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Three Ways to Ensure that your Business’ Extension is Fireproof

house fire

If you’re running a business, fire safety is something that should always be at the forefront of your mind. That’s because it’s not just your safety, but also that of your worker’s you have to think about.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong that could cause a fire, such as appliances malfunctioning. However, there are plenty of things out there that you can do to implement safety within your building premises from the moment you build.

From fire safety equipment to ensuring the building has all the right fittings, including the ones you can’t see, there are laws implemented by the government and companies such as CCF Limited that can help from the beginning.

The Right Equipment

During the investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire it was found that the fire started because of a fridge. Meanwhile, a recent study by Which? Discovered over 250 fridges and freezers that posed a fire risk.

This just goes to show the everyday fire hazards that can be present at our work without us even thinking about it. Therefore ensuring you have a number of provisions in place, such as extinguishers or sprinklers, is of the utmost importance.

Below we take a look at three key ways you can fireproof your business premises, especially those areas that are newly built, or about to be built.

Build Correctly

This may sound simple; after all, you aren’t going to build bad premises are you?

Therefore, you should ensure you’re heavily involved in the purchasing of fittings and fixtures from beginning to end.

Equipping the building with super sturdy and secure fire stopping equipment, such as cavity barriers, fire stops and socks, penetration voids and pipework will help to keep your building safe, and slow down the spread of fire should one break out.

This should even extend down to structural bits and pieces, including fire protection boards and accessories including staple guns, barrier supports and clamping plates.

Equip the Premises

Speaking of accessories, make sure your building is kitted out with everything you could need to stop fires in their tracks, or help you out while inside.

The correct fire safety systems, including alarms and sprinklers are a must in any building, helping to alert those on the premises and fire services to any issues. They’ll also help to stop the spread of a fire as best as possible.

Fire extinguishers are also something every building should have, but you should ensure you have the right type for your premises. If there’s more chance of an electrical fire or a fire started by chemicals or papers, there are extinguishers designed specifically for each one you can purchase.

Flashlights are also extremely handy, especially if there’s a power cut due to the fire, ensuring staff members can safely find their way out of buildings.

De-clutter

Finally, make sure there isn’t any extra fuel for the fire. This means clear away any clutter such as excess boxes and papers.

It may sound simple, but it’ll really help stop the spread of a fire if there’s nothing extra for it to feed off.

So if you are extending your business premises, or have extended, make sure you take all the steps to keep it safe from the building stage, and onwards, with these tips.

Insurance

Insurance coverage (for renters or homeowners)

Whether you are a renter or a homeowner, you need to know exactly what your insurance is covering you against. There is nothing worse than trying to sort out an insurance claim to help repair damages only to discover that type of damage is not included in your policy.

Knowing the ins and outs of your policy is incredibly important; let’s take a look at some of the things your insurance might need to cover.

Loss of Use

You need to make sure that loss of use is a type of coverage your insurance company provides. It is one of the most basic policies available on most insurance plans and helps you in the event that your home is made uninhabitable. If you need to stay in rented accommodation or in a hotel while repairs are underway, these costs can quickly build up. The loss of use coverage helps you to keep yourself afloat in this time.

Fire, Storm Damage, and Other Disasters

You will be frequently covered in the case of disastrous events such as fires or storm damage. Such events can cause tremendous damage to your home, and it is vital that you are covered.

The specific policy you take out might require you to have certain preventative measures in place like fire alarms, but it will still provide some cover.

Theft

Your homeowner’s insurance will also help to protect you in the event of theft. No-one likes the idea of someone creeping around their house and helping themselves to your hard-earned treasures. Insurance may not give you peace of mind, but it can help to replace any high-ticket items which may have been stolen. Like with fire prevention, your insurance policy may require you to have certain locks or other systems that will make it harder for your property to be burgled.

Subsidence

This irritating problem is when the land around your home shifts. This can cause your property to either begin to sink into the ground or can cause cracks and other expensive structural damages. Most policies include some sort of cover against subsidence, but you need to be careful in the event of a claim. Since this is one of the more expensive problems to fix, the excess you need to pay in the event of subsidence might be significantly higher than it would for any other problem.

