Understanding Payment Protection Insurance Cover in the UK
On Monday, Building Societies and Banks will no longer be allowed to sell payment protection insurance at the point of sale.
They will also be banned from selling lump sum upfront single premium policies. This article explains the principles of PPI and how best to purchase it given the recent legislation and changes in the UK economy.
If you have ever bought a new car or a large flat screen television the chances are you paid for it with some type of finance plan, credit card or credit facility, or loan. Apart from being offered a breakdown warranty, in the past you may well have been offered an insurance plan to cover the repayments of the credit should something terrible befall you. This is the basis of payment protection insurance or PPI as it is commonly known.
What does PPI cover?
Payment protection is widely available these days to cover all forms of credit or borrowing. Loan protection products are sold that either individually or collectively cover credit cards, bank loans, car finance and all other monthly payments and outgoings. Until recently you may well have been offered this type of cover when you took out the loan or credit card; however this was made illegal in 2009 after a long enquiry by the Competition Committee looking into the restrictive practices of the major high street banks and lenders. Consequently payment insurance premiums and plans have become a lot cheaper now that independent suppliers have entered the market.
If you own a house under a mortgage you can purchase what is known as Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance or MPPI. This type of plan though often cheaper, will only cover the monthly mortgage payments.
Other protection insurance products are available, the most common being those that cover your salary or income often known as Income Payment Protection Insurance or lifestyle cover. With these types of products you are not limited to agreed repayments and can spend the income benefits as you would your salary or wages.
What does PPI cover you against?
All payment protection products cover you against and will pay a monthly sum to protect your payments, in the event of you suffering from one or a combination of accident, sickness or unemployment.
It is possible to buy these as standalone covers, although accident cover is more often than not sold alongside sickness cover. Unemployment Insurance cover, which protects you against sudden redundancy or unemployment is often sold by itself but because of the nature of the risk, commands a much higher premium.
How long does protection insurance cover you for?
The length of time of the cover is dependent upon how long someone wants the benefits to be payable for in the event of a claim. This varies by insurance company and is often only for twelve months although some of the better more flexible providers offer cover for up to 24 months, at a premium. It should be noted that this type of insurance is viewed by the providing companies as an invaluable short term solution to life’s difficulties and not the correct type of cover for long term illness or disability, for example.
Purchasing payment protection cover
With so many offerings in the market it is a worthwhile exercise to shop around for cover. Most independent suppliers have online applications that literally only take a few seconds to complete. You normally have to supply you age, and how much benefit you would like each month.
When buying you will need to decide how long you wish to wait after you become sick or unemployed, before you start to receive the monthly benefits. This is known as an excess period and you will normally be offered periods of 30, 60 or even 90 days. Obviously the longer you wait the cheaper the monthly premiums will be! Look out for companies offering back to day one cover which will pay you back to day one of your claim once the excess period has passed.
When comparing payment protection insurance plans it is necessary to find one that will cover all of your monthly outgoings. Many providers have different limits and it is important that you find one that will not leave you with a shortfall for repayments!
As with purchasing all types of insurance, but particularly with payment protection cover, it is very important that you check that you are you eligible for cover and not excluded under the policy conditions, which are often more rigorous than for other types of cover.
When comparing payment protection plans for Protection Insurance it is sensible to visit a large respectable, independent supplier such as PPI Insurer of the Year Burgesses.com for advice and quotes. Burgesses offer a vast array of information and online quotes backed up by a useful helpline of experts.