Ireland boosts eurozone Manufacturing

02/03/2015

By Daniel Hunter

Growth in the Irish manufacturing sector rose to a 15-year high in February, providing a welcome boost to the sector in the eurozone.

The Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for Ireland grew to 57.5 in February. Any figure above 50 indicates growth and towers above the eurozone average of 51 for the month.

Investec chief economist Philip O’Sullivan said there was resilience in the Irish manufacturing sector, but warned that “any uncertainty ahead of the upcoming UK election – given that Ireland’s closest neighbour has repeatedly been identified by manufacturers as a key source of demand – is likely to put that to the test”.

The survey also showed that job creation in Ireland’s manufacturing sector was at its highest since 1998.

Now that it is so easy to obtain online quotes for all types of insurance, there is absolutely no excuse for renewing an insurance policy before checking prices offered by other companies. Last year I purchased my home insurance after getting a selection of quotes from an insurance price comparison web site. A week or two back I received a call from that insurer saying that the renewal was due and that the price had only risen by a few £’s. When I said that I was going to check prices from their competitors online before taking out a renewal, the insurer came up with a quote some 20% cheaper than his original offer. Nevertheless, I visited my favourite insurance price comparison site and proceeded to obtain precisely the same cover for another 20% less than his cheapest quote. Let me say once more…NEVER Never never renew an insurance policy without checking prices online. All of the insurers come up with their lowest prices for new customers, so take advantage of this and switch insurers whenever you can get a better price for equivalent or better cover. Unless you’ve had a very good experience with your current insurance company then don’t fret over showing disloyalty to them, I guarantee that they won’t show any loyalty to you if you’re in the unfortunate position of having to make a claim!. The following link has Northern Ireland Home Insurance Price Comparison

France’s manufacturing contracted with a score of 47.6, the lowest in the eurozone. There were also falls for Greece and Austria.

“France is the most worrying, not just because it trails behind all other countries, but it is also the only country seeing a steepening downturn,” said Markit’s chief economist Chris Williamson.

Germany, the eurozone’s largest economy, rose to a two-month high of 51.1.

Bookmark

AddThis Social Bookmark Button


http://www.freshbusinessthinking.com/news.php?NID=25250

Vamco aims to ringfence repair monies

March 5, 2013

by Brian Turner

Story link: Vamco aims to ringfence repair monies

Outsourced motor insurance claims specialist Vamco has pledged to keep every pound destined for its body-shop partners safe behind a legal ring-fence.

The Surrey-based organisation, which has never sought or taken ‘referral fees’ from its networks of repairers, guarantees that monies it receives from insurers for accident damage will go to the hard-pressed body-shops and parts suppliers.

Vamco’s managing director, Tony Rand, says all incoming payments will go straight into a special account operated by his company’s legal arm, Kingsley Law Ltd.

He revealed last month that Vamco was to be the first in the UK’s outsourced claims management sector to operate an in-house law firm, after winning an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) licence from the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Now Rand admits that the furore surrounding the collapse of Drive Assist persuaded him that the time for even more radical reform was now.

“Everyone in the motor insurance industry knows that changes are needed, and that higher levels of transparency are essential, but I think most people are waiting for the Competition Commission to conclude its investigation,” he said.

“To me though, any company wishing to distance itself from the cowboys and the sharp practices needs to do so now. We simply can’t afford to wait until the autumn of 2014 to see what conclusions are drawn, and what recommendations are made.

“Drive Assist’s collapse, especially the revelation that around 100 body-shops stand to lose £7 million they are owed, makes it clear that we must act now, to drive best practice into our industry, and equally, to drive bad practices out.”

Rand, who has worked in the motor industry for almost 25 years, believes that reform should be led by people and companies who understand the sector, rather than external bodies.

“I am as eager as anyone to see the analysis and recommendations of the Competition Commission, but that is probably 18 months away. If we are to rebuild the motor insurance sector’s image and reputation, we need action now,” he said.

“I think it’s vital that reform is not seen to be imposed from above. We’ve seen what’s happened in the banking sector, when the pressure for change comes from outside, and as a result, the public trust – which has been lost – is not restored.

“We also need to restore trust inside the industry; between insurers, claims management companies, body-shops and even suppliers of parts, because it has been eroded by a relentless focus on margins, and not on customer service.

