11 January 2017



In the simplest terms, a property of ‘non-standard construction’ is one that is not made of brick or stone walls, with a slate or tiled roof.

There are many different types of non-standard homes, for example those built purely from timber to concrete and prefabricated homes.

Many prefabricated homes were built in the UK during and after the war as a form of affordable housing. However, concrete is not as durable as brick or stone and properties were quickly suffering from crumbling concrete with cracks appearing.

This made it very difficult to get both a mortgage and insurance to purchase or live in these types of properties.

At Discount Insurance things are different. We can provide cover on a range of non-standard properties and features including up to 100% flat roofs, glass roofs, wooden houses, cob-tiled roofs, asbestos construction, listed buildings and much more.

We like non-standard properties so much that we’ve put together a list of the top 10 things to consider when buying a non-standard home:

1.  Ensure you budget enough to purchase the property, as surveyors’, mortgage and legal fees may be higher than normal.  
2.   Either have the cash ready to buy the property outright or find a specialist lender that is happy to lend on the property before you make any offers. 
3.   Make sure the property is priced at a discount to reflect the difficulties in raising finance and insurance, and try to negotiate this down if not.
4. Most non-standard properties are sold at auction so don’t make an offer on a property unless you are sure you know what it’s made of. You will need to provide exact details to both your mortgage lender and insurance provider.
5.   Make sure you secure quotes for insuring the property from a company who understands the problems that the property may suffer and should therefore give you cover more suited to your needs. Contact us today for a quick quote on 0800 294 4522.
6.  Secure a specialist legal company to carry out the conveyancing, usually someone local to the area that has experience of additional questions that need to be asked.  
7. If the property needs renovating make sure you secure the help of builders with experience of renovating properties like yours, don’t just go for the cheapest quote and ensure you agree the work that needs doing and any guarantees via a contract.  
8. Find out what the bills will be, for example will the heating bills cost more or less due to the different materials used for the property? 
9. Have a specialist survey carried out on the property and ideally go around with the surveyor so you are clear about the problems the property may or may not have. 
10. Understand that when you come to sell the property, unless you have renovated the property to standard construction, it may take a little longer to attract a buyer.

Don’t be put off by a property if it is of non-standard construction, although there are additional things to consider before purchasing a property of this kind, it will be worth it if it’s your dream home!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


In the simplest terms, a property of ‘non-standard construction’ is one that is not made of brick or stone walls, with a slate or tiled roof.

There are many different types of non-standard homes, for example those built purely from timber to concrete and prefabricated homes.

Many prefabricated homes were built in the UK during and after the war as a form of affordable housing. However, concrete is not as durable as brick or stone and properties were quickly suffering from crumbling concrete with cracks appearing.

This made it very difficult to get both a mortgage and insurance to purchase or live in these types of properties.

At Discount Insurance things are different. We can provide cover on a range of non-standard properties and features including up to 100% flat roofs, glass roofs, wooden houses, cob-tiled roofs, asbestos construction, listed buildings and much more.

We like non-standard properties so much that we’ve put together a list of the top 10 things to consider when buying a non-standard home:

1.  Ensure you budget enough to purchase the property, as surveyors’, mortgage and legal fees may be higher than normal.  
2.   Either have the cash ready to buy the property outright or find a specialist lender that is happy to lend on the property before you make any offers. 
3.   Make sure the property is priced at a discount to reflect the difficulties in raising finance and insurance, and try to negotiate this down if not.
4. Most non-standard properties are sold at auction so don’t make an offer on a property unless you are sure you know what it’s made of. You will need to provide exact details to both your mortgage lender and insurance provider.
5.   Make sure you secure quotes for insuring the property from a company who understands the problems that the property may suffer and should therefore give you cover more suited to your needs. Contact us today for a quick quote on 0800 294 4522.
6.  Secure a specialist legal company to carry out the conveyancing, usually someone local to the area that has experience of additional questions that need to be asked.  
7. If the property needs renovating make sure you secure the help of builders with experience of renovating properties like yours, don’t just go for the cheapest quote and ensure you agree the work that needs doing and any guarantees via a contract.  
8. Find out what the bills will be, for example will the heating bills cost more or less due to the different materials used for the property? 
9. Have a specialist survey carried out on the property and ideally go around with the surveyor so you are clear about the problems the property may or may not have. 
10. Understand that when you come to sell the property, unless you have renovated the property to standard construction, it may take a little longer to attract a buyer.

