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With the summer fast approaching, you may be thinking about taking a well earned break. Whether you’re dusting off the trusty Bailey Unicorn or, purchasing a new caravan for that trip of a lifetime around the world, it pays to be prepared.
The Financial Ombudsman Service – the free service that you can talk to if you have a problem with your insurance, loan or mortgage – can provide you with some hints and tips of “things to think about” to get you started.
Do your research
Take your time to shop around for the different types of caravans available – and maybe more importantly the different prices. Sales representatives have a lot of information and should be able to answer most of your questions. But remember, they are ultimately trying to make the sale. Checking reviews online can help you make your mind up.
Know your rights
If you use credit to buy your new holiday home you could be protected legally if something goes wrong with your purchase, or if the items aren’t of the standard you were expecting. These rules only apply in certain circumstances – for example, if the total price of the purchase made on credit is more than £100 but less than £30,000. But if these are met, you might be able to get your money back from the card provider that provided you with the credit.
While buying goods on credit can offer you extra legal protection, think carefully about whether you can afford the monthly payments. You can see how much they will affect your budget by using one of the free budget planners available on the internet. Have a look to see if you are confident that you can afford the payments. Remember to take into account your long term future and not just your immediate plans. For example, are you thinking about retiring, having a family or changing job roles? This could have a huge impact on your finances.
Get an insurance quote
None of us like the idea of our goods being stolen or damaged. But it is important to protect yourself in the event that something does go horribly wrong. Insurance premiums are affected by many things from where your caravan will be parked to the level of security your caravan has. Take the time to read the policy and check what you need to do – as some policies will ask you to secure your caravan in a particularly way.
All in hand
Once you’ve made your purchase and taken out your insurance, remember to keep a hold of your documents. If something goes wrong later, these documents will set out your rights and obligations and may prove to be extremely useful in helping you to sort things out. It’s also handy to keep the receipts for the contents of your caravan – or take pictures if you bought them a while ago – this could be a useful proof of purchase should you need it.
Don’t forget to protect yourself
If you are going to be cruising around the world in your caravan, remember to protect yourself. No-one wants to think of something going wrong while you're away. But, if the worst happens the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about how to pay for medical care abroad. Taking out travel insurance can take the worry off your mind. Insurance policies vary significantly in price but remember cheaper isn't necessarily better. Read the small print to find out what the policy will - and more importantly will not - cover you for.
Wherever you chose to escape to this summer, we hope you have a trouble-free trip! However, if you do have a problem – and don’t know where to turn - the financial ombudsman may be able to help.
You can contact the ombudsman service on 0300 123 9 123 or www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk
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