Now that it is so easy to get online quotes for just about any type of insurance, there really is no reason to renew an insurance policy without checking prices from the competition. Last year I purchased my home and contents cover after getting a selection of quotes from a price comparison web site. A few days ago I got a phone call from that insurance company telling me that the renewal was imminent and that the price had only risen by a couple of pounds. When I said that I was going to check prices from some other companies online before renewing, the insurer came up with a price some 20% cheaper than his original offer. Nevertheless, I visited my trusty comparison site and proceeded to obtain precisely the same cover for another 20% less than his lowest quote. I’ve said it so many times and I’ll say it again…Don’t EVER renew an insurance policy before checking prices online. All of the insurers come up with low prices for new customers, so take advantage and switch to a new company whenever you can get a better deal. Unless there is a very good reason to stay with your current insurer then don’t fret over showing disloyalty to them, I guarantee that they won’t show any loyalty to you if you’re unfortunate to have to make a claim!. The following link has Northern Ireland Car Insurance

“We embraced the ABS concept, because we didn’t think the traditional structure of using solicitors’ panels worked well. Now we hope that our guarantee of ring-fenced monies will give body-shops and fleet managers the certainty they need to operate.

“It’s a very challenging environment for us all, which makes it critical that the good people work together, and work harder, to drive up service standards, and to focus on making the industry’s systems and processes both simpler and fairer for everyone.”

 

http://www.insurancedaily.co.uk/2013/03/05/vamco-aims-to-ringfence-repair-monies/

Insurers admit ‘black box’ data may be handed to police

Ten million drivers regularly break the 30mph limit and get away with it, according to research from Direct Line, the insurer, shared exclusively with Telegraph Money. If caught, they would face a fine, have penalty points added to their licence and suffer big rises in their insurance premiums.

Direct Line’s telematics arm, DrivePlus, said drivers frequently underestimated the speed at which they were travelling. It found that while just one in five motorists admitted to speeding in a 30mph zone, almost half (46pc) were actually breaking the speed limit.

Paul Felton, the head of telematics at Direct Line, said: “Drivers are speeding much more than they think they are, particularly the young.”

Direct Line, insurethebox and The Co-operative Insurance confirmed to Telegraph Money that they had handed over telematics records to the police on the production of a court order. However, they stressed that these instances involved serious criminal investigations, rather than minor road misdemeanours.

Ian Crowder of the AA said: “If a driver is involved in a serious crash and the police suspect they were exceeding the speed limit, they may ask to see the telematics data. We would only hand this over with a court order.”

But who else could this data be shared with? In Italy, driver data is shared between companies, particularly after an accident, helping them to sort out claims and price premiums more accurately.

This is currently not possible in Britain, as companies use different systems. However, the standardisation and sharing of motorists’ data is climbing up the insurance industry’s agenda as insurers struggle to justify high installation costs without maximising potential.

Last week, the AA, one of the most enthusiastic advocates of telematics, became the latest company to withdraw from the market. It blamed the costs involved. It was following in the footsteps of Aviva, which was the first insurer to launch a black box product more than a decade ago. After widespread trials, it found it couldn’t make the numbers add up and abandoned the project.

The AA is designing a new system and hopes to re-enter the market at some point, but admitted that the high upfront costs of its previous telematics policy meant it was not as cost-effective for either motorists or the company as it should have been.

For telematics to survive and thrive, the AA said trackers had to attract a bigger chunk of the mainstream market and information sharing had to become the norm.

Mr Crowder said: “We believe the telematics market is going through a process of change and growth, and will eventually be mainstream, and in time data will be shared in the same way as in Italy. But we didn’t have the right product to allow us to be at the forefront of that change.”

Charlotte Halkett of insurethebox, another telematics insurer, agreed. “I absolutely see we could get to the point where data could be standardised and shared, but we are a long way from that right now,” she said.

Graeme Trudgill, a director of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, said he believed that the growth of “smart” cars, which come with trackers built in as standard, would cause the telematics market to expand significantly.

However, he acknowledged that telematics would never be attractive to all drivers, because tracking would cost some drivers more.

He said: “If you do high mileages, or you do night work, telematics will not work for you. These are things which will be penalised in the pricing of such cover.”

So what is telematics and who offers it? Will it save you money? And how secure is your data? We answer your questions.

What is telematics?

If you have a telematics car insurance policy, your insurer fits a device into your vehicle that tracks where you drive and when. It also monitors your speed, acceleration, cornering and braking.

The various systems are currently not compatible. The AA was using one called Quartix before it withdrew its product. The Co-op Insurance uses Ingenie. Insurethebox, which also operates Drive Like a Girl and Tesco’s telematics service, was using OctoBox until it decided to bring its data collection and storage in-house.

The AA is following this lead and devising its own system.

The Direct Line DrivePlus plug-in device is provided by Trakm8, a British manufacturing and design company, with data analysed by another firm. Customers can plug this one in themselves rather than having to have the device installed.