Don’t be put off by a property if it is of non-standard construction, although there are additional things to consider before purchasing a property of this kind, it will be worth it if it’s your dream home!

04 January 2017



From mortgages and savings to tax returns and insurance, here are our top tips on saving money in the 2017.


Mortgages

2016 was a pretty good year for many people taking out a mortgage, with record low fixed-rate home loans on offer.  Last month however, HSBC withdrew its very competitive 0.99% two-year fixed.

Mortgage rates will almost certainly rise in the coming months according to financial experts, and mortgage-holders should consult their advisers now about fixing their rates before increases occur.

The best-buy two-year fixes include Norwich & Peterborough building society’s 1.39% deal (maximum loan-to-value of 65%) and Yorkshire building society’s 1.44% rate (maximum LTV of 85%), according to Moneyfacts.co.uk.

For five-year fixes, rates start at 1.99% from Leeds building society. If you have a 10%-plus deposit you can fix for five years at 2.99% courtesy of West Bromwich building society.


Energy bills

Two-thirds of UK households are estimated to be on their energy supplier’s ‘standard’ gas and electricity tariff and could therefore be overpaying by £200 year – more if you live in a large house.

Our advice would be to switch to a fixed-price tariff – it can take as little as five minutes to switch.

Co-Op Energy is currently offering an £850-a-year fixed price tariff that runs until February 2018, Moneysupermarket also has an exclusive deal with Flow Energy which is a fixed tariff until the end of March 2018 and costs an average of £877 a year.


Direct debits

Check your monthly direct debits! Are you still paying for something you thought you had a cancelled?

It’s surprising how much this catches people out. Are you still paying for an old gym or AA membership you no longer use? Check all of your monthly direct debits and standing orders and cancel any you no longer require! 


Tax Returns

Last year 890,000 people were fined £100 for completing their tax return late, plus the addition of punitive interest on the money owed.

If you still haven’t filled it three months after the 31 January deadline then the fines can add up even more, with daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900 added.

Don’t throw your money away – get it in on time!


Home Insurance

Renewing year after year with the same insurer can lead to you paying through the nose for your home insurance when compared to the prices elsewhere on the market. 

Before you renew with your current insurer, get a quick quote on your home insurance from Discount Insurance and we’ll try and save you money on your existing premium!



Wednesday, January 04, 2017


From mortgages and savings to tax returns and insurance, here are our top tips on saving money in the 2017.


Mortgages

2016 was a pretty good year for many people taking out a mortgage, with record low fixed-rate home loans on offer.  Last month however, HSBC withdrew its very competitive 0.99% two-year fixed.

Mortgage rates will almost certainly rise in the coming months according to financial experts, and mortgage-holders should consult their advisers now about fixing their rates before increases occur.

The best-buy two-year fixes include Norwich & Peterborough building society’s 1.39% deal (maximum loan-to-value of 65%) and Yorkshire building society’s 1.44% rate (maximum LTV of 85%), according to Moneyfacts.co.uk.

For five-year fixes, rates start at 1.99% from Leeds building society. If you have a 10%-plus deposit you can fix for five years at 2.99% courtesy of West Bromwich building society.


Energy bills

Two-thirds of UK households are estimated to be on their energy supplier’s ‘standard’ gas and electricity tariff and could therefore be overpaying by £200 year – more if you live in a large house.

Our advice would be to switch to a fixed-price tariff – it can take as little as five minutes to switch.

Co-Op Energy is currently offering an £850-a-year fixed price tariff that runs until February 2018, Moneysupermarket also has an exclusive deal with Flow Energy which is a fixed tariff until the end of March 2018 and costs an average of £877 a year.


Direct debits

Check your monthly direct debits! Are you still paying for something you thought you had a cancelled?

It’s surprising how much this catches people out. Are you still paying for an old gym or AA membership you no longer use? Check all of your monthly direct debits and standing orders and cancel any you no longer require! 


