• From This is Money:

    Rightmove shares finished the day down 14¼p to 305¾p as it played down the threat from the National Association of Estate Agents.
    NAEA announced that it will launch Property Live in October, which will allow its 14,000 members to advertise homes on their books for free.
    Rightmove charges members up to £495 a month to advertise houses and flats.
    It represents more than 90% of estate agents and claims to be the biggest property website, with more than one million homes advertised.
    Peter Bolton King, chief executive of NAEA, said: ‘We are not doing this to compete with Rightmove.
    ‘We are doing this in response to our members who have told us we have a great opportunity to create our own property portal.’
    But instead of paying subscription costs to join a number of different websites, such as Rightmove, estate agents may decide to only list their houses on Property Live to save thousands of pounds a year.
    • Latest on house prices
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  • From This is Money:

    The figure is 43% more than the £20,980 they would have needed to secure a leading rate last year.

    The group said that despite house prices falling, the amount of money people needed as a deposit was rising as lenders became increasingly risk averse and scaled back the loan-to-value ratios they were prepared to advance.
    It said people now needed an average deposit of 20.75% of their home’s value to secure a best buy mortgage rate, nearly double the 11.75% they would have needed a year ago.

    Popular two-year fixed rate mortgages have seen the biggest increase, with average deposits on these deals soaring from 10% in August last year to 23% now for leading rates.
    But people also need an average deposit of 22% of their home’s value to get a leading three-year fix and 20% to get a top five-year one.
    Unsurprisingly, there is huge regional variation in the level of deposit that people need to get a best buy mortgage deal.
    Homeowners in London need to amass the biggest depos…

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  • From This is Money:

    A laptop might cost as little as £400 to replace, but downloads stored on it could run to thousands of pounds.

    The speed of these technological changes has caught some insurers on the hop.

    Home insurance has long covered computer equipment, but not all policies cover digital media, and of those that do, there are manyvariations in the cover.

    Elaine Parkes of insurer Legal & General says: ‘Downloads, particularly music, films and games, have become increasingly popular, but many consumers probably still do not realise quite how much it would cost or how long it would take to replace them.

    ‘We reviewed our policy wording last year to ensure customers were not confused by what is and isn’t covered.’

    In L& G’s case, cover is provided on downloads as high-risk items under the general terms of a household policy.

    This means that downloads are not only covered against loss or damage caused by normal perils such as fire and flood, but also for theft….

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  • From This is Money:

    It involves criminals deliberately staging road accidents, usually by slamming on their brakes so an innocent driver behind has no chance of avoiding a collision.
    The fraudster then claims against the other driver’s insurance company for damage and injuries such as whiplash.
    Police have warned drivers to be vigilant as the practice – often part of a well-organised criminal network – spreads at an alarming rate and puts lives at risk. Experts say it is costing the insurance industry at least £200m a year.
    Two high-profile operations, involving both police and investigators from the Insurance Fraud Bureau, recently smashed criminal gangs in London, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. In one case assets worth more than £1m were seized, three ringleaders were jailed for up to two and half years and nine others were given suspended sentences.
    Overall, motor insurance fraud now costs an estimated £1.6bn a year. The extra premiums needed to pay for it add £50 to t…

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  • From This is Money:

    The number of people who are unemployed has hit 1.64m – increasing by 38,000 in the three months to the end of April. Economists believe this figure may reach 2.3m by the end of next year, which would be the highest level since 1996.
    Since the credit crunch began last summer, thousands of jobs have been cut, mainly in financial firms and homebuilders. But with inflation and mortgage bills rising and homeowners cutting back on spending, other areas of the economy may soon be suffering.
    As a result, thousands of workers who fear they may be affected have been asking comparison sites and independent financial advisers about Accident, Sickness and Unemployment (ASU) policies.
    These cover your monthly repayments on your most important bills if you are forced out of work by an accident or an illness, or are made redundant. However, most customers are interested in the last.
    Comparison site Moneysupermarket.com claims it has seen a 15% rise in visitors to its ASU price service. Emma…

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  • From This is Money:

