Raising children can be expensive, but the insurance profession is on hand to help lower the costs when things go wrong
The overall cost of raising a child is £150,753 for a couple and £183,335 for a lone parent, according to the experts. That is a staggering enough figure, but factor in when something goes wrong and it can skyrocket. And often, the costs come from unexpected quarters.The overall cost of raising a child is £150,753 for a couple and £183,335 for a lone parent, according to the experts. That is a staggering enough figure, but factor in when something goes wrong and it can skyrocket. And often, the costs come from unexpected quarters.
Take the digital world, for example. Many of us rely on our teenagers to help when technology fails in the home and now children are learning to write code from a very young age, so are truly digital natives.
However, that can come with risks which could cost the family dear. A new survey from CovÃ©a reveals that they are exposing themselves to risks that leave them vulnerable to cybercrime and other online dangers, due to the following behaviours:
- They are happy to ignore age restrictions on social media applications and on games in order to gain access
- They know how important passwords are, yet will share passwords with friends, for example to keep a Snapchat streak going
- They will use unsecure public WiFi networks if it means it keeps them connected, such as to continue playing a game or engaging with friends
- They know how to create a secure password but often do not because they are 'hard to remember'
- Some have access to a parent's Amazon account password for shopping and use universal 'family' passwords across different accounts
- They know what hacking is and some have experienced it themselves, but they do not know that computers and bots are used to guess passwords, or how quick and easy it is to do
- They know not to share personal information but will if they want to find out who else is at an event they are attending, for example on Snap Map
- They would not tell a parent if they lost their phone and believe that the information on their phone is safe if it has a secure password
- They know how to edit and readily share photos and videos, but are not all aware that once on social media, they have lost control of the image and it is effectively public property
- They give parents their mobile phone access codes, but not their social media account passwords.
COVERING THE RISK
Generally speaking, cyber policies have been aimed at businesses but increasing numbers of insurers are launching cyber cover for households.
There is clearly a need, with the average number of internet-connected devices per household now standing at more than eight, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Among the options now available, one new helpline offers:
- Immediate steps to be taken in the event of a cyberattack
- What to do to restore the device to the state it was in before the attack
- What to do if subject to a ransomware attack
- Advice on financial losses suffered as a result of a cyberattack.
WHAT IS A PERSONAL CYBER POLICY?
What is a personal cyber policy?What personal cyber insurance can cover includes:
- Hacker attack -- Cover for repair and replacement of the policyholders' computer hardware, software and retrieval of personal data.
- Cyber theft -- Loss of personal funds, personal documents, title deeds, internet data and call charges incurred by the hacker.
- Phishing attack -- For the theft of client funds transferred to a fraudulent account following a phishing attack.
- Cyber extortion -- For a ransom being demanded following a cybercrime.
- Cyber liability -- For financial loss as a result of a client's personal accounts being hacked and them being found guilty of infringing intellectual property rights, transmitting a computer virus or making libellous/slanderous comments.
- Family cover -- In many cases, the cover offered by a personal cybercrime insurance may include other members of the policyholder's family living at the same address.Source: Blackfriars Group
While providing cyber cover to protect the family might sound like a sexier topic, no one should forget the basics.
This is particularly relevant as new research from Metlife shows that more than two out five (41%) parents say they have had to take time off work in the past two years to look after children who have been involved in accidents or are ill; and for one in four (24%), that has involved an overnight stay in hospital or even longer.
The biggest impact is increased stress for parents -- but the research found parents are also suffering financially and at work. Some 36% say they have had to take unpaid leave, while 44% have taken days off as holiday. More than one in five (22%) say it has meant increased costs and expenses. Self-employed parents suffer the most, with 33% saying it has cost them work.
Mothers are more likely to take unpaid leave to care for ill or injured children -- 46% of women have taken time off work without pay, compared to 29% of men.
The survey found 39% of parents are concerned about the financial impact of taking time off to look after injured or ill children, and nearly a third (31%) of all working adults are worried about the potential costs of time off work to look after family members.
Richard Horner, head of individual protection, MetLife UK said: "Everyone needs to consider how they would cope if they have to take time off work, whether it is to look after children or other family members, as the financial impact can be substantial. Strengthening the financial safety net in the event of illness or injury enables families and individuals to concentrate on recovery rather than worrying about money."