Are you covered for Christmas?

Christmas is a wonderful time for present giving, with the average UK household spending a massive £473.83* on presents every festive season. But this also makes it a good time for burglars as well. This is because the value of your home contents goes up, making it a bigger incentive for opportunist criminals.

Burglary is an invasive and upsetting crime, so it’s important to make sure you don’t have the added financial stress of replacing all those gifts around the tree. Fortunately, it is common among general insurance providers to automatically provide extra cover at Christmas. Many standard home insurance policies increase their cover by around 10%**.

But some don’t do this as part of their standard policy, so it is worth checking with your insurer. You may also want to consider whether a house full of presents has exceeded the claim limit on your policy.

This could include high value single items such as the newest gadgets, which may be worth more than the maximum claim allowed on single items. It is well worth taking the time to find out from your insurer exactly how they support you over Christmas.

If you don’t yet have contents insurance, or simply want to discuss whether your existing policy is right for you, then we can work through your options. We want you to relax at Christmas and enjoy your holidays, without the added worry of being protected.

If you would like advice on taking out or reviewing your home insurance policy then speak to one of our advisers today!

*Telegraph 2016 **Policy Expert

Give the gift of a deposit this Christmas!

What is a gifted deposit?

A gifted deposit is a sum of money that is given by somebody, usually a family member, which forms all or part of a deposit for someone buying a property.

What do you need to know?

  • It is important to remember that if you gift a deposit, it is just that, a gift. This means you will be required to sign a written declaration that states it is a gift and that the home buyer is not required to pay it back.
  • If you plan to give a gifted deposit you should seek independent advice to ensure you understand you will not have an interest in the property or the right to get your money back.
  • Most lenders will accept gifted deposits from close family members and a few will even accept gifted deposits from more distant relatives and friends.
  • The lender or solicitor may request to see a bank statement or other documentation to evidence where the gifted deposit has originated from.
  • A gifted deposit can be used alongside the applicant’s own savings or the Help to Buy scheme.

What are the alternatives to gifting a deposit?

There are many other ways parents can support their children when purchasing their first home and different ways borrowers can maximise their savings for their deposit.

  • Low-deposit mortgages – the availability of products that offer a 95% or 90% LTV has substantially increased. This means that mortgages are now more accessible for buyers with smaller deposits.
  • Guarantor mortgages – parents can be named on the mortgage to enhance the affordability for the first time buyer. They can also offset their savings or even take out a joint mortgage with their children.
  • Government schemes – if the buyer can’t be helped by their family, government schemes such as Help to Buy or Shared Ownership could be good options.
  • Help to Buy ISA – as well as the government schemes listed above, a Help to Buy ISA could assist the buyer in saving a larger deposit. The Help to Buy ISA provides a 25% bonus to first time buyers on a limited amount of savings when it is being used to purchase a house.

If you would like more information about giving a gifted deposit or other options for first time buyers then speak to one of our advisers today.