Home Insurance FAQs
Home insurance cover comes in two parts – buildings insurance and contents insurance. You can choose either one or both of these based on your needs.
Buildings cover insures your bricks and mortar for events like fire and weather damage, while contents cover could protect your belongings against problems like theft, damage and loss.
Buying a combined policy from the same insurer can often be cheaper than getting two separate policies.
If you’re a homeowner, most mortgage lenders insist you have buildings cover in place to protect their investment.
You don’t usually need buildings cover if you’re renting, but you may want contents insurance to help cover the cost of replacing your things if you suffer a loss.
Adding a joint policyholder allows the other person to make a claim, so it’s not only you who can deal with communications with your insurer.
Under some circumstances it can also lower your premium.
Most insurers define accidental damage as an unintentional one-off incident that harms your property or its contents.
Most standard policies cover key items like home entertainment, but there may be varying exclusions depending on your insurer.
Your need depends on your circumstances – many accidental damage claims come from people with young children.
It’s also important to know what’s covered under your standard policy. Checking the small print is the best way to make sure you’ve got adequate cover.
No – unless it’s a specific requirement of your mortgage contract.
By being the only insurer offering you buildings cover when you’re arranging your mortgage, there’s less need for them to competitively price your insurance policy.
As a rule of thumb, anything you’d take with you if you moved house should be included on your contents policy – including items like curtains and carpets.
It’s worth taking the time to go around your house from room to room and putting a reasonable value on everything.
It’s easy to underestimate the value of your contents, but it’s important to make sure you’re not underinsured.
The golden rule of voluntary excess is to make sure you know what you can afford to pay if you have to make a claim.
The more you agree to pay towards a claim, the less cost there would be for your insurer, so they may reduce your premium accordingly.
But beware – setting an unreasonably high voluntary excess may save you a few pounds on your premium in the short term, but if ever you need to make a claim, you could find yourself with a large bill to settle before your insurer will pay out.
For example, if you’ve told your buildings insurer that your roof is in good repair, they will base your premium on the known risk of storm damage happening to the average roof.
But if, in fact, your guttering is already falling off, or your tiles are coming loose, then there’s a greater than average risk of damage happening during a storm – something your insurer hasn’t covered against on your original premium.
As the full risks weren’t disclosed, you’re effectively insuring higher risks at a cheaper price, which could invalidate your policy and leave you without a pay out in the event of a claim.
Most home insurance policies don’t cover damage caused by pets as standard. To cover this, you’ll often need to buy standalone pet insurance.
As the owner, your landlord will be responsible for the maintenance of the building, so it’s down to them to ensure their property is protected with buildings insurance.
But you’re responsible for any contents inside that you own. If anything were to happen to your possessions, you would liable yourself for the cost of replacing them.
You need to inform your insurer of any changes to your building and/or your contents which may impact on the cover you have.
The key point to remember is that your contract with your insurer is based on mutual disclosure of information – they charge you a “fair” premium, based on the risks you’ve made them aware of. If these risks change, so too does the value of a “fair” premium.
If in doubt, ask your insurer. The time taken for a quick phone call could save any problems that arise in the event of a claim.
Life Assurance FAQs
Life assurance helps to protect your loved ones financially in the event of your death. You choose the amount of cover you need and the length of time you want to be insured for. Your policy is designed to pay out your chosen amount of cover if you die during the term of the policy.
Term assurance – designed to help make sure your family are financially protected if you die during the length of your policy. A cash sum could be paid out and used by your loved ones to help with everyday living expenses, child-costs or help to pay the mortgage.
Decreasing term assurance – designed to help protect a repayment mortgage as the amount of cover – reduces approximately in line with the way a repayment mortgage decreases.
You must be a UK resident and at least 18 years old at the time of applying.
Life assurance premiums can cost as little as £6 per month, that’s the equivalent of just 20p a day. Your individual premium will depend on your own needs and circumstances.
It depends on your individual circumstances. You may want to think about leaving a lump sum to your dependants or help clear an outstanding mortgage on your death. If you’d like more help speak to your Dewar & Partners financial adviser.
Yes, you can add Critical Illness Cover at an additional cost when you take out life insurance.