Aviva has a policy that uses a mobile phone telematics app.

Who can share this data?

At the moment, only the police can ask to see your driving history, but they would have to produce a court order before companies would release it.

Direct Line said its drivers owned their data and as a result they could take it with them if they moved to another insurer, potentially using a record of good driving to secure a lower premium.

The AA and insurethebox said they didn’t know who owned the data, but thought it was the company. Insurethebox said it did not believe customers could use their telematics data to lower their premiums by taking them elsewhere.

Will fitting a telematics box reduce my premium?

It may, but equally it may not. The policies promise discounts for smooth, appropriate driving. Although they work in different ways, each will essentially give you a score depending on speed, braking, cornering and acceleration, which could earn you discounts of up to 40pc on your premium.

In a worst-case scenario, a very low score could be counted against you at renewal and push up your premium.

Your annual mileage and the times of day at which you are on the road will also be monitored. Roads are more dangerous at certain times, such as after dark, at tea time and between 11pm and 6am. If more of your mileage is in these high-risk windows, this will count against you.

But telematics discounts – which are primarily, although not exclusively, aimed at young drivers aged under 25, whose premiums can exceed £1,000 a year – can be valuable. They also help develop drivers by monitoring their performance and offering feedback.

In the event of a serious accident, the trackers can aid rescue by setting off a series of alarms, allowing the insurer to alert the rescue services.

Ms Halkett said: “We had a driver upside down in a ditch in a remote country lane in the middle of the night. We were able to get the emergency services there quickly. Without our alarm, the driver would have been left there for hours, and the outcome could have been much worse.”

She added that telematics could help limit a premium rise after an accident or other incident.

“Many young drivers do have an accident shortly after passing their test,” she said. “That’s a fact of life. But if we can see, from the data, that he or she has learnt the lesson, that will count in their favour.”

How do the policies differ?

Direct Line gives its telematics customers a discount of up to 25pc at the outset, and then scores them for every journey they take. If they have been driving well, their discount at renewal can be as high as 40pc. Or it can be dropped completely.

Insurethebox, which claims to be the biggest telematics provider in Britain, offers policies to young drivers with limited annual mileage. If they drive well, they are awarded bonus miles free of charge. Tesco’s telematics policy is also run by the company and operates on a similar basis.

The company also offers Drive Like a Girl, available to all motorists. Here, if you drive safely, after three months you are awarded a refund on your initial premium, with one in 10 drivers getting £200 back. Safe driving is rewarded again with further discounts at renewal.

The Co-op’s young-driver product examines driving after every 90 days, and rewards the motorist with a refund on their premium for good behaviour. For annual policies the refund is paid back into their bank account or card, while for those who pay monthly it is taken off the next premium.

Aviva has a telematics mobile phone app that can be downloaded. You are given a notional premium before taking out the contract, while the company monitors your driving for 200 days. Depending on your driving, you may then be offered cover at a reduction of up to 20pc.

However, mobile phone apps are thought to be less reliable because drivers can switch them off, so discounts tend to be smaller.

– money@telegraph.co.uk

http://telegraph.feedsportal.com/c/32726/f/569287/s/4047055a/sc/36/l/0L0Stelegraph0O0Cfinance0Cpersonalfinance0Cinsurance0Cmotorinsurance0C11217690A0CInsurers0Eadmit0Eblack0Ebox0Edata0Emay0Ebe0Ehanded0Eto0Epolice0Bhtml/story01.htm

Is therapy worth the cost? ‘I just can’t afford to go’

This is one of seven interviews with young professionals about their experiences with therapy and its costs. Read the rest here.

AK, a 27-year-old in New Jersey, has been in and out of therapy since she was in high school, when she began seeing her mom’s therapist and was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, also known as manic depression.

Through college and beyond, AK struggled to find the right treatment as well as the right therapist. She was prescribed medication, which she says didn’t work for her. “I felt worse; I felt depressed all the time,” she says, adding that she stopped taking the medicine a few years ago.

Over time, though, things got better. AK finished college, and got – and held down – jobs. She has never mentioned her condition at work.

“I wish someone had told me that – when I started this – that life gets better, then it gets worse, then it gets better, then it gets worse,” she says. “It goes up and down. It’s just how it is. And you just have to keep going, every day.”

Related: The cost of mental health: ‘Why do I need to pay someone to listen?’

The $10 co-pay she paid while on her mother’s insurance wasn’t much of a problem, she says. Scheduling around her jobs in retail and at Comcast, on the other hand, was.

