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Are you insured for snow setbacks?

traffic, snow
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 4 December 2010 at 1204 GMT on Radio 4 and Online

Travellers are continuing to face serious disruption this week as airports, roads and rail services have been badly affected by snow.

If you cannot make a flight or a train because you can't get to the airport in time, will your insurance cover you?

What are the responsibilities of train companies, airlines or tour operators if you encounter travel difficulties?

Perhaps you have not been able to get to a concert you had tickets for - can you get your money back?

Joining the programme are: Malcolm Tarling from the Association of British Insurers (ABI); and Sean Tipton from the travel association, ABTA.

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Winter car-tyre confusion

With the heavy snow falls for two winters in succession many car owners are wondering if they should fit winter tyres, as they do in many colder European countries.

These tyres are made of a different rubber compound which stays flexible in freezing conditions and have a different tread which grips better in wet and icy conditions.

So will your car insurer approve? Or could it adversely affect your premium?

Money Box has been hearing from listeners whose insurers threatened to hike their premiums, or even terminate their cover, for having winter tyres fitted.

Chris Patience from the motoring organisation, the AA, and Malcolm Tarling from the ABI explain the issues.

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Contactless bank cards

Money Box has been contacted by listeners angry they are being sent replacement bank cards which they do not believe are secure.

Barclaycard estimates by the end of the year more than twelve million of its customers will have "contactless" cards, which can be used to buy items under £15 without having to enter their PIN.

Banks and retailers believe the contactless system is secure and will speed up transactions and reduce queues. But Bob Howard has been speaking to one customer who is convinced they increase the risks of fraud.

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Unfair online energy deals?

The chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee tells Money Box it is unfair that online customers get the best gas and electricity deals.

Customers on standard price plans pay on average almost £140 a year more than those on online plans, according to figures from uSwitch.

Tim Yeo MP tells the programme that the elderly and the vulnerable, who may not use the internet, should still have access to the best deals.

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Other news - Tax

Tax allowances and thresholds which apply from April 2011 were announced this week.

People over 65 will be pleased that their higher tax-free allowance will rise by £450 to around £10,000 - subject to the usual income limit which goes up to £24,000. After that the higher allowance is reduced.

Younger people can earn an extra £1,000 before they start paying tax - the tax-free allowance goes up to £7,475. But higher rate taxpayers will have any gain clawed back - the threshold for paying higher rate tax is being cut.

At the moment, it starts at an income of £43,875. From April 2011 that will fall to £42,475. That will mean more people paying higher rate tax.

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Other news - Keydata

We heard this week that 19,000 customers consumers who lost money in Lifemark bonds bought through collapsed investment firm Keydata will receive compensation of up to £48,000.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme hopes to start making compensation payments to investors during December so if it affects you, return your application form as soon as possible.

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BBC Radio 4's Money Box: Saturday 4 December at 1204 GMT and Sunday 5 December at 2102 GMT.



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