The risks of Under-Insurance

The risks of Under-insurance

Having the right insurance cover for your business is key (and something Unicom can you help you with thanks to our sister company The Insurance Octopus1). Something that many business owners do not realise is that it’s not just about having the right cover; having the right amount of cover is also vital. Failing to do so is called under-insurance and it is happening all too often.  

What is under-insurance? 

Under-insurance essentially means your policy does not have the correct amount of cover that’s needed. This can occur with both Home and Business Insurance.   

There are 3 common areas of under-insurance when it comes to businesses: 

Building and contents – As a business owner, your building is likely to be one of your most valuable assetsalong with your stock and contents. It can be difficult to estimate what it costs to rebuild a property, and many make the mistake of using the market value figure rather than the cost of a complete rebuild or replacement of your building, stock and contents.  

Business interruption – How long could you survive if your business was unable to operate? A scary thought, but the right cover can ensure you’re protected against loss of your gross income. An independent insurance broker like The Insurance Octopus can help you ensure you’re calculating the correct amount of gross income as insurers can have different definitions for this 

Liability  If something was to go wrong, there’s a chance you could have multiple claimants. The correct amount of Employers’, Public & Products Liability insurance will prepare you for this eventuality.  

Consequences of under-insurance  

Having insufficient insurance cover means that any claim will be insufficiently covered, so you may need to cover the damages yourself.  

One of the specialist panel of insurers for The Insurance Octopus, Aviva, has an interesting case study which helps put this into perspective: 

A hairdresser was carrying more stock than they had told their insurer they had. The figure they had provided was used to calculate the insurance cover. So when the business suffered a theft of more than £1,900 worth of stock, the owner found that the claim was covered but was based on an ‘average clause’ – i.e. it was paid based on the percentage of cover that was taken out rather than what the cover should have been. This left the owner underinsured by £900 and needing to find that money elsewhere.2 

Take a look at some more examples of under-insurance here. 

As per the Insurance Act 2015, if your insurer considers the misrepresentation a deliberate and reckless breach they could declare the policy void altogether – leaving you with nothing.  

Are you at risk of under-insurance? 

Getting your numbers right when you buy your insurance policy is key in protecting yourself against under-insurance. (You might want to think about using a professional valuation services to help.) 

Even if you felt confident in your sums at the time of taking your policy out, your business could be at risk of under-insurance for numerous reasons. Aviva have put together 10 different situations2 that could mean you are under-insured: 

  1. You haven’t had your building professionally valued for insurance purposes in the last three years. 
  2. You have altered or extended the property. 
  3. Your insurance cover has been based on the market value of the building when it should be based on what it could cost to rebuild your property. 
  4. You haven’t factored in costs for gates, fences or car parking areas in your calculations. 
  5. Your property is a listed building – the time and cost of repairs/rebuilds are likely to be far greater than for an unlisted building, impacting your business interruption cover. 
  6. You haven’t factored in the costs of professional fees such as an architect or surveyor. 
  7. You haven’t factored in costs such as site clearance or access – particularly where your business might need, for example, a crane or heavy plant to help with remedial work as a result of a claim. This could also add time that needs to be taken into account for your business interruption cover. 
  8. You are carrying more stock now than when you took out your insurance policy.  
  9. You are now VAT registered.  
  10. You have some new plant or equipment that you haven’t told your broker/insurer about. This could impact both the machinery cover you have and the business interruption you need – depending on how long it would take to source a replacement, if necessary. 

How to avoid under-insurance 

If you meet one of the above criteria then it’s time to review your Business Insurance policy, and our sister company The Insurance Octopus is here to help. The Insurance Octopus is an independent insurance broker dedicated to sourcing you the best deals on the market for tailored business cover and perfectly placed to help you avoid under-insurance. 

It has also put together some helpful guides on how to calculate your buildingsbusiness interruption and stock and contents cover.  

For bespoke advice for your business, get in touch on 0161 933 6570 today so one of the experts can assess your current insurance needs.  

 

 

The legal stuff 

1The Insurance Octopus is a trading name of TBO Services Limited registered in England and Wales. Registered number: 06489013. Registered office: Longley House, Longley Lane, Manchester, M22 4SY. TBO Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority Reference 498555. Verastar Limited t/a Unicom, registered number 3667643 and registered office Longley House, Longley Lane, Manchester, M22 4SY. Unicom and The Insurance Octopus are both trading names of companies in the Verastar Limited group. 

