Some 26% of homeowners, or those buying a property, have missed a mortgage payment due to falling ill or having an accident, new research from MetLife UK reveals.
The study – which examines consumer views of the housing market, along with experience of purchasing property – found that a third (34%) of respondents have had to take four weeks or more off work due to accident or illness.
As a result of this, almost half (47%) said they needed financial support to help them meet their mortgage repayments.
Interestingly, almost half (47%) of respondents currently have no mortgage financial protection in place. This comes as 43% say they are concerned about making their monthly mortgage repayments.
One in seven (14%) admitted to regretting not having any mortgage protection in place. A complete negation of last week’s findings, two in five (40%) respondents do not have savings to fall back on should they need to cover mortgage payments.
Rich Horner, head of individual protection at MetLife, comments: “Despite a challenging economic outlook, 2020 saw many people turn their dream of homeownership into a reality. The stamp duty holiday extension announced in the budget, coupled with the 'government guarantee' on mortgages, means the number of homeowners is set to rise even higher.”
However, Horner says as ‘Generation Rent’ becomes ‘Generation Buy’, there is an increased need for financial protection and advisers ‘have an invaluable role to play in providing impartial advice and identifying protection gaps’.
“Most of us don’t want to think about falling ill or having an accident, but the reality is it can happen to anyone,” he explains. “Some may think they’ll never need it, but ultimately not having something in place – be it a protection policy or savings – to fall back on, can add to what is already a stressful time should you fall ill or have an accident leaving you unable to work. And at a time when individuals need to recuperate, this worry, and stress could add to the healing time.”
Horner says the findings raise an interesting question around what constitutes mortgage protection and suggests more needs to be done to ‘enhance understanding and awareness’ of what financial protection is available, and what is best suited to meet their needs.