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Home, buildings and critical illness protection: Do you have enough?

If you’re not fully covered when it comes to protecting your home and health then you’re not alone. A recent UK survey carried out by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) confirmed there’s a worrying lack of cover for the things that matter most to people with people leaving themselves and their families exposed should the unforeseen happen.

The ABI report found one in four people have no home insurance in place, and one in three homeowners have no buildings protection. When you consider recent research by HSBC, which revealed the average home insurance claim is £3,266 – it’s not everyone who has sums like that to hand quickly.

And getting things sorted quickly is one of the main reasons people are cautious about taking insurance, mistakenly believing it can be a hard, slow process to make a claim. In actual fact, most people with cover enjoy a swift, hassle-free compensation recovery process. HSBC research shows 40% of claims paid out take just one phone call.


Playing with fire

It was the statistics surrounding critical illness and life insurance cover which were most alarming to me, as head of products at first direct. No-one likes to think about this kind of thing, with the data indicating that many homeowners seem to put this type of policy on the back-burner, or fail to renew their policy when going through a remortgage.

Unfortunately, though it could happen to any of us. Some 35% of Brits surveyed by HSBC said they had experienced a life-changing critical illness or injury, and 28% had been though a traumatic accident or injury. 

Throw in the fact only 6% of those who had been through a life-changing illness or injury received financial support, and you have a lot of people who could find themselves in a tight financial situation or even worse – leaving your family in a tight situation. There’s nothing wrong with feeling uncomfortable about thinking about the worst, but it’s never as uncomfortable as thinking what it would mean for your family.

If anything the peace of mind provided by knowing you and your family are fully protected should something happen is more acute for those of us who own rental properties. If you were no longer able to work or worse, would your family be able manage? Or would your investment need to be sold to help financially? Whether on your buy to let or on your primary home, it’s worth checking regularly whether you have enough protection when it comes to home, buildings, and life and critical illness cover.

Nick Harrison is the head of products at first direct bank


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