    The rise will add £22 to the average policy, and up to £105 to the insurance costs of a newly qualified young driver.
    But with 18-year-olds already facing bills of £1,750 a year, they are being given a ‘perverse incentive’ to risk driving without insurance, say critics.
    They say the current average fine of £250 for the offence is ‘an incentive to lawbreaking’ because it represents just a fraction of what a young driver would have to pay for a policy.
    There are around 2m untaxed, unlicensed and uninsured ‘rogue’ drivers, according to Government figures.
    Price comparison site comparethemarket.com says UK drivers are paying more than £500m a year to cover for uninsured drivers, an average of £31 each.
    Jeremy Moll of comparethemarket.com said: ‘The Government must act to reduce the number of illegal drivers on Britain’s roads through more severe penalties.
    ‘If the number of illegal drivers decreases, the industry will have more flexibility i…

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  • From This is Money:

    After a course of drugs it was decided to operate to remove the tumour. Busaba is now fine, but the total cost of treatment topped £1,600.

    Fortunately, Antonella, 31, an account manager with a furniture supplier, is one of a minority of pet owners with animal insurance. She pays £16 a month for Busaba and her other ferret, Nikita, through Petplan.

    There are an estimated 19 million pets in Britain, including 6.8 million dogs and 9.7 million cats. However, only one in five has the safety net of insurance, though the market has been steadily growing.

    Judith Roberts, pet insurance manager for M& S Money, says: ‘For most buyers, their pet is a cherished member of the family. Owners want to know they will be able to afford treatment if anything goes wrong.’

    Antonella of Vauxhall, south-west London, says: ‘Ferrets are great fun. They sleep 15 to 18 hours a day and then are playful when you come home from work.

    ‘When Busaba got ill, I found it straightforwar…

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  • From This is Money:

    Car insurer More Than has pledged to continue fitting satellite trackers in customers’ vehicles, despite rival Norwich Union abandoning the idea last week. Both insurers have been trying to reinvent motor cover, using the technology to link premiums to when and where a car is driven.
    Norwich Union last week wrote to more than 10,000 customers saying it was ending its pay-as-you-drive cover. The insurer pioneered the concept with two policies, one for younger drivers and the other for low-mileage motorists.
    These customers face higher premiums as they will be forced to rearrange their insurance over the next three months.
    Norwich Union says the cost of offering pay-as-you-go cover, including installing satellite trackers in each car, is no longer sustainable. The company announced 1,800 job losses this month.
    But More Than spokesman Nick Dear says: ‘The technology is working for us and we have no plans to withdraw it.’
    More Than’s ‘drive time’ package, aimed at young drivers,…

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  • From This is Money:

    The number of overseas weddings has doubled in the past ten years, according to research company Mintel. They now account for nearly one in five British couples marrying. One of the reasons for their growing popularity is that overseas weddings cost less than half that of UK nuptials, where a typical celebration is £18,500, rather less than the £5m reputedly spent by the Rooneys.
    Sri Lanka, Italy and New York are the three most popular spots, according to travel company Kuoni, which says wedding packages start from just £600 a couple (excluding holiday costs). More exotic favourites are the Caribbean islands of Antigua and St Lucia, Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and Thailand.
    But despite the saving, it is just as important to insure your nuptials overseas as it is in the UK.
    You can buy a policy to cover you if the wedding cannot go ahead through illness, if your dress is ruined, or the venue or caterer goes bust before your big day.
    But no one will pay a cla…

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  • From This is Money:

    The Association of British Insurers said the Environment Agency had identified 517,000 homes as being at ‘significant risk’.
    The ABI said that following last summer’s flooding, half of the 180,000 insurance claims related to damage caused by water coming up through drains.
    Insurers have agreed to continue offering cover to homes at risk from flooding at a price that reflects the risk – providing the Government puts adequate flood defences in place.
    But this is under review, and in any case if the risk increases significantly, premiums could become unaffordable.
    Nick Starling, spokesman for the ABI which is holding a floods conference today, said: ‘Insurers will have paid out £3bn following the floods last summer. Planning for the future is essential.’
    A Government spokesman said: ‘We will be giving the Environment Agency the strategic overview for all forms of inland flooding.’…

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