FAQs

Personal Insurance

Why should I consider taking a life insurance policy?

The most common form of life insurance is life insurance to protect your mortgage; therefore, on death, any remaining mortgage debt will be repaid. When you take out a life insurance policy, providers will give you the option to write this into trust, it is something that should be considered as it ensures the funds go to the right people at the right time in the right way without going to probate or subjecting the funds to inheritance tax.  I understand death can be a very sensitive subject therefore with previous experience in this area, I have the skills and ability to navigate you through the various options you have, ensuring your valuable assets and loving family are well protected.

How much cover do I need and how much will it cost me?

Often the number one question one client’s minds is cost, and this will depend on the amount of cover required, over what time and additional cover/options. I always suggest that cost should not be the number one consideration, but rather the quality and amount of cover to ensure you are fully protected in the event of your death. I would suggest that you speak with me to understand you’re the value of your assets to create a personalised protection quote. The premium amount will vary between providers and will take into accountperson specific factors such as age, height & weight ratio, medical history, relationship status, lifestyle choices, family medical history and occupation to name a few.

I have life cover as an employer benefit, why do I need additional life insurance?

Some death in service insurance policies come with terminal illness cover, therefore will pay the sum assured to you early. Most commonly, proceeds are used to repay an outstanding mortgage debt in the event of death, fund end of life care, provide funds to complete your bucket list or simply to provide funds for your surviving family. Separate life cover is worth considering especially if your employer stops the benefit, you leave your job or it may not match your current assets value. You should check your access to this with your employer and whether this cover all your obligations.

Am I covered for a pre-existing condition?

Most private health insurers will not cover any conditions/illnesses you have previously had, currently, have or are awaiting treatment for. The period in which a condition is deemed ‘pre-existing’ will vary from provider to provider. There are some providers who will allow you to claim for a condition you previously have had if you have not had any symptoms, seeked medical advice or medication for within a 2-year period.

Can I choose different levels of cover for each member of the plan?

Yes, many of the insurers we recommend are 5* defaqto rated and have very flexible plans allowing you to personalise and select cover for each family member depending on their needs and your budget. So, if you feel that some family members could benefit from a fully comprehensive plan and others who may benefit from a standard policy with pre-defined limits, then this is possible. Most insurers will allow you to choose between hospitals, cancer options, excess, outpatients claim limits, dental and worldwide cover to name a few.

Can I claim if I accidentally damage by property e.g. falling through the loft or accidentally breaking a TV?

On most standard buildings and/or contents policies, you would be unable to claim for accidental damage. Most insurers will however allow you to add this as an optional extra for a small premium each month. We never know when an accident might occur, and often they happen when you least need it to, therefore If you are concerned about accidental damage then this is a must to include within the plan.

How much should I insure my property for?

It is important not to under or overestimates; you do not want to find yourself in the situation where you are under-insured or paying more than you need to by having too much cover. When considering how much to be insured for under buildings insurance, you will need to consider the ‘rebuild cost’ which is the cost to rebuild your home entirely from scratch. The rebuild cost is normally lower than the market value of your property and will often be included in the valuation report that mortgage lenders conduct. If you are looking to review your buildings insurance cover, there are other tools you can use such as an independent surveyor to understand the rebuild value or by using a home estimation tool – all of which I can assist you with.

Do I need buildings and/or contents insurance if I live in a leasehold flat?

I would always recommend checking with your landlord to see whether this is included and what is covered.

You may want to consider protecting your contents against the risk of loss, damage or theft. Most contents insurance plans will cover your personal contents against water damage by leaks, storms or flooding and most people cover their contents such as furniture, clothes, electrical items and jewellery.

I work part-time; can I still apply for redundancy cover?

Yes, you can apply for redundancy cover if you work part-time but you need to be working for at least 16 hours per week. Unfortunately, if you are on a zero -hour contract, you may not be eligible if your employer does not provide you with minimum working hours and you are not obliged to accept any of the hours offered. As with all insurance, conditions and exclusions will apply and differ between providers.

If you are not sure whether you apply, please use the contact me form for a no obligation, informal chat about your circumstances.

When does the redundancy cover start?

With most insurers, there will be a deferment period before the monthly benefit starts, most insurers will have a 30, 60 or 90-day deferment period. The deferment period will start on the date you are registered as unemployed and the deferment period does not typically include any period you are paid for working your notice.

Can I self-cert my accident, sickness or injury to claim on this plan?

Unfortunately, no. To make an eligible claim, you need to be in receipt of a medical certificate from your doctor that signs you off from work. With this type of plan, there is no claim limit, so you can claim, return to work, claim again, return to work. With this scenario, you will need a medical certificate each time from your doctor to prove eligibility.

