Simon Read: Insurance policies do not belong at the shop checkout

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The Independent Online

Next week the City watchdog will publish the outcome of its investigation into the murky world of insurance add-ons. I hope that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will ban the sale of the expensive cover that is flogged when you're buying other items.

For instance, internet retailers encourage us to take out insurance when shopping online. Meanwhile, high-street companies always try and make shoppers buy extended warranties or other peace-of-mind products when they are snapping up a television or washing machine.

The worry is that many of these insurance policies are expensive or unnecessary. We're sold them by a tick or signature and told that they cost a few quid a week – but actually, many are horribly expensive.

There is nothing wrong with buying insurance to cover gadget breakdown or home emergencies, but the cover should be bought separately from a third-party insurer that does not have vested interest at the point of sale.

Poeple need to make an informed decision about whether they need the cover or, indeed, whether they can afford it. Rules should prevent retailers from selling it.

Instead it should be a buyer's decision, driven by a need, rather than a company's desire to boost its profits.

I gather the FCA will release the results of its study early next week. I hope to report back with a positive outcome for consumers.

Twitter: @simonnread

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