How to keep your cool with summer finances

Booking a package can be more expensive than arranging flights and accommodation independently. Photograph: PA
Booking a package can be more expensive than arranging flights and accommodation independently. Photograph: PA
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While you’re having fun in the sun, it’s important to keep your cool financially and avoid a blunder which could have an impact on your wallet.

Here are pitfalls to watch out for this summer, and tips for how to avoid them.

Leaving yourself exposed

Sunny weather can be perfect for driving a convertible car. But GoCompare Insurance warns that drivers should check their insurance. For example, leaving the car parked with the roof down leaves your car vulnerable to theft and summer showers. Insurers may place restrictions on claims from these situations.

Telling everyone about your trip

You may want to show how great your holiday is, but posting about it on social media could alert thieves to your home being empty while you’re away.

Letting your gadget frazzle outdoors

Eleana Martyn from gadget insurance comparison site protectyourgadget.com says leaving gadgets in the sun can lead to costly repairs. “It’s so easy to do, if you’re relaxing in the garden or eating outside and your phone is next to you, but keeping it in the shade or under a towel can save you from having to pay for damages,” Martyn advises. “If you have insurance for your smartphone, not all policies will cover this kind of heat damage.”

Letting airport parking fees rack up

Fees in drop-off zones can quickly mount up after a minimum stay has been exceeded at some airports, the RAC warns. RAC spokesman Rod Dennis says: “Our advice is to check parking fees and time limits well before setting out for an airport this summer, so as to avoid a nasty shock.”

He advises looking for cheaper parking options. Some airports offer more affordable spaces further from the terminal building, and some better rates for reserving a space online.

Assuming a package is cheaper

You may assume you’re saving cash with an “all in” package holiday, but research from currency expert FairFX found families travelling abroad this summer are potentially paying a “convenience tax” of £371 by booking a package, rather than arranging flights and accommodation independently.

Thinking you don’t need insurance

A European Health Insurance Card is free and gives you access to state-provided healthcare available to a resident. But this doesn’t mean you don’t need travel insurance as well, as it won’t cover all medical costs, or emergency repatriation to the UK. Medical bills can run into tens of thousands of pounds.

Leaving plants at risk

While many people have been splashing out on new outdoor pots, budding gardeners could find themselves out of pocket if their pricey plants are damaged or stolen. Analysis by Defaqto found that more than a third (34 per cent) of home contents insurance policies don’t provide any cover for plants in the garden. Defaqto suggests those with very expensive plants might want to seek a policy which includes damage by storm or flood, as well as theft.

Buying home ‘shows more commitment than marriage’

Three-fifths (61 per cent) of first-time buyers believe buying a house together shows greater commitment to a partner than getting married, a survey by Barclays Mortgages has found. More than a quarter (29 per cent) of those quizzed felt buying a property together is a good test of a relationship and should be done ahead of getting married.

Halifax ten-year fixed-rate mortgages offer peace of mind

Halifax has launched a new range of ten-year fixed-rate mortgages, with deals available for home movers and those switching from another lender. The new fixes are available for people with deposits ranging from 40 per cent to 25 per cent, for loans between £25,000 and £1 million. Andy Bickers, mortgages director at Halifax, says: “We know many homeowners are looking for certainty with their mortgage payments over the longer term to give more peace of mind when it comes to their monthly outgoings.” Customers can also benefit from £500 to spend on Halifax’s new mortgage gift website if they apply for a qualifying mortgage by 12 August.

Bank urges customer to get in the habit of protecting property

M&S Bank is urging holidaymakers to protect their homes against thieves this summer. Its research found 53 per cent of holidaymakers are planning to go away for a week or more. Paul Stokes, head of products at M&S Bank, says: “It’s important to ensure that securing the home by taking certain precautions, such as moving desirable items out of sight and away from windows, becomes a routine part of every household’s holiday preparations, just as buying holiday money or that new swimsuit is.”