Home owners warned over 'mortgage-linked insurance trap'

Protecting a property with adequate buildings insurance is a requirement by mortgage lenders

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One in seven home owners took out their home insurance with their mortgage lender rather than going elsewhere, a survey has found.

Some 14% of home owners decided to opt for that route, according to the research from Gocompare.com Home Insurance.

Protecting a property with adequate buildings insurance - typically against fire, flooding, subsidence and storm damage - is a requirement made by mortgage lenders. Buildings insurance provides financial protection for the borrower - and ultimately the lender - from damage to the main structure of the home. But Gocompare said while most lenders offer home insurance, borrowers are not obliged to buy it from them.

Its survey found some "misunderstandings" among consumers about home insurance. When asked why they had opted to buy their mortgage lender's home insurance, some 14% of home owners thought it might help with their mortgage application and one in 11 (9%) claimed they did not realise they could buy cover elsewhere.

Nearly half (49%) of those who bought their lender's home insurance said they did so out of convenience and nearly three-quarters (72%) had not compared products and prices offered by other providers.

The survey also found that just over a third (34%) of home owners who arranged cover through their lender said they did not check cover levels and excesses to make sure they were buying the right policy for their needs.

Some 30% of people who stuck with their mortgage lender for their home insurance said they believed that they had to arrange their home insurance through their mortgage lender.

Ben Wilson, a home insurance spokesman at Gocompare.com said: "A significant minority are essentially in a mortgage-linked insurance trap - believing that switching away from their lender's insurance will invalidate their mortgage."

He continued: "If you have a mortgage on your home, then your lender will require you to protect your property with buildings insurance.

"But it's up to you where you buy that cover from. While buying cover offered by your lender alongside your mortgage may seem an easy option, you might find you're paying well over the odds. And over the lifetime of a mortgage, failing to regularly shop around for a good deal on home insurance could cost thousands in lost savings."

Some 2,000 home owners from across the UK were surveyed for the research.

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