News & Insight

Our expert views and commentary on what’s happening in the world of mortgages and sometimes beyond, along with our regular summary of what the papers say.

Let the taxman help pay for your life cover.

If you own a small business there could be a smarter way to buy life insurance. With a relevant life policy the business makes the payments rather than the person who is covered....

Who is responsible for a mortgage after death?

Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult enough, and trying to get your head around the financial side of things (like their mortgage) can make things even more complicated.I’ve published this post to help you understand how the mortgage may be handled following the death of a partner or spouse.Even so, it’s important to note that there are lots of other things to consider and every situation is different.If you’re not yet at a stage wh...

How to work out mortgage repayments - and why you should before buying your first home

One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen buyers make over the years is not working out how much their mortgage repayments will be before they go looking at properties.One of the most common things that a lot of first time buyers do is fall head-over-heels in love with a property without considering all the factors involved; like interest rates, charges, legal fees or their monthly outgoings.Buying a house is probably going to be the biggest purchase...

Life insurance companies make further improvements to critical illness cover

In a little over a month,  LV=,  Zurich and Aviva have all made further improvements to their critical illness policies in an effort to stay ahead of the game and gain meaningful share of the critical illness market.   These are the latest in a series of changes to critical illness insurance in recent years and it is important to understand which changes provide relevant benefits to a significant number of people, as opposed to those that have en...

Buying a protection policy online may have pitfalls

A recent poll by The Protection Review showed that 62% of advisers have concerns about the emerging execution only protection market where clients select and buy their own life insurance on line. The availability of online policies is intended to make the protection market more accessible, allowing individuals to buy policies without advice and help bridge the frequently talked about ‘protection gap’. However, with growing complexity of policies ...

Hello, Goodbye

Surely only the hardest of hearts will ever forget the trauma of New Year’s Eve 2011, when the peaceful village of Ambridge was rocked by the first squalls of new-born Henry, and the ungodly shriek of Nigel Pargetter plummeting to a presumably sticky end.Nor indeed are we likely to forget the outstanding gaffe of the Archer’s Editor revealing on the Today programme that Nigel’s cliffhanger, um, wasn’t – giving the game away with words to the eff...

The cost of a child continues to climb

The average cost of raising a child has risen to £222,458 according to research just published by life insurance company, LV=. The cost, which covers the period from birth to the age of 21, includes education, although not the cost of private school which would add a further  £100k-£200k depending on whether the child boards.The survey breaks down the cost by age and spending category.  The university years are, not surprisingly, the most expensi...

Post G-day Life Insurance Pricing

21st December 2012 has been and gone, and contrary to the Mayan calendar the world did not come to an end, unlike gender specific pricing for insurance, which has now been consigned to history.  So what does this mean for the cost of life insurance cover going forward?   On the whole, prices have increased, but the size of the increase varies depending on your age, sex, type of cover you are looking for and whether or not you are a smoker. For e...

Life Insurance with Added Extras

Life insurance is regularly purchased on the basis of which insurer can offer the cheapest rate for the cover required; after all, there is only one circumstance when the policy will pay out, which is the death of the policy holder.  However, there are some extra features that can add real value to a life policy which it would be sensible to consider at the point of purchase. Flexibility Flexibility is a key component of any policy. Most people w...

Act now to beat G-Day price hikes

Many of us will have already heard about the Gender Directive in the press (or seen it on our website!) but how many of us have really sat up and taken notice. This European Directive will see the use of gender as a factor in setting insurance premiums prohibited.  This will take effect from 21st December and will affect all types of insurance including life insurance.  From that point on insurers will have to price male and female policies at th...

Availability of new lifesaving childhood cancer treatment could be a postcode lottery.

A frightening story for all parents appeared on the BBC news website this morning.  The news that whilst a pioneering, life saving cancer treatment has been developed for neuroblastoma, one of the deadliest forms of childhood cancer, it is not available for all. At a cost of £65,000 per child, some NHS primary care trusts are funding it, whilst others are saying no. This can leave parents in a desperate situation trying to raise the money through...

Just 3 months to go before gender neutral pricing of insurance comes into force.

The EU Gender Directive will come into force on the 21st December 2012 (G day), which along with a raft of other tax and legislative changes, will lead to increases in the price of some protection insurance.  The Directive will make it illegal for insurers to charge different insurance premiums on the basis of gender, which means that women, who at present typically benefit from lower life insurance premiums than men, should be prepared for a ri...

