Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Drop in protection cover leaves mortgage holders exposed | Financial Reporter

Drop in protection cover leaves mortgage holders exposed | Financial Reporter

Scottish Widows warns that an increasing number of mortgage holders are financially exposed as levels of protection cover drop.
Around 14.5 million UK adults over 18 have a mortgage but only 50% hold life cover. Those who don’t could be at risk of losing their home if the unforeseen were to happen.

This is set against a backdrop where nearly a fifth (19%) of mortgage holders said they had no idea how they would cover their household bills if they or their partner were unable to work due to incapacity, serious illness, an accident or death. A further 48% said their savings would last just a couple of months at the most.

Mortgage holders are also at risk of over-estimating the support they would receive from other sources, including their employer and the state. Sixty-four percent believe their employer will pay them either a full salary or a full salary followed by a partial salary if they are off work for a long term.  The reality is that people may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay at £87.55 for up to 28 weeks.  Employees may also be entitled to Occupational Sick Pay, a payment made over the level of SSP, dependent on a company’s policy and often their length of service.
This situation is compounded by reported household expenditure for this group increasing by over £65 a month in the last year. Mortgage holders now spend an average of £1,393 each month on household costs, compared to £1,326 in 2013.  Financial resilience could further be impacted if interest rates rise, potentially pushing an increasing number of mortgage holders into severe difficulty, including a high number of first-time buyers who have never experienced a rise in rates.

Protection cover amongst mortgage holders has dropped since last year with only 50% currently owning life insurance, compared to 54% in 2013.  Furthermore, just 17% of mortgage holders have critical illness cover, down from 20% in 2013 and 7% hold income protection, a drop of 3% since last year, according to the latest Protection Report from Scottish Widows.

Richard Jones,Director, Annuities, Bancassurance and Protection, Scottish Widows said: 

“Protecting a home is about protecting a way of life that encompasses family, community and often a business. With this in mind, the impact of losing a home could be even greater than we initially realise. Whilst affordability cannot be ignored, people with mortgages do need to review and develop a more robust plan to ensure they are protected should the unforeseen happen. It’s all about making sure you have the right cover at the right time of your life, giving people the peace of mind that their families will be able to keep their home and be financially covered come what may."

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