2Source: https://broker.aviva.co.uk/documents/view/commercialunderinsurance.pdf  

The Unicom guide to meter reads

The Unicom guide to meter reads

We understand that when running a business, you already have 101 things to think about (it’s one of the reasons we created our unique one bill solution) so we realise that reading your utility meters is likely to be low down on your ‘To-Do’ list.  

However, this simple task, which only takes a few minutes, is vital to make sure you receive accurate bills for your usage so you can manage cashflow. Whether, you have Business WaterGas, or Green Electricity we have put together a quick and easy guide that will help you with those all important meter reads.  

Why should I read my meter? 

We need meter reads to accurately bill you for your Unicom Utilities. When we receive your meter read, we use this to calculate your usage for the month. (You can check this out in more detail in our Understanding your One Bill blog.) 

If we don’t have your meter readings we’ll estimate your usage. This can sometimes mean that you may end up paying too much or too little. 

So, the more meter reads you provide, the more confident you can be that your bills are accurate. We highly recommend that you submit reads to us on the last working day of every month.  

The good news is, that whenever you submit an accurate meter read your invoice will be amended accordingly in the next billing cycle, so you will always end up paying for the services you’ve used! 

How do I read my meter? 

Meter reads…as easy as A, B, C.  

Business meters are no different to household meters and are just as simple to read. Whilst there are a variety of meter types available, the golden rule to remember is: we don’t need any numbers in red or after a decimal place. 

We’ve put below a guide for the different meter types and how you can read them.  

Electricity Meters

Electricity meters come in various models, and we’ve got a guide on them all to help you provide us with your Business Electricity usage.  

 

Digital – No button  

This is the easiest meter to read, all you need to do is read the numbers on the display before the decimal point from left to right. Nice and simple. 

For example, the meter read above is 122. 

 

Digital – With button 

Digital meters with buttons can vary. Again, once the meter read is displayed you’ll be reading it from left to right.  

 

  • Ampy: press the blue button to display the readings. These are the last 6 digits on the right! 

The meter reading here is 302711. 

  • Elster: press the orange button on right hand side to cycle through the display and keep pressing the button until you’ve read all of the display. 

The meter read above is 453988. 

  • Calmu (black meter): press the yellow button to cycle through the display, the left screen shows the reading information we need. 

The reading is: 655432. 

  • PRI Sprint Meters: Press the turquoise blue button on right hand side to display read. 

The reading is: 453988.

 

Handy hint: If your digital electric meter has two readings, these are read in the same way from left to right and ignoring any numbers after the decimal point or in red. We will need both to calculate your usage. 

 

Mechanical dials 

  1. Mechanical dials are read from left to right. The numbers underneath the dials represent their place value. So always start the read with the highest number underneath the dial and work all the way down to the lowest.  
  2. Any dials in red should be ignored.  
  3. Please be aware that some dials move in a clockwise direction and others anti-clockwise. 
  4. If the pointer is between two figures, always read the lowest of the 2 numbers. For example, if the pointer is between 4 and 5, the number you read is 4 (because your usage hasn’t reached 5 yet!) 
  5. When the pointer is directly on a number, for example 8, pay attention to the next dial to the right. If that dial on the right is between 9 and 0, you read 7 for the initial dial. If the dial on the right is between 0 and 1, you read 8 for the initial dial. 

Let’s look at some examples: 

  • 5 Dial clock meters –  

Meter read with last digit showing 1/10 – Ignore dial with 1/10 that is usually in red. 

Digit showing 0.1 – Ignore dial with 0.1 that is usually in red. 

Meter read is: 94694. 

  • 6 Dial clock meters –  

These work in exactly the same way as the above, just with an extra place value. Start your reading from the highest number above the dial and work your way towards the lowest.

Meter read is: 113489.

 

Mechanical Cyclonical Dials 

To read these meters you simply write down the figures that are displayed starting from left to right. The digits for your reading will be in the black boxes and separated by the decimal and red box. 

Here’s a 5-dial example: 

Meter read is: 7712. 

And a 6-dial example: 

Meter read is: 13426.

Gas Meter

The way to read a gas meter is similar to electric. They are all easy and quick to read! 

 

Digital 

Digital gas meters are either imperial or metric.  

