The Art of Holiday Packing

If you are like the team at RAS HQ we booked our holiday in the dull and grey winter months thinking our summer holiday would never arrive, it’s nearly around the corner. We have decided to make the bold decision this holiday to go hold-luggage free. It’s going to be an interesting experiment, especially given our history of bringing large bowls and wall art home with us.

When we started looking for inspiration for our hold-luggage free adventure we wanted to find some simple dos and don’ts. The idea came around after discovering that we abandon something like 27 tonnes of aerosols, mixed sharps, perfumes and aftershaves at security, and five tonnes were left at Birmingham Airport security in 2018 alone!

So here are some top tips on how to pack light for your hand luggage only flight!

Think Bag

Pick a light-weight case that your airline will accept as hand-luggage. Yes, that’s right all airlines have different rules regarding how big your bag can be. Also, 10kg doesn’t go very far, so make sure your bag is as light as it can be. Check before you book the size of your hand luggage you don’t want a nasty surprise when you check in.

Liquids

Use refillable 100ml bottles for any liquids. We know that you want to finish the end of the bottle of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel etc, but it should fill the bottle its in. If it’s not a 100ml bottle they will confiscate it. Remember that food like marmite counts as a paste and is included in liquids. So why not make the switch to bars of soap, shampoo and conditioner?Put all your 100ml bottles in a plastic bag. We get the dilemma for plastic bags so maybe get a reusable one or keep re-using the one you have.

Specific Food

Baby food, and food for special diets will be examined and re-examined, so be ready for it.Think about anything that’s sharp and leave it at home. You can take razors, knitting needles, round end scissors no longer than 6cm.

Electronics

Check if can you take your electronics in the cabin with you. In 95% of the locations you can, but for some you will not be able to. Check the Government website for more information.

Capsule your wardrobe

Make sure everything is multi-function and purpose for your trip. Can a scarf double as a top or sarong? We estimate that you can make 18 outfits from just eight garments. Keep your colour palette simple, ensure you have garments you can dress up or down, but changing a jacket for shirtsleeves.

Roll don’t fold

Always roll your clothes don’t fold them! They don’t crease as much and don’t take up as much space if you roll your clothes.

Packing Cubes!

Using packing cubes can help you organise your bag. You don’t want to open your bag, and everyone see your superman pjs! Packing cubes allow you to compartmentalise your stuff, and stop it spilling over the floor.

Put your key documents and the items you need during your flight at the top of the bag, saves you having to rummage around every time you go through security.

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The Basics of ‘Burnout’

This month’s guest blog comes from Thrive Worldwide. Thrive work to support those of us who travel for business. BEN PORTER is the Staff Care Consultant and a Psychotherapist for Thrive. Another company who are hyper-mobile and they are practicing what they preach.

Burnout.  It’s a word that’s being thrown around quite a lot these days.  And our team at Thrive has been talking about it too.  We’re aware that everyone seems to have a slightly different take on what it is – I’d love to share with you some of our own discussions.

For starters, there is no clinical diagnosis of “burnout”, but there are several mental illnesses that overlap with symptoms of burnout.  Burnout, like most psychosocial issues, falls along a spectrum of severity from feeling worn out to total mental and physical collapse. 

Burnout saps the vital energy we need to live full lives.  Similar to depression, burnout is an overwhelming sense of emptiness and lack of motivation or interest.  And similar to trauma or vicarious trauma, burnout shows up as disconnection from yourself and others.

Herbert Freudenberger (who coined the term ‘burnout’ in the 1970s) defines it as: “A state of fatigue or frustration brought about by devotion to a cause, way of life, or relationship that failed to produce the expected rewards”.  Does that ring any bells, aid workers?

Freudenberger and Gail North posited a 12-phase development of burnout (paraphrased):

  1. The compulsion to prove oneself
  2. Working harder and an inability to switch off.
  3. Neglecting personal and social needs
  4. Displacement and deflection of conflicts
  5. Revision of values/worldview
  6. Denial of emerging psychosocial problems
  7. Withdrawal and escaping behaviors
  8. Odd behavioural changes
  9. Depersonalisation (seeing neither self nor others as valuable)
  10. Inner emptiness
  11. Depression
  12. Burnout Syndrome, which may include total mental and physical collapse.

