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Global Warming: Why Consumers and Insurers Are Getting Hot Under the Collar Over Life Insurance.

Global warming may have been lurking on our horizon for a number of years and historical records of terrorists have existed for thousands of years, but we are coming into a new age where we try and financially protect ourselves against such problems and if we're honest ? we're struggling.

The recent terrorism attacks in London brought home the fragility of human life to many Brits, who had previously been able to distance themselves from terrorist activity. For the partners and offspring of city workers, the fragility of their finances also became apparent with the potential loss of a loved one alongside the loss of future income and possibly the family home.

It is widely agreed that most life insurance policies should cover acts of terrorism, though most websites (including the Association of British Insurers) do state that you should always, always read the small print, as there may be insurer-specific exemption clauses. It will be interesting to see what effect terrorism has on life insurance applications and whether there's a rise in consumer interest as a result of terrorist attacks.

Certainly the indication so far is that life insurance applications will be treated quickly and sympathetically in the event of a terrorist attack, reiterated by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and Ginger Applegarth of MSN Money who stated that for insurers "to back out of paying a claim now would be considered unpatriotic and a marketing disaster." In Applegarth's column, she includes an "insurance checklist" of the very basics that you have to do when making a life insurance claim. She also states that insurers paid out almost $3 billion after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

It isn't just your life insurance that can encompass a terrorism related clause. Travel insurance and property insurance can also contain terrorism related options. The website states clearly that "household, buildings and contents policies include damage by fire, explosion or impact, whether caused accidentally, through the malicious act of an individual criminal or in an act of terrorism." The costs and extent of cover will vary, so shop around and read the terms and conditions very carefully.

Contamination cover is singled out by ABI as a contentious issue and apparently has been a standard exclusion on household policies since the 1960s, due the potential scale of claims, as many homes could be affected by a single incident.

Cover against terrorism is also available for businesses, typically as an extension to property cover. Commercial property terrorism cover is typically allocated on an "All Risk" capacity, encompassing biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear contamination, as well as interruption to the business. Commercial property cover does not include electronic or internet related risks or hoaxes.

Other life insurance exemptions may include lifelong illnesses such as diabetes and epilepsy. Lifestyle habits such as smoking may or may not invalidate a life insurance application, but they will make it more expensive. Always get your medical records assembled before you apply for life insurance, as this will save time and possibly money as well. Once this information is assembled, you can begin assembling some personal quotes through life insurance comparison sites such moneynet ( ) or UpMyStreet ( ).

About Rachel:

Rachel is a straight talking little lady who lives in the Scottish hills.

Rachel also writes for the personal finance blog Cashzilla: a wee bit of banter on finance related issues.

Phone: 0131 561 2251

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