Tax Returns

Last year 890,000 people were fined £100 for completing their tax return late, plus the addition of punitive interest on the money owed.

If you still haven’t filled it three months after the 31 January deadline then the fines can add up even more, with daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900 added.

Don’t throw your money away – get it in on time!


Home Insurance

Renewing year after year with the same insurer can lead to you paying through the nose for your home insurance when compared to the prices elsewhere on the market. 

Before you renew with your current insurer, get a quick quote on your home insurance from Discount Insurance and we’ll try and save you money on your existing premium!



14 December 2016


  
As the days grow short and the scarves grow longer, Christmas shoppers begin to count the hours until the big day. Christmas markets are always a good alternative to the busy atmosphere in shopping centres.

We’ve picked out a few of our favourites, to help make this a bother-free Christmas worth remembering.


York

The St Nicholas Fayre market boasts food aplenty, especially dishes that once roamed wild and free. Venison, wild boar and suckling pig share menu space with more exotic fare, such as kangaroo and ostrich. Expect plenty of folk in Victorian dress, carol singers en masse, and the smell of Christmas cooking wafting through the streets surrounding the York Minster.


Manchester

The Manchester Christmas market is an award-winning event, it won the ‘Best Market Authorities’ award, and is a month-long celebration of all things yule. Running since 1998, it has been known to pull in close to 900,000 visitors. Across 200 stalls, the market flogs everything from cosmetics to toys, with plenty of food on offer, mulled wine and cinnamon treats guaranteed. 


Belfast

Belfast’s own Christmas festival is particularly famous for the food, with Bratwurst and paella high on the menu. The non-edibles on sale at the Christmas Continental Market come from even more exotic climes: the Kenyan carpentry stalls look like they might furnish someone with a particular handsome present this year. There is also plenty on offer for kids as the Santa grotto is always something of a centrepiece.


Bath

Located in the snug streets around Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths, the Bath Christmas Market is housed in a collection of wooden chalets, with stalls specializing in handmade gifts and Yuletide nibbles. Among the more esoteric booths associated with this event is Bollywood Christmas bringing some Mumbai bling to your tree this year.


London (Hyde Park)

The popular London Christmas market is one of the countries most visited winter markets. Indulge in the annual gathering of winter markets, festive fairground rides, ice skating, grottos and glühwein galore.


 Oxford

Oxford Christmas market is a Germanic event, specializing in local arts and crafts with a particular emphasis on music performed by local musicians in the Oxford Castle. The market and festivities take place at Oxford Castle, affording visitors the chance for a stop of sightseeing once they’ve got the stockings sorted.


Christmas is a great period of the year to spend time with your family, whether you choose to do it in the winter markets or anywhere else, Discount Insurance offers competitive Home Insurance. Give us a quick call on 020 847 8000 today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

  
As the days grow short and the scarves grow longer, Christmas shoppers begin to count the hours until the big day. Christmas markets are always a good alternative to the busy atmosphere in shopping centres.

We’ve picked out a few of our favourites, to help make this a bother-free Christmas worth remembering.


York

The St Nicholas Fayre market boasts food aplenty, especially dishes that once roamed wild and free. Venison, wild boar and suckling pig share menu space with more exotic fare, such as kangaroo and ostrich. Expect plenty of folk in Victorian dress, carol singers en masse, and the smell of Christmas cooking wafting through the streets surrounding the York Minster.


Manchester

The Manchester Christmas market is an award-winning event, it won the ‘Best Market Authorities’ award, and is a month-long celebration of all things yule. Running since 1998, it has been known to pull in close to 900,000 visitors. Across 200 stalls, the market flogs everything from cosmetics to toys, with plenty of food on offer, mulled wine and cinnamon treats guaranteed. 


Belfast

Belfast’s own Christmas festival is particularly famous for the food, with Bratwurst and paella high on the menu. The non-edibles on sale at the Christmas Continental Market come from even more exotic climes: the Kenyan carpentry stalls look like they might furnish someone with a particular handsome present this year. There is also plenty on offer for kids as the Santa grotto is always something of a centrepiece.


