Don’t Invalidate Fire Insurance

Don’t invalidate your fire insurance policy.

I find this a very strange case but it just shows how important it is to read the small print as if you ignore the conditions of the policy your policy could be invalidated.

In this case it was a condition of the FIRE insurance that the SECURITY Alarm was maintained and monitored. Times had been tough for the insured and he let the maintenance of the security alarm lapse and as the ARC had not been paid for 6 months they stopped monitoring the site.

Vandals broke in and set fire to the factory. It was a furniture company and they incurred losses of over £750,000.

The case went to the High Court, the judge had nothing but sympathy for the Directors of the Company and he took ‘no pleasure’ in ruling that as it was a condition of the combined insurance policy that alarm was to be monitored by an external firm, the Insurers did not have to meet the claim.

There are often conditions attached to the insurance policies we take out which relate directly to the risk. We need to make sure our cars have valid MOTs in order not to invalidate the policy. We are required to notify the insurance company if we get a speeding fine but, to my mind oddly, you do not have to tell them if you decide to do the Speed Awareness Course rather than pay the fine.

I have just come across a case, now in front of the insurance Ombudsman, where an insurance company voided the policy and returned all the premiums because the policy holder had unwittingly exceed the value of the ‘valuables’ within their contents insurance. They had insured the contents of their house for £60,000 but there was a clause stating that the value of the valuables should not exceed 66% of this.

They had to rush their daughter to hospital, and while they were out the thieves struck taking goods and damaging the property to the value of £70,000. When assessing the claim the loss adjusters calculated that the value if the valuables in the house exceeded £40,000. Normally claims would be ‘averaged’ to reflect the under insurance, but the insurance company in this case argued that the under insurance voided the policy. As I said this case is in front of the ombudsman as I write.

Back to case in hand where a fire insurance claim was dismissed as a security alarm and monitoring were allowed to lapse. Clients of ours run a hotel and there is someone on reception all the time so if the fire alarm is activated there was always someone on duty to respond. We came round to the time when the annual contract with the ARC [monitoring station] needed to be renewed. The Hotel Manger wanted to cancel it as it was considered an unnecessary expense. I said I agreed but asked him to check with his insurers to make sure they had no objections. The Insurers confirmed; monitoring was a condition of the policy.

Often with in the insurance policy there is a clause that the fire alarm is maintained in accordance with British Standards. It would be interesting to know whether a similar claim has been dismissed as the Fire Alarm has not been adequately maintained.

Valuable Car Finance Tips

The second largest investment you will have in a lifetime perhaps is getting your own car. After you have scrutinized every model and zeroed in on the best car to purchase, the next process is to determine how you are going to pay it.

The road to car ownership is paved with car finance options. The package you choose will make the difference between monthly struggles and easy payments. Will you get to keep driving your car or have to default on the loan over a certain period?

When looking at your financing options, here are valuable tips to consider:

Think about interest rates. Your interest rate will depend on a number of factors such as the type of the car, the length of the loan term, your credit rating and the lender. Generally new cars have much lower interest rates. Higher interest rate is required for longer car loans. You will get lower interest rates if you have been pretty good at keeping a good credit rating score. Focus on the interest rates as different companies provide varying options.

Choose from as many lenders as possible. Your options for car financing could be banking institutions, the automaker, credit unions, and other lending sources. Weigh the pros and cons of the different types of lenders. Going through all the interest rates and loan-terms of the different lenders will be overwhelming task. Experts not only help you make the right choice, but also offer you a number of good options. Consumers today get the right financing for their vehicles with finance consultants working exclusively on helping consumers.

Seek expert guidance. A financial consultant would point out key features you may want for your loan, allowing you to get a tailored approach, and therefore an ideal solution, to your financing. Such expert help would also come in handy for businesses looking to invest in company cars and employers who may want to offer a lease (also known as salary packaging) to high performing employees.

Ask for special deals. Special deals on certain loans are offered by some lenders in order to get fairly competitive in the market. Depending on the automaker you have chosen, you could be given zero-percent financing or offered lower rates for short-term lengths.

Companies are able to help employees on their car financing needs through a special form of lease. The lease is a three-way agreement between the employer, the employee and the finance company. As the employer though, be aware that while you should be able to finance a car after a bankruptcy, you may not be able to get the best car finance rates.

Why Are Diesel Engines Preferred Over Petrol Engines?

Globally, two types of engines are generally found – diesel engines and petrol engines. The classification is done based on the fuel used for the engines, because the construction, functionality and features of the engines vary on the type of fuel to be used. These engines can be found in cars, airplanes and even in commercial generators. Therefore, it would be worthwhile to spare some time and have a look into the reason behind the preference of one type of engine over the other.


In order to have a deep understanding of the subject matter of this article, having a passion for the stuff under the bonnet would be helpful. But in any case, the material has been represented in such a manner that a person with little or no knowledge about mechanical engineering will also be able to follow; a bit of physics in your middle school or high school will suffice. To start with, let us try to understand the working principle of the two types of engines, so that we can infer the reason behind the popularity of one type over the other.

Working principle of diesel engines

A diesel engine is generally referred to as CI (compression ignition) engine. In a diesel engine, air is compressed by the pistons within a closed chamber by a process called adiabatic compression. Due to severe compression, the temperature of the air rises to very high levels inside the chamber. After achieving sufficient temperature, the fuel, which in this case is diesel, is slowly injected into the chamber in a controlled manner.

When the inflammable fuel comes in contact with the hot air, it starts burning. The gas produced from the combustion pushes the piston downwards which in turn produces the torque required. Due to its constructional features, it has very low leftover fuel and also the excess heat is dissipated easily, making the engine very suitable for prolonged hours of maintenance free operation under heavy loads. Among all the types of Internal Combustion engines, diesel engines have the highest rate of efficiency, sometimes more than 50%.

