When I was in my early twenties, I took the cheapest car insurance I could find. I tried to do a bit of research but in reality, I didn’t care who they were or what they were offering, I just wanted to make sure my car was on the road. A couple of months in (about a week before Christmas) someone crashed into me. I called my insurer and was shocked to discover I didn’t have a courtesy car as part of my policy. To make matters worse, I’d forgotten to declare that I’d had a speeding ticket (my first and only one) which threatened to invalidate the entire policy! I didn’t know that different insurers offer different types and levels of cover and hadn’t really understood what would be ‘worth having’ or understood the consequences of non-disclosure. Subsequently I had no car over the Christmas period, a very poorly equipped legal team to handle my claim and whole bunch of stress that made just getting to work difficult let alone the social aspect I relied on.
Recently, I read an article recently that I both loved and loathed in equal measure. The opening premise was that there had been some examples of brokers out there that were advising clients that Life Insurance was a legal requirement in relation to taking out a mortgage. Some were even going as far as saying that the clients couldn’t get a mortgage without taking life insurance. (just to be clear, life insurance is not a legal requirement for a mortgage!)
I consider myself a mortgage professional with a passion for giving open and honest advice to my clients. I pride myself on my integrity, so articles like this, that expose brokers out there for bad (actually awful) practice I think is hugely important and welcomed by LillyBrooke in every sense. The article went on to give a brief overview of a few different types of policies and all in all, was shaping up to be (in my opinion) a good, informative article.
However the concluding section took a different turn which I struggled to get on board with. It essentially challenged the role of the broker and suggested clients may be better off ‘doing it themselves.’ This was easily the most alarming thing I’ve read this year and could potentially be hugely damaging to clients and protecting their loved ones and lifestyles should the worst happen.
Not having a car over Christmas as young man with no mortgage or dependants is hardly a terrifying story. But imagine calling your life insurer and discovering that you’re not getting a pay out. Getting diagnosed with a critical illness or being unable to work for a significant period and not having a valid policy to cover the mortgage or keep the bills paid. Believe me, it happens, whether it be a case of non-disclosure or a limited list of definitions. As Mortgage and Protection specialists, it’s our job to be fully trained on all the different options open to you and tailor products that are suitable to your individual circumstances. Making sure that information is obtained and input accurately and all exclusions disclosed right at the beginning.
“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” – Douglas Adams
More often than not, the value of a good Broker is never truly realised until that moment that insurer confirms to you that your money is on the way. If you would like us to review any of your current Life Insurance, Critical Illness Cover or Income Protection policies, get in touch. In light of the article and this post, you should also be made aware that Brokers cannot tell you to replace an existing policy if it is fit for purpose already!