P. G. writes: We plan to take our dog on holiday abroad with us for the first time this year. Are there any pet insurance policies that will cover him overseas?
P. D. replies: Yes. A number of insurers have responded to the relaxation of quarantine regulations by offering either extensions to annual pet policies or individual insurance for overseas cover.
Policies usually limit cover to a specified number of journeys or a maximum number of days for any one trip or any one year.
Cover is similar to what pets have in the UK, though in some cases additional cover is provided when pets are abroad. For example, owners are covered for the potential loss of their Pet Travel Scheme certificates, which owners must have before they travel.
It confirms that their pets have had a microchip inserted and that they have been vaccinated against rabies.
Additional cover is offered for tick and worming treatment. A number of policies also provide a 24-hour helpline. Overseas cover is likely to cost an extra [pound]12 per pet, per year.
Insurers include Petplan 0800 072 7000, Direct Line 0845 246 8705 and Columbus Direct 020 7375 0011.
MY PEP HAS NO PEP
A. T. writes: I invested [pound]4,250 in a Bradford & Bingley Premier Choice Pep in March 1998. It has under-performed and my investment is now worth [pound]3,571.
Bradford & Bingley has now asked insurer Axa to manage Premier Choice.
Should I cut my losses and transfer?
B. D. replies: With this Pep, Bradford & Bingley invests your money in a range of funds. Sadly its choice has not been good.
While the FTSE All-Share index has risen 11 per cent over the past three years and a good balanced fund such as Newton Income is up 31 per cent, your Bradford & Bingley Pep has fallen 16 per cent.
I see no reason why Axa’s discretionary management of Premier Choice should be better than Bradford & Bingley’s.
With a little research it is not difficult to identify consistently good individual Pep funds. If you transfer to such a investment fund, it will also be easier to monitor its performance.
With a discretionary managed investment, such as your Premier Choice Pep, it is not always easy to keep track of where your money is being invested.
It is time for you to move on.
Cycling under cover
E. R. writes: I am taking my family on a camping holiday in Germany. We will be driving and will take our own bicycles. Do I need any special insurance, or will our bikes and belongings be covered by my car and household policies?
P. D. replies: Most household insurance policies can be extended to cover cycles and personal possessions overseas. Some insurers include this cover automatically. However, you should make sure that the maximum limit specified for each possession, and the total amount of cover, is sufficient.
If you intend to take part in races or own expensive bikes, the cover under a household policy may not be sufficient and a specialist policy will be more appropriate. Always ask your insurer to confirm that third party liability cycling risks are covered and check if there are any exclusions or restrictions.
Finally, do not overlook travel insurance, which can include cover for medical expenses. You could ask the travel insurer to reduce premiums by excluding the bikes and possessions covered by other policies.
Specialist cycle insurance providers include The Cyclists’ Touring Club 01483 417217, The British Cycling Federation 0161 230 2301 and AUA Insurance 020 7265 1166.
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Looking abroad for profit
P. W. writes: I saw an offshore savings account that paid a higher rate of interest than regular savings accounts. How do these accounts work and are they worth investing in?
P. C. replies: Offshore savings accounts work in the same way as onshore accounts, except that interest is paid gross and it is then up to you to declare this on your tax return