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Insurance guide

6 things to consider when buying mortgage protection insurance

6 things to consider when buying mortgage protection insurance
Rob Flynn

Rob Flynn

Staff Writer

Mortgage protection insurance is often one of the last things mortgage seekers think about when applying for a mortgage, but there's more to it than just price.

Embarking on your first mortgage journey can be a long road. From saving for a deposit to choosing between a fixed or variable rate, there are a lot of steps along the way and things to consider before you can finally settle down.

One of the most important stepping stones to navigate when buying your first home is purchasing mortgage protection insurance, which is compulsory for most home buyers in Ireland.

We know how costly securing your first home can be but buying mortgage protection shouldn’t be all about price as there are a number of other important factors to consider.

1. Type of cover

Mortgage protection is a form of life insurance. It pays off the outstanding balance on your mortgage should one of you pass away before it's fully repaid.

If you're getting a mortgage by yourself then you will take out a single policy. If you're buying with your partner then you'll have a choice of either joint cover or dual cover.  

A joint mortgage protection policy covers both you and your partner and will pay off the remainder of your mortgage should one of you pass away. The policy will then cease.

Dual mortgage protection on the other hand will not only pay out when the first policyholder passes away but will also allow the policy to continue and pay out again if the second person were to die during the term of the policy also. For this reason dual policies are usually slightly more expensive than joint policies but sometimes not by very much.

2. Who to buy it from

When taking out a mortgage in Ireland most lenders will have their own insurance product which they will offer you. However banks and lenders are tied to only one insurer and will not be able to compare the whole market to find you the best deal.

As a consumer you are under no obligation, as convenient as it may be, to buy mortgage protection from your lender.

As a rule of thumb, it is usually cheaper to look elsewhere for cover and we would always advise first-time buyers to shop around before signing up to the first offer they receive, especially when it's possible to get a better deal elsewhere.

Using an insurance broker like bonkers.ie can be one of the easiest ways to compare mortgage protection cover across multiple insurers in order to get the best value and you can run a comparison in only a couple of minutes. With our team of in-house insurance specialists we can even get you covered in under one hour when you apply with us online.

3. Whether to include serious illness cover

Taking out a standard mortgage protection policy will ensure your mortgage is paid off in the event of your untimely passing. However, it won’t provide you with cover if you are diagnosed with a serious illness, and the mortgage will still need to be paid.

Including serious illness cover as an additional level of protection will ensure a tax-free lump sum is paid out if you are diagnosed with a specified serious illness before your mortgage is fully repaid. Although serious illness cover is not a requirement, it can often be an extra comfort and form of security for those buying their first home.

When comparing and applying for mortgage protection insurance, always get a second quote which includes serious illness cover on your policy too. With bonkers.ie you can easily do so when comparing the best deals on our website.

4. When to apply

This can depend on a number of different factors, but whatever you do, don’t leave it until the last minute!

As many will know, the mortgage journey can be an exciting and rewarding one, but it can also be relentless, with a lot of time and effort going in to secure a home. That’s why many first-time buyers forget about taking out mortgage protection insurance until the very last minute, despite it being compulsory in most cases.

The best time to apply for mortgage protection is generally between four and six weeks before the official drawdown of your mortgage, especially if you have a medical issue. This is because, in circumstances where an applicant has a medical issue, purchasing cover isn't as quick and easy as getting other types of insurance cover, like home insurance, for example. Your insurer will usually seek a medical report from your doctor or specialist which can often take a number of weeks to arrange, if not longer, depending on the illness. Also, depending on what's in the medical report, further tests and reports may be required.  

However, if you’re in general good health it’s possible to get cover in under one hour with bonkers.ie. This fast turnaround time is possible as all we need is a digital signature to get your policy in place, as quickly as you need it.

5. Does my policy come with guaranteed insurability? 

With this benefit, your insurer guarantees you the right to purchase additional cover in the future without having to undergo a new medical examination or provide evidence of good health.

So how might this benefit me?

Well let's say you and your partner buy a starter home with a mortgage of €200,000 and a mortgage protection policy for the same amount. A few years later you've had kids, moved up in your careers, and want to buy a larger home for around €350,000. When you apply for your mortgage top-up you'll also need to apply for extra life insurance cover. However, you'll need to undergo medical underwriting all over again and if your health has deteriorated in the meantime you could have trouble getting increased cover, meaning you may not get your new mortgage either.    

But with guaranteed insurability you insurer has to give you the extra cover (up to a certain limit, which will be outlined in your policy terms and conditions). 

Guaranteed insurability, which can sometimes go by different names depending on the insurer, comes as standard nowadays with many mortgage protection policies, but it's still a good idea to check if it's included and to verify what amount is covered. 

6. Waiver of premium 

This is another important benefit for you to consider. 

If you're unable to work due to illness or disability, some insurers will pay your mortgage protection premiums for you until you get better and can work again. In other words they'll waive your premium for you. 

The payments aren't started immediately though - you usually need to be unable to work for a period of at least 13 weeks before anything is paid, and with some insurers it's up to 26 weeks. 

Again it's quite common with mortgage protection policies these days but it's always a good idea to check.

Visit our mortgage centre

Wherever you are on your mortgage journey, at bonkers.ie we're here to make it easier.

Whether you're looking to compare mortgages and find the lowest rate or get the best value mortgage protection cover in just seconds, you'll be able to find everything you'll need by visiting our mortgage centre today.

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