Additional benefits of General Insurance

Whether you live in a one bedroom flat or a five-bedroom detached house, you’ve worked hard to make your house your home, so it’s important to have the correct protection in place in case something should go wrong.

Though you might believe the unthinkable would never happen to you, what if it did?

Firstly, if something were to happen to your home, would you be in a position to afford moving into some form of house or temporary accommodation and continue to pay off your current mortgage? How would you survive financially during such a stressful and emotional time?

And secondly, you can actually enhance your general insurance policies with some added extras to tailor your cover to suit your personal needs and to add some real value to your policy. So it might be worth considering your options.

What are some of the additional benefits?

Home Emergency Cover

It’s the middle of winter and your boiler has stopped working, what do you do? Adding Home Emergency Care to your policy can provide you with immediate assistance from professional tradesmen in your time of need. From broken boilers to leaking roofs, Home Emergency Care can give you the peace of mind you deserve.

Accidental Damage

Accidental Damage can cover you from the unexpected and the unintended. It can provide you cover for your building as well as your contents. So, if you’ve spilt some wine on your carpet or knocked over an expensive ornament, Accidental Damage will have you covered.

Personal Possessions

You can also bolster your general insurance with Personal Possessions. This add on is particularly valuable in today’s society as it can cover your personal belongings while you’re out and about. It covers you for anything portable from phones and laptops to jewellery and pedal bikes if they’re lost, damaged or stolen.

Family Legal Protection

Family Legal Protection is designed to help you through what can be difficult and often stressful times. Adding Family Legal Protection to your policy can give you peace of mind knowing that if a legal problem, like Infringement of your Property Rights, Property Damage, Identity Theft or other legal problems do occur, solicitors will be there to support you and give you expert assistance and support.

While this is only a brief overview, there are in fact a number of other additional benefits that you can add to your general insurance policy. It can become quite confusing, which is why using an adviser can be incredibly invaluable, they will be able to find you the cover and added benefits that works for you and your personal circumstances and provide you with the peace of mind you deserve.

If you want to find out more about the additional benefits you can add to your general insurance policy, contact one of our advisers today.

Why are current mortgage rates so low?

Despite what some commentators are describing as a flat economic and mortgage market, many of you across the country are still finding ways to purchase your dream home. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, home mover or buy-to-let investor, now may actually be a great time to consider your options.

This is because of the current pricing competition amongst mortgage lenders – the competition intensified at the beginning of the year with a number of lenders cutting their rates, and this trend continued into the latter stages of 2019, resulting in current mortgage interest rates being at near-record lows.

But why are interest rates so low?

There are a number of reasons why current mortgage rates are so low. The Bank of England sets interest rates, also known as the base rate, in response to current events and expected economic performance. The Bank of England base rate can sometimes influence how much other banks and lenders charge you to borrow money.

The base rate is currently 0.75 per cent, far lower than the base rate before the financial crisis. However, despite the base rate having increased twice since November 2017, mortgage rates have remained at near-record lows.

So the main reason for the low mortgage rates we are currently seeing is the price war amongst mortgage providers.

A number of lenders cut their rates at the beginning of 2019 and the pace of cuts has been quickening in the last quarter of the year, according to Moneyfacts.

According to new figures released from Mortgage Brain’s quarterly product data analysis, two-year fixed mortgages have seen a reduction of between 3.71 per cent and 4.30 per cent in the last three months. And although smaller, five-year fixed rate mortgages have also seen reductions, with rates down between 0.46 per cent and 1.63 per cent in the same time period.

Finding the right mortgage with the right rate for you and your personal circumstances can be confusing, which is why seeking professional advice can be invaluable.

If you want to make the most of near-record low mortgage rates, contact one of our advisers today.

Additional costs of buying a house

You’ve found the home of your dreams and it’s within your budget, whether you’re a first-time buyer or a home mover it feels like a dream come true! But have you prepared for the additional costs of purchasing your new home?

There are a number of hidden costs associated with buying a property that you may not know about until you start your mortgage application, so we’ve put together an overview of a number of costs you might need to be prepared for.

Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a government tax that can add thousands of pounds to the cost of purchasing a property. It is a tax on homes of which the thresholds and first-time buyer exemptions vary in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales which is why seeking professional tax advice is so important.

If you’re purchasing a second property or a buy-to-let investment then there will be an additional stamp duty surcharge to be paid on top of the normal amount so it is worth seeking professional tax advice before making a purchase.

Conveyancing

These are the fees for the legal processes when buying your new home. They include various local searches on your potential property to check, for example, if it’s a listed building or located in a conservation area.

The cost of conveyancing fees can very depending on a number of factors like the value of the property, whether it’s freehold or leasehold and the local searches that need to be completed.

Surveys and valuation fees

Your mortgage lender will carry out a valuation survey that will look solely at the property’s worth – it doesn’t cover structural issues and won’t highlight any problems with the property, and you may be liable to cover the costs as part of your mortgage product. Dependant on the property that you’re buying you may want also want to commission an independent report to highlight any structural issues and problems.

There are different types of reports which will examine the property in different ways so it worth seeking professional advice before you go ahead with one. Depending on the property’s value and what type of report you go for this could cost anywhere from a few hundred pounds to over one thousand pounds.

Mortgage arrangement and other fees

These fees are sometimes charged by mortgage companies and will vary depending on each lenders stance and which product is selected. Some lenders might insist that you pay the fees up front which means you won’t be paying interest on it – others might add it to your mortgage which could be better if you can’t afford another financial outlay at the time of purchasing your new home.

There are also potentially a number of other fees you may need to be prepared for such as administration fees and electronic transfer fees to name a few. All lenders will take a different approach with regards to costs which is why a mortgage adviser can be so invaluable. We do not charge any fees for our mortgage advice.

Estate Agent Fees

It is important to factor in estate agent fees if you are selling your current home at the same as purchasing your new one. But, if you’re a first-time buyer, don’t worry, the seller will cover these costs!

Insurance

It is important you have the correct protection in place in case the worst should happen. Life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection can all provide a source of money for you or your family in your time of need which can help cover the cost of any debts like your mortgage. Whereas general insurance can be used to protect the economic value of your assets against accidents, damages or loss.

Removals or furniture

If you already have your own furniture then you might need to factor the costs of hiring a professional company to help you – unless you have little furniture and very energetic friends to hand!

If you don’t currently own any furniture then this of course is a definite cost you will need to factor in. Unless you’re prepared to sleep on the floor and drink warm milk you’re going to need a bed and a fridge as well all of the other furniture that you will want.

While this is only a brief overview of many of the additional costs you may be faced with when purchasing a home, it does highlight why it is worth seeking professional advice. Your mortgage adviser will be able to find a deal that’s right for you and your personal and financial circumstances.

If you would like to discuss the cost of purchasing a property, contact one of our advisers today!