Bath

Located in the snug streets around Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths, the Bath Christmas Market is housed in a collection of wooden chalets, with stalls specializing in handmade gifts and Yuletide nibbles. Among the more esoteric booths associated with this event is Bollywood Christmas bringing some Mumbai bling to your tree this year.


London (Hyde Park)

The popular London Christmas market is one of the countries most visited winter markets. Indulge in the annual gathering of winter markets, festive fairground rides, ice skating, grottos and glühwein galore.


 Oxford

Oxford Christmas market is a Germanic event, specializing in local arts and crafts with a particular emphasis on music performed by local musicians in the Oxford Castle. The market and festivities take place at Oxford Castle, affording visitors the chance for a stop of sightseeing once they’ve got the stockings sorted.


Christmas is a great period of the year to spend time with your family, whether you choose to do it in the winter markets or anywhere else, Discount Insurance offers competitive Home Insurance. Give us a quick call on 020 847 8000 today.

30 November 2016



Buying a static caravan holiday home is a major lifestyle choice. Caravans come in all shapes and sizes, and whether you are trying to buy privately or from a trader, new or used the process can be confusing for first time buyers. The key to making the right choice is to filter out all the bumf, leaving you with only useful and pertinent info.

We have a few tips to help make the process easier.


1.      Do your research

Take your time to shop around for the different types of caravans available and maybe more importantly the different prices. Sales representatives have a lot of information and should be able to answer most of your questions. However remember they are ultimately trying to make the sale. The process of searching for, and subsequently purchasing, a holiday caravan can be an overwhelming one. With so much choice on offer in terms of caravan models, location and choosing the unit that best suits needs means grappling with a vast amount of data.


2.      Lifestyle

Buying a holiday home should be approached in the right way. Don’t think of it as a financial investment, rather as a long-term lifestyle choice. Talk to a static caravan owner about the benefits of purchasing a holiday home unit. They are unlikely to mention things like “profits” or “financial investment”, as these is often non-existent.


3.      Renting/ Subletting

Renting and subletting your static caravan when you aren’t using it is a popular way to subsidise the running costs of the unit. While you are unlikely to turn a profit from your caravan, subletting in this way can help you recoup some or even all of the annual fees and running costs.

Subletting your caravan decreases the amount of time you can use it for holidays and personal use, so it’s important to strike a balance between maximising your revenue from renting and enjoying some quality time on holiday. Renting your unit to trusted family and friends will give you peace of mind that the caravan is being looked after.


4.      Get your insurance sorted

None of us like the idea of our goods being stolen or damaged. It is important to protect yourself in the event that something does go horribly wrong. Insurance premiums are affected by many things from where your caravan will be parked to the level of security your caravan has. Take the time to read the policy and check what you need to do as some policies will ask you to secure your caravan in a particular way.


Whether you are preparing for an adventure this winter or planning your summer holiday! Get specialist insurance for your static caravan now! Call our friendly team on 0800 294 4522 today!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Buying a static caravan holiday home is a major lifestyle choice. Caravans come in all shapes and sizes, and whether you are trying to buy privately or from a trader, new or used the process can be confusing for first time buyers. The key to making the right choice is to filter out all the bumf, leaving you with only useful and pertinent info.

We have a few tips to help make the process easier.


1.      Do your research

Take your time to shop around for the different types of caravans available and maybe more importantly the different prices. Sales representatives have a lot of information and should be able to answer most of your questions. However remember they are ultimately trying to make the sale. The process of searching for, and subsequently purchasing, a holiday caravan can be an overwhelming one. With so much choice on offer in terms of caravan models, location and choosing the unit that best suits needs means grappling with a vast amount of data.


2.      Lifestyle

Buying a holiday home should be approached in the right way. Don’t think of it as a financial investment, rather as a long-term lifestyle choice. Talk to a static caravan owner about the benefits of purchasing a holiday home unit. They are unlikely to mention things like “profits” or “financial investment”, as these is often non-existent.


3.      Renting/ Subletting

Renting and subletting your static caravan when you aren’t using it is a popular way to subsidise the running costs of the unit. While you are unlikely to turn a profit from your caravan, subletting in this way can help you recoup some or even all of the annual fees and running costs.

