Don’t get stung on car insurance

Tim Bennett rounds up this week’s personal finance news, including the four car insurance-boosters to beware, recycling the winter fuel allowance and the latest headline-grabbing savings accounts.

Car insurance bills only ever seem to rise. So it pays to know what factors have the biggest impact on your premium, says Kara Gammell in The Telegraph. First, there's unemployment: lose your job and your premium could soar too. The second threat is a poor credit history. Thirdly, charity work can be a problem watch for policies that class driving while on charity work as "business use".

The fourth premium booster is a failure to disclose past convictions. It's easy to forget those three points for speeding from a few years back, but you will be hit hard if an insurer finds out that you failed to declare them. Lastly, think hard before fitting those alloy wheels. Modifications, unless they are security related, can push up your premium.

Ryanair credit card customers have just lost their biggest perk, says Miles Brignall in The Guardian. Customers who signed up to side-step the usual £6 charge for paying with another credit card will no longer get this benefit from December 1. It may not sound like much, but £6 per person per flight adds up to £48 for a family of four on a return journey.

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Well-off pensioners who don't really need their winter fuel allowance are being encouraged to recycle' it to someone more needy. The Surviving Winter campaign is being co-ordinated by Saga and the Community Foundation Network. 20,000 pensioners were helped last year.

The latest headline-grabbing savings accounts from the Cheshire and Derbyshire Building Societies come with some conditions, says Lee Boyde on The savings rate is 5% but to get it you must pay in £100 to £500 a month until 31 January 2014.

You can only make one withdrawal and miss one deposit. You also have to bank in branch, although you don't need a linked current account to qualify. If you have a lump sum to pay in you can do better elsewhere, but for regular savers both accounts are worth a look.

Tim graduated with a history degree from Cambridge University in 1989 and, after a year of travelling, joined the financial services firm Ernst and Young in 1990, qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1994.

He then moved into financial markets training, designing and running a variety of courses at graduate level and beyond for a range of organisations including the Securities and Investment Institute and UBS. He joined MoneyWeek in 2007.