“You are expected to be available all the time and even when I wasn’t getting 40 hours a week in retail, I still was working two jobs to get as close to 40 hours as I could,” she says. “It just wasn’t much money and I couldn’t turn [the hours] down. I had to work all the time, as much as I could, to pay for my student loans.”

A year ago, AK turned 26, aged out of her mom’s insurance, and enrolled on one of the plans offered through the Affordable Care Act. Finding out that her therapist isn’t covered left her saddened.

“I like him so much, and I have been through so many [therapists], it’s a real investment of time and emotions to start again,” she says.

When she switched insurances, AK stopped going to therapy and has not gone back since.

Related: Therapy was ‘the best chance I had of feeling OK’

Even if her therapist was covered, she says, “right now my co-pay for a specialist is $30, which is a real hardship for me. I just can’t afford to go”.

AK says those seeking out help need to be patient.

When you are in the state of mind where you realize you might need help, you probably need it right now. And it takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of time to get an appointment. It takes a lot of time to find the right person,” she says. “Therapists have different styles and it’s OK not to like your therapist. … I have been to I-don’t-know-how-many therapists, and this last one was really the best.”

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/feb/17/therapy-psychology-mental-health-insurance-obamacare

Insurance rip-off: ‘Car hire firm charged me £335 for extra cover I didn’t want’

Excess waiver insurance means that if the driver damages the vehicle they won’t have to pay the “excess”, or first part of the claim, which can often be as much as £700.

But this additional insurance, Mr Wilkes said, was not explained to him, and he had no idea he was opting into it. “If I had known I would have declined. I was only using the car to drive around town, so if I had thought there was a likelihood of me damaging the car then I would have paid for the extra insurance.

“Few people would opt for £300 plus worth of additional insurance cover for a 14-day rental. The whole procedure is utterly opaque, predicted on deceiving the client into opting into the insurance by default,” Mr Wilkes said.

A spokesman for Europcar told the Telegraph that it was very sorry to hear about Mr Wilkes’ experience.

“Our intention is always to provide our customers with clear information about the options they have for additional cover when renting with us. Bookings made with Europcar through the easyJet site include Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Waiver (THW). The customer then has the option to buy excess waiver for peace of mind when they travel to reduce their liability should an accident occur or the vehicle is stolen during their rental. That can either be purchased online at the time of making the reservation or at the rental desk, having had the options explained to them,” she said.

“Because we have been unable to verify who Mr Wilkes dealt with, we have refunded the EUR405.88 he was charged for additional cover.”

This is not the first time car hire firms have been called out on their high insurance costs. Some big-name firms have been known to pressure their customers into signing up for extra cover when they come to collect the car, without having revealed the costs beforehand. Anyone booking an Avis car to collect from an overseas destination, for example, won’t be shown the price of the insurance that would reduce the excess when they book – the information is withheld until they pitch up at the counter.

Big-name car-hire firms tend to be the costliest when it comes to buying cover against damage to the vehicle. For instance, for a five-day trip in Tenerife, picking up and returning the car to the island’s airport, Hertz and Budget charge £96 and £116, respectively, for excess waiver insurance.

Travellers who take out stand-alone cover from specialist insurers could spend as little as £10 a day in comparison.

>> More: Why I’ll never buy car hire insurance again

sophie.christie@telegraph.co.uk

http://telegraph.feedsportal.com/c/32726/f/569287/s/40c98174/sc/36/l/0L0Stelegraph0O0Cfinance0Cpersonalfinance0Cinsurance0Cmotorinsurance0C11222610A0CInsurance0Erip0Eoff0ECar0Ehire0Efirm0Echarged0Eme0E3350Efor0Eextra0Ecover0EI0Edidnt0Ewant0Bhtml/story01.htm

Steer clear of bicycle insurance pitfalls

According to the British Crime Survey, 448,000 bicycles were stolen in the UK in 2013. Data from Nesta last year also revealed that a bicycle is stolen every minute in the UK, and only 5% of stolen bikes are returned to their rightful owners.

Recent figures from the Halifax also reveal that despite high crime statistics, almost a third of cyclists admit to leaving their bikes unsecured or unattended. 54% admitted to having no specialist bicycle insurance in place.

There are few feelings worse than returning to find a broken bicycle lock where your bike once was. That is why it pays to protect your investment with good bicycle insurance.

Telegraph Home Insurance, provided by Hood Group, is one of the most innovative and flexible insurance products on the market today.

We take a modular approach to home contents insurance and that means you can add the bicycle cover you need to your basic contents policy and tailor it to suit your exact needs.

