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VOID OR VALID : 10 WAYS YOU COULD BE INVALIDATING YOUR CAR INSURANCE

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  • Being the named driver on your child’s car could invalidate your car insurance 
  • Driving with pets can have an impact on your insurance cover 
  • co.uk reveal ten ways to legally reduce your insurance

 

Car insurance prices have reached a seven year low1, with Covid helping to drive down the price, but it’s important to remember to be as accurate as possible when providing your personal details.

Providing false information or failing to update with changes of circumstance, whether accidentally or not, can invalidate your insurance, meaning your insurer is able to refuse to pay out for claims, or even cancel your policy. Some types of misinformation may even be classed as fraud and could see you end up in court.

That’s why CarParts4Less has shared ten easy to make mistakes that might be invalidating your car insurance.

  1. Lying about your main address

Car insurance premiums can vary depending on the postcode, as some areas have higher rates of thefts and break ins. It can be tempting to put down your home address as somewhere different to where your car stays every night  – a parents’ house while you are at university, for example, or at your house when you spend five nights a week living at your partner’s. However, doing so can mean your insurer can refuse to pay out any claims made, for example if your car is broken into in the location it actually resides.

Insurance companies have investigative departments (called special investigations unit, or SUI) dedicated to making sure information on your insurance and claims are correct, so while you may think you can get away with not updating your address, the likelihood is is that this will be found out when you make a claim.

  1. ‘Fronting’

Insurance for young drivers often costs more than groups deemed less of a risk, and one way some motorists try and get round these higher premiums is by having a low risk driver, such as a parent or partner, named as the main policy holder, and adding the real motorist as a named driver. If you get caught ‘fronting’, your policy will immediately be cancelled, and any claims denied. These cases are often taken to court, too, as it is classed as insurance fraud, with outcomes including fines of up to £5,000 and six points on your license.

  1. Ignoring your morning commute

There are three types of car usage that insurance covers; social only, social and commuting, and business. Social only insurance covers driving for social or leisure use; driving to and from friends’ houses, going to the supermarket, etc. The commute to and from work, or even to and from the train station, are not covered by this policy, so upgrading to a social and commuting is necessary, even if you only commute a few times a month. Insurance companies may dispute or refuse claims made during a commute if the policy is social use only, even if it is claimed to be only a one off.

If you use your car for work purposes outside of commuting, for example using it to get to meetings, or carrying equipment, you will need to get business cover.

  1. Not informing your insurer about any car modifications

Car modifications can affect your insurance premium for two reasons; if they increase the likelihood of an accident, or if they increase the likelihood of theft. Optional add ons for brand new cars, including something as simple and common as fitting in a SatNav, can impact insurance so it’s important to ensure these options are noted when applying for insurance. Your insurer will also need to be made aware of modifications that are made during your policy, as this may require a change in policy.

  1. Not informing your insurance company of minor accidents

In the case of small bumps or minor accidents where only cosmetic damage occurs, it’s common for motorists to have their car fixed without making a claim. However, even if you intend not to claim, it is important to inform your insurance of any damage received, as to not do so is a breach of your policy. This helps in the event that the other driver changes their mind and decides to claim, and also ensures damage is accounted for if you do need to claim after future incidents – damage which is inconsistent with a claim may mean that your claim is denied.

  1. Using more miles than you thought

Your annual mileage is one of the main factors used to calculate your insurance premium; the higher the mileage, the higher the cost. It’s important to be as accurate as possible when providing this figure, rather than just guessing, as it’s possible your insurance provider will decide not to pay a claim if your mileage is higher than what you’ve estimated. When working out how many miles you drive, don’t forget to include weekends away, weekly shopping, etc, and add some contingency miles – it’s better to be safe than sorry!

  1. Driving with pets

If you are driving with your pet in the car,  you are legally required to make sure they are secured. Unsecured pets can make a car more at risk of accidents, as they may distract the driver or even physically get in the way of driving. If you crash with an unsecured pet in the car, it’s likely that your insurance company will refuse to pay for your claim.