Malicious and Accidental Damage

Both of these damages will be included in the basic homeowner’s insurance. If you are a landlord, it is incredibly important that you have malicious and accidental damage cover in case your tenants damage your property in some way. Most of the time it will be an accident – a spilt drink on a carpet or a window smashed by a kid with a ball – but if you have been embroiled in a dispute with a tenant, then it may be malicious.

If your tenant has maliciously damaged your property, there are several actions you can decide to take. In addition to claiming on your insurance, you might think it necessary to open legal proceedings against your tenant. Make sure there is always a clause against malicious damage in any lease or tenancy agreement before you give it to your prospective tenant to sign.

These are just some of the policies which you might find in your homeowner’s insurance. Make sure you read all of it carefully, you will need to know exactly what you are protected against! With a little foresight and a little knowledge on your side, you can tackle any problem with your home in a confident and well-informed manner!

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Insurance

7 Valuable Tips to Consider When Buying Homeowners Insurance

planning people

When you’re a first-time homebuyer, your head is probably swimming with a number of things to remember.

Don’t forget about buying homeowners insurance.

This requires your attention and diligence because according to studies, more than two-thirds of owners are underinsured. Homeowners in Southern California were in for a rude awakening following wildfires some years ago when they found out that the average homeowner was underinsured by more than $200,000.

It would be a tragedy to only find out that you are underinsured when you file a claim. Do what’s right for you now by getting the correct policy.

If you follow the seven tips in this article, you’ll be well on your way to finding the policy that works for you.

1. Don’t Limit Your Search — Speak to As Many Insurance Companies as You Can Find

The mistake that many homebuyers make is that they don’t spend as much time shopping for an insurance policy. As a result, they often go for the first plan that they stumble across, and thus, are not able to truly find the right coverage.

Do yourself a favor and speak to no less than five different homeowners insurance companies before signing on the dotted line with a policy. This way, you will know what the market has to offer and will be able to find a great price.

There are several insurance providers out there, so the more you expand your search, the better it’ll serve you.

2. Get a Claim’s History Report From the Previous Owner

If you are going to buy a new insurance policy, you should also see what previous insurance claims have been taken out on the property. Doing this lets you make sure you don’t pay too much for the policy.

You can ask for a claims history report that will tell you everything you need to know.

These reports are an excellent tool to have when you need to weigh the variables of any insurance policy you’re seeking.

3. Look Into any Deals That You Can Find

The beauty of buying insurance today is that there are a lot of different policies available with a simple web search. As a result, you should also be able to look for a deal whenever you’re looking for a policy.

There are several policies that you can search for, so never pay too much due to simply failing to shop around.

Your lifestyle might also open you up to some discounts. For instance, having good credit or making repairs to a property can help you lower your rates. In other cases, you might be able to get a discount if you belong to certain organizations.

Consider these factors as you shop and never hesitate to ask questions.

4. Comb Through the Details to Make Sure You Are Getting Every Last Bit of Coverage That You Need

The last thing you would want is to buy insurance coverage that doesn’t give you everything that you need. If you are going to lock in a plan, be sure that it covers either the cash value of the property itself or the current cost to replace or repair the property.

There are lots of other details that you will want to keep in mind when putting together coverage.

By making sure you are protecting against things like floods, pipe bursts, personal property damage, and personal injuries people experience on your property, you can feel good knowing you’re covered.

This requires you to comb through all of the policy specifications until you are satisfied with the level of coverage that you are receiving.

5. Keep Your Location and Local Weather Conditions in Mind

You should definitely learn more about the weather conditions where you are buying a homeowner’s insurance policy.

Southern California deals with earthquakes and wildfires, while the Midwest deals with tornadoes. The southeast gets hit by hurricanes and tropical storms each year, while many northern states get heavy snowfall and ice.

Since the damage you experience is often unique to where you live, you’ll need to consider these factors when putting together an insurance policy.

