Cashpoints: When insurers will say, 'on yer bike'

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The Independent Online
n Almost 150,000 bicycles were stolen last year, according to the Co-operative Insurance Society. Many people wrongly assume their bike will be automatically covered under their home insurance. In fact, unless you have an "all-risks extension" to your policy, it does not cover you for when the bike is outside your house (ie when you are most likely to need insurance). An all-risk extension is normally the cheapest way of insuring your bike - it can cost as little as pounds 10 a year. Separate bike insurance policies start at around pounds 25. Some of the best deals on the stand-alone policies are through cycling organisations (but which also require you to become a member). Contact: Cyclists' Touring Club (01483 417217); London Cycling Campaign (0171 928 7220); British Cycling Federation (0500 525676).

n Competition for savers is now so strong that First Direct, the telephone bank sister of Midland, will give pounds 20 to people who open one of its Direct Interest Savings Accounts with at least pounds 1,000 before 31 July. The underlying account is not earth-shattering. It pays interest of 4 per cent on a balance of pounds 1,000, 4.75 per cent on pounds 2,500 to pounds 5,000, and 5.9 per cent above that. It also offers just one free instant-access withdrawal a quarter - otherwise it is a 60-day notice account. But pounds 20 is equivalent to an interest-rate bonus of 2 per cent on pounds 1,000, and there is nothing stopping savers from opening an account, getting the pounds 20 (credited within seven days), and using their one free withdrawal to move elsewhere. Phone: 0800 482448.

n Insurer Prospero Direct has produced a free pamphlet, "Motoring Abroad", which includes details of documents you should take, differences in law, and speed limits. Phone 0500 500575.

n NatWest has produced a free guide, "Helping you manage when someone dies", aimed at assisting relatives and friends with sorting out the estate of the dead person. Phone 0800 919328.

n Hastings Direct has a free guide, "What to look for when buying a second-hand car", which includes legal rights and tips on dealing with insurers. Phone 0800 001066.

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