Working principle of petrol engines

Petrol engines, on the other hand, is an Internal Combustion engine with an entirely different working principle. Inside a petrol engine, fuel and air are mixed in a chamber and compressed gradually. Also, a spark plug is used to provide the necessary ignition point for the mixture, so that the entire process becomes quick and steady. Due to the presence of the spark plug, petrol engines are highly used in cold countries where the ambient temperature is very low and it is very difficult to maintain the temperature of the mixture suitable for combustion only through compression.

Also, the speed of petrol engines is higher than and its parts are lighter that of its diesel counterparts, making it the ideal choice for quick acceleration and high-speed maneuvers. However, the compression ratio of the fuel-air mixture is quite low for a petrol engine and it results in a lower efficiency of petrol engines as compared to diesel engines.

Which is the better choice?

Well, it depends on the nature of use. Experts recommend petrol engines for cases that need very high speed and high acceleration. Also, historically diesel engines are noisier than petrol engines and people associate it with nasty fumes coming out of the exhaust. But the fact is that carbon dioxide emission from petrol engines is higher than that of diesel engines.

Diesel engines are a better choice due to many factors like:

Cost of diesel is lower than that of petrol in most of the countries in the world.
Diesel engines last longer due to rugged build.
Efficiency and maintenance cost is a great deciding factor for the choice to be made.
At low speeds, diesel engines can generate very high power. This is the ideal case for commercial and industrial applications.

Due to all these reasons, it has also been observed that machines using diesel engines get higher resale values. Surveys have proved the fact that used diesel cars and used diesel generators generate more enquiries when put up for reselling. However, it is strongly advised to consult a domain expert to determine which engine to buy for your requirement.

10 Steps To Reduce Your Debt: Do-It-Yourself Debt Reduction

Getting into debt is easy and worrying about it won’t do much in relieving you from your debt. The best you can do when you have already run into debt is to start working towards reducing or clearing the debt and staying out of debt in every possible way. You can find your own strategy to deal with the debt, but there are several DIY debt reduction strategies and tips you can use to get over your financial woes.

1. Evaluate the debts. Start by collecting all financial documents and printing credit reports so you know exactly where you are with the debts. Most times people get scared just thinking of how hefty the debts are but you will never know until you take the courage to evaluate the debt so you can start somewhere with the recovery. Include all personal loans, auto loans, credit cards and payday loans in this evaluation.

2. Check your current earnings and budget. With the clear debt information, you then must start working towards debt reduction. Calculate the monthly income you get after taxes and basics like mortgage or rent, groceries, utilities and insurance. This way, you will get to find out how much you can spare for paying off the debt.

3. Find ways to increase pay off amounts. Sometimes when you subtract all basics from your income, you might find that you have very little amount left you can use on the debts. If the amount is too small, try and come up with ways through which you can reduce spending. Carpooling is one of the temporary methods you can use to cutback the expenses.

4. Create a plan. Now that you have some money to use on the debts, create a plan of how you are going to handle the debts and pay off. Will you start with one debt or pay a little every month for every debt you have? You might find it helpful to start with debts with highest interest rates or highest balance.

5. Negotiate repayment with your lenders and creditors. Agreeing to negotiate terms will be a plus to your credibility and your lenders or creditors will be more than willing to strike a deal with you.

6. Keep up with the debt reduction plan. Commitment is your only ticket out of debt so keep up with the plan.

7. As you continue with the repayment plan, avoid adding any more debts on top of what you already have.

8. Find better ways to deal with your financial issues besides getting loans. You can for instance, avoid making purchases for those that are not urgent.

9. Leave your credit card at home when going out unless you are going shopping. It will keep impulse buying at bay. In case you are going to shop, make a list of everything you need and stick by it no matter how tempting things in the store appear.

10. In case you take up a loan again, be consistent with your repayment and avoid piling loans. Try and have one loan at a time.

How to Find the Absolute Best Car Dealers

In this day and age of Internet boards and surveys, more car businesses are concerned with customer satisfaction than ever before. Sales people who have high satisfaction ratings could be in for higher bonuses and other incentives. Dealerships can even earn special rankings with the manufacturer.

Talk to Friends, Family, and Co-workers

When on the search for car dealers to purchase from, start by talking to friends and family. They are going to be the ones to give the most honest opinion of their latest car buying experience. They will want to steer their loved ones to someone who isn’t going to try to scam them out of their money or intentionally sell them a bad car.

When talking to friends and family, ask detailed questions to understand whether or not it was actually a dealership’s fault if something went wrong. Sometimes the person will blame the dealer rather than themselves in the event of a bad deal. It is important to know all the details before making a decision.

Shop Away From Home and Online For Best Price

It doesn’t hurt to take the shopping online, at least to get an idea of what is available. Car buyers that go into a dealership with the information in hand may find that less time is spent negotiating, and the overall experience is much better. While online, take the time to cruise some of the seller reviews to see how other people’s buying experience went.

It is important to shop around when looking for a car. Dealerships can vary on price by hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Some showrooms have a greater variety and may be able to get the customer a vehicle in a different color or even lower mileage.

While it is tempting to stick close to home to find a vehicle, it might be a good idea to broaden the search further from home. Starting further out will give the buyer a better idea of what some sellers are asking for the same car.

Car dealers that are located closer to home have a tendency to see these customers as neighbors. Even if the car on their lot is a higher price, they may be willing to meet a competitor’s price for their local client. On occasion, they may even beat the price in order to keep the sale within the neighborhood.

With the changes in how people spend their money and how they insist on being treated, fewer bad apples makes the whole car buying experience that much sweeter.