General Insurance Advice
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Why should I insure?
Insurance is a mechanism which transfers risk from one party to another in exchange for financial compensation (premium).
Some of the most common reasons for purchasing an insurance product are:
- The person seeking insurance cannot afford to incur a loss relating to the item they are looking to insure
- It is required by law i.e. compulsory insurance for vehicles
KBIS recommend that you consider insuring any risk you are exposed to which could affect you physically or financially.
What should I consider?
When looking to purchase insurance the most important question to ask is whether the policy is appropriate to your needs, taking out the incorrect insurance could be likened to having no insurance at all.
You also need to consider if the insurance is required by law or statute, the following acts may affect yourself as a rider or your business and would therefore require you to have the appropriate insurance:
- Employers Liability Act 1969
- Riding Establishment Act 1964
- Road Traffic Act 1988
When taking out insurance you will most likely be asked a number of questions to enable the insurers to assess the risk prior to agreeing cover. It is your duty to ensure that you answer all questions honestly and reasonably. If you fail to tell your insurer something when asked or deliberately make misrepresentations when answering questions your policy may leave you with no insurance protection.
The Insurance Act 2015, which came into affect in August 2016, also has a significant impact on the operation of your insurance policy, including your disclosure obligations towards an insurer. The Act applies to all non-consumer insurance policies and we have detailed further information about the reforms and their importance in the following document: Client Information – The Insurance Act 2015.
Who can I approach?
When looking to take out an insurance policy you can either choose to approach an insurance company direct or you can ask an intermediary, more commonly known as a broker, to act on your behalf.
The Insurer or Broker must be authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) who regulate by means of a range of strict rules and principals. You can find out if a company is registered by the FCA by visiting www.fca.org.uk/register/. A broker may also be regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) also has an important role in that it serves to mediate between an Insurer or Broker and a consumer who feels that their complaint has not been appropriately resolved. You can find out more about the FOS by visiting www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk
What service will I receive?
Most firms provide one of two types of service; an advised or non-advised sale.
An advised sale means that the customer will receive a personalised recommendation about the suitability of a product based on the individual’s unique demands and needs.
A non-advised sale entails providing the customer with enough information so that they can make a reasonably informed decision about the suitability of an insurance product.
Generally speaking, most general insurance sales are non-advised however if you employ the services of an insurance broker you are more likely to be offered an advised sale.
How do I choose which insurance company to use?
When choosing which company to use there are some simple questions you can consider:
Have you heard of the company before?
How long has the company been trading?
Are they registered with the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)?
Are the staff knowledgeable and friendly?
Do they offer flexible cover options?
Have they gained a good reputation for paying claims?
Do they offer additional cover such as horseboxes, liability & property that you may wish to look at taking out in the future?
One of the best indicators is often to ask around and see what companies other people would recommend.
What will I pay?
When you take out an insurance policy you will pay what is referred to as a ‘premium’. This will vary depending on the type and level of cover selected. A high level of cover may result in a higher premium. You will normally have two payment options offered to you; payment in full by credit/debit card, or the option to pay monthly by Direct Debit. If opting for the latter there may be an additional charge by the provider of which you would be notified.
What do I do if I need to claim?
Insurance companies have their own claims procedure and this will be set out in your policy terms and conditions. As soon as you think you might have to make a claim on your policy you should contact your insurance company to make them aware of the incident. They will usually send you a claim form to complete. Depending on the policy it may require part of the form to filled out by another party, for example in the case of a vet fee claim the attending vet will be required to fill out part of the form
When submitting your claim form you may be asked to forward any receipts/invoices in relation to the claim, together with any photographs of the damage.
In the case of a complex claim, the insurance company may appoint a Loss Adjuster, an independent claims specialist, to establish the cause of the loss.
You can view the KBIS Claims Procedure here.
Can I cancel my insurance cover?
The terms of cancellation will vary between insurance policies as well as between insurance companies. If you choose to cancel your insurance prior to the expiration date of the policy the insurer may keep a percentage of the unearned premium (UEP) in order to cover costs incurred, this is referred to as short rate cancellation.
You may be able to cancel your policy on a pro rata basis, though there may be an administration charge incurred. A full refund may be offered on a policy if you cancel within the first 14 days.
In the event that a claim has been paid out on the policy then there will be no return in the premium.
You should always refer to the policy wordings for full cancellation details of the product you are looking to purchase.
How long does my insurance cover run for?
It is common practice for insurance policies, such as horse insurance, to run on a 12-month contract. At the end of this 12 month period, you will normally be offered the chance to renew your policy. This renewal will take into account any changes in the insured’s position and you will be asked to complete a set of questions to ascertain whether there have been any changes in circumstances, and or incidents, during the previous policy period that may affect the covered offered. The insurer is not obliged to offer the renewal of the policy and neither is the policyholder obliged to accept the renewal policy.
Some policies may run for a longer period, for example, KBIS provide 15 months vet fee cover contracts under our Competition policy. You can also obtain shorter contracts in relation to a specific time frame, for example, event insurance, or cover for a horse in transit which normally runs 24 hours before and after the specified journey.
What do I do if I am unhappy with my insurance company?
If you are unhappy with your insurance cover or feel that you have been misled, then you should contact the company who sold you the policy directly. They will try to resolve the problem. They should acknowledge your complaint and send you a copy of their complaints procedure. They should also set out a time frame in which you can expect to hear back from them regarding the complaint.
If the company is unable to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction and you want to take it further then your will be directed to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).