken their promise.
For years, these rip-off fees have been a massive donor of cash to greedy phone companies.
When a crackdown was finally announced in 2017, we cheered.
Even after Brexit, companies reassured their loyal customers that they had no plans to reintroduce the fees.
But we should have known that their weasel words could not be trusted. And I bet that other providers will soon follow the example of EE and Vodafone.
Given that telecommunications companies have already slapped customers with price increases of up to 4.5 percent this year, one would have hoped they would be more reluctant.
Instead, it looks like it's going back to the old days when roaming had to be turned off when boarding a plane to avoid getting stung.
Just the trick
In February, I shared how I got a Half-Price Now TV deal by threatening to cancel my subscription.
But after six months it's back to £ 9.99, which felt expensive when I'm paying for a TV license, Amazon Prime, and Netflix as well.
I wondered if the same trick might work twice, so I logged into my account and clicked "Cancel".
Twice the company tried to lure me back by bragging about hundreds of box sets I had on hand before the bingo: "How about a special just for you?" This time it's an even better deal for 3.99 £ per month.
If I wasn't so excited about the savings, I would almost feel guilty. I had no intention of canceling my subscription – at least not until I've finished watching all eight seasons of Game Of Thrones (I know I'm a few years behind, but I'm thrilled!)
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