Do I pay tax on Income protection payouts?

Normally there is no tax on income protection payments. The reason for this is that you would generally pay these premiums from your income after tax, so you have already paid your tax duty.

What are the benefits of a family income benefit plan?

There are some significant benefits of a family income benefit plan. If you are concerned about your surviving spouses or family managing with a lump sum, then a ‘monthly drip’ of money could give them the head start they need. Managing a lump sum pay out to replace your income can be daunting, having to budget the amount of a set period of time. With family income benefit, it will pay a set amount each month until the end of the plan. Many clients take this form of plan until their children are no longer dependent or leave education.

Does family income benefit have to be linked to a percentage of my salary or can I have a specific amount?

The benefit of a family income benefit plan is that you can have a specific amount tailored to your situation. In the situation where a loved one has passed on, you can have an amount equivalent to your mortgage and monthly expenditure costs, an amount equivalent to the deceased salary, or a set amount that you feel will help ease the financial burden. We will fully discuss what you want to happen in the event of your spouse’s death so there is minimal financial impact.

My friend had critical illness cover which did not pay out?

We sometimes hear this statement and there could be many reasons why the policy did not pay out. It is highly imperative to consider this on an individual basis and to not generalise. In 2016, the top insurers we work with paid out over 92% of claims made (Royal London UK protection business claims paid (1 January to 31 December 2016)). The most common reason why insurers may not pay out is the critical illness did not meet the full definition or the client was declined a pay-out due to misrepresentation. We will only recommend top quality policies that are often 5* defaqto rated to ensure you receive a good quality product. We will take into your account your personal and medical history to ensure you are only recommended a high performing insurance product for your needs. As with all insurances, conditions and exclusions will apply, therefore it is important you are upfront with your medical history.

What is total and permanent disability on critical illness plans?

Total & permanent disability, abbreviated to TPD can be included on life and critical illness plans and will pay a tax-free lump sum if you were to become totally and permanently incapacitated due to accident or sickness or suffering with a serious and life changing event that is irreversible. TPD is a must with all plans. You will find that critical illness plans will cover specific critical illnesses such as heart attack, cancer, stroke but the critical illness plans will not pay out in other certain life changing events that are not listed under the critical illness plans. By having TPD it will protect youfor the serious and life changing events that are not covered such as car accidents and severe mental illnesses for example.

Landlords

I’ve heard that getting a buy to let is difficult to arrange in the current economic conditions?

Most borrowers will need a deposit between 15-25% and some lenders will require a minimum income. The majority of lenders will use what is called stress testing whereby they will determine how much they will lend to the borrower as well as the minimum rent required per month. The exact calculation will vary from lender to lender as well as your tax rate but for a guide, your must be able to rent your property for 125% of your monthly interest at a rate of 5%-5.5% although this can vary. You can be comfortable in the knowledge that I will search the whole market, knowing what lenders to use and your application will be seen from start to finish with a dedicated case manager.

How many Buy to Let’s can I have?

Some lenders will restrict you to a maximum amount of properties per lender or lending group and some will not be happy with the overall portfolio size. If you own over 4 Buy to Let properties, you will be classed as a portfolio landlord. What this means is that instead of just supplying information for the property in question, lenders will often request information for the whole portfolio and will use the calculations above to underwrite the whole portfolio. It’s important to understand your portfolio entirely for me to recommend a lender that is happy with your proposition. There are options available to portfolios of all sizes, so let’s sit down and discuss this today with minimum hassle and fuss.

Do I need to pay stamp duty on each Buy to Let I purchase?

Any client who buys an additional property, whether it be a second home, residential property or buy to let’s will be charged an additional 3%+ in stamp duty. This came into effect in April 2016. This means you will need to pay 3% on homes worth up to £125,000. 5% on homes costing between £125,001 and £250,000 and 8% for properties between £250,001 and £925,000.

What is Let to Buy and how does it work?

Let to Buys are for if you wish to move properties but are facing some obstacles such as selling your current property, became an accidental landlord, you have seen a reduction in your property value or you need to relocate for work. Let to Buy is a good way to combat these issues. Put simply, if you own equity in your property, you could remortgage this (subject to any early redemption penalties) and release this equity to put down as a deposit on a new property. Being an independent whole of market adviser, I am aware of each lender’s timescales and criteria therefore putting you in the best position to decide what will be the best route to proceed.

Are there alternatives to a Let to Buy?

