With many people looking for new relationships online and via smartphone apps, new research from comparethemarket.com has revealed that our next friend or partner could just be a ‘dog walk’ away - with nearly one in five (17%) full time workers meeting a new friend and 16% starting a new relationship whilst out with their pet. Find out more here: https://www.comparethemarket.com/pet-insurance/content/owning-a-dog-could-help-you-find-love/
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with All-New Aleksandr and Sergei Toys
comparethemarket.com has announced the arrival of two limited edition toys, ahead of the highly anticipated release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, coming to cinemas 25th March from Warner Bros. Pictures. In addition to a whole year’s membership of 2 for 1 cinema tickets, for a limited time, customers can also get their hands on a Limited Edition Meerkat Movies Toys inspired by either Batman or Superman when they buy insurance or switch energy with comparethemarket.com.
Arriving under the cover of darkness, Aleksandr takes on the superfan persona of Gotham City’s Dark Vigilante in full katsuit, complete with cape and mask. Sergei is transformed into a pint-sized version of the Man of Steel, complete with bulging biceps and rippling sixpack.
Mark Vile, Marketing Director at comparethemarket.com, said: “Since launching Meerkat Movies in March last year, we have seen over a million members enjoy the magic of the movies for less. We’ve now super-charged our rewards offering, Meerkat Movies, by partnering with Warner Bros. Pictures and one of the most hotly anticipated films of the year. Our customers get the opportunity to not only receive 2 for 1 cinema tickets for a year, but for a limited time only, also get their hands on a Limited Edition toy inspired by Batman or Superman as we reveal Aleksandr and Sergei as true super fans of the film. We’re excited by the partnership and hope our customers enjoy our most heroic offer to date.”
Meerkat Movies was unveiled to the nation last year, with 2 for 1 cinema ticket redemption available across the UK, via a voucher code on the Meerkat Movies app, which is available to Apple and Android users, or via the comparethemarket.com website.
Thousands of travellers will set off around the globe this month as the season of gap years begins. However, the more intrepid the trip, the more critical it is to take out comprehensive insurance. The good news is that 39% of extended trip travel insurance products provide policies tailored to backpackers, all of which offer cover for a minimum of 12 months without the need to take out insurance for every country you visit. But take care, as many of these policies come with unexpected terms and conditions.
So whether bungee-jumping in New Zealand or scuba-diving in Thailand, comparethemarket.com has some tips on how to ensure backpackers are fully protected by their policy when taking the trip of a lifetime:
Check the minimum and maximum time limits: The majority of backpacker policies (52%) provide cover for one trip taken over a maximum of around 18 months, however almost one in three (30%) limit travel to 365 days. In the event that you have to fly back for an emergency or special occasion, such as a wedding, nearly three quarters (74%) allow a brief return to the UK as standard, but such policies may have limits on the time you can stay at home.
Choose the maximum medical cover: In case of an emergency it is important to have the most comprehensive medical cover available. Cheaper policies may look attractive but often have higher excesses, meaning you could be left significantly out of pocket should you fall ill abroad. 82% of backpacker’s insurance policies cover medical expenses of £3million or more and all policies offer repatriation services and emergency assistance. Make sure you get all recommended vaccinations and medication ahead of your trip or you could end up invalidating your insurance if you contract a tropical disease overseas.
Avoid the travel logistics nightmare: The rush to catch a flight is a common occurrence on a gap year. However, very few policies provide cover for missed flights or stopover times: 59% do not cover travellers stopping over in countries outside of the geographical location selected, 45% do not cover missed travel connections and 38% will not pay out for missed departures. Even if your policy does cover missed flights, make sure you get confirmation from the appropriate authority for the reason you missed your flight and length of the delay in order to pursue your claim.