As with all psychological frameworks, burnout doesn’t always follow this linear pathway, and these phases need further explanation. But have you noticed this pattern within yourself or a colleague?

What causes burnout and how do we avoid it?

This is the lively chat we’ve been having on the psychological and occupational health teams at Thrive Worldwide.  Is burnout an “injury” resulting from a toxic and overstretching workplace (external), or does it have to do with personality traits and motivations (internal).  Naturally, it’s usually an interplay of both (see below diagram)

Becoming aware of the cause and facing the reality allows us to begin to address burnout. Here are a few questions to help untangle the main drivers for you:

Internal drivers:   External drivers:  
Do you have exceedingly high (possible unattainable) standards for yourself?   Are you overworked
(or underworked?)  
Do you feel irreplaceable and avoid delegating?   Do you feel listened to and have control over your work?  
To what extent have you felt pressure from your upbringing or spiritual/faith heritage?   Do you have a positive connection with others at work?  
Do you sometime suppress your own needs for the sake of pleasing others?   Do you work in isolation/ remotely?  
Are their environmental challenges (insecurity, poor infrastructure, unpredictable workplans)  
  Are you asked to do activities outside of your competence?  
  Is there bullying and/or harassment in your workplace?  
  Is your workplace fair?  

If you would like to know more about your levels of burnout, you could try taking the Headington Institute self-assessment and check your scores here.

We would love to know your experience.  Feel free to post about burnout on our Facebook page and on Twitter and we’ll join you in discussion.

  • Have you ever felt burnt out? 
  • How did you recognise it?
  • What was the cause?
  • What has helped your feelings of burnout?

If you are worried about your feelings of burnout, please get in touch with us—we’re here to support you.  Email info@thrive-worldwide.org to book an appointment. Also check out Thrive Worldwide’s resource sheets on burnout and depression here.

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Eggs, nuts, seeds on a wooden board

Travelling with Allergies: Top Tips

This week we have a guest blog from Harriet Pitman, the Director of PAC: Perception Awareness Collective, a fantastic collaborator, supporter and chocolate provider here at RAS HQ. You know, from previous blogs, preparation is queen! But when you are travelling with someone who has a serious allergy, preparation takes on a whole new meaning. Knowing what their triggers are, and, what to do if they have a severe reaction could be life-saving.

Harriet’s account below is a very personal one.

About eight years ago I started to have serious reactions after eating certain foods and not being able to enjoy the treats that I had been used to eating whilst growing up. Trying to work out what was causing all the issues took a long time and was a long, sometimes painful, journey. By doing the FODMAP diet under a nutritionist I could build myself back up again and get back to normal life.

This was hard enough and then suddenly I had the realisation that I would be travelling around the world for work and I would need to be really careful of how I manage this. There are many allergies and intolerances in the world today but getting someone to understand how serious this is can be difficult, it is quite often they just think you are being fussy! Below are my 5 top tips for travelling with allergies and intolerances:

  1. See a nutritionist who can help identify your exact issue if you are unsure. Not knowing can make you cut out even more options so having a clear idea of the issue really helps;
  2. If you have a serious allergy, ensure that you always have your EpiPen (or similar auto-injector) and medication with you. This sounds obvious but I have gone out from the hotel and realised my medication was back in the room which was not going to help me if I had a reaction;
  3. If possible, take a little survival pack of food with you in case you are not able to find anything you can have. Dry snacks, soups and anything you are able to tolerate;
  4. You can get translated cards to take with you to show what you are allergic or intolerant to. Here is a free option and here is a paid version;
  5. PLAN AHEAD! Choose your destinations carefully. Some countries it is very difficult to immerse yourself in a culture if you have allergies. Do your research before you go! Are you able to eat street food, are you able to explain your allergies and have them catered for?

