Common mortgage protection insurance questions answered
Sarah Rigney
Staff Writer

We know that mortgage protection insurance can be challenging, so in this guide, we’ve gathered and answered your most frequently asked questions.

This guide is the fourth guide in our five-part series on finding the best value mortgage protection on 

In this article, we aim to remove any confusion surrounding mortgage protection cover by answering the most common questions asked by consumers regarding this type of insurance policy. 

From the different factors that affect the price of your premium, to whether you have to get your policy with your mortgage lender or not, this guide leaves no mortgage protection stone unturned. 

You can find the links for the other guides in the series at the bottom of the piece. 

1. What is mortgage protection insurance?

Mortgage Protection is a decreasing form of life cover, meaning that the cover will decrease in line with your mortgage

Mortgage protection insurance is compulsory and offers peace of mind to the customer, knowing that their loved ones won’t have to pick up their remaining mortgage repayments.

2. What’s the difference between mortgage protection and life insurance?

Life insurance pays out a lump sum should you die during the term of the policy. This sum remains constant and with indexation, it can increase each year to help keep up with inflation.

With mortgage protection, the lump sum decreases each year to broadly match the outstanding balance on your mortgage. This means it tends to be cheaper than life insurance.

3. Is mortgage protection insurance compulsory?

Legally, yes.

However, you will not be legally required to take out a mortgage protection insurance policy if: 

  • The mortgage is not for your primary, private place of living.
  • You already have enough life insurance to pay your mortgage off if you pass away. 
  • You are being charged a much higher premium by insurers than is normal, or you are not being offered a policy at all. 

4. Do I need mortgage protection if I already have life insurance? 

Mortgage protection is designed to pay off your mortgage if you die, not to provide a cash sum to your dependants. 

So you’ll usually need separate life insurance to provide a cash lump sum if you have a dependent family.

You can use an existing life insurance policy if it is equal to the value of your mortgage and runs for the same term.

Should you die before the life insurance policy ends, the mortgage will be cleared and the balance paid to your dependants.

5. How much does mortgage protection cost? 

Mortgage protection insurance in Ireland starts from as little as €10 per month, and a few factors will influence this cost such as:

  • Age: Younger people are more likely to be healthy and so, they will receive a lower premium. 
  • Health: The better your health, the lower your premium. Smoking and alcohol will affect this.
  • Mortgage cost: A more expensive mortgage will make for a more expensive policy.
  • Policy type: Reducing term cover will lower your premium as you pay off your mortgage. A level term policy is more expensive, due to providing the same amount of cover until your mortgage is paid off.
  • Policy length: A longer policy will have a higher premium as the chances of a claim in that time are greater.
  • Single or dual: Single cover is typically the cheaper option, however, if there are two of you on the mortgage, then the dual cover works out cheaper.
  • Features: Serious illness cover will increase the price of your premium as you might be more likely to make a claim.

        6. Where can I buy mortgage protection insurance?

        You can easily purchase a mortgage protection policy on Head over to our mortgage protection comparison tool to get started.

        Read our guide on how to compare and apply for mortgage protection insurance for more information. 

        7. If I quit smoking will my mortgage protection policy be reviewed by my insurer? 

        If you’ve been off cigarettes for at least one year, including nicotine replacement therapies, you can usually apply for non-smoker rates with your insurer. 

        However, you may be asked to take a cotinine test to prove you’re no longer smoking.

        8. Do I have to take out mortgage protection insurance through my bank?

        By law, you’re under no obligation to buy mortgage protection with the same mortgage lender or bank that is giving you your mortgage.

        Lenders will try to sell you their own mortgage protection, however, they are tied to a sole life insurer and can only offer you one price.

        9. When is the right time to apply for mortgage protection?

        Some people forget to apply for mortgage protection insurance when applying for their mortgage. 

        If you don’t have this compulsory insurance secured beforehand, then your mortgage application may be denied. 

        The processing time might take a few weeks to complete so the best time to apply for cover is between four to six weeks before your mortgage's drawdown date.

        As well as that, any medical exams and reports that have been requested by the insurer from your doctor could take a while to be completed and sent over.

        10. Can I switch my mortgage protection policy?


        In fact, we encourage you to shop around if:

        • You’ve had the same policy for at least one year: Premium rates can drop at any time, so you could be overpaying. 
        • You were originally a smoker but not anymore: See question 7 for more information.
        • Your health has improved: If any previous health issues have improved, then you might be eligible for better rates from providers.
        • You want special offers: Insurance providers sometimes make special offers to attract new customers. 

        11. If I sell my house, what happens to my mortgage protection?

        If you decide to sell your home, you must cancel your policy yourself or it will continue to be active and you will keep getting charged for it. 

        It is important to note that the lender cannot cancel your policy for you. 

        When cancelling your mortgage protection insurance, there are a few things you need to know, all of which have been covered in this guide.

        12. How long does mortgage protection take to be approved?

        It depends.

        If you have highlighted some health problems during your application, the provider may request a full medical exam and a doctor's report.  

        This will allow them to determine if you are at a higher or lower risk of making a claim, and adjust the price of your premium. 

        On the other hand, if you are in good health, you could receive cover in as little as one hour.

        13. What is the difference between joint and dual mortgage protection cover? 

        Joint cover will only make a payment when one of two people pass away, the cover will then end. 

        Dual cover will have your provider make two payments if both people pass away. 

        Check out our guide on 6 considerations when buying mortgage protection insurance for more information.

        14. If I have a joint mortgage protection cover and I get divorced, what happens to my cover?

        The joint protection policy will stay in play unless both people confirm in writing that they want to cancel it. 

        Alternatively, payments can be ceased and the policy will be cancelled by the insurer. 

        In cases such as this, most providers do not allow a customer to convert the joint policy into a single cover policy.

        15. Why is the insurance company charging me 6% for my mortgage protection policy?

        Every insurer in Ireland uses a default interest rate of 6% for all customers. 

        If this was not in place, each customer could have a different interest rate depending on their health. 

        So by using a default percentage, all customers can afford to be protected. 

        Compare mortgage protection rates 

        To find the right policy for you, head over to our mortgage protection comparison service, where we compare policy prices and features from Ireland’s leading insurers. 

        Our insurance team is on hand to answer your questions and walk you through the application process. 

        Did you know that you can also compare the best mortgage rates on too? You’ll also need home insurance in order to get your mortgage approved. 

        Our other comparison tools will help you to compare the best deals from broadband, banking, energy, and insurance providers. 

        Take a look at the other guides in the series

        To discover more information about mortgage protection and to learn how to apply for cover on our site, check out our other guides. 

        For more information on mortgages, check our blog and guides

        Get in touch

        If you have questions regarding mortgage protection insurance, our team of qualified advisors are here to help.

        Send us your questions on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and our team will get back to you.