Knowing and considering the weather conditions will help you put together the right policy, which will cover you from anything that you can imagine might go wrong.

6. Research the Background History of the Insurance Company

To make sure you’re getting matched up with a quality insurance provider, look no further than their background record.

In addition to asking people you know about references, you should also look into the company’s rating. The rating denotes the insurance company’s financial strength, which speaks to their ability to pay you in a timely manner (or at all) when a claim is processed.

When at all possible, do business with a home insurance provider that has an A+ rating. Your home will be better for it and you will save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run.

7. Always Have a Budget For Your Insurance Purchase

Most of all, make sure that you opt for a homeowner’s insurance policy that you have no problem paying for.

Choosing a plan that is affordable makes your life easier, and decreases the likelihood that you will default on it. Check with as many companies as possible so that you are able to get some affordable quotes.

Buying Homeowners Insurance – Follow These Guidelines

Start with these tips for buying homeowners insurance and you’ll be well protected. There are lots of companies available, so don’t hesitate to search far and wide.

To learn more about business, finance, and real estate, stay tuned to our blog. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment and get involved in the conversation!

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Insurance

Home insurance premiums show significant increase throughout 2018

flooding

Homeowners have been hit with significant rising costs in 2018.

Weather Events

Property insurance premiums are now beyond reach for many homeowners and it’s apparently it’s not just areas that have suffered a major weather event. These areas that have suffered destructive hurricanes like Katrina, Irma and Maria or tropical cyclones in Atlantic and Indian oceans, or the wild fires of California are catastrophic and homeowners just don’t have a home any longer so insurance premiums are not their immediate concern.

UK Home Insurance Premium Increases

For the rest of us living in areas with more stable weather patterns, our premiums for both home and contents are also rising and way beyond the usual rate of inflation. UK home insurance premium rises of more than three times the rate of inflation.

New data released by the UK’s leading price comparison website, MoneySuperMarket, reveals home insurance premiums have increased by a significant £3 in Q2, with premiums continuing to rise in the final stages of 2018.

This has taken the average premium cost up to £125.44, which verses the last quarter shows the avg. premium has risen by £3.72 (+3.1% QoQ) When looking comparatively at the previous year, premiums have risen by £7.10 (+6%)

The image below is from MoneySuperMarket home insurance price comparison 2018
home insurance premiums

It is not just home insurance costs that have increased, experts are also seeing gradual increases across contents insurance which is recording a +5.5% uplift and +5.3% YoY to £58.97.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, insurance has risen by 48% in the last ten years. It’s health and home insurance that’s skyrocketed. There were earthquakes in Christchurch in 2011 Kiakoura in 2016 and any major event affects homeowners nationwide.

Australia

In Australia the Treasury is said to be asking for answers from the main Insurance providers and that they will put legislation in place to make sure consumers are kept informed and full disclosure required for all price rises. Like New Zealand when there is a major event like the flooding in Queensland, the premium increases are felt nationwide.

Global Warning

With the impact of global warming now being felt in most regions, water levels are expected to rise and threaten even the most secure of areas. Flash flooding is particularly unforeseen yet no less destructive, like the flash floods in South West England and Wales.

What we do know is there is no end in sight for the rising costs of insurance and property owners need to carefully factor the price rises in when they are buying a home. It’s not just the mortgage rate increases that can threaten the ownership viability but other costs like rates, and insurance.

Real estate investors can put the rent up so the tenant pays the increases in costs. This is not a luxury a home owner, occupier has, so it pays to be more vigilant and thoroughly assess the viability of home ownership when interest rates rise, inflation rises too and what would happen if you lost your job. Now there’s another insurance you probably need – income protection so factor that cost in too.

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Insurance

Understanding Landlord’s Insurance

houses

Are you a would-be property investor with your sights set on the buy-to-let property which will one day blossom into a booming portfolio? If so, you likely know by now that there really is no such thing as passive income.