Having an allergy or intolerance should not stop you being able to go where you want to, but you may have to adapt what you want to get from your travels and just be slightly more prepared before you go.

If you have a colleague, friend or family member who has an allergy then why not book a half day course on how to use an auto-injector (Epi-pen*), learn some Basic Life Support, and AED (Defib). Contact our team on reception @riskadvisoryservice.co.uk


*Other brands are prescribed

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It’s Nearly Festival Season!

It’s nearly festival season!

Seasoned festival goer Ketki Chowdhury gives us her top tips for festival goers.
Festival, Hand in the air, Risk Advisory Service, bright lights
Location, Location, Location!

When it comes to picking your festival camping location, you have to be a bit like Goldilocks. Not too far, not too close, not by the loos, but far enough away from the bar. Think about how you arrange your tents. If there are a couple tents of friends, you could make a right angle to pitch your tents? It might just stop someone from getting in your space and give you some breathing space.

There are some great cheap tents out there, ideal for a festival, so don’t waste money on an expensive one. I don’t think any of my tents really have survived the journey home. They are damp, smelly, and usually missing something. I read recently about the new cardboard tents they look fab.   Apparently you can colour them in too. So, we’ll be trialling ours this summer. Don’t rely on tech to find your tent, it will inevitably fail put up a landmark that will help you and others find their way back.

 

Buddy Up

Share the responsibility with your friends in being the ‘sensible one’ that helps you wobble back to your tent; and won’t let you do anything you might regret in the morning (like ringing your boss and telling them you a) love them b) hate them c) stole the Christmas treats). Shaz and I share this, one night I get to go mental the next night, I have to be the grown up! Shaz did save me from telling my then boss what I really thought of him (not pretty).

 

Comms

Just don’t take your tech with you. Unless you are a festival journalist, do you need to take your laptop, tablet and phone? Chances are you won’t get a signal anyway! So don’t take your brand-new phone, you’ll either a) drop in the mud, b) drop in the port-a-loo or c) have nicked.  Go old school and be at the meeting point at the time you agree. It saves wasted time and arguments.

Anything you take make sure you it’s in a clear zip-lock bag. Then it’s waterproof. I have a festival wallet that hangs around my neck inside my shirt. It means I can only carry a small amount of stuff. I really don’t need my supermarket points card at that moment.

 

Food

Let’s be honest here, festvial organisers have a captive market when it comes to food and drink and its’ not cheap. Before you go stock up on protein bars, dried fruit, nuts, cakes, crisps – make sure you have your fave midnight snacks! You probably aren’t going to get your five a day, but one weekend isn’t going to derail your eating plan or cause lasting damage. Stick to stuff in packets that you can bin as you go. It’s really distressing when back from an awesome band in the rain, picking up a tube of pringles the wrong way around midnight, when you are ankle deep in mud. Don’t take glass bottles they’ll have them off you, but gin in a plastic bottle is much lighter to carry!

 

Clothes

Wear layers. You know great British Summer isn’t that predictable. So, I have a wardrobe of festival clothes, some have great memories others are just cheap and cheerful, but only take clothes you aren’t really bothered about and some cheap wellies (wellington boots).  I avoid jeans they are a bugger to dry when it rains. But I do love me some shorts, and chinos they are so much easier to dry. I always have flip flops, wellies and trainers with me.

I met an ex-solider a few years ago, who said we only need two sets of clothes, one dry and one wet. I thought he was mad, but apparently not. Sleep in the dry clothes and put the wet ones back on in the day, if it’s bucketing it down. Keep the dry ones dry.

 

Other random stuff I take to festivals, other than condoms, tampons, ear-plugs, water proofs, dry shampoo, wet wipes (no way I’m wasting time in the line for a cold shower) and loo roll is a decent mattress, pillow and a warm sleeping bag. For too many years running, have I been barely able to stand from sleeping on my yoga mat under a t-shirt. Get a decent inflatable mattress, Shaz and I shared a double one last year, with a couple of thick sleeping bags. It made a massive difference.  A couple of dry-sacs for when it inevitably throws it down. Oh and your dancing shoes!

