Written by Karen Bryan
Carefully check all the small print of premium current accounts before you sign up. These accounts offer lots of benefits such as travel insurance and home emergency cover in exchange for a monthly fee of around £12-£17. However, on close inspection these benefits may be watered down versions of the cover that you get from stand alone policies.
I was recently tempted into upgrading my Halifax Reward Current Account to a Halifax Ultimate Reward Current Account, as it appeared that I would then get “free” travel insurance. The reason I was interested in Halifax Travel Insurance was I’d read that their annual cover now included Travel Disruption Cover as standard. This offers payouts for ash cloud delays and failure of holiday companies and airlines. The quote for annual European travel insurance from the Halifax for my husband and me was £67.
I did a calculation, the Halifax Ultimate Reward Current account would cost me another £90 a year. Although the premium account costs another £12.50 a month, it would only cost me an extra £7.50 a month, as I’d quality for the £5 monthly reward payment.
However another of the perks of the Halifax premium current account was home emergency cover which usually costs around £50 extra on home insurance cover. Therefore I reckoned by spending the £90 on the premium account, I could actually save £27 compared to buying the Halifax Travel Insurance separately and adding home emergency cover to our building insurance.
Fortunately I did a bit more research and it came to light that Travel Disruption Cover is only included as standard in standalone travel insurance policies, not in the annual insurance cover that comes with the Halifax Ultimate Reward Current account.
I also read that the maximum payable on the Home Emergency cover that’s included with the Halifax premium account was £250 when the limit was £500 with my home insurance cover. I observed that the limit is also £500 in the standalone Halifax home insurance.
Then I read that the monthly charge for the Halifax Ultimate Reward Current Account charge was increasing to £17.50 a month from September 2011.
I’m sticking with my Halifax Reward Current Account, where I receive a £5 reward every month if I pay in at least £1000 and forgetting about upgrading to the Ultimate account.
So the moral of the story; you really need to do some digging to check out exactly what you’re getting when you pay for a premium account. It’s not just about saving money, it’s about getting the right level of cover too. In my opinion the premium current account perks shouldn’t be diluted versions of their standard policies. I’ve written how I think banks could impove their premium current accounts.