Almost every time you try to buy a financial product someone tries to sell you an add-on. It doesn't seem to matter whether you are signing up for a mortgage, loan, credit card or store card. Most lenders try to get borrowers to sign up for payment protection insurance but do they really need it? Here is what you need to know about payment protection insurance.
What Is Payment Protection Insurance?
Payment protection insurance (PPI) is a form of insurance to make sure that borrowers can keep up repayments on mortgages, loans, credit card, store cards and other financial products if they face financial hardship.
Why Would I Need PPI?
1. If they have an accident that prevents them from working
2. If there is an illness that prevents them from working and earning
3. If they are made redundant or become unemployed
Any or all of these situations could make it difficult to keep up repayments. Payment protection insurance could cover repayments for up to 12 months in these cases, depending on the policy taken out.
People in the UK are borrowing more and saving less and redundancies are often in the news. It takes longer and longer to qualify for state benefits, so without some form of insurance people might end up in court and might even lose their homes if they were unable to keep up repayments for long periods. These are many of the reasons that sales people use to persuade borrowers to get PPI.
It is worth noting that most policies have exclusions relating to medical conditions and drug and alcohol abuse. There is also usually a period of 60 to 120 days after taking out the policy during which time borrowers cannot make a claim.
What To Look For With PPI
Payment protection insurance has often been slated for being unfair to consumers and there are some issues that borrowers should pay attention to. For example, it is worth checking whether the cost of the insurance will be added to the amount borrowed. This would mean that you pay interest on the insurance as well.
It is also worth paying attention to the actual cost of the insurance. This can vary quite widely, so borrowers should look beyond the low interest rate on a loan or credit card to see what the total cost of borrowing will be.
Alternatives To PPI
Although PPI has been criticised for being no more than a money-making scheme for lenders (it is currently under investigation by the Office of Fair Trading), there are very good reasons to take out some form of insurance against ill health, accident or unemployment.
What most borrowers don't know is that they can take out separate insurance policies which will cover not just the particular financial product, but a substantial part of their income. This type of income protection policy may be a better bet if you usually make debt repayments from your earnings.
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