Landlords have a veritable cornucopia of considerations when it comes to generating an income through property, whether it’s ensuring that the property is safe and well maintained to ensuring that your tenants are properly screened and remain the same pleasant and reliable people towards the renewal of their tenancy as they were when you first interviewed them. Yet, there’s one consideration which absolutely must not be overlooked… Landlord’s Insurance!

Here we’ll look at why an appropriate home insurance policy is one of the most important ways in which you can protect your investment, your tenants and your nascent career as a property magnate…

What is landlord’s insurance?

Landlord’s insurance is a form of property insurance that covers your property from the kinds of losses that may be associated with letting your property out to private tenants.

The policy will usually protect the building, although you can also adjust it to include any valuable contents contained within the property if you choose to let it out on a furnished basis. It tends to cover one against damage from fire, flooding, land subsidence or extremes of weather as well as theft and malicious damage.

So, I need it then?

Absolutely! Unfortunately, with so many policies out there, many first time landlords make the mistake of choosing the wrong policy. This can leave them with inferior cover or excessive costs diminishing their profit margins.

Choosing the right policy

The right policy for you depends upon your needs as a business person and the needs of the property.

Needless to say, it’s your legal responsibility to ensure a safe and hazard-free living environment for your tenants so your policy must at the very least facilitate that in the event of an accident.

If you want to pack your property with gorgeous furniture and the latest mod-cons to attract an affluent and professional tenant this is understandable, but it’s a good idea to insure your contents if you deem the contents of your rental property valuable.

That said, buildings and contents home insurance policies can be costly and eat into your profit margins. You’re in this to make money, after all, and insurance is an overhead cost that can turn a lucrative property into a money pit if you choose a needlessly expensive or comprehensive policy.

A price comparison is absolutely essential to ensure that you get the cover you want at a price that’s conducive to your profits.

Key considerations

Aside from the property’s contents the location of the property is a key consideration as is the type of property.

A policy on a city centre apartment in a major conurbation will likely differ from the cost of a policy on a bungalow in a leafy suburb.

Local crime rates, incidences of weather related disasters and the vulnerability of a property (e.g. if it is situated close to a river that has a history of bursting its banks) are all contributing factors in a policy’s cost.

Moreover, those wishing to rent out property in Ireland may find policy costs a little higher than in the UK. This is because they tend to be subject to Irish property taxes which tend to be folded into the costs.

As with many things, Brexit may change the logistics of renting Irish property from the UK.

While you may need some time to calculate the right policy for you, it’s safe to say that Landlord’s Insurance is a no-brainer!

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Insurance

Mortgage PPI: Could You Have Been Mis-Sold Your Policy?

Insurance

The true extent of how many banks and lenders had been mis-selling PPI became clear in the late 2000’s, and when millions of people approached them to file for compensation.  So what is a PPI? It stands for Payment Protection Insurance and later on in the article we go into it in detail.

Banks and lenders got caught out taking advantage of the profitable nature of PPI policies, often mis-selling them either without their knowledge, or without their customers permission. For this reason, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) threw more and more of its resources into correcting mis-sold and unfair PPI policies.

The claims poured in, money began to flood out of banks and lenders in the millions, and since the introduction of the 29th August 2019 deadline for claims, this has only acerbated the process.

What’s more, with a rise in PPI claims companies offering assistance to confused or lost borrowers, the next year could be a tough one for these banks and lenders. By this point, you may already know someone who has submitted or won their PPI claims and could be wondering if you’re also entitled. If you took out a mortgage between 1990 and 2010, read on to find out whether you could be eligible for compensation, below.

What Was PPI?

PPI – or Payment Protection Insurance – was originally designed to protect borrowers in the case that they missed a repayment on a loan or on credit.

In the case that the borrower fell ill and was out of work, or they were dismissed from their job by no fault of their own, PPI was supposed to cover the repayments as a form of insurance. This was perfectly understandable policy but banks and lenders began to take advantage.

The mis-selling of PPI became a widespread issue when more and more banks and lenders were being caught out for fraudulent or unfair activity. Some borrowers weren’t informed of their PPI policy, while others were given false or inadequate information as to what it covered or entailed.