If you are struggling to sell your home, you don’t like the idea of having another property and are comfortable in your current property, then yes, you do have options. It could be worth staying in your property and looking at remortgage deals. Perhaps to stay in your home, you need an extension, modernisation or adding that long-awaited garden landscaping. I can help you decide which is the best route to take after fully understanding your needs and requirements. With appointments to fit around your schedule and any day of the week, why wait, let’s get the ball rolling today!

Do I need to pay stamp duty on a Let to Buy?

Any client who buys an additional property, whether it be a second home, residential property, buy to let or let to buy will be charged an additional 3%+ in stamp duty. This came into effect in April 2016. This means you will need to pay 3% on homes worth up to £125,000. 5% on homes costing between £125,001 and £250,000 and 8% for properties between £250,001 and £925,000. We can discuss all associated costs as well as looking for the best deal available for your circumstances. I would always strongly recommend seeking independent tax advice for all additional properties, whether it be another residential, holiday home or Buy to Let.

What does Landlords insurance cover?

Buildings insurance – this will protect the bricks and mortar of the property if your property suffers from fire, flood, subsidence etc.

​Landlords contents insurance – If you are renting the property furnished or part furnished, you may wish to protect these contents against damage or theft.

Liability insurance –  Liability insurance will protect you, the landlord should a tenant try and sue you for an accident that occurred in the property to themselves or another party.

Loss of rental income – Loss of rental income insurance can protect the income if the property becomes inhabitable for any reason (this could be down to intended damage, structural damage or tents refusal to pay the rent).

Legal cover – You may wish to protect yourself in the event of legal disputes with tenants, contract disputes, issues with squatters and in the event of property repossession.

Home emergency cover – Home emergency cover will cover the financial cost of emergency repairs to the property normally up to a £500 limit, covering eventualities such as gas leaks, flooding and pest infestation 24 hours a day.

Is landlord’s buildings insurance different to standard buildings insurance?

Whilst both types of insurance will cover the rebuild cost to the property, some standard home insurance policies will not cover you if the property is being let to tenants because as a landlord you receive an income through rent. Whilst this may vary from insurer to insurer, it is recommended that you have a personalised plan to meet your exact needs to remain fully protected.

Residential

How much deposit do I need to save?

The minimum deposit required for a property purchase is 5% of the purchase price, but even with a 5% deposit, the choice of lenders available can be rather limited. I will have access to all the best deals depending on your deposit amount. If you are finding it difficult to save more than 5%, there are other schemes that may apply to you, please look at the Shared Ownership/Shared Equity section or contact me to discuss further.

What fees are associated with buying a property?

First-time buyers are now exempt from stamp duty charges for the first £300,000 of a property valued up to £500,000.

This exemption applies if both applicants on an application are first time buyers. Other fees typically include valuation fees charged by the lender to ensure the property is mortgageable, these vary between lenders. You will also have solicitor fees, and these will vary between companies.

Last, there will be a broker fee for my advice, recommendation and working on your behalf.

This is typically £295 and is payable on mortgage offer. The final fee will depend on your loan size and complexity of the mortgage application but will always be disclosed to you prior to starting any work.

Which type of mortgage should I choose?

There are various mortgage types available and ultimately it will depend on your circumstances and your risk appetite.

Most commonly, first-time buyers will choose a fixed rate mortgage for between 2-5 years allowing them time to review their finances once settling into their new home and budget.

My fixed-rate mortgage is coming to an end – what are my options?

You may benefit from considering a straight re-mortgage to a more suitable provider to secure a better rate, as there’s 1000’s of deals out there and hundreds of lenders of whom are hungry for your business.

Alternatively, you may want to borrow additional funds, consolidate some debt or get on the ladder to become a property tycoon by securing your first Buy to Let property.

By being an independent, whole of market broker, I can source the whole mortgage market and secure you the best deal for your circumstances.

My mortgage deal has expired but my circumstances have changed – what should I do?

The common misconception is that all lenders do not like change, but the reality is that there are many lenders who will and do understand life has its ups and downs. And, with 1000’s of different products out there, rest assured I will fully consider your current situation and recommend you the best deal. Sometimes, it may not be beneficial to switch to a new lender but instead undertake a product transfer and stay with your existing lender. I will be able to explore all your options, let’s meet over a coffee and discuss what I can do for you.

The mortgage lender has written to me to tell me my current deal is coming to an end and to look at their product transfer rates – what should I do?

Indeed, your current lender will want to remain as your mortgage lender and will want to offer you their ‘loyalty rates’ but for many, this may not be the best deal on the market for your current set of circumstances. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of conducting a product transfer compared to a remortgage to a new lender.

Can my children buy my home for me under the Right to Buy scheme?

