If you’ve booked concert or theatre tickets on the Ticketmaster website, you may have noticed a small box hovering above the ‘submit order’ button as you’re about to pay.
The writing is so small you need a magnifying glass to read it. At the bottom there are two tick-boxes with larger lettering.
One, highlighted in grey, reads: ‘Yes, Protect My Ticket Purchase. I confirm that I am a UK resident and that I have read and saved the terms and conditions of the Missed Event Insurance.’ The other, not highlighted, reads ‘No’.
Give us a break: A crackdown on traps hidden in small print is the least Chancellor Philip Hammond can do after pushing up the cost of the insurance you can’t do without
After using my computer’s zoom function, it became clear that by clicking ‘yes’ I was signing up to pay an extra £5.15 per ticket to guarantee a refund in the event of ‘illness, travel delay, jury service and more’.
Welcome to the new world of insurance. These days companies will flog you cover for almost anything; lost car keys, handbags, tickets and stone chips on your car windscreen.
These deals are hugely profitable for insurers and the middlemen who peddle them.
Data from the City watchdog shows that some firms selling key cover get just one claim for every 100 policies, then reject up to one in five of those.
I hope today’s guide will help you say ‘no’ when you want to refuse certain insurances.
A crackdown on traps hidden in small print — billed for today’s Budget — might help. It’s the least Chancellor Philip Hammond can do after pushing up the cost of the insurance you can’t do without.
Car and home premiums will rise by hundreds of pounds this year due to higher taxes and larger injury payouts — and some ordinary working families, to use the Government’s corny term for us, will be tempted to do without.
Before doing anything rash, a good idea is to work out if you could afford the costs yourself.
For example, shelling out for lost keys or a broken boiler would be painful for me, but I’d cut back elsewhere and dip into savings.
By contrast, I’d be up the creek if my house burnt down or the appliances were wrecked in a flood.
When it comes to your life, home and car, good insurance is a must.
For everything else, put some money each month into an emergency savings pot.
You can dip in to it for all unexpected bills — and avoid boosting an insurance company’s bottom line.
Keep an eye out in the Budget today for a reprieve for shopkeepers hit by enormous hikes to property taxes.
It’s been mooted by ministers, and should represent an important victory for Money Mail’s campaign to Save Our Shops.
But while a lifeline for the worst hit should keep stores open for another year, the top prize would be a total review of the way business rates are calculated.
That would safeguard our high streets, B&Bs, pubs and restaurants for a generation.
If Philip Hammond really does have a small pot of cash to play with, he could do worse than scrap the nastiest death taxes. From May, fees will soar for grant of probate — the document that allows you to carry out a relative’s wishes after their death.
And if the deceased owned a £300,000 house, and had a few bob in savings, the cost will rise from a flat-rate of £215 to £1,000.
The fee is £4,000 for estates above £500,000 — not uncommon in the south of England, where property prices have soared — and hits £20,000 for estates above £2 million.
These fees cover a bit of paperwork by a clerk, which means this is a tax raid, plain and simple, and should be abandoned.
Meanwhile, the amount you can give away each year free of inheritance tax has been frozen at £3,000 since 1981. It would be £11,000, had it risen with inflation.
Gifts are exempt from tax if you live seven years after making them. Why not increase the allowance to £11,000, and cut the exemption to three years?
Come on Mr Hammond, show you really are on the side of ordinary working families.