Happy Festivalling!

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New Starts in Spring; Planning your Training Budget and Using Small Buisnesses

Today is the Spring Equinox.

It’s the meteorological time, when we turn from winter towards spring and look forward to summer. It’s an appropriate day to also be International Happiness Day the sun here at RAS HQ is out and we are all looking forward to longer nights, and hopefully, brighter and warmer days.

Yellow daffodilsIt’s our financial new year but also the time of year to consider new habits, revise if you are compliant, plan for the summer and new beginnings.

It’s the time of year our Grannies would have swept the house, scrubbed behind the range, had everything out of the house to bake in the warming sunshine and have a cleansing spring clean. It wasn’t about being comliant it was just something they did. These days we are budgeting and planning for the new year – a modern version of spring cleaning.  As you finalise your budget have you considered your staff training and checked your are still compliant? In a recent study by a national supplier, it was noted that 80% of all UK businesses are not First Aid compliant. Are you?

We are often asked why our courses are so much cheaper than the big national companies. Well here’s a little something about why you should be using a smaller local business. We tend to be:

  • great value for money. Providing you with better customer service from a company that wants to help you rather than just sell to you.
  • unhindered by large national marketing budgets
  • nimbler and more adaptable to the market.
  • willing to think outside the box to find the right soloution for you.

When you buy from a small business you are putting money back into a local community, because we generally support other small businesses. But when you buy from a multi-na tional you are buying the shareholders and the CEO their next holiday home.

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Automatic External Defibileration, AED, blue gloves, CPR, Cardio Pulmonary Resucitation

How to pick a First Aid Course.

You know you need First Aid training and it’s a good thing to do. But, how do you know if you are getting the right First Aid training for you and your business?

There are an overwhelming number of First Aid Training Courses out there. Prices vary wildly as do lengths of courses – so how do you avoid low quality PowerPoint driven First Aid and pick the right one for you?

Firstly, and let’s get this out of the way now. First Aid is a practical skill.

It’s not something you can learn online, or from a book. Yes,you can do some of the theory online or read it before attending a live First Aid course, but you need to create muscle memory. You will need to feel and test your own body to know how to safely roll someone into the recovery position, how tight to do a bandage up or how to correct your position for CPR is something you have to actually do with a half day.  We’d like to see these half day online only courses banned.

So how do you pick the right provider? Well reviews will help, but so will meeting the trainer themselves. Here are some questions that you might wish to ask yourself before engaging a trainer or training provider.

Can the trainer provide you with their certification?

As a First Aid trainers we all have to do a CPD training per year. Have they done their refresher, or are they booked to do this?

 

When did the instructor do their own learning?

All registered First Aid trainers belong to a training body, who will ensurethey are providing and safe and legal level of First Aid. For example, our trainers are all NUCO Approved Trainers, and every year they have to attend a course and do a teaching demonstration or have an internal assessor come and visit a training to test the quality of their training, relevance of content and ensure they are up to date.

Who is their awarding body?

There are a lot of solo instructors out there who teach what they think is correct. But are they part of a body that provides some assurance to you that  their training is compliant to HSE (Health and Safety Executive)? The rules about awarding bodies are about to change, so watch out for an update from us about what that means to you. Our trainers are all Approved Trainers by NUCO.

What level of First Aid do you need?

If you are a village community group that has an AED in your village, then an Emergency First Aid at Work course known as a EFAW would be really useful. You will receive AED training as part of the set syllabus, or you could do a half day refresher a year after the supplier has given you training.

If you are a large factory then you will need a First Aid at Work known as a FAW. This is a legal requirement and you will need to check what course you need.

There are lots of other specialist courses out there, if you are working at height, working in remote locations, such as an oil rig or down a mine. You should seek advice from your provider and the HSE guide before you book.



The final factor is price.

There are courses out there as cheap as £40 or as much as £160+, cheap isn’t always a good idea nor is the most expensive. We have been looking at some of these cheaper courses and wonder about the quality of the training. The large national providers are good, but maybe supporting a smaller local company is also a good thing. The smaller companies are, generally, more flexible in tailoring content, dates and even sometimes fees. If you are an equine centre then there is an equine focused company out there for you, outward bound and bush craft enthusiasts there’s a provider out there for you.

