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Insurance solutions: July 2013

July 2013: Gift Focus readers put their insurance queries, concerns and questions to leading brokers T.H. March

Q: What is your opinion of comparison sites and buying insurance online; is it a good idea?

A: There has been an increase in internet sites comparing and selling insurance products and they do serve a useful purpose. However, professional advice tailored to your specific needs is always going to be the safest option for your business. Sales via the internet tend to be made without direct one-to-one professional advice. So, I would advise that unless your risk fits closely into the box and you fully understand the various insurance wordings, you may wish to seek advice from an insurance broker. Take for example the sale of retail products: Many clauses can be built into insurance policy wordings so if you buy a policy over the internet be sure to very carefully read the policy within the stated 'cooling off ' period. Pic: Hard drive.tif

Q: Is it safe to keep computer backups on my premises?

A: Only if you place them in a fire safe that is specifically designed for computer media. Otherwise you should always remove your computer backups from the premises. If there was a fire at your premises, your computer media would be particularly vulnerable to the ionised particles in smoke. You will find that safes designed to resist burglary will probably offer little resistance to smoke penetration. Make sure you check which kind you have. If you are going to remove confidential data from your premises, particularly any sensitive data such as lists of customers and other such information, make sure that it's encrypted.

Q: What is meant by the 'Minimum Security' condition within a policy?

A: Most, if not all, insurers that provide cover for business premises impose a minimum level of security within their policy wordings. The condition will require certain types of lock to be fitted to the final entry/exit doors and windows, and in certain cases, a specific type of alarm with a number of features among other security requirements. A copy of the particular insurer's 'minimum security' standard can be requested when a quotation is provided. It's very important you comply with the condition. If you don't, any claim you make may not be met.

Q: When dispatching goods, what should I be aware of and what should be included in my insurance policy?

A: The extent of insurance can include all shipments of goods within the UK, whether by your own or hired vehicles, haulage contractors, post and delivery services. It's important to be aware that many carriers restrict their liability for loss or damage to the goods they carry. This could potentially leave you seriously out of pocket in the event of a claim although, arranging your own insurance protection can solve this problem. Overseas shipments (imports and exports) can also be insured from place of origin to destination. Insurance is usually offered by freight forwarders, and monetary limits may apply in all or part depending on methods of transport - often there are more than one, i.e. road, air and sea.

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