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Satellite System Insurance Cover 5 December 2006

The Office of Fair Trading has been contacted by a number of consumers concerned by ‘phone calls they have received from companies selling satellite system insurance. The callers suggest that consumers need to take out further insurance cover as the cover they previously had with Sky had now run out.

The company are eager for a response straightaway and ask that consumers provide financial details over the phone so that payment and cover can begin immediately. Some consumers find the company’s tactics intimidatory and believe that they are being pressured into taking insurance which they may not need. They are also unclear as to how a claim on the insurance would be dealt with in practice.

This form of insurance - which usually pays for any repairs if anything goes wrong within the period of cover after the manufacturer's guarantee finishes – has been widely criticised in recent years.

The first thing you should do if approached by a company like this is to advise them that you do not wish to make an immediate decision. Ask them if you can contact them should you decide to take up their offer.

Check any existing policies you may have. Are you sure your Sky cover has run out? Are you already covered under your home insurance policy?

Do you really need the additional cover? What is the likely cost of repairing or replacing the system? Check with local satellite installers/repairers and find out what they will charge. You may find that a new system will not cost you much more that the annual insurance cost and it will come with its own insurance warranty to cover you should things go wrong. There is also the added bonus of being able to deal directly with local people.

Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading, Quintin Gill MHK, advises "We have had a number of complaints about an off-Island company selling satellite system insurance. Many of the consumers complained that they felt intimidated by the callers. Please don’t accept the insurance offer under these circumstances. If you feel you need additional cover get quotations from other insurance companies – shop around. Go to a broker for a range of quotations if you prefer. Find a company that is competitive but that you can trust. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the contract and what services are to be provided under the contract. Don’t be pushed into something until you’ve had a chance to think it through and be very wary of supplying your financial details over the phone to companies that cause you any concern whatsoever."

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