How to find the hidden perks in your financial products
Ask any bargain hunter for their moneysaving tips and most will mention vouchers and discount codes, but only the savviest of shopper will be making the most of the valuable freebies that come with their financial products. Are you one of them?
If not, here's what you’ve been missing out on – and how to make the most of them.
Legal Expenses Cover
As legal disputes can be costly and stressful, many people are deterred from acting because of the financial risk. But this is where legal expenses insurance could help. It’s a cheap way for people to speak softly but carry a big stick.
The best part? It often comes as standard with some home insurance policies and with others it’s an optional extra. The bad news? You probably have no idea that you even have it.
Typically, the amount of legal cover offered is between £50,000 to £100,000 per claim.
Despite being associated with home insurance, this cover could protect you for problems outside the home too. For instance, it can help if you're negotiating a contract when returning to work after maternity leave, applying for flexible working, or if you feel you have been wrongfully dismissed. Every insurer will provide different levels of legal protection cover so it's important to read your policy carefully, so you know exactly what is and isn’t covered.
Typically, the amount of legal cover offered is between £50,000 to £100,000 per claim
Make the most of your mobile
With phone networks all vying for customers, most contracts will come with some added extras and incentives to gain and retain your business.
Leading the pack are O2 Priority and Vodafone Very Me.
With the O2 Priority app, you can get your hands on great promotions and discounts for a range of high-street stores, restaurants and events exclusively for O2 customers.
While Vodafone customers can get weekly treats from movie rentals to discounts and giveaways that are designed around you and change to match your interests.
Other big networks will give you free access to streaming services such as Spotify, Disney+ and Netflix as long as you have a contract with them.
Income protection policies are a type of insurance designed to pay you a portion of your salary if you're suddenly unable to work.
Critical illness insurance pays out a tax-free lump sum if you’re diagnosed as critically ill.
But did you know that these types of policies often come with a raft of health and wellbeing services built in as standard?
The benefits do not cost a penny extra and include access to services such as mental health support, physiotherapy and 24/7 remote GP consultations.
What’s more, your partner or spouse and your children will also be covered, and there's no limit to how many times you can access the services or how long your consultation lasts.
These services are usually available to all customers and using them will not affect your insurance cover, which will continue to step in if ever you fall ill or have an accident which means you're unable to work.
If you have income protection or critical illness insurance already but you’re not sure which additional services you have access to, ask your insurer, broker or adviser, who will be able to help.
Many workplaces operate a retail discount scheme to help staff save money on everyday expenses.
For instance, your employer may provide access to other benefits and buying arrangements such as the cycle to work scheme, which is no longer capped at a £1,000 spend.
What’s more, many offer employee assistance programmes (EAPs) which can provide valuable support for those who may be struggling with mental health, loneliness, debt and financial matters, and even child and elderly-care concerns.
Such schemes are free, confidential and available 24/7, and offer immediate access for you – and eligible family members.
To find out if your workplace offers this type of scheme, contact your human resources department or look on your company’s intranet.
Bank Account Benefits
Standard current accounts don’t offer much in terms of extras, but there are paid-for upgrades with many bank accounts that bundle in rewards for a small monthly fee.
Most give you freebies such as cinema tickets, movie rentals or magazine subscriptions, while others may give you a few quid cashback each month when you spend at certain retailers.
You’ll often need to meet certain eligibility criteria to upgrade, such as having a couple of direct debits on your account. You can often avoid the small monthly fee by depositing a minimum amount of cash each month.
The next level of current accounts are known as packaged bank accounts.
The fee you pay will jump up, with some starting at £13 a month. In return you’ll get a range of insurance packages, usually travel insurance, breakdown cover and gadget insurance.
You’ll need to ensure that these policies provide the cover you require and consider the exclusions that could prevent a claim.
Sometimes these policies work out cheaper through your packaged bank account rather than buying them separately, but only if you need each one – and remember to register your details with the provider. And don’t forget to check all the policy details to see what’s covered, the exclusions and any excesses you might have to pay.
Here it’s crucial to do the math as the price difference between banks offering these packaged options can vary by £100 a year. If you already have a packaged bank account, it's important to check what it offers – if you don’t need the insurances or can insure cheaper elsewhere, a fee free bank account could work out better.
3 things to do right now...
Check if you have legal cover on your home insurance.
Contact your insurer, broker or adviser and enquire which benefits are included in your policy.
Review your bank account and make sure you're not paying for benefits that you're not using.
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Don’t forget that while you may think that this article is brilliant, it is intended for information purposes only and should not be mistaken for financial advice or recommendations.
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