So now you are thinking about first aid courses – check out our courses – http://www.riskadvisoryservice.co.uk/courses-and-training/first-aid/

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Merry Christmas

A roaring fire in an open cast fire with logs stacked up left and right of the fire, cangles light, fireside tools on the left

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

T'was night before Christmas and all through the house, 
Not a creature was working, not even, the mouse. 
With the rush for new business and client retention 
The house was now awash with festive intention. 

The children were nestled, all snug in their beds, 
While visions of toys, danced in their heads.
With sales all accounted and profits all mapped, 
We now, settled down, for a well earned nap. 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night
Thank you to all who have supported RAS: Risk Advisory Service this year, we look forward to being with you in 2019. 
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Functional Movement, Pilates and Why it’s Important.

This Month’s Guest Blog comes from Sarah at the The Pilates Centre, in Coventry. Sarah discusses Functional Movement, Pilates and Why it’s Important.

Sarah has been a devotee of Pilates for many years, starting with her own personal journey, she now has a full time studio in Coventry.

What is Functional Movement?

Pilates Studio ready for trainingFunctional Movement is the ability to move the body with proper muscle and joint function for effortless, pain-free movement.  Learning how to be bio-mechanically efficient with everything you do, whether it’s for sports and athletics, general fitness, or daily life activities, is very important for maintaining good health and avoiding injury.

You would think that automatically our bodies would just work well…but this is generally not the case.  From birth, we begin to develop dominant and weaker muscles.  Lack of physical activity can increase poor muscle use habits, and any injury or accident can further limit the body’s ability to develop in a well-balanced manner.  The result, we never fully utilise optimal form or support to train functional movement systems for whole-body health.

If we repeatedly move our body with bad posture, or poor body mechanics, our joints don’t have enough space for our bones to move freely, and the muscles that should be moving our bones can’t fire effectively creating limitations in our range of motion, and muscle imbalances which in time can lead to injury.  Not only can our poor functional movement habits lead to injuries, but the body will accept these muscle habits as the way to always move!

Example

Let’s say your knee hurts because you always lock the knee joint.  You’ve walked, and exercised always straightening your knees to a locked position!  30 years later…you’re facing knee replacement surgery because you can’t take the pain any longer.  Replacing the knee joint may take the immediate pain away, but until you develop some new functional movement habits with HOW you’re using the muscles of the leg to support the knee, you will continue to have problems. (And chances are, with 30 years of hobbling around in pain, you’re also experiencing ankle pain, hip pain, and back pain – not to mention how the other knee is starting to feel because it’s attempted to take most of the load)

Good functional movement isn’t just about the knees…  It doesn’t matter whether it’s your knees, feet, pelvis, back, shoulders, neck…the whole body has been designed as a system of levers and pulleys that work and release for us to move with mechanical efficiency.  When we walk, play sports, lift weights, or just sit in front of the computer – we should be paying attention to how we are using our muscles to optimise our form and function for healthy movement.

Pilates

Seated posture doing pilatesPilates helps improve body awareness and learn new, more efficient muscle habits for improving functional movement.  If you’re not aware of your good and bad movement habits, it can be difficult to improve them!  Plus, without improving your body awareness and functional movement habits, the only way you’re going to really know there’s a problem is when you get hurt!  In my opinion, it’s a much better option to learn efficient functional movement habits with Pilates, and then incorporate this knowledge into your other fitness and daily life activities to help reinforce using your body correctly to support good posture and healthy movement.

There are functional movement habits to pay attention to from the soles of your feet, to the top of your head.  If any part of your body is experiencing pain, there’s a good chance that some part of your body’s functional movement system has been compromised.  It might be a weakness, muscle imbalance, poor functioning joint, limitation in strength, or flexibility.  Regardless of the issue, how old you are, or how long you’ve been functioning with poor body mechanics – if you’re interested in improving form for improved functional mechanics things can change!