Subletting your caravan decreases the amount of time you can use it for holidays and personal use, so it’s important to strike a balance between maximising your revenue from renting and enjoying some quality time on holiday. Renting your unit to trusted family and friends will give you peace of mind that the caravan is being looked after.


4.      Get your insurance sorted

None of us like the idea of our goods being stolen or damaged. It is important to protect yourself in the event that something does go horribly wrong. Insurance premiums are affected by many things from where your caravan will be parked to the level of security your caravan has. Take the time to read the policy and check what you need to do as some policies will ask you to secure your caravan in a particular way.


Whether you are preparing for an adventure this winter or planning your summer holiday! Get specialist insurance for your static caravan now! Call our friendly team on 0800 294 4522 today!


16 November 2016



The days are short, and many of them, gloomy, cold and full of dramatic weather. Make the most of your long days spent inside by trying to make your home as bright and cheery as possible - a few simple changes can make a big difference.

Don’t let the dark and cold days of winter get you down. We have put together a few tips to help you freshen up your decor to help keep your home sunny and warm.


1.      Remove your screens

Mesh screens aren’t necessary if you aren’t opening your windows. Remove them, and be surprised at how much light streams through when there isn’t an extra layer blocking the flow.



2.      Swap your light bulbs

Time to pay closer attention to the colouring of your home’s light bulbs, the difference between a warm white, a cool white, and daylight bulb can greatly change the feel of a room. You might find that some bulbs work better in some rooms than others. Also, this is as good of a time as any to upgrade to LED bulbs for efficiency.



3.      Select light-colored drapery

Curtains with saturated colours and dark patterns will make the room feel darker. Install lighter-coloured curtains in their place for the winter months.



4.      Add plant life to your home

Accenting your home with plants can make it more inviting, colourful and even healthy, especially in the winter. Check with your local nursery for plants that can thrive indoors in the low-light conditions of wintertime.



5.      Don’t completely retreat from the outdoors

As tempting as it is to hole up inside where it’s nice and toasty, it’s refreshing and healthy for both mind and body to spend time outside. Taking advantage of any outdoor space you have, especially if you live in a climate that gets some mild days.

These tips are some great ideas to keep your home bright and your bills low during the winter. Maximising your fireplace, candlesticks and daytime light will help save electricity and make your winter brighter and warmer.

At Discount Insurance we offer competitive Home Insurance to help give you peace of mind during the winter. Give us a call on 0800 294 4522 for a quick quote


Wednesday, November 16, 2016


The days are short, and many of them, gloomy, cold and full of dramatic weather. Make the most of your long days spent inside by trying to make your home as bright and cheery as possible - a few simple changes can make a big difference.

Don’t let the dark and cold days of winter get you down. We have put together a few tips to help you freshen up your decor to help keep your home sunny and warm.


1.      Remove your screens

Mesh screens aren’t necessary if you aren’t opening your windows. Remove them, and be surprised at how much light streams through when there isn’t an extra layer blocking the flow.



2.      Swap your light bulbs

Time to pay closer attention to the colouring of your home’s light bulbs, the difference between a warm white, a cool white, and daylight bulb can greatly change the feel of a room. You might find that some bulbs work better in some rooms than others. Also, this is as good of a time as any to upgrade to LED bulbs for efficiency.



3.      Select light-colored drapery

Curtains with saturated colours and dark patterns will make the room feel darker. Install lighter-coloured curtains in their place for the winter months.



4.      Add plant life to your home

Accenting your home with plants can make it more inviting, colourful and even healthy, especially in the winter. Check with your local nursery for plants that can thrive indoors in the low-light conditions of wintertime.



5.      Don’t completely retreat from the outdoors

As tempting as it is to hole up inside where it’s nice and toasty, it’s refreshing and healthy for both mind and body to spend time outside. Taking advantage of any outdoor space you have, especially if you live in a climate that gets some mild days.

These tips are some great ideas to keep your home bright and your bills low during the winter. Maximising your fireplace, candlesticks and daytime light will help save electricity and make your winter brighter and warmer.

At Discount Insurance we offer competitive Home Insurance to help give you peace of mind during the winter. Give us a call on 0800 294 4522 for a quick quote


02 November 2016



The clocks have just gone back, meaning that the days are getting shorter as well as colder.