  1. Letting other people drive your car

While it’s possible for your friends or family to have insurance policies that allow them to drive other people’s cars, it is unlikely these policies cover damage to the vehicle in the event they are in an accident. It’s more than likely  that your own policy only covers vehicle damage that happens when a named driver is in the car, so while your friend can legally drive it, any accidents that occur may not be able to be claimed for.

  1. You’ve recently changed jobs

Your current occupation is one of the factors used to determine your risk profile, so it’s important to update your insurance company if you have changed jobs or occupations. Failure to do so many mean any claims made after a job change can be denied by your insurer.

  1. Charging for lifts

Some policies specifically exclude cover for car sharing, whether you make profit or not. For those whose policies do allow lift sharing, it may be void if you make a profit from giving lifts – many state you may only make enough to cover petrol and driving costs. Earning money from giving lifts can identify you as a ‘taxi hire service’, making a policy which does not cover this void.

It’s important to always read the terms and conditions of your car insurance policy, to ensure that you have not accidentally invalidated the policy. Keep your insurance provider up to date with any change of circumstances, regardless of whether or not you think it’s relevant, as some seemingly unrelated life changes can impact your premium.

 

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Turn the data landfill into an insight goldmine

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Andrew Watson, CTO, MHR

Today, businesses have access to a wealth of data, with vast amounts of information created daily. While tools exist to help companies make sense of it and take advantage of the critical insights that data can bring to drive stronger business growth, many organisations are simply overwhelmed with the volume and velocity of data collected. With this, there is also a sense of uncertainty on how best to leverage this to create data driven insights.

Disjointed processes and dormant ‘shelfware’ are keeping a wealth of data stuck in silos – untapped and underutilised. As a result, nearly three fifths (57%) of UK organisations say they believe they are making business decisions based on inaccurate data. Without a clear strategy to guide them, organisations will be running blind, unable to access and get value from the relevant data to make stronger predictions and smarter decisions.

And the longer data is left untouched, and the more of it that is generated, the harder it will be to leverage it to its truest potential. Organisations must urgently recalibrate their relationship with data and learn how to integrate and analyse it to find trends and useful information. Leaders should see this as an opportunity to utilise the right tech solutions to harness the power of data as a vital source of competitive advantage and turn a digital landfill into a goldmine of data.

 

The data treadmill

Andrew Watson

Every day data is captured by every department in every business. No matter how big or small an organisation is, it is generating invaluable insight from customer patterns to trends on the efficiency of internal processes.

But with this level of data generated, many are finding themselves on a data treadmill, constantly working to ‘catch up’. These organisations are failing to make progress as they are not utilising or optimising the data tools at their disposal. In fact, very few companies are fully embracing the spectrum of tools and methodologies available. Most businesses are spending disproportionate amounts of time on manual data processes, resulting in a ‘reporting lag’. By focusing on simply managing the mechanics of data, such as moving and storing it, businesses are struggling to unite and access real-time data insights, instead creating disjointed silos that lack the enterprise-wide connectivity and visibility needed to identify where processes can be improved.

For other businesses, the challenge comes from not knowing what they want to achieve with the data, or that they have data at their disposal at all. Unused, unanalysed data is a missed opportunity for leaders to create real business value. This is not helped by organisations rushing into buying new systems during the pandemic and subsequently leaving them gathering dust, or only being used at a fraction of their full potential. In other cases, data scientists have been brought into an organisation, but do not know where to start, as the wider business lacks a smart data strategy underpinned by clear objectives. All too often, analytics are left as an afterthought.

Businesses need to become more data savvy lest they continue to fall even further behind. Not only do leaders need to ascertain what decisions their company needs to make, and where they can get the data to support these choices, but they also need to change their data strategy by putting in place the tools and people that can integrate the data to find previously unknown information.