 

Taking Charge of Change

It will take a new and improved understanding of your current posture and movement habits, better body awareness, along with doing the right exercises to reinforce new muscle habits.  In time, you’ll discover the health improvement benefits of paying attention to how your body moves, and enjoy moving well with better functional movement habits for better whole-body health.

Seated in a spine twist. Blonde woman in black pilates clothes, bare foot, bare armsIf you have questions about Functional Movement, or Pilates then, please contact Sarah for details of classes and prices.

sarah @ thepilatescentre.org or via her website www.thepilatescentre.org/

Good movement is part of everyday personal wellness. As you know, it will have an impact on all parts of your life, from day to day mobility to the long periods of being static if you are involved in managing someone’s international business travel. For more information about international business travel support please see http://www.riskadvisoryservice.co.uk/business-support-and-consultancy-international-business-travel/

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First Aid – Sally’s Boys

Sally’s Boys

why do we need to learn First Aid or CPR? We have the 999 Emergency Service and the NHS.

According to St John Ambulance annually there are 140,000  related emergencies where a First Aider could have made a significant difference. In just one day you can learn how to do life saving First Aid including CPR and use an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator or a defib). But statistics are a bit dull so let me tell you Sally’s story.

Sally’s Story.

Seven years ago Sally* spent the few days before Christmas in hospital with a chest infection. But being Christmas, the hospital were keen to send a distressed Sally home to her family. Sally had been planning a family Christmas for months and was upset she might miss it.  Inparticular Sally’s four year old grand-daughter, who loved Christmas almost as much as Sally.

Christmas morning arrived with snow, that was deep and crips and even. The still poorly Sally got up to put the turkey in the oven. Sally collasped. She stopped breathing and very quickly afterwards her heart stopped.

Thankfully, both Sally’s son’s had undertaken a First Aid course and once the lack of breath had been identified they took proactive actions. One phone the ambulance, mobilised the local farmer to clear the road of snow, corralled family into another room, moved family cars and made the route as clearas they could for the ambulance crew. The other started CPR until his brother could take over.

It was a snowy Christmas morning and it took the ambulance 35 minutes to reach the family.  Both son’s exhausted, but refusing to give up doing CPR; did everything they could to keep their Mum with them. The ambulance crew rushed Sally back into hospital where the team continued to save her life.

Seven years on, Sally, her husband and dogs have moved house to be closer to both sons and their four children. Sally has a slight resting tremor and can get a bit confused when tired. But is a very busy and devoted Grandmother of four! Both sons said if they hadn’t done CPR their Mum would not be here today.

Book your First Aid course today. Don’t put it off there might not be a tomorrow.

The team at RAS: Risk Advisory Service all deliver and certify a range of First Aid qualifications. Some First Aid courses are just a day long, others are longer and more indepth. How much your First Aid course will cost, what equipment your need and how long it takes to qualify, will depend upon your need. If you are a mountain rescue volunteer then your First Aid needs will be different to someone who works in an office or shop. Both need the basics like CPR or kiss of life, and how to use an AED or defib.

RAS: RIsk Advisory Service has a First Aid Course on 22 November in Coventry. Click here to book your place.

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Going to Uni?

Top 10 Things to Think about When it Comes to Insurance

 

First of all, congratulations! You are entering a really exciting time in your life and you have lots to look forward to.

This may be the first time you have lived away from home, and it may be the first time you have to think about ‘grown up things’. It may be the first time you need to worry about insurance. It can be daunting and it may be way down your list of things to organise – but it is important. So, to make it a bit easier, here are my top 10 things for you to consider:

  1. Always tell the truth!

    Insurance is a ‘good faith’ contract based on full disclosure – the law says that you have to give the insurer all the information you have. And if you don’t, or if you give incorrect information, a claim could be rejected, or the amount reduced – which makes the insurance kind of pointless really.