BENEFITS OF TELEGRAPH

PEDAL CYCLE COVER:

o Cover for up to 6 bikes worth up to £2,500 each

o Accidental damage cover is included as standard

o Cover for your bicycle anywhere in the world for up to 60 days

o Speak to a personal advisor at our UK call centre

o Adjust your policy as your needs change

There are many great reasons to make the switch to Telegraph Home Insurance. We not only give you peace of mind that your home contents are protected with premium insurance cover, but that the higher value items you cherish can be covered by choosing one of our optional extra modules.

READER OFFFER

Protect your pedals with bicycle cover from Telegraph Home Insurance.

Speak to us today on 0800 042 0142 to get an instant quote in minutes and a home insurance policy that is as flexible as you want it to be

http://telegraph.feedsportal.com/c/32726/f/604844/s/3cb3d9db/sc/36/l/0L0Stelegraph0O0Cfinancialservices0Cinsurance0Chome0Einsurance0C10A980A0A930CSteer0Eclear0Eof0Ebicycle0Einsurance0Epitfalls0Bhtml/story01.htm

Get your motor running: the retirement crowd going for motorcycle burn-ups

The number of over-50 silver-riders climbing aboard a motorbike is roaring ahead: they now account for some 30% of all spending on bikes. Photograph: Tim Platt/Getty Images

It’s not so much a case of Born To be Wild as born to be mild: a new generation of bikers is taking to the road, and they are not twentysomething speed freaks but sensible fiftysomethings.

The number of over-50 silver-riders climbing aboard a motorbike is roaring ahead: they now account for some 30% of all spending on bikes – a total of £340m last year – up from 17% just seven years ago.

Saga, the insurance and holidays company that specialises in the over-50s, underlined the growing trend, spending £26m to snap up the motorbike insurer Bennetts, which specialises in providing cover for trophy rides such as Harley Davidsons, Triumphs and Ducatis.

Related: Saga roars into middle-aged biker market with new acquisition

Some 43% of its clients are into their sixth decade, and 77% are over 40 – with many new to two wheels. Almost 3,000 over-50s passed their motorbike driving test last year.

And they like to dress the part and have the best gear – a report for Saga by the Centre for Economics and Business Research thinktank, due to be published next month, shows that spending by these aging bikers on bikes, helmets and other related equipment is growing 10 times as fast as those in younger age groups.

Saga’s decision to buy Bennetts comes after a year when sales of motorbikes rose 10% – the biggest increase in five years, according to the Motorcyle Industry Association (MIA). The MIA said its own separate research shows that there has been an increase in over-50s looking for motorbike insurance every year since 2009.

Many may be rediscovering the carefree days of their youth – when Barry Sheene was Britain’s world 500cc champion and a global superstar. According to a Saga survey 40% are returning Easy Riders, who are coming back to biking, having tried it out in their younger days. More than 80% said the main attraction was “the freedom of the open road”.

The top three motorbikes on Saga’s insurance database of older riders are all sport bikes or tourers. The most popular is the Suzuki Bandit, some models of which are popular with stunt riders and wheelie schools. The Honda VFR and Honda CBR and are the other top bikes.

Stephen Latham, head of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA), said: “People who are riding for enjoyment tend to go for a racing bike, something that they can enjoy the thrill of, or they go for the ‘cruiser market’ such as the Harley Davidson or Triumph where riding is more about companionship.”

Saga spokesman Paul Green said for many it is a fun alternative to a second car: “There’s an increasing number who can now afford to have a bike, as well as a car, and are taking their bike test for the first time.”

Hugo Wilson, editor of Bike magazine, said: “If you start motorcycling now in your 50s, there is a good chance you always wanted a bike in your youth but never got one. Now you might have the money as well as the time and commitment.”

He added that it had become more difficult and expensive for younger people to get a bike licence in recent years.

But the increase in older motorcyclists is not just down to older men on big bikes. Motorbike insurance specialist Carole Nash said there has also seen a rise in the number of female riders over the age of 50. In 2011, women of this age made up 14% of its customer base; in 2014 this had risen to 20%.

Professional British motorbike racer Maria Costello said she had noticed more mature riders visiting her Facebook page, Woman on a Motorcycle.

“Everyone who joins my group puts up a picture of themselves and we had quite a few over the age of 50 join recently,” she said. “I get the impression some are coming back to this, though there are many more who are new to it.”

Rob Farmer, 52, discovered motorbikes as a teenager and has never looked back.

“It’s one of those things, it gets in your blood and you’ve had it. Once you try it, it’s fantastic. It has never left me and I never tire of it,” said the building and energy management system engineer, who lives in Loughborough, Leicestershire.

