Finance

Couple going through bills. See PA Feature FINANCE Finance Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FINANCE Finance Column.
Couple going through bills. See PA Feature FINANCE Finance Column. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FINANCE Finance Column.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and many of us are busy preparing for that perfect love-filled day.

Perhaps a proposal is on the cards, or a surprise getaway, or even a wedding.

With all that romance around, thoughts of protecting your finances may be the last thing on your mind, but remember big romantic gestures can put more than your heart at risk.

From ruined surprises to engagement rings going AWOL, the Financial Ombudsman Service, which steps in when consumers cannot come to an agreement with a particular firm, sees all manner of problems.

Last year, the ombudsman received around 200 complaints from couples after a money mishap spoiled their plans.

And with the average wedding now said to cost upwards of £20,000, there’s a lot at stake financially if something does go wrong.

Engagement rings.

Whether your plans involve going down on bended knee or popping the ring into a glass of champagne, make sure it’s insured. As soon as you have the ring, check with your insurer how to cover it. It may need to be listed separately on your policy.

But even the best laid plans can go awry. The ombudsman dealt with a complaint from a “Mr W” who bought his girlfriend a diamond ring for a Valentine’s Day proposal. Before proposing, he added the ring to the insurance - and the insurance company agreed to his request not to send any paperwork about this until after Valentine’s Day, so that the surprise for his intended bride wouldn’t be spoiled. But a couple of days later, Mr W’s girlfriend arrived home first, and opened information which had been sent on the change to the policy, including the new ring being added. The ombudsman awarded £150 for the impact of the insurer’s actions in ruining the surprise.