Protect against natural disaster: If you are travelling to countries where the chance of volcanic eruption, earthquakes, floods or landslides is high, it is vital that your insurance policy covers any potential disruption. Nearly half of backpacker insurance policies (47%) offer no cover for departure delay due to natural disaster, however just over a third (35%) offer cover of £1,000 or more. If you are travelling to high risk areas it is worth ensuring your policy offers comprehensive cover in case extreme weather events affect your journey.
Steer clear of danger zones: In general, backpacker policies cover travel in Europe or worldwide, either including or excluding the USA. However, it is worth checking if travel is restricted in specific countries, for example war zones or areas of political unrest. Many policies’ terms and conditions are likely to clarify that they do not cover you in areas where the Foreign Office has advised against all travel.
Take extra care when trying out risky sports: Many travellers use their backpacking trip to try out unusual hobbies or sports. Activities such as banana boating, sky-diving, shark diving and swimming with dolphins are considered high risk by many insurers, but the majority of policies (91%) include an option to cover additional sports as standard. Read your policy carefully to find out if you must alert your provider of your intention to undertake these activities before you go abroad, and remember that you may not be covered under the personal accident or liability sections of the policy.
Don’t end up out of pocket: Even if your policy provides baggage insurance, not all providers will include cover for electronic items such as smart phones under this section. It is a good idea to check what your policy defines as a “valuable” object to check expensive items are fully insured; 52% of policies only cover valuables worth up to £250 but a high quality SLR camera can be worth over £1,000. Only one in 10 policies offer cover for valuables of £400 or more so it is worth checking if these items can be protected separately under a home insurance policy.
Prepare for a trip cut short: It is advisable to purchase your backpacker policy well in advance of your trip so you are protected if you can’t go on holiday due to unforeseeable circumstances. Cancellation cover pays for any prepaid travel or accommodation expenses if you have to cancel or cut your trip short. As year-long holidays are expensive it is worth checking the limits on your policy as only 18% cover the cost of cancellation of £5000 or more.
Gemma Sonfield, head of travel for comparethemarket.com, said:
“Insurance may not be the first thing you think of when planning the trip of a lifetime, but it is important to arrange comprehensive cover and ensure you are protected in every country you visit. Travellers might assume that they are covered under an annual policy, but a holiday over 30 days often requires additional protection and policies can vary in terms of excesses, exclusions and premiums. Insurance for your gap year is particularly crucial as you are travelling for longer periods of time so it’s worth shopping around to find the policy most suited to your trip. Remember: if you are unsure of any detail in the policy wording, double check with your provider to make sure you don’t accidentally invalidate your cover.”
January’s pay day couldn’t come sooner for consumers, with the cost of Christmas, together with December’s early pay, taking its toll on bank balances across the nation.
Yet research out today by comparethemarket.com for the Institute of Inertia, reveals that consumers will only be back in the black for a very short time and will use the majority of their January pay to pay off debt, leaving them no better off in the month of February.
A survey of 2,000 monthly earners in the UK has shown that nearly 1 in 5 (19.88%) will be back in the red by Thursday 4th February, just a week after receiving their January pay. Factors including payday loans, credit cards and family loans have all contributed to this problem, with nearly a third (30.75%) of respondents revealing that they had to rely on a form of credit to get through this financial strain.
Simon McCulloch, Director of Insurance at comparethemarket.com said,
“Whilst it’s clear that many consumers are still struggling with their finances at this time of year, there are simple steps that can help people take back control. Addressing household bills and reviewing monthly outgoings is a good place to start. We’re also helping consumers understand how their personality affects their ability to manage their outgoing, by taking our quiz at www.instituteofinertia.org/quiz .”
Despite the financial pinch, nearly 40% (39.95%) said they will prioiritise shopping and such like on pay day before dealing with their bills and household finances. For some January sales, holiday bookings and social gatherings are amongst the first thing many purchased upon the injection of funds into their accounts, meaning they are back in the red after just a few days, continuing the cycle of debt.
Dr. Thomas Webb, a social psychologist at the University of Sheffield and Chair of the Institute of Inertia, said “Just like in the run up to Christmas, where people are often tempted to bury their heads in the sand and not think about money, people may assume that January's pay day will go further than it actually does while not confronting reality.”