“My dad took me to the speedway when I was tiny, and that whole thing of the noise, the bikes, the smell, it stayed with me. My first bike, when I was 17, was a Suzuki 120.

“I think riding a motorbike is very liberating, and every opportunity I get I am out on the bikes. I’m not a speed freak. I’ve got five bikes and none of them is particularly quick. It’s about having the sort of bikes that give you a bit of passion.

“On a motorbike you have a lot more freedom. You can sense everything; the smells, the rain. You are out there in it, living it, not just looking through a windscreen, so it’s a lot more real.

“It’s a big social thing. A lot of my friends are guys I started riding with when I was 17. When I was doing an apprenticeship, everybody else at that time at college all rode motorbikes.

“There are not many younger people coming in to it. But we do get some younger people who try it and get the bug, and that’s it, they’re off.

“A lot of us are the same age. But we have a chap in our street who is well into his 70s, and a friend’s uncle who is in his 80s, and they still ride.

“My friends and I meet up, go for rides, travel to places in the summer. I went to Istanbul with one and that was a decent trip. You just meet a lot more people on the way who probably wouldn’t talk to you if you were passing through in a car. It makes you more accessible to other people.

“We will get to a point where the joints seize up. But I will carry on as long as I am able to. I used to ride in all weathers, but now won’t do the long trips if it’s too cold.

“My wife isn’t too bothered about travelling on the bike so I’ll have a couple of trips a year without her. We had a terrible trip to France a few years ago and she got off when we got back and said: ‘You know, I’m not bothered about going by bike anymore.'”

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/28/motorcycles-older-riders-insurance-increase-retirement

Don’t allow thieves to ruin your Christmas

o Before wrapping presents, jot down the serial number and the model. It is also a good idea to mark each item with your postcode using an equipment-marking pen once they have been opened.

o Try to buy presents, or arrange delivery of them as close to Christmas as possible. The less time they are in your home, the less risk there is of them being stolen.

o Don’t leave packaging for expensive items on view. Rip up the boxes and recycle them at your local tip.

o Consider wrapping up empty boxes and placing them under your tree rather than the real presents.

o Make sure your home is secure; check for weak points of entry and consider external security lights.

Put Technology and Entertainment cover on your Christmas list

Gadgets are highly sought-after by thieves, and the cost of replacing a stolen smartphone, laptop or tablet can be high. Telegraph Technology and Entertainment cover gives you peace of mind that those expensive gadgets are protected against theft, loss and damage. The cover even includes the loss of music, films and data that you’ve legitimately downloaded.

Our Technology and Entertainment cover offers the following benefits:

o Cover starts at £500 and can be increased to as much as £15,000 to reflect your needs.

o Any item included on your policy is automatically covered for accidental damage.

o Technology and entertainment items are automatically covered if taken outside the home, including abroad.

o All calls are managed by a UK call centre and dealt with by your personal account handler.

Many people underestimate the value of their gadgets. Don’t be caught out this Christmas. Arrange home insurance cover that will meet your replacement costs in the event of theft, loss or damage of your gadgets over the festive period and beyond.

Get up to 25pc off your home insurance if you are aged 50 or over. Speak to us today on 0800 083 3129 to find out more about our home insurance and the flexible cover options we have available.

Telegraph Home Insurance – Designed especially for the Telegraph reader – our home insurance comes at a great price without compromising on cover. Call 0800 042 0142 today or get an instant quote below.

http://telegraph.feedsportal.com/c/32726/f/604844/s/4102099e/sc/36/l/0L0Stelegraph0O0Cfinancialservices0Cinsurance0Chome0Einsurance0C112653220CDont0Eallow0Ethieves0Eto0Eruin0Eyour0EChristmas0Bhtml/story01.htm

Get your motor running: the retirement crowd going for motorcycle burn-ups

The number of over-50 silver-riders climbing aboard a motorbike is roaring ahead: they now account for some 30% of all spending on bikes. Photograph: Tim Platt/Getty Images

It’s not so much a case of Born To be Wild as born to be mild: a new generation of bikers is taking to the road, and they are not twentysomething speed freaks but sensible fiftysomethings.

The number of over-50 silver-riders climbing aboard a motorbike is roaring ahead: they now account for some 30% of all spending on bikes – a total of £340m last year – up from 17% just seven years ago.

Saga, the insurance and holidays company that specialises in the over-50s, underlined the growing trend, spending £26m to snap up the motorbike insurer Bennetts, which specialises in providing cover for trophy rides such as Harley Davidsons, Triumphs and Ducatis.