  • Imperial – An Imperial gas meters has four main numbers. To read it, you should start off by reading the first four digits from left to right and don’t include any numbers in red.  

Meter read is: 7712. 

  • Metric – A metric gas meter has five numbers. To read it, you should take note of the first five numbers from left to right and don’t include anything after a space or decimal point. 

Meter read is: 18024 

Handy hint: If your digital gas meter has two readings, these are read in the same way from left to right and ignoring any numbers after the decimal point or in red. We will need both to calculate your usage.  

 

Dial gas meters 

When taking a dial gas meter reading, there are a few rules to remember to make it easier for you: 

  1. Ignore any red dials, ones marked ‘100 per rev’ and large dials  
  2. Start off by taking the reading from left to right 
  3. In the case that the pointer is between two figures, remember to take the lower number. If it’s between 9 and 0, record 9. If the pointer is directly on a number, check the next dial to the right. If that dial reads 8 or 9, then lower the reading for the dial on its left by one.  

Meter read is: 0140 

 

Cyclonic gas meters 

To read these meters you simply note down the figures that are displayed in the black box and don’t take the readings in the red box. 

Meter read is: 231. 

Water Meters

Your water meter is a little different to your electric and gas meters, the dial still records your current usage so taking your meter reading for water is important. 

Analogue 

If your meter is an older style, you’ll have black digits on the left and red on the right. For your meter reading, you only need to take note of the black numbers. Start reading the numbers in black from left to right as they show the number of cubic metres used. (Whereas the numbers in red only show the litres used.) 

Meter read is: 13. 

 

AMR 

Automated Meter Reading (AMR) meters have inbuilt technology to collect data from the meter and provide it directly to us so you don’t have to. But, you can use the data to monitor consumption and make savings. 

Meter read is: 22. 

Keeping an eye on your meter readings can help you monitor your usage. By regularly providing us with meter reads, you will always have an accurate bill which can help with your business cashflow. The easiest way to give us your meter reads is through your Customer Zone (try to do this by the last working day of each month). You can also send us an email to info@switchingon.com with your meter read or call our customer services team on 0161 946 4444. 

Unicom Mobile: brand-new and especially for you

As a small business specialist, Unicom understands that increasingly busy business owners are no longer confined to the traditional office environment. You’re out and about, being able to take your business with you wherever you go 

In light of this, we’ve looked at our Mobile service to see what more we could offer to our existing customers. The result is a brand-new offer launching 2nd July 2019. Unicom Mobiles are exclusively available to existing customers and now come with all of these benefits: 

Unlimited texts and calls 

All Mobile contracts now come with unlimited texts and calls as standard1 so you can keep in touch with your customers, suppliers and colleagues whilst on the go.  

Flexibility on paying for your handset 

We know that effective cashflow management is vital in your business, it’s one of the reasons why we created our One Bill solution (more on that below) and why we have created our new handset payment plans. 

You can choose to: 

  • Spread the cost of your new handset across the 24 months of your contract. 
  • Pay an upfront cost then pay the remainder in monthly payments. 
  • Pay for the handset upfront and benefit from a 10% discount. 

Robust network coverage 

The Mobile network we use is one of the best in the country. To see for yourself, put our Coverage Checker to the test. 

Keep your existing number 

Worried about losing your existing number? No need to be. Simply ask your current provider for a PAC and we’ll be able to port across your number.  

Call divert from your Unicom landline to your Mobile 

Just one of the benefits of having your Fixed Line and Mobile service from the same provider is our call divert service which allows you to divert callsinto your landline to your Mobile. Never miss a call again! 

Streamline another service onto your One Bill solution 

By streamlining another service onto your One Bill solution you’ll have one less provider to deal with, one less bill to manage and more time to focus on your business.  

One point of contact 

Not only will you have One Bill for your services, you’ll have one point of contact too. Should you need anything, our UK-based customer service team is on-hand Monday-Friday 9am-6pm. For anything outside of these hours, you can log on to your exclusive online portal Customer Zone.  

 

To find out more information about Unicom Mobile and see our great range of handsets visit our product page here. Or, if you’d like to speak to one of our friendly advisors about switching to Unicom Mobile call us today on 0161 465 6696.

 

1Restricted to a maximum of 99 distinct numbers, beyond this usage will be charged at the applicable out of bundle cost. 

2Monthly charge of £2.99 for call diversion. Call charges apply to diverted calls at the applicable out of bundle cost.