Rather than spending time planning ahead, financial inertia has led people to bury their heads in the sand and not wanting to face up to the extent of their debt with over a third (33.35%) admitting that they ignore budgeting throughout the year. Dr. Webb explains that, “This “ostrich problem” occurs, in part, because peoples' main priority is to feel good about themselves - and confronting the reality of poor budgeting can compromise this. However the ostrich problem can be avoided if people keep track of spending. Work out what funds are available for the month (for example after any debts accruing from Christmas have been paid) and then divide that amount by four, so that you know how much you can spend each week. Then, at the end of each week, total what you have spent and see whether you are on track to staying in the black.”
Michelle Highman, Chief Executive of the Money Charity explains "At the Money Charity we see on a daily basis members of the public who treat credit and overdrafts as 'free money'. Many of these people bury their heads in the sand and take far too long to pay off their debts, racking up interest and cutting into their disposable income. Through the Institute of Inertia we are encouraging people to take control of their spending throughout the month to ensure that come pay day you are not going straight back in the red. And if you are experiencing debt problems, don’t put it off, seek help today."
Consumers can find more tips on overcoming inertia by visiting www.instituteofinertia.org.
Consumer research data in this release comes from research carried out by One Poll, on behalf of comparethemarket.com. It questioned 2000 consumers who are employed and paid on a monthly basis. The fieldwork was carried out between 25th January and 27th January.
comparethemarket.com today release Meerkat Movies: A Heroic Journey, the first part of a 16-page comic book written and illustrated by superhero royalty Tony Bedard and Neal Adams! Find out more...
Half the UK’s parents are putting their family’s financial stability at risk in the event that they should die, according to the latest research from comparethemarket.com. A survey of UK parents with children under the age of 18 revealed that nearly half (49%) do not have a life insurance policy. Of those parents in a couple, over one in three (35%) did not have life insurance for either partner.
Life insurance typically pays out a lump sum to children, a partner or other relatives who rely on the policy holder’s income to cover a mortgage or other living expenses should they pass away.
The potential cost of life insurance is the biggest barrier to parents taking out financial protection for their families. Of those parents who did not have life insurance, half (50%) said that they had not taken out a policy because it was too expensive and they could not afford the monthly payments, and 49% agree that they would be encouraged to take out life insurance if the cost was affordable.
There is some confusion around the cost of life insurance cover. Although half of uninsured parents said they did not have life insurance because of the expense, 54% admitted they did not know what the monthly cost would be. In fact, a healthy 30 year old could pay as little as £4 per month, with the average policy starting at around £8 per month*. It becomes more expensive to take out life insurance as you grow older; healthy 30 to 35 year olds pay on average only £8 per month for ten years of cover, compared to a healthy 40 year old who pays on average over £20, an increase in 150% over just five years.
The complex application process and lack of clear communication from providers around a policy’s benefits also appear to be putting off parents from protecting their loved ones. Some uninsured parents said that they did not understand how the product works and over a third (34%) admitted that they would be encouraged to take out a policy if the application process was simple and if the level of pay-out received in the event of their death was made easy and clear to understand.
When asked what would be the most important thing they would want their life insurance to cover in the event of their death, 34% said their mortgage, while 19% would want their family to maintain their current lifestyle and 16% would want the pay-out to provide a nest egg for their family at a later stage in their lives.
Jody Baker, head of life insurance at comparethemarket.com, said:
“For most parents, bringing up a child is more than enough to keep their days busy. They may not even have considered how debts including mortgages, loans and credit cards will be paid for, or how their current standard of living could be maintained if their household income fell or disappeared entirely. Many people take an “it will never happen to me approach”, but life insurance provides an important safety net in the event that your loved ones can no long longer rely on your income if something terrible should happen.