What the papers say – 15th and 16th September 2012

Continuing on from last week’s news of Government intentions to relax planning laws, the Telegraph and Sunday Times both reported on the reality of trying to raise the extra finance via the mortgage. Tighter lending criteria and lower property valuations could push a borrower into a higher loan-to-value bracket – which in turn could increase the rate, but could also make it difficult to raise any money at all. If a borrower already has a flexible...

Latest statistics confirm over 90% of critical illness insurance claims are paid

Latest critical illness claims statistics from the major life insurers have revealed that the vast majority of claims are successfully being paid. This is contrary to the often held negative view of critical Illness policies, as it is often the “bad news” cases which are declined that are reported in the press.Critical illness policies provide a tax free cash payment to the policy holder upon diagnosis of specified serious illnesses, providing fi...

81% of women unaware of impending rise in life and critical illness insurance cost

We carried out a survey recently which revealed that more than 80% of women are completely unaware of the forthcoming introduction of the European Gender Directive this year.It may sound very technical but the Directive, which comes into force on 21st December, will have a very real impact on the cost of life insurance. In a nutshell, the Directive prohibits insurers from pricing premiums based on gender, which means that companies will be forced...

Thirty Per Cent in the UK have no Protection

Recent figures suggest that 30% of all adults in the UK are uninsured against death, critical illness, and loss of income through accident, sickness and redundancy.  The poll of more than 2000 people for unbiased.co.uk also found that 8% have either cut back or stopped taking out insurance cover in the last 12 months.The tough economic climate is of course leading many to cut back on expenditure and make savings wherever possible.  However, allow...

Cost of raising a child in excess of £218,000

The most recent report from LV= shows that the cost of raising a child has increased by more than 3% in the last year.  The total cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 21 is now measured at an eye-popping £218,024.The biggest factors in the cost are education and childcare amounting to more than £71,000 and £62,000 respectively.  In fact education saw the biggest annual increase of 5%, with school uniforms, after school clubs and not l...

You’ve never had it so good

That is, it’s never been such a good time to buy life insurance. Rates have fallen in recent years as advancements in medical science have helped people live longer. However, the falling trend in rates could be about to end as two factors are likely to impact on the cost of this all-important cover.Firstly, the use of gender in determining prices for life insurance policies will not be permitted from 21st December 2012 following a ruling from the...

What the papers say- 5th and 6th November 2011

The Bank of Mum and Dad is still a necessity for many First Time Buyers, and the Telegraph reported this weekend on the number of mortgage deals which now allow parents to use equity in their own home rather than having to find money for a deposit. Experts suggested that these types of deal would appeal to those who aren’t ‘cash-rich’ but still wish to help. Family offset mortgages were also discussed as a good alternative, as parents can use the...

L&C scoops life insurance award at the Cover Excellence Awards

We’re delighted to have picked up a new life insurance award last night at the Cover Excellence Awards in London where L&C was named Protection Intermediary of the Year.The annual awards, hosted by Cover Magazine, aim to reward the achievements of those in the health and life insurance industry.  This is the first time L&C has won the award and it follows our position as a finalist in the Best Protection Adviser category at the Money mark...

On your lender’s SVR? Make sure you review your mortgage

Whilst the Bank of England Base Rate has been at 0.5% for 30 months, not all mortgage rates are as mouth-wateringly low. Many lenders’ Standard Variable Rates (SVRs) are now between 4% and 6% - well above the current crop of best buy deals, meaning you could save a lot by remortgaging.If you are currently on your lender’s SVR, check the rate you are paying and then use our 1 minute mortgage check calculator to see if we think you can access a bet...

Research highlights shortfall in life cover to pay off mortgages

New research from Gocompare.com, one of the UK’s leading price comparison sites, has revealed that 1.5million households in the UK may have insufficient life insurance cover to pay off their mortgage if either partner were to die.In the survey of 3,000 Brits, only a quarter said they had sufficient financial protection and savings to clear the mortgage and other debts in the event of their death, and 17% of those surveyed said they had concerns a...

Cancer Rate Rising in Middle Aged

Recent figures from Cancer Research indicate that the incidence of cancer in the middle aged has risen by more than 20% in a generation.  Its findings indicate that 44,000 Britons were developed cancer in 1979 compared with 61,000 in 2008.This large increase is put down in part to the better screening for the disease, which means that more cases are diagnosed and at an earlier stage.  However, other lifestyle issues such as obesity and alcohol co...

