Buying a family home is a time when many people begin thinking about taking out a life insurance policy to go along with it. A mortgage is very often the most significant financial decision that any individual makes, and it is always prudent to find a way of protecting your mortgage, to ensure that your loved ones will not suffer financially from the loss of your income if you should die. A carefully-chosen life insurance policy is an ideal method of achieving this protection.
Level Term and Decreasing Term Life Cover
The most common way of protecting your mortgage is to purchase term life assurance. Selecting life cover for mortgage protection requires making a choice between two different types of insurance-level term and decreasing term insurance.
If you purchase level term life cover, the amount you are insured for remains constant over the life of the policy. With a decreasing term policy, on the other hand, the size of the potential pay-out decreases as the mortgage is paid off. Regardless of which type you choose, the policy ends automatically if a claim is made, or when the mortgage is paid in full.
The Cost of Mortgage Life Insurance
The cost of mortgage life cover depends on several factors. The most important determinant of the cost of the policy is the terms and conditions of your mortgage-the amount you borrow, and the amount of time you’ll require to pay the mortgage in full. As will all types of life cover, the cost also depends on your lifestyle, age, and physical health. Lastly, the type of policy you choose-level term or decreasing term insurance-also affects the cost.
In most cases, level term mortgage cover is more expensive than the decreasing term variety. This is because with decreasing term insurance, the size of the pay-out decreases over time, so the overall cost of premiums is reduced to reflect that. Because all other aspects of these two types of policies are more or less equal-in both cases, the mortgage is fully paid in the event of a claim being made-the type of insurance you get will typically depend on how much you can afford.
Level term cover does offer one advantage that decreasing term insurance does not. Because the size of the pay-out is constant over the life of the policy, your dependents will benefit from increased financial security if there is money left over after the mortgage has been paid. For this reason, level term insurance should be your goal if it’s affordable. This type of insurance provides another advantage if you have an interest-only mortgage, as your repayments increase over time, and equity is slow to build-a level term mortgage can provide increased financial security in this case.
Two other important decisions to make are whether to choose joint insurance or two separate policies for you and your partner, and whether or not to purchase additional critical or terminal illness cover. Some policies may include this coverage automatically, and some don’t, so it’s always important to read the fine print and make sure you understand what you’re covered for. By the same token, a joint policy isn’t always the best solution, even for a married couple, so it’s equally important to check investigate all your available options thoroughly before deciding between joint and separate policies.