It’s that time of year when many of you are looking at renewing your insurance policies and often the question that we hear asked the most is, “who’s the best for insurance?” What is often meant by this is “who’s the cheapest?”.
Of course, you want a competitive price and you don’t want to be paying for cover you don’t need, but comparing someone else’s price to yours is a false economy. For one, every shop is different from its location, size and age to its operating hours, stock levels and staffing. All these things, and many more, will have an impact on your premiums.
We speak to two fish and chip shop insurance experts, Thornhill Insurance and Wrapped by Ryans, for their top tips to help you get a competitive price while getting the cover that’s right for your business.
Be thorough when considering the amount of cover you require for your buildings and contents. Thornhill Insurance’s Lindsay Liddle says it’s easy to play this figure down because you want to save a bit of money on your policy but, in the event of a claim, if an insurance company feels you’ve underinsured yourself it can result in only a pro-rata settlement being issued.
Honesty also pays when it comes to answers regarding the structure of your premises, says Lindsay, adding: “Make sure you declare things such as any flat roof area. Now flat roof’s aren’t considered to be an issue for insurers but they should definitely be noted as they may have some slightly different conditions attached to them.”
It’s good to know when your insurance is due for renewal, quotes can be issued 30 days before the renewal date. So set a reminder for yourself so that you can give yourself time to look at your policy, review your sums insured (remembering that your sums should be reviewed every year). “This will ensure you are not rushed into taking a policy that you don’t have time to understand or that is not suitable for you,” says Lindsay.
Read the policy conditions
This is the part many overlook as they see it as the “boring part”, but this could be your biggest and most costly mistake. Policy conditions set out your responsibilities as well as the factors that could invalidate your insurance. These will vary between insurers so if you’re switching this is all the more important. Wrapped, for example, requires the power or fuel supply to all cooking equipment to be shut off when the premises are closed for business. Another condition states that all cooking equipment not fitted with a controlled thermostat which is exposed to a naked flame, heated hob or stove should not be left unattended whilst the heat source is operating. Would you know this?
Ask about discounts
While some insurance companies will try and sell you additional cover, some offer discounts for additional security features. Helen Jerrold of Wrapped by Ryan’s, comments: “We’ll talk to you about options to improve your cover and how we really can save you money. For example, does your current provider recognise that a fire suppression system dramatically reduces your risk of a catastrophic fire claim occurring? We do at Ryan’s and we’ll save you money year after year too if you install one. Do you have a five star Food Hygiene rating? At Ryan’s, we recognise the steps you’ve taken to achieve this and we’ll reward you with a discount, year after year. Ryan’s also offer many other benefits to complement your insurance policy including 12 months free subscription to the National Federation of Fish Friers and regular reminders to get those essential servicing, safety and cleaning jobs done.”
Consider an insurance broker
A broker will often have access to different markets and can do the leg work of approaching different insurers for you. Thornhill’s Lindsay concludes: “They also have the expertise to guide you through all the above points, and whilst, for example, they can’t give you a figure that you should insure your contents at, they can at least make sure you are considering everything you should when looking at what you need to cover.”