 

  1. Stay legal!

    Some insurance is compulsory under the law, for example, Motor Insurance. If you have a car, you must have a valid motor policy – no excuses! Try ‘aggregator’ sites such as confused.com or comparethemarket.com for the best deals – but be aware that not all insurers are available on these sites and some who aren’t, such as Aviva and Direct Line, can have competitive prices. You can also consider a ‘Black box’ policy to keep the cost down. This records your driving to see how safe you are. Drive carefully or pay the price!

 

  1. Think about what your risks are!

There are many different types of insurance out there. You can buy Contents Cover, Motor Insurance, Bike Insurance, Gadget Insurance, Travel Insurance – the list is endless. Do a risk assessment (just work out what really concerns you and write it down. Is it something that you can control? Or not), then look for insurance to cover the things that really concern you. Think about what you can afford and get some prices / quotations together for different types of insurance. You may have hard decisions to make depending on your budget but at least if you have thought it through you are less likely to be upset later down the line.

 

  1. Be careful with your stuff!

    Well, obviously, right? But if you are sloppy with your security, or careless, you may find that your losses aren’t covered. Many insurers will exclude claims for theft where doors / windows are unlocked. Others won’t pay out for lost items and will require evidence of damage / theft. Which leads me onto…

 

  1. Read the Policy!

    I know, no one actually reads the policy. Just like they don’t read the terms and conditions on websites. But you really should. At the very least, read the exclusions. Most policies are available in pdf format these days and you can search for ‘excluded’, ‘not covered’, or ‘restrictions’ – you should be aware of what is covered and not covered before you buy. Often two policies will look the same with similar sums insured / excesses etc – but one has a great number of exclusions that remove a lot of cover, whereas another has many extensions that provide extra cover. Reading the Policy before you buy it can save a lot of headaches later on.

 

  1. Keep claim instructions handy!

    If the worst happens and you do have a claim, the last thing you want to be doing is scrolling through hundreds of emails, or searching through loads of paperwork, to find out how to make a claim. Insert the claims phone number into your contacts. Add the Policy number as a note on it. This can save vital time and hassle at a time when you really don’t need any hassle at all.

 

  1. Mitigate your losses!

Again, if you do have a claim, try to do whatever you can to reduce or control the impact. So, for example, if your flat has a burst pipe and there is water flooding in, try to remove belongings or at least keep them away from the wet as far as possible. Start with higher value items and/or smaller portable things. However, never put yourself in danger to save material things. If there is any risk to you, just get out / get away.

 

  1. Think about your excess!

    If you have an expensive bit of kit that is essential for study, you probably should insure it. But think about your excess. Ultimately, if you must replace the item if it is damaged or stolen, then you will probably have an excess to pay. So it is a good idea to try to set that money aside. Then you won’t be left having to borrow and you can replace your kit straightaway.

 

  1. Get the Police involved!

    If you are unlucky enough to be a victim of crime, it is essential that you get the police involved as soon as possible. Even though they may not be able to help you or to do anything about getting your stuff back, they will give you a Crime Reference Number. Many if not all insurers will require that Crime Reference Number as a condition before they pay out for a theft. So even if you think the police aren’t worth the hassle – if you are going to claim, call them.

 

Relax!

If you’ve followed the above, you should hopefully be able to relax and concentrate on your studies and indeed having a bit of fun. The point of insurance is to pay someone else to take risks on your behalf – so you don’t have to worry about them. If you have paid attention to what cover you are actually getting and you’ve taken reasonable care of your things, but the worst has happened, it will be fine. Most insurance disputes happen because people didn’t give insurers the full story, or they didn’t read the policy carefully. Believe it or not, most insurers aren’t trying to screw you out of a valid claim – but they do have a duty to all their policyholders to keep costs down by avoiding fraud and not paying out when they don’t have to. So, if you have done the right things and paid sufficient attention – it should be ok!

I hope this list is helpful and if you have any questions please get in touch on 024 7623 2619.

Ian McKinney ACII, is a Chartered Insurance Broker at Gallagher Insurance. Ian is an Oxford University Graduate and all round good guy.  He’s also really passionate about what he does. Ian posesses a rare skill of making insurance not only interesting but digestible.

https://www.ajg.com/

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