 

Uniting business strategy and data strategy

However, this requires the organisation to have a business strategy that aligns with its data strategy, so that the data being captured can be used to measure improvements and ultimately drive business growth – after all, more than nine in ten (91%) organisations recently surveyed by MHR acknowledged data-driven decision making as an important factor in their development.

A strong data strategy is a cultural shift that requires top-down leadership. Leaders can ensure that the purpose and use of data within an organisation is directly linked to the core business goals, while guaranteeing that a new data-optimised culture is developed end-to-end throughout the company, bridging the gap between business strategy and implementation. In turn, aligning business and data strategies enables organisations to accurately measure the success of their current approach, providing them the next steps they need to take to continuously improve.

While data scientists can be viewed as a solution, they do not have the in-depth knowledge of how the business operates to ensure true strategic alignment. Alternatively, businesses can leverage the right technology, such as an integrated software solution, to ensure that their business and data strategies are fully intertwined throughout the organisation. With this in place, complex data processes can be streamlined and simplified through automation, empowering businesses to make informed strategic decisions from reliable and accurate data.

With technology in place, business and data strategies can be brought together and can generate eye-opening insights that keep companies on top of their data, ensuring that they are not running blind in the race towards data maturity.

 

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An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Investing in Bitcoin

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By

Marcus de Maria, Founder and Chairman of Investment Mastery.

 

Over recent years, Bitcoin has been steadily growing in popularity among today’s investors. At the same time, there has been a lot of debate about Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, and their value.

Its supporters argue that it is the future of currencies and investment; its critics are adamant it’s not all it’s cracked up to be and might not make the big profits people are expecting.

To better understand its true stature in the market, we need to look at recent developments. For instance, Bitcoin’s valuation has risen by more than 763% in just one year, easily surpassing the rise in the traditional stock market.

With more and more people buying Bitcoin, it is now gaining the attention of the mainstream financial institutions and platforms, when once Bitcoin was derided, joked about and said would never last.

Marcus de Maria

Fast forward twelve years since its’ launch, and we have Tesla and SpaceX mastermind Elon Musk recently announcing that his car empire will not only buy $1.5 billion-worth of Bitcoin, but will accept cryptocurrencies as payments in the future.

And well-known FinTech companies such as Square and PayPal have also announced their intention to support Bitcoin in the future.

Despite this, the most important Bitcoin development is, perhaps, the recent initial public offering (IPO) of Coinbase Global, Inc. (NASDAQ: COIN), today’s leading cryptocurrency exchange platform.

There is no doubt: Bitcoin is gaining momentum. Recent developments have contributed to the sharp rise in the value of Bitcoin, and asset proponents believe this is just the beginning.

 

Bitcoin background

Bitcoin was created in 2008 by a programmer, or group of programmers, under the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto”. Twelve years on, and the true identity of Bitcoin’s inventor is still unknown, adding a little mystique to this already enigmatic entity!

Essentially, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. A cryptocurrency is a virtual “coins” or “tokens” and used in digital cryptocurrency systems instead of physical cash.

Similar to physical fiat currencies, digital coins have no intrinsic value, and are not backed by gold or silver.

Bitcoin is one of the most widely used of the thousands of cryptos now available to the investor.

Considering that the great attraction to crypto is that it’s a decentralized currency, thousands of different types of coin in “circulation” is a big giveaway to how popular it is among users and investors.

What gives Bitcoin its value is the fact that there will only ever be 21 million bitcoins “minted” or “mined” to give its proper definition (more on this in the future).

It’s this scarcity that provides the value, although one Bitcoin can consist of multiple denominations, the smallest being a “satoshi” which is 0.00000001 of one Bitcoin (or BTC as it is also known).

 

Bitcoin & The Blockchain: How does it work?

Bitcoin exists solely on the “blockchain” in “wallets.”

A wallet is the digital equivalent of a traditional bank account for fiat currencies such as dollars, sterling, yen, etc.