Over half of UK adults have no life insurance

Over half of UK adults (56%) have no life insurance according to a new report from Scottish Widows. The research, as part of Scottish Widows’ Consumer Protection Report, estimated that 28 million people in the UK do not have any life insurance in place to protect their loved ones if something were to happen to them.The report, which polled 5,148 UK adults, highlighted common themes regarding people’s perception of life cover and in particular the...

UPDATED: European decision could increase life insurance costs

A decision tomorrow by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on whether charging different premiums to men and women is against discrimination laws could have a significant impact on the UK insurance market and the premiums charged to customers on products such as car and life insurance.The European Gender Directive prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in relation to the supply of goods and services.  However, an article in the Directive...

One in eight women will develop breast cancer, charity says

The lifetime risk of getting breast cancer has risen over the last decade from one woman in nine to one in eight, according to new figures from Cancer Research UK. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and it has been on the rise for several years.  Figures taken from the Office of National Statistics show that in 1999, 42,400 women were diagnosed with the disease – in 2008 that number increased to 47,700. The biggest rise in rates ...

What the papers say- 22nd and 23rd January 2011

Soaring inflation and subsequent predictions for an interest rate rise were the themes of this weekend’s financial press, with experts in the Telegraph, Guardian and Sunday Mirror urging borrowers to act quickly and secure a good deal before it is too late. Mortgage lenders last week rushed to withdraw their best rates and more are expected to follow this week, so anyone with a high loan to value or concerned about their ability to repay should c...

Half of UK adults have no life insurance

More than half of adults in the UK do not have life insurance according to new research from Barclays.  The survey found that only 46.1 per cent of people have life insurance and just 13.7 per cent have critical illness cover, which pays out on diagnosis of a specified illness. This lack of cover highlights the country’s protection gap (the difference between the cover we have and the cover we actually need) which is estimated to be around £2.4t...

Cutting costs? Think twice before cutting your life insurance

With the prospect of spending and job cuts on the horizon, many people will be reviewing their finances at the moment and looking at ways to cut their costs and outgoings.Decent savings can potentially be made on things like your mortgage, utilities and mobile phone and sometimes one or two of life’s little luxuries need to be sacrificed.  However, it’s often life insurance that many people feel they could do without and L&C is urging people ...

Nearly one in two mortgages not protected by life insurance

Nearly one in two mortgage holders do not have life insurance to protect their mortgage, according to a new survey from Sainsbury’s Finance.  It also found a 47% increase in mortgages not covered by life insurance since it carried out a similar survey in 2006.Overall, the data show that over 7.1million people, with a total mortgage debt of £318 billion, have no life cover in place to protect their home loan.  The supermarket bank highlights the s...

New £600m cancer drug fund announced by DoH

The Department of Health has announced a new £600 million Cancer Drugs Fund – aimed at giving cancer patients greater access to cancer drugs that their doctors recommend for them. £200 million a year in funding will be available for cancer drugs from April 2011 to the end of 2013 in a move that the Government hopes will “help thousands of patients get increased access to innovative new cancer drugs that extend life or improve quality of life.” ...

What the papers say - 12th and 13th June 2010

This weekend’s financial press carried a warning to homeowners to prepare for a double dip in house prices this year due to a lack of mortgage funding, an expected rise in Capital Gains Tax (CGT) and looming interest rate increases. The Times and Independent on Sunday predicted further mortgage rationing as lenders are forced to repay their Government support loans, and urged borrowers to consider remortgaging now while rates remain low. On a pos...

What the papers say- 31st March 2010

The Daily Mail reported today that high street banks are charging borrowers twice as much for life insurance as they would pay if they bought independently. Experts expressed shock at the difference in cost for what is essentially a straightforward policy where the main factor is price, and consumers were urged to shop around rather than taking a policy through their bank or lender for convenience. The Daily Express also looked at life insurance,...

Our Survey Results

A big thank you to all of you who completed last month’s survey on the subject of your finances in 2009. Many of the results reflected the current economic climate of low interest rates, unstable banks and falling house prices. We asked people how they have used, or plan to use, any savings made from falling mortgage repayments.  For many people, overpayments on the mortgage take priority over building up savings.  From the feedback, it’s also cl...

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