Changes to stamp duty and how to winter-proof your home to prevent home insurance claims

Changes to stamp duty

terraced new-build houses

Stamp Duty Land Tax befalls to be paid by those buying a property in the UK over a certain price. As of 4th December 2014, SDLT rates have changed; where, beforehand, they were charged as a single percentage of the price of the property, they are now charged at differing rates according to the portion of the purchase price falling into each rate band.

Previously, the following rates were paid on these different prices of property:

  • Up to 125,000 – 0%
  • £125,000 – £250,000 – 1%
  • £250,000 – £500,000 – 3%
  • £500,000 – £1m – 4%
  • £1m – £2m – 5%
  • £2m and over – 7%

This system was criticised for being too abrupt, forcing buyers to fork out much higher land tax rates if their property even slightly surpassed the next property price band down. The new system will work in a more gradual way, and buyers will be taxed in ‘chunks’. The system’s new rates will work in the following way:

  • The first £125,000 of the value of a property will be tax free
  • Chunk 1 (between £125,000 and £250,000) will be taxed at 2%
  • Chunk 2 (between £250,000 and £925,000) will be taxed at 5%
  • Chunk 3 (anything above £1.5m) will be taxed at 12%

This new system, rather than hitting customers with sudden price jumps in Stamp Duty, will mean anyone buying properties at values less than £937,000 will pay less; a positive outcome for these potential buyers.

How to winter-proof your home to prevent home insurance claims

roof with snow in the gutter

With the coldest season upon us, temperatures are dropping every day, meaning we need to find ways to keep warm, comfortable and stress-free this winter. In order to keep your home insurance claims down this winter, it is important to winter-proof your home, as some insurance firms may be averse to paying out if you could have taken steps to prevent the damage in question from happening. This is something which can be done by taking a number of steps which, though quick and easy, could in fact prove invaluable in eliminating your home insurance claims.

Here are some ways in which you can winter-proof your home this year:

  • Check your roof for signs of breakage, missing roof tiles or possible areas where leaks could get through and cause damage to the inner roof’s structure and condition.
  • Keep an eye out for buildup of debris in your guttering system that could cause blockages, paying extra attention to ends or junctions in the guttering.
  • Shop around for different gas and electricity suppliers if yours are particularly high; as this is the season when these resources will be used more in your household, make sure you are happy with your supplier’s rates.
  • Make sure your boiler is in full working order, and test it out before the coldest months set in; it is far less hassle to get a problem fixed before that freezing cold day, a few weeks down the line when you go to crank up the heating and your boiler doesn’t work properly.
  • On top of your fully-functioning boiler and affordable gas and electricity suppliers, why not improve your house’s insulation through investing in good quality insulation in your roof and walls, or even double-glazing for your windows. Measures like these can reduce the amount spent on heating bills each winter.

As the seasons change, it is always wise to check through your home insurance policy, making sure you are covered for the period ahead.

At The Insurance Store, we are leading insurance brokers for customers in the St Albans and Harpenden region. Providing fantastic customer service to all those looking to take out insurance, whatever the reason, we really are experts in our field. For more information, or to take out a policy with us today, get in touch with our friendly team and let us share our expertise with you and keep you and your home covered this winter with our expert home insurance.