How to make a claim out of a crisis

INSURANCE: it seems like a pain and it comes at a price, but cover does at least provide peace of mind and some security for your family.

If you run a car or motorbike then by law you must have insurance. Cover may also be a requirement of particular mortgage or holiday deal - if you want the deal you have to take the policy. Other insurance may be more voluntary - albeit at least as important.

All of us want to make sure that our family is adequately provided for if we were to die prematurely or suffer long-time incapacity through illness or accident, and insurance will often provide the best means of doing this. Just how much is needed depends on personal circumstances. Normally, a single person with few ties needs far less cover than a family breadwinner.

There are many different types of insurance policy from dozens of companies, which in theory makes for a lot of competition and the potential for big savings from shopping around.

Independent insurance brokers can often recommend policies that more than compete with those from the direct sellers, which offer their products over the telephone or through advertisements.

Shopping around is not always an option, however. For example, mortgage indemnity protection is still compulsory for many house buyers who take out home loans exceeding 75 or 80 per cent of the property's valuation. Some lenders also insist on borrowers buying house insurance through them rather than purchasing it independently.

This survey will briefly guide you through the types of insurance cover you need and, when you have the choice, how to look for the best deal.

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