In some cases, borrowers were even sold a PPI policy despite being ineligible for making a claim due to illness or unemployment.

How Do I Know If I Was Mis-Sold PPI?

Mortgages were amongst the loan types typically thought to have been sold with PPI alongside. It has also been known as payment cover, a protection plan, loan protection ASU or loan care, so if you see any of these on your loan, these also count as PPI. The criteria for being mis-sold a policy is as follows:

  • You were sold PPI without your knowledge
  • You were sold PPI without your consent or agreement
  • You were sold PPI under pressure or led to believe that you wouldn’t be able to take out a mortgage without it.
  • Your policy wasn’t adequately explained or you were advised to take out a policy that wasn’t suitable for your situation.
  • You were sold PPI and your bank or lender took an unsuitable level of commission (according to rules brought about after the Plevin ruling)

How Do I Make A Claim?

If you believe that you may be entitled to compensation due to being mis-sold a PPI policy, knowing how to claim is your next step towards getting the money you deserve. You have the option to either conduct the claim yourself or use a trusted claims company.

If you know your bank or lender, you can write to them directly requesting a review of your claim. If they refuse your claim and you truly believe that you are entitled to compensation, you can then go to the Financial Ombudsman Service to request their help with your claim. This can also be useful for any loans where the lender is no longer operating.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme can also provide assistance in the case that your lender or bank is no longer in service and will pay your compensation on their behalf.

If you think you might be entitled to PPI compensation, it’s important to make sure you know what to do. Whether you opt to utilise a claims company or you choose to go it alone to keep all of your compensation for yourself, we wish you luck regardless!

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Insurance

5 essentials for success in the construction sector

worker

If you are reading this article, you could have reached one of various stages in a journey towards thriving in a construction job. Perhaps you have only just left full-time education and are now seeking a job. Alternatively, you might be running a thriving firm and seeking some new recruits.

In any of these situations, you might understandably be worrying about what separates a good construction worker from a bad one. These proven qualities for success can make the difference…

Excellent communication skills

When providing construction services for someone who is not well-versed in the industry-related jargon, it can be crucial to communicate clearly with that client about what is going on. They might often approach you for updates and won’t appreciate being bombarded with complex terminology.

Even if your post isn’t a managerial one, your manager will expect frequent reports on how the construction work is progressing. Therefore, you should be proactive in getting those reports filled.

The ability to delegate tasks

If you are a construction manager, then assigning tasks to various members of your team is an activity the effectiveness of which you ought to hone. USA TODAY warns that you can’t simply fulfill every single responsibility on a job site by yourself – regardless of how much you may want to.

Assigning tasks effectively will entail you giving responsibilities to workers in alignment with their particular capabilities and skills. A poor fit on many counts could risk a poor construction job!

The ability to wisely prioritize activities

Each construction project is complex, multi-faceted and calls upon a range of activities and specialized workers. For this reason, a construction manager must assess the importance of each task, says Construction World. They can then prioritize the tasks appropriately.

If the construction project is thrown off its originally planned course by logistical issues or unforeseen weather, you should assess this situation and re-prioritize the team’s plans accordingly.

Problem-solving skills

In taking on a construction project in the first place, you are trying to solve a particular problem. However, you can’t wholly rule out the possibility of other issues getting thrown up as you and the rest of your team make progress. Naturally, then, you need to solve these issues!

Project managers should know how to predict issues before they arise, and so prepare multiple options and remedies. Whether harsh weather, delivery delays or even friction between team members threatens to send the project off the rails, you need to neutralize that threat.

Ready acceptance of feedback

Diligent though you might be in cutting out mistakes where you can, there remains the possibility of the occasional blunder on your part. For this reason, you should be careful to learn from mistakes and act on feedback. Through doing so, you can smooth the firm’s operations, says Business.com.

Nonetheless, as mistakes can have costly implications in the construction industry, make sure that your company has builders insurance which can help you to plug a financial gap. That gap could, after all, open up at an inopportune moment…

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