The blockchain is a public ledger that is totally transparent and accessible to everyone who uses the blockchain and bitcoin, and now any crypto that is in existence.

Transactions on the blockchain are “peer-to-peer”, meaning the transaction doesn’t go through a “middleman” (i.e. third party that would normally charge a fee for making the transaction).

Crypto transactions also undergo thorough verification and confirmation.

Crucially, every transaction and record of bitcoin activity is encrypted which means no one knows who owns any one bitcoin or where it goes to and from, unless they publically declare it (although the identities can eventually be detected under special police powers in cases of suspected fraud).

Only the transaction itself is recorded and is made visible to anyone.

That is why Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency (or crypto), because it has an extremely high level of privacy to it via cryptography.

“Crypto” comes from the Greek word “kryptos,” meaning hidden.

Bitcoin wallets operate via secret key.

This key is used to “sign” transactions. It provides mathematical proof that the transaction has come from your wallet (or owner of the transacting wallet).

This secret verification stops the transaction from being tampered with once it has been issued.

All transactions are confirmed and appear on the block chain network within 10-20 minutes.

It is this security and the fact YOU – and not the banks – are truly in control of your digital money that is so appealing to users and investors alike.

 

What to consider when investing

Firstly, and arguably most importantly, is risk-factor. Investing in Bitcoin as an individual is a lot less risky than investing as a business.

The mentality must be, ‘this is my business’s money. I won’t speculate with my business’s money, and I am not going to risk my employee’s livelihoods. Yes, I would be crazy not to invest but it would be crazier to risk it all.’

It’s very easy to go all-in and invest a large sum of money when you have it, but that is not really a sensible strategy.

So, to start with, entrepreneurs and business leaders should consider the risks, diversifying their portfolio and starting small.

 

Other Bitcoin Investment Options

There are different options when it comes to investing in Bitcoin.

First, you can invest in a company that uses Bitcoin technology so you will be exposed to it without purchasing it directly. When the value of Bitcoin goes up, the company shares go up too, providing a return on your investment.

I can’t invest in Bitcoin through my ISA, but investing in a company such as Block (previously known as Square) means I have an indirect tax-free investment opportunity in Bitcoin. Investing in a company that utilizes Bitcoin can be more volatile than Bitcoin itself, so more money can certainly be made.

Investing solely in Bitcoin is different, as it doesn’t move so much in value, but the individual company using Bitcoin can go up and down sometimes by 80%.

Buying Bitcoins directly from an app like Coinbase allows investors to “physically” own the asset.

This is an important distinction to make, as Coinbase allows investors to actually buy Bitcoin and store it in their own crypto wallet. That way, investors will be able to gain access to the coin’s price performance and use it as the currency to make other trades.

Owning a standalone Bitcoin is no different from owning any other currency, except for the incredible fluctuations in value.

 

To invest directly into Bitcoin here’s how to get started:

  1. Sign up to an Exchange
  2. Enable two-factor-authentication for security
  3. Get a Bitcoin wallet
  4. Connect the wallet to a standard fiat bank account
  5. Place your Bitcoin order
  6. Manage your Bitcoin investment

When the set-up is complete, what you really need to consider is, how much do you know? I am a firm believer in spending at least 20 minutes a day educating myself on investing. I’ve seen too many beginner investors ignoring that advice and rushing in without understanding how it all works.

Surround yourself with people that understand crypto investment and dedicate time to reading up on strategies and tips that will benefit all investments you make.

Bitcoin is certainly a crypto asset you should be investing in alongside a diversified portfolio. It is certainly a highly volatile asset with large and rapid price swings, which in turn can offer the potential for large returns but also carries a high level of risk.

Before making any decisions, it is critical that you learn how to invest in Bitcoin responsibly and utilise proven, reliable strategies. Once you feel confident with your approach, take that first brave step.

As Warren Buffet once famously said, “Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”

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