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Kermode. Now on BBC News, it's time for this
week's Your Money. Hello and welcome to Your Money,
your weekly guide to making the most of your cash here every weekend on
BBC News television and available all week on the BBC iPlayer.
Fixing the flood damage. The man from Direct Line is here to tell us
how to claim on your insurance and how quickly they will deal with it.
The cost of gambling. We'll hear from people who got help
when it became too much. The cost of Christmas. How to save
money by moving your debts around. One fact today that shows just how
big the risk of flooding still is. The River Thames is carrying ten
times the normal amount of water. The insurance industry has not told
us yet how much these New Year floods might cost, but consultants
say it will be worse than the 2007 floods. If you've been flooded,
you'll know just how damaging it is. It costs ?40,000 to repair a typical
home and get it warm and dry again. Darran Hull is Property Insurance
Adviser at Direct Line. Some practical stuff first. If
people have been flooded, what should they do?
They should contact their insurance company and register the claim and
get practical advice. What about repairs? Are you able to
get in touch with someone you know to come and fix things that really
do need to be fixed right away? We would advise not to put yourself at
risk because we are talking about flooded homes. Any temporary
repairs, we would be looking to have a contractor come out, and a claims
advisor. Alternative accommodation might be needed.
Some homeowners might want to get on with it appears right away rather
than wait for you and your associates to turn up? It depends on
the severity of it. If we are talking about high levels of water
into the property, our customers are best leaving it to our experts to
start that initial drying out. Alternative accommodation, you fix
it or does the homeowner arrange it? We would do that, thought the
customer might have local arrangements? Does the clean start
with the phone call, or do you have to write? When the customer makes a
phone call, they will know immediately how their claim will be
handled. A claims advisor will be appointed in the event of a large
claim. How much detail to the need for that initial call? If you have
just been flooded, and you are in a panic, you might not have the full
details of just how badly you have been affected? They need to do is
register that claim. We have experienced advisers who can guide
the customer. They need the advice we give them. Should they take
photographs of the damage to mark absolutely, that will help the
claims advisor when they come out to see what the extent of the flooding
was. How long will it take insurance companies to deal with this? When
Hull was flooded a few years back, people were still out of their homes
a year later. The most important thing is to register the claim as
soon as you can so looking at the claim moving. But how long does it
take you to fix it? It will take some time to dry out the property.
This is what we will educate customers on, how long it will take
to dry the property before we can effect repairs. But they will
obviously pay for alternative accommodation whilst they are not in
their home. Thank you for joining us.
If you only remember one thing today, remember this. If you have to
fill up a tax form, you have only got until the end of this month,
31st January, to fill the form up online and pay the bill. There are
automatic fines if you miss the deadline unless you've got a
reasonable excuse. The goldfish ate it doesn't count as a reasonable
excuse. If you are late, you could be fined even if you don't actually
owe any tax. It's up to you to check if you have to send in a form.
Remember, if you get child benefit and one of you earns more than
?50,000 a year, you have to fill up a self-assessment form too.
The last of the big six energy firms has finally cut its prices. Npower
will cut bills at the end of February. By 2.5%. You'll remember
when bills went up last December they rose by more than 10%. If
you're on a dual-fuel bill, you will get an average cut of 38 quid.
Customers on fixed prices will get the price cut too. Only three of the
big six have cut prices for their fixed rate customers. All npower
electricity customers will also get a ?12 rebate, but not until the
autumn. No win, no fee say the lawyers. Yet
some of them still charge when you don't win. The Legal Ombudsman says
it dealt with around 600 cases last year where lawyers wrongly billed
clients for significant and unexpected costs. As a result, it
ordered firms to pay almost ?1 million in compensation. If you need
to complain about your lawyer, the Legal Ombudsman website tells you
how to do it. Car insurance bills could fall
because the Government is putting driving licences online. It means we
will not need the paper bit of the licences after 2015. But it also
means insurance companies will be able to check our licences and see
our traffic offences when they give us a quote.
Fancy a flutter? Like playing the odds? We're spending more and more
on gambling. Some, however, are spending more than they can afford
or control. Here's Kevin Peachey. It can be easy to get in a spin with
gambling. Find us a bit of financial fun become an expensive excess? It
is just so simple. 44-year-old Justyn Larcombe was a compulsive
gambler with a lot to lose. I had a lovely house, I had a Porsche, my
wife had a Mercedes, we have lovely holidays, two young children.
Everything we wanted. It did not take long for it all to be gambled
away. I lost my house, over three quarters of ?1 million, and the
trust of my wife and my children. I will never be able to have another
bet again, not even a lottery ticket. That leaves him in a
minority. The National lottery has made
betting a mainstream pastime. Slightly more men than women gamble.
A typical household spends... That figure is rising and is more than be
spent on going to the cinema, theatre and museums combine. You do
not have to go to a casino to place a bet any more. You can gamble
online at any time. Technology has contributed to one in 20 young men
facing the risk of an addiction. They are comfortable with the
technology but do not understand the risks. All the big companies will
have a responsible gambling page on their website, so go there and read
it and find out how to set time and spending limits. There are also ways
you can exclude yourself from websites.
Should the industry do more, especially when they see numbers
face to face? A good shop will now its customers and will see when
someone is getting out of control. Measures are in place now and we are
introducing a new code to set even higher standards.
If you are tempted, experts say it is vital to carefully consider what
is at stake. Free money. There, that got your
attention, didn't it? This isn't so much free as getting back money that
should never have been taken from you. Seven million people are to get
refunds and compensation for buying insurance they didn't need or
already had for their banks and credit cards. The insurance was sold
by the financial company CPP, which operated through 12 high street
banks and card companies. Policyholders should receive between
?100 and ?300 each. If you are thinking, is that me? Am I entitled
to this? It's for insurance that was bought or renewed since 14 January
2005. These are the products that are
covered. If you have got a big debt on your
credit card after Christmas, one way to save money is to switch it over
to a cheaper credit card. It's called a balance transfer.
James Daley is a personal finance expert.
What deals are out there? The good news is that at the moment we have
the best credit card deals we have ever seen. You can get 0% interest
on balance transfer for up to 30 months, and that is before you have
to pay a penny in interest. But there will be a fee, a balance
transfer fee. But there is competition on those as well.
Typically between 2.5 and 3%. But you can even pay as little as .05%.
But that is not necessarily the total cost? You have to watch out
that you set up an direct debit as soon as you get that card. If you
miss a single payment, you will miss all the benefit of the balance
transfer. And back charges? Yes, you have to be really careful. Keep up
with all those interest payments. Do you always get the rate that is
advertised? For some people, absolutely not. The credit card
company does not have to give the deal advertised, it is only to 51%
of people who apply that have to be given that deal. Then you get to the
end of the deal, the balance transfer deal, the rate can go up.
There were people who had debt and moved it from credit card to credit
card and did not pay it back. Is there a risk to your credit rating
if you do that? Not necessarily. You are waiting to get from one deal to
another and you have only got one credit card at a time and that is a
responsible person. News and information on borrowing and
spending is online. You are watching BBC News, the
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