“It is particularly worrying that so many parents find the process of buying life insurance complex and off putting and that they feel the cost is beyond their means, when in fact a healthy 30 to 35 year old pays on average only £8 per month for ten years of cover. This sort of confusion leads to inertia which prevents people taking out protection; protection that really helps alleviate financial worries and gives peace of mind. Insurers clearly have to work harder to communicate the benefits of this product to customers and make the process as simple and easy to understand as possible.”
Notes to editors:
* Premiums data sourced from comparethemarket.com 2015 (full year)
Unless otherwise indicated, all data is sourced from comparethemarket.com.
Post-Christmas feelings of overindulgence and overspending, combined with colder weather and the prospect of summer a long way off, mean it is no wonder that consumers feel particularly depressed on the third Monday of the year, so called “Blue Monday”. The date of Blue Monday is calculated based on an equation which assesses the weather, personal debt, motivational levels and time since the Christmas holidays.
This year Blue Monday falls just weeks after The Bank of England revealed that consumer borrowing rose by £1.5 billion in the run up to Christmas. It therefore comes as no surprise that many are left feeling debt laden and out of control of their finances at this time of year, with over one in four consumers (29%) admitting that they feel guilty about how much they had spent over the festive season, according to a recent survey of 2,000 consumers by comparethemarket.com.
Following the excessive costs of Christmas, a further 44% of respondents claimed that they tended to feel poor in the days and weeks immediately after Christmas, and 56% stated that they tried to spend less money in January to offset the cost of the previous months.
Saving money has a positive influence not only on your wallet but on your wellbeing; 41% of consumers said they felt that saving money in the New Year helped them to beat the January Blues. Data from comparethemarket.com suggests January is the month when many people take charge of their finances, with their website’s traffic increasing by 42% on the first working day of the year, the fourth of January.
Consumers may be surprised to know that it only takes one hour, or the average lunchbreak, to possibly save around £1,500 on their household bills. It takes approximately 30 minutes to shop around for the best policies on motor insurance, home insurance, energy and credit cards, with completion of the switches taking a further half an hour.
There is a simple, proactive way to organise your personal finances and to save enough money to counteract some of the Christmas overspending. By shopping around, consumers can ensure that they get the best deal possible and enjoy the feel-good benefits of saving money.
On average, customers could save £273.56 on their annual energy bill for gas and electricity.
Home Insurance saving
50% of customers could save up to £61.62 on their Buildings and Contents insurance premium for the year.
Car Insurance Saving
50% of customers could save up to £203.80 on their Car Insurance premium for the year.
Card Maximum Saving
50% of consumers could save up to £984.17 on interest payments when switching their credit card to a 0% balance transfer card. Assuming that they were paying 17.9% on a £2,000 balance.
Simon McCulloch, Director of Insurance, comparethemarket.com, said: “After the jovial nature of the festive season, it’s no wonder people feel a little low as everyone heads back to work and the New Year swings into gear. Following the inevitable overspending at Christmas, it is easy to feel panicked about your personal finances, especially when your monthly bank statement or credit card bill comes through the letterbox. One way to alleviate these January blues is to take active steps to save money, such as shopping around for the best deals on insurance, energy and credit cards, where many people could save hundreds of pounds by switching providers, ensuring they get the best deal available and making sure unnecessary overspending does not extend into 2016.””
Dr. Thomas Webb, Social Psychologist at The University of Sheffield and Chair of The Institute of Inertia, said:
“January can be a really tough month - we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to achieve ambitious New Year’s resolutions. We are still feeling drained from the flurry of activity at Christmas, and we are suffering financially from over spending during the festive period. All in all it is no wonder we feel depressed on Blue Monday. But it doesn’t have to be this way. This year, why not challenge yourself to buck the trend and make Blue Monday a positive day? Even little steps can make a difference and start you on your way to making a change.”
Unless otherwise indicated, all data is sourced from comparethemarket.com.
*Savings data sourced from comparethemarket.com September 2015
Bank of England statistics:
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