The summer can seem like a long way away, so if you’re looking to catch a bit of sun over the course of a weekend, we’ve put together a list of great places which are no more than a five hour flight!


·         Cyprus

The average temperature in November is 19 degrees and while this small country can be full of tourists in the summer, Cyprus is much quieter in the winter so the sun can be enjoyed in peace. Famed for beautiful beaches, wine regions and archaeological sites, Cyprus is only 4h 25m away.


·         Lanzarote

There are many flight options from the UK to Lanzarote, which take 4h 10m to reach the balmy Spanish island. The average temperature is 21 degrees – perfect for a quick winter getaway!


·         Mallorca

With a flight time of just 2h 25m, Mallorca basks in highs of 19 degrees throughout the winter. The Balearic Island is calmer in the cooler months and although it’s not exactly hot, there’s still plenty of sunshine on offer!





·         Malta

The average November temperature in Malta is 17 degrees and there is a flight time of 3h 15m. Visit the charming town of St Julian’s on the eastern coast which blends its fishing village feel with a thriving nightlife. There’s a great deal to do from exploring the 17th century Spinola Palace or strolling along the seafront promenade.


·         Tenerife

Tenerife is a top destination for Brits during the winter as a result of almost guaranteed sunshine all year round. The average temperature is a comfortable 22 degrees and with a flight time of 4h 25m, the family friendly destination is well within reach.


·         Essaouira, Morocco

Located on the west coast of Morocco, Essaouira has an average temperature of 20 degrees and offers man beaches ideal for kite and windsurfing. There is also a historic 18th century medina for the keen photographer to shoot. A short flight of 3h 40m can get you to this paradise!





·         Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is the second largest island in the Canaries but boasts the biggest and best beaches. Enjoy the scenery which includes picturesque houses with North  African style flat roofs or get active by climbing to the summit of one of the many volcanoes. Fuerteventura has an average temperature of 21 degrees and a flight time of 4h 20m.

Get great value Travel Insurance before going away for some winter sun!




Wednesday, November 02, 2016


The clocks have just gone back, meaning that the days are getting shorter as well as colder.

The summer can seem like a long way away, so if you’re looking to catch a bit of sun over the course of a weekend, we’ve put together a list of great places which are no more than a five hour flight!


·         Cyprus

The average temperature in November is 19 degrees and while this small country can be full of tourists in the summer, Cyprus is much quieter in the winter so the sun can be enjoyed in peace. Famed for beautiful beaches, wine regions and archaeological sites, Cyprus is only 4h 25m away.


·         Lanzarote

There are many flight options from the UK to Lanzarote, which take 4h 10m to reach the balmy Spanish island. The average temperature is 21 degrees – perfect for a quick winter getaway!


·         Mallorca

With a flight time of just 2h 25m, Mallorca basks in highs of 19 degrees throughout the winter. The Balearic Island is calmer in the cooler months and although it’s not exactly hot, there’s still plenty of sunshine on offer!





·         Malta

The average November temperature in Malta is 17 degrees and there is a flight time of 3h 15m. Visit the charming town of St Julian’s on the eastern coast which blends its fishing village feel with a thriving nightlife. There’s a great deal to do from exploring the 17th century Spinola Palace or strolling along the seafront promenade.


·         Tenerife

Tenerife is a top destination for Brits during the winter as a result of almost guaranteed sunshine all year round. The average temperature is a comfortable 22 degrees and with a flight time of 4h 25m, the family friendly destination is well within reach.


·         Essaouira, Morocco

Located on the west coast of Morocco, Essaouira has an average temperature of 20 degrees and offers man beaches ideal for kite and windsurfing. There is also a historic 18th century medina for the keen photographer to shoot. A short flight of 3h 40m can get you to this paradise!





·         Fuerteventura

Fuerteventura is the second largest island in the Canaries but boasts the biggest and best beaches. Enjoy the scenery which includes picturesque houses with North  African style flat roofs or get active by climbing to the summit of one of the many volcanoes. Fuerteventura has an average temperature of 21 degrees and a flight time of 4h 20m.

Get great value Travel Insurance before going away for some winter sun!