Wednesday 24 January 2018

Health insurance

Unless you've been bitten by a radioactive spider, which can be rather nasty, health insurance is slightly less interesting than watching paint dry. Until this week. There's the makings of a price war with the arrival of a new kid in town. Glohealth -- despite the stupid name -- looks like really shaking up the market with some way cleverer and cheaper deals for consumers. We've gone for a pretty slick level of cover for two adults and two kids, totted up by HIA.

Best: Glohealth Better -- €2,490 per year

Avoid: Aviva Level 2 -- €3,128

Saving: €638

contact: or 1890 781 781

Savings accounts

EBS is the latest bank to cut its savings rates for customers. Thanks a million but at least savers can actually get their money unlike the poor sods at Ulster Bank. The great customer squeeze gets worse with the amount banks take from you in interest, fees and charges rises, while the amount you get back shrinks. There'll be bumper bonuses for the lads at the top soon. For €30,000 locked away for one year on a 12-month fixed rate.

Best: KBC 12-month fixed -- 4.10 per cent

Avoid: Rabodirect 12-month fixed -- 0.75 per cent

Saving: €1,005 in interest

contact: or 01 664 6000

Airport parking

There's something rather odd happening out in Dublin Airport. Instead of a vicious price war where customers actually benefit from competition to offer the cheapest prices both of the big operators -- Dublin Airport and Quickpark -- are offering the exact same price for two weeks' parking. It's €50 for two weeks at the end of July in Quickpark and in the cheapest Dublin Airport Red car park. Hardly competition at work. The best deals are in the long-term car parks and have to be booked online. Nearby hotels can be cheaper but there's extra hassle for transits. For two weeks at the end of July.

Best: DAA Red/Quickpark -- €50

Avoid: Dublin Airport Short term -- €139.30

Saving: €89.30

contact: or

Telly with Sky Sports

UPC has whacked up its charges again with €2 extra per month on the basic telly package and a 23 per cent hike in the monthly charge for people who don't pay by direct debit. For all the Sky Sports stations and ESPN with the fairly basic normal telly package. Sky's mid level package has 91 stations jam packed with rubbish, while UPC has 90 stations of similar grim quality.

Best: UPC -- €66.13 per month

Avoid: Sky Sports -- €67

Saving: €10.44 per year

contact: or 1890 940 624

Bank charges

There are now about 35 million ways a bank can take money from your account in the form of charges or fees. The "Stop Payment Instruction", where you get the bank to stop a cheque or a payment coming out of your account is another sneaky one. Given that it's almost impossible to do anything with your Ulster Bank account anyway, it's a surprise to see the bank having the highest charge. Actually it's not a surprise.

Best: AIB, BOI, NIB -- no stop fee

Avoid: Ulster Bank -- €5.08

Saving: €5.08

contact: local branches

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