Building insurance is compulsory in the UK if you purchase a freehold funded by a mortgage. The insurance policy you purchase covers rebuilding if your house is damaged by fire, for example.
- Aviva: http://www.aviva.co.uk/home/
When you are renting a place, building & content insurance should be included in the rental price. Make sure this is the case and ask for the name of the insurance company, in writing.
Gas & Electricity
Gas and electricity must be paid for on top of your rent. Landlords are not responsible for paying for these services. Companies bill quarterly and a very rough estimate of an average quarterly bill for a one-bedroom apartment is £80 for either gas or electricity, and obviously more for both combined.
British Gas: http://www.britishgas.co.uk; 0800 980 6005
This is the biggest gas provider in London. Make sure to pay your bill on time because excessive debt to this company will result in them installing a pre-paid meter at your residence. This is a huge inconvenience during winter because you will have to go out and find a shop where you can ‘top up’ your card.
If you need to know who provides your home with gas call NationalGrid on 0845 0700 203, they will need your post code and the reference number of your meter.
There are several electricity companies in London. Here are a couple popular ones:
Before you decide on a direct debit, you can visit to compare rates: http://www.moneyexpert.com/. If you decide to remain with the energy provider that was used previously it takes about 2 minutes to get the gas and electricity going; if you are going to change, it can take up to 2-3 weeks. If you don’t know which provider was offering their services, call any on of them and give them the meter serial number. They will then be able to tell you by checking on a system called “ecoes”. Remember to record the meters before using gas and electricity for the first time.
Payment: You will never be asked to pay in advance. A member of staff will come to record your meters every quarter. If you are out when they pass by, the bill will be estimated unless you convey your consumption to them by phone. Some companies offer a discount for paying by direct debit or for prompt payment but you can use internet banking, telephone, bank, post or even pay at the post office. The choice is yours and all choices are indicated on your bill. You will receive a bill each quarter by post. If you are a tenant, unless you have been told to the contrary, you are in charge of paying the bills.
Thames Water: http://www.thameswater.co.uk
Thames Water is the company to call, although often apartments come with this service. Ask your landlord if you need to call Thames. If you have purchased an apartment, call Thames Water and enquire. You will also need to locate the stopcock which regulates the flow of water and can be turned off when needs be.
Payment: You can easily pay by cash, cheque, postal order, debit or credit card, over the phone or online. If you would prefer to spread the costs over the year, you have the option of paying in installments which the company will set up for you. You can also pay at any location displaying the Payzone logo. Not all households have a meter. If you don’t, you will receive a bill twice a year which is the same for all in the area regardless of consumption. Bills will arrive by post on the 1st April and 1st October whether you have a meter or not. When you are moving to a Thames water area (London) you will be asked to register online or by calling the company. If you don’t pay the bill, the water will be cut off and you will be charged to re-install it. This occurs rarely as the water companies do their best to contact the occupier if a bill is unpaid. If you are a tenant, you will need to check your tenancy contract to make sure who is paying the water bills.
Royal Mail: http://www.royalmail.com
Royal Mail delivers mail every day but Sunday. Post offices around the capital are generally open 9am – 6pm weekdays and 9am – 12pm on Saturdays. Different branches might have different opening hours. There is no specific procedure to begin receiving mail. Just give your new address to the gas and energy companies you have selected. If you move addresses, Royal Mail has a forwarding service starting at £21 per quarter.
DHL is a trusted name in the UK and offers UK domestic next day, international express and more. Ship your stuff across the world or just to Manchester. Next-day delivery to the US is available for all your business needs. Prices are average.
UPS ships worldwide. Whether it’s clothing or documents, contact UPS if you want prompt service. Prices are average.
The reality of relocating starts here, choosing the right moving company is essential. Start choosing your company early since it could take up to 4 weeks for your belongings to arrive to your new home. Regulatory bodies such ad FIDI will help you find reliable moving companies: http://www.fidi.org/. Look out for the following quality accreditation ISO 9002 and FAIM which will guarantee high standards of quality and service.
Then, use a reliable comparison sites such as http://www.oneentry.com/ will help with quotes. Get as many quotes as you can and choose which one offers the most cost-effective solution. You can then cross reference the results with the FIDI finds from above. Any company should be part of a network of companies affiliated with international organisations such as FIDI, HHFGAA, AMSA, LACMA.
The company checks the volume to remove, fragile items and items of value are listed and a quote presented accordingly.