Related: Saga roars into middle-aged biker market with new acquisition

Some 43% of its clients are into their sixth decade, and 77% are over 40 – with many new to two wheels. Almost 3,000 over-50s passed their motorbike driving test last year.

And they like to dress the part and have the best gear – a report for Saga by the Centre for Economics and Business Research thinktank, due to be published next month, shows that spending by these aging bikers on bikes, helmets and other related equipment is growing 10 times as fast as those in younger age groups.

Saga’s decision to buy Bennetts comes after a year when sales of motorbikes rose 10% – the biggest increase in five years, according to the Motorcyle Industry Association (MIA). The MIA said its own separate research shows that there has been an increase in over-50s looking for motorbike insurance every year since 2009.

Many may be rediscovering the carefree days of their youth – when Barry Sheene was Britain’s world 500cc champion and a global superstar. According to a Saga survey 40% are returning Easy Riders, who are coming back to biking, having tried it out in their younger days. More than 80% said the main attraction was “the freedom of the open road”.

The top three motorbikes on Saga’s insurance database of older riders are all sport bikes or tourers. The most popular is the Suzuki Bandit, some models of which are popular with stunt riders and wheelie schools. The Honda VFR and Honda CBR and are the other top bikes.

Stephen Latham, head of the National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA), said: “People who are riding for enjoyment tend to go for a racing bike, something that they can enjoy the thrill of, or they go for the ‘cruiser market’ such as the Harley Davidson or Triumph where riding is more about companionship.”

Saga spokesman Paul Green said for many it is a fun alternative to a second car: “There’s an increasing number who can now afford to have a bike, as well as a car, and are taking their bike test for the first time.”

Hugo Wilson, editor of Bike magazine, said: “If you start motorcycling now in your 50s, there is a good chance you always wanted a bike in your youth but never got one. Now you might have the money as well as the time and commitment.”

He added that it had become more difficult and expensive for younger people to get a bike licence in recent years.

But the increase in older motorcyclists is not just down to older men on big bikes. Motorbike insurance specialist Carole Nash said there has also seen a rise in the number of female riders over the age of 50. In 2011, women of this age made up 14% of its customer base; in 2014 this had risen to 20%.

Professional British motorbike racer Maria Costello said she had noticed more mature riders visiting her Facebook page, Woman on a Motorcycle.

“Everyone who joins my group puts up a picture of themselves and we had quite a few over the age of 50 join recently,” she said. “I get the impression some are coming back to this, though there are many more who are new to it.”

Rob Farmer, 52, discovered motorbikes as a teenager and has never looked back.

“It’s one of those things, it gets in your blood and you’ve had it. Once you try it, it’s fantastic. It has never left me and I never tire of it,” said the building and energy management system engineer, who lives in Loughborough, Leicestershire.

“My dad took me to the speedway when I was tiny, and that whole thing of the noise, the bikes, the smell, it stayed with me. My first bike, when I was 17, was a Suzuki 120.

“I think riding a motorbike is very liberating, and every opportunity I get I am out on the bikes. I’m not a speed freak. I’ve got five bikes and none of them is particularly quick. It’s about having the sort of bikes that give you a bit of passion.

“On a motorbike you have a lot more freedom. You can sense everything; the smells, the rain. You are out there in it, living it, not just looking through a windscreen, so it’s a lot more real.

“It’s a big social thing. A lot of my friends are guys I started riding with when I was 17. When I was doing an apprenticeship, everybody else at that time at college all rode motorbikes.

“There are not many younger people coming in to it. But we do get some younger people who try it and get the bug, and that’s it, they’re off.

“A lot of us are the same age. But we have a chap in our street who is well into his 70s, and a friend’s uncle who is in his 80s, and they still ride.

“My friends and I meet up, go for rides, travel to places in the summer. I went to Istanbul with one and that was a decent trip. You just meet a lot more people on the way who probably wouldn’t talk to you if you were passing through in a car. It makes you more accessible to other people.

“We will get to a point where the joints seize up. But I will carry on as long as I am able to. I used to ride in all weathers, but now won’t do the long trips if it’s too cold.

“My wife isn’t too bothered about travelling on the bike so I’ll have a couple of trips a year without her. We had a terrible trip to France a few years ago and she got off when we got back and said: ‘You know, I’m not bothered about going by bike anymore.'”

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/28/motorcycles-older-riders-insurance-increase-retirement

Win a Hybrid bike & accessories worth over £500 with Telegraph Home Insurance

With the Tour de France kicking off in Yorkshire this year, it is expected to raise the popularity of cycling immensely. In fact, figures from Sports England Active People show that 200,000 people have taken up cycling since Bradley Wiggins rode to Tour de France victory in 2012.

