Your Questions: We're off on a cruise, but do we need extra insurance cover?
Question: A few months ago I booked a five-week Mediterranean cruise as an anniversary gift for myself and my husband. I decided not to opt in to the insurance add-on on the booking form as we already have annual multi-trip holiday insurance. The trip is in July and I am getting worried that I might not be fully covered for the specifics of a cruise. Will I need to arrange separate cover, or a policy add-on?
Answer: The first thing to do would be to check your policy document to see what you are actually covered for, or give your insurer a call.
Standard multi-trip policies will cover a lot of the general misfortune that can happen on holidays such as flight cancellation or delays, lost baggage, medical assistance, or personal accident, according to Deirdre McCarthy of Insuremyholiday.ie.
However, there are a range of scenarios specific to cruise holidays that can be supported by a policy add-on from your broker. This might include a missed cruise departure, "stranded ashore" cover, and "missed shore" compensation if illness prevents you from going ashore, which are features that a standard policy often may not include. Cruise cover will also cover the longer time frame that is part and parcel of a cruise holiday.
A key benefit of purchasing additional cruise cover is that it offers cover for senior travellers and tends to be more accommodating towards pre-existing medical conditions. When it comes to health, there are some additional considerations at sea that don't figure on dry land. As a precaution, Ms McCarthy advises you to communicate any relevant health issues to staff at the beginning of the trip, so they will be best-placed to help out in the case of any difficulty.
Question: My wife and myself have been married for six years but we never got assessed for tax as a married couple. I make about €31,000 a year and my wife is now part-time after having a baby, working just three days a week, on around €16,000 a year. Is there any advantage in being jointly assessed, or should I take some of my wife tax credits?
Answer: Married people can potentially make a saving only where a couple are taxed at different rates and one spouse could benefit from the unused standard rate cut-off point or for some of the unused tax credits of the other spouse, according to Eileen Devereux, commercial director at Taxback.com.
When you get married, it is important to advise the tax office of the date of your marriage. The joint assessment option is usually the most favourable basis of assessment for a married couple or civil partners.
This option is automatically given by the tax office when you advise them of your marriage or civil partnership, but this does not prevent you from choosing any of the other two options (married single and married separately assessed).
Under this option, the tax credits and standard rate cut-off point can be allocated between spouses to suit their own circumstances.
If only one spouse/civil partner has taxable income, all tax credits and the standard rate cut-off point will be given to the spouse/civil partner with the income. If both of you have taxable income, you can decide which of you is to be the assessable spouse/nominated civil partner. You then ask the tax office to allocate the tax credits and standard rate cut-off point between you in whatever way you wish.
To ascertain whether or not savings can be made in your case we need to establish the standard rate cut-off points for 2018. But as neither of you are paying tax at the higher rate, there will be no incentive to share any unused standard rate tax band.
Question: A customer service agent from my bank has suggested I take out life cover, but I am single and I don't see the point. I have life cover on my mortgage. Should I consider it or is it just a sales pitch?
Answer: You are correct, all life cover will do is provide for someone else, said Mike Knightson of kmfinancial.ie. But there are two types of policies that you could consider, income protection and/or specified serious illness cover.
They both work in different ways but provide benefits to you, not your estate.
Income protection provides you with an income, if you meet various conditions, after a deferred period to a future specified age, normally your retirement date. Specified illness cover is a type of cover that pays out a tax-free lump sum in the event that you suffer a full or partial specified serious illness (also called critical illness cover).
Given increasing life expectancy, it is more probable that you would suffer a specified serious illness before retirement than die.
The joint assessment option is usually the most favourable basis of assessment for a married couple or civil partners.
There are a range of scenarios specific to cruise holidays that can be supported by a policy add-on that you can get from your broker.