With medical advances meaning that many serious illnesses are not proving fatal, they can still have a major impact on your life and on your ability to earn a living.
Critical Illness Cover could help reduce the financial impact of a serious illness by helping with practicalities such as helping to pay off your mortgage and helping to pay any bills, allowing you the time to recover.
Terminal Illness Cover is included on our policies at no extra cost (minimum term of two years). It could pay out your chosen amount of cover if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a life expectancy of 12 months or less, rather than on death. Providing financial support at a time when it could be needed the most.
Critical Illness Cover is available when you buy your life insurance at an additional cost. It’s designed to pay out your chosen amount of cover if you’re diagnosed with one of our specified critical illnesses during the length of your policy.
Mortgage Advice FAQs
The minimum deposit can be as low as 5%. Normally the minimum deposit is 10% however there is a significant reduction in the interest rates available once the deposit reaches 15%.
The amount that each person can borrow is based on their income, their current credit commitments and to some extent the amount of deposit they have.
The cost of the mortgage is governed by three things, the amount borrowed, the term of the mortgage and the interest rate charged and therefore is quite specific to each individual. A general rule of thumb would be about one third of your total take home pay would be the maximum that most lenders would provide a mortgage for.
A repayment mortgage is guaranteed to pay off your mortgage by the end of the term as long as all payments have been made. With an interest only mortgage your monthly payments only pay the interest that is due so at the end of the term you still owe the same amount that you originally borrowed and would need to either sell your property to repay the mortgage or find the money to repay it from another source by that time.
Yes if your income is not enough to get the mortgage amount required then a close family member(usually parents) can act as a guarantor however the guarantor will need to prove that they can afford all of the mortgage in addition to any mortgage they may have of their own.
The building itself needs to be insured plus life insurance is recommended along with Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance which is designed to pay your mortgage payments if you are either off work due to accident or sickness or lose your job due to redundancy. Independent whole of market quotes can be provided on request.
Yes, many of the mortgages that we transact are moving mortgages from one company to another.
Stamp Duty: (a kind of tax) which is a percentage of the purchase price over £145,000. A handy calculator can be found at http://scottishstampduty.com/
Solicitor’s fees: which are also based on the purchase price, a quotation can be provided on request; a typical first time buyer will pay between £750.00 and £1,000.
Valuation fee: In Scotland all properties on the open market will have a single survey as part of the Home Report. Most lenders will accept this report rather than having to instruct your own. When remortgaging many lenders will pay the valuation fee for you.
Lenders arrangement fees: which can usually be added to the mortgage if required and average about £995.00
Mortgage broker fee: Can be anywhere from zero to 1 or 2% of the loan amount (Dewar & Partners normal fee is £295.00 which is reduced for repeat customers).
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Yes you can but beware of early repayment penalties if you have only had your current mortgage product for a short time.
Yes, normally you are allowed to pay off up to 10 percent of the balance in any one year without incurring any repayment penalties.
You can normally only have one residential mortgage but you are able to buy another property to let out.
No, not for your main residence but investment properties bought on a Buy To Let basis will be subject to Capital Gains Tax.
This is a score that we all have and is based on various things about the way we have conducted our finances over the preceding six years and is used by financial services companies to assess our credit worthiness.
You can improve your credit score by proving that you can cope with all your various credit commitments such as loans and credit card payments and by paying things like mobile phone bills and utility bills on time. Being on the electoral role also helps.
By contacting us at Dewar & Partners for a free no obligation assessment.
Secured Loans FAQs
Secured loans, also known as homeowner loans, are loans secured against your property. Secured loans are ideal if you want to borrow a large amount of money and are usually used to consolidate existing credit or to make home improvements.
Because your property is provided as collateral for the loan, loan providers see you as less of a risk. However, your home could be at risk if you are unable to repay the loan.
You need to be a homeowner with an existing mortgage. Your mortgage is the first charge on your property, and a secured loan is a second charge.
Secured loan amounts are available from around £10,000 to £500,000 but if you have a request that is outside this range, we may still be able to help on a referral basis. Please contact us and we will do our best to help you.
It can vary from loan to loan but from the day you call us, we aim to complete your loan in just two weeks and we will always keep you informed throughout the process.