So, whether you fancy yourself as a Chris Froome or an Alberto Contador, now is a great time to quite literally get on your bike.

UK bike sales at an all time high

If you are thinking of investing in a new bike, you are not alone. According to a recent study carried out by global market research company Mintel, UK bike sales have risen to £745 million. That’s a 14% increase over the past five years.

Unit price has gone up. The average price of a bike in the UK is £233 although road bikes like the ones used by Tour de France competitors are worth thousands of pounds.

Choosing a bike over driving or taking public transport is a cleaner and greener option that not only saves emissions, but which could save you money too. That’s not to mention the health boosting and life changing benefits that cycling can also bring.

Bicycle theft in the UK – Some shocking statistics

Of course, all of those shiny new bikes being purchased across the UK are going to attract the unwanted attention of bike thieves. Sometimes, locking your bike to a railing or in your shed is not enough.

According to the British Crime Survey, 448,000 bicycles were stolen in the UK in 2013. Data from Nesta last year also revealed that a bicycle is stolen every minute in the UK. What’s more, only 5% of stolen bikes are returned to their rightful owners.

Recent figures from the Halifax also reveal that despite high crime statistics, almost a third of cyclists admit to leaving their bikes unsecured or unattended. Even more revealing is that 54% admitted to having no specialist bicycle insurance in place.

There are few feelings worse than returning to find just a broken bicycle lock waiting for you where your bike once was. That is why it pays to protect your investment with good bicycle insurance.

Don’t assume your home contents insurance will cover your bikes too

Bikes are one of the most frequently stolen items from sheds or garages and insuring your bicycle will ensure you are protected in the event of theft or damage.

The mistake many people make is thinking that their bike is covered under their household contents insurance policy. Indeed, you may have some bicycle cover in place, but can you be sure it is enough to cover theft, vandalism or other damage? Is your bike covered in and away from the home?

Mark Greening, head of home insurance at Gocompare.com, said: “Cyclists cannot just assume that their bikes are covered. Even if a policy does offer some cover for bikes, it is essential to read the small print and understand the cover that is in place and what you are likely to get back should you need to make a claim.”

Why Bicycle Insurance From The Telegraph Is The Only Cover To Consider

When you’ve just spent hundreds of pounds on a new road bike or you are buying new bicycles for your family, having the right insurance in place is very reassuring.

Telegraph Home Insurance, provided by Hood Group, is one of the most innovative and flexible insurance products on the market today. We take a modular approach to home contents insurance and that means you can add the bicycle cover you need to your basic contents policy and tailor it to suit your exact needs.

Here are just some of the benefits of Telegraph Pedal Cycle cover:

? Cover for up to 6 bikes worth up to £2,500 each.

? Accidental damage cover is included as standard.

? Cover for your bicycle anywhere in the world.

? Speak to a personal advisor at our UK call centre.

? Adjust your policy as your needs grow or you buy more bikes.

As you can see, there are many great reasons to make the switch to Telegraph Home Insurance. We not only give you peace of mind that your home contents are protected with premium insurance cover, but that the higher value items you cherish can be covered using one of our versatile modular products.

Protect your pedals with nothing but the best bicycle cover from Telegraph Home Insurance. Speak to us today on 0800 042 0142 to get an instant quote in minutes and a home insurance policy that is as flexible as you want it to be.

Win a hybrid bike & accessories worth over £500

We’ve teamed up with Wheelies.co.uk to give Telegraph readers the chance to win a brand new bike & accessories worth over £500. Win a Ladies or Gents Hybrid Bike plus:

o Specialized Align Road Helmet unisex

o Cateye El130/TL135 light set

o Specialized Speed Zone Sports Computer

o Specialized E-cage 5.0 bottle cage

o Specialized little big mouth water bottle

Competition closes at midnight on the 31st July 2014.

Reader Offer

If the return of the Tour de France to British soil has inspired you to take up cycling as new hobby, then you can save money by using the following discounts codes at wheelies.co.uk

Get £5 off when you spend £50 – discount code WHEELIES5

Get £10 off when you spend £100 – discount code WHEELIES10

Get £25 off when you spend £200 – discount code WHEELIES25

http://telegraph.feedsportal.com/c/32726/f/604844/s/3c3d8c1f/sc/36/l/0L0Stelegraph0O0Cfinancialservices0Cinsurance0Chome0Einsurance0C10A9430A20A0CWin0Ea0EHybrid0Ebike0Eand0Eaccessories0Eworth0Eover0E50A0A0Ewith0ETelegraph0EHome0EInsurance0Bhtml/story01.htm