Mortgage Protection Insurance is essentially, a form of income protection. The purpose of mortgage protection is to protect your income, and therefore your ability to continue repaying your mortgage. However, as these benefits have evolved over time, you can now have a mortgage protection policy without actually having a mortgage.

If you are like most kiwis, your income is your biggest asset and losing it could turn your life upside down and threaten your financial wellbeing. If you do have major financial commitments such as a mortgage, it is important to think about what might happen to your repayments should you be unable to work for an extended amount of time.

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How does Mortgage Protection work?

Mortgage protection works by providing you with a monthly benefit if you are unable to continue working. For example, if you were unable to continue working due to a serious accident or illness, mortgage protection insurance could provide you with a replacement income of up to 62.5% of your pre-disability income or up to 115% of your mortgage repayments.

Whilst only 62.5% of your pre-disability income does not seem much, it is important to note that the benefit you receive from your mortgage protection benefit is net of tax. Furthermore, most Mortgage Protection benefits are not offset by ACC, so may still be entitled to receive a pay out from your insurer should you be unable to work due to an accident (note that most income protection plans are offset by ACC).

If the worst were to happen and you were unable to return to work for the long term, a mortgage protection benefit could continue to provide you with a replacement income for 1, 2 or 5 years, or even to age 70 depending upon which option you selected when you put your cover in place.

It is also prudent to remember that Government benefits are unlikely to cover your living and lifestyle expenses and that ACC only provides a replacement income if you are unable to work due to an accident. If you were faced with being unable to work due to an illness or degenerative condition, ACC would be of no use in this situation – could you continue to survive with little to no access to Government assistance? If you do not have access to extensive savings and you have financial commitments, it may be time to look at your mortgage protection options.

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Across insurance companies there are various names for mortgage protection insurance benefits. Some benefits are referred to as mortgage and income protection, mortgage and living cover and even mortgage and rent cover. Also, in the event of a claim some providers pay your cover directly to the bank you hold your mortgage with and some pay directly to you. Essentially, all provide a replacement income in the event that something goes wrong, but finding which product and provider is best suited to you depends on factors such as whether to not you have a mortgage, if you are an employee or self-employed and even what bells and whistles you may prefer.

No matter what type of mortgage protection benefit you select, it is important to seek professional advice as not all policies are created equal and you want to ensure that you understand what you are and are not covered for. This means you’ll still be able to meet your financial commitments and make choices that are important to you.