There is nothing in law that states how a Right to buy property should be financed however there are several key considerations. Firstly, family members may be able to buy under the right to buy scheme with you, but if they have not been named on the tenancy agreement, the family members would need to have lived in the property for the past 12 months. Alternatively, it may be possible for the intended family members to provide the funds for the purchase. For mortgage purposes, most lenders will require all applicants to be named on the title deeds. I understand that all circumstances are different and there is not a one size fits all approach for a right to buy application.

If I decide to sell my property, will I need to repay the right to buy discount?

Under the right to buy scheme, if you decide to move within 5 years of buying the property at a discount, the council/housing association may ask for full or partial payment of the discount. As a rule of thumb, if you sell within the first year of purchase, you will have to repay the full discount. In the second year, you will need to repay four-fifths, in the third year, three fifths, in the fourth year you will need to repay two fifths and in the fifth year, one-fifth of the discount is to be repaid. Please contact your council/housing association for full contractual liabilities of discount repayment if you decide to sell.

What is Let to Buy and how does it work?

Let to Buys are for if you wish to move properties but are facing some obstacles such as selling your current property, became an accidental landlord, you have seen a reduction in your property value or you need to relocate for work. Let to Buy is a good way to combat these issues. Put simply, if you own equity in your property, you could remortgage this (subject to any early redemption penalties) and release this equity to put down as a deposit on a new property. Being an independent whole of market adviser, I am aware of each lender’s timescales and criteria therefore putting you in the best position to decide what will be the best route to proceed.

Are there alternatives to a Let to Buy?

If you are struggling to sell your home, you don’t like the idea of having another property and are comfortable in your current property, then yes, you do have options. It could be worth staying in your property and looking at remortgage deals. Perhaps to stay in your home, you need an extension, modernisation or adding that long-awaited garden landscaping. I can help you decide which is the best route to take after fully understanding your needs and requirements. With appointments to fit around your schedule and any day of the week, why wait, let’s get the ball rolling today!

Do I need to pay stamp duty on a Let to Buy?

Any client who buys an additional property, whether it be a second home, residential property, buy to let or let to buy will be charged an additional 3%+ in stamp duty. This came into effect in April 2016. This means you will need to pay 3% on homes worth up to £125,000. 5% on homes costing between £125,001 and £250,000 and 8% for properties between £250,001 and £925,000. We can discuss all associated costs as well as looking for the best deal available for your circumstances. I would always strongly recommend seeking independent tax advice for all additional properties, whether it be another residential, holiday home or Buy to Let.

Do I have to pay stamp duty on a new property?

There will be no Stamp duty for properties valued up to £125,000; for properties between £125,001 and £250,000, stamp duty will be charged at 2%, properties between £250,001 and £925,000 will be charged at 5%, properties between £925,001 and £1.5M will be charged at 10% and any properties over £1.5m will be charged at 12%.

Moving property can be an expensive time and often one that needs budgeting for. To assess your current circumstances and give you an idea of typical costs (solicitors, stamp duty, mortgage associated costs), it is important you seek advice from a knowledgeable advisor.

Can I move inside of my existing fixed rate deal?

If you are looking to move and break your current deal, many lenders will charge a penalty between 3-5%. Sometimes, it may be cost-effective and beneficial to break the deal but more often than not it can also be a costly move in the long run. That’s where it is imperative to seek financial advice to ensure you are doing what’s right in the long term.

Early redemption penalties are often found in your existing mortgage illustration or mortgage offer.

With experience in dealing with such scenarios, I am best placed to show you the expected costs of breaking such deals and whether it is a worthwhile move for you.

Can I port (transfer) my mortgage?

Most mortgages are portable which means you may be able to transfer your existing mortgage product to a new property. Many people port their mortgage as an alternative to paying an early redemption penalty if they are looking to move inside of their current fixed rate deal.

With any porting application, you must reapply to your lender and meet the criteria at the time of application, therefore, it is imperative to consider whether any of your circumstances have changed since the time of last application. It is worth considering, that if you are considering borrowing additional funds, it could be placed into two loan/sub accounts. This means you have a different mortgage product/interest rate for the additional funds compared to the ported loan amount. If you do have two mortgage products, then it is likely that the initial benefit periods and terms may be different. Here at Mortgage & Money Management, we look to manage your mortgage throughout its term, therefore will be contact you 3 months before the initial benefit expiry to review your options.

Is there a maximum income cap for buying under the Shared Ownership scheme?

Yes – There is a household cap of £80,000 outside of London and £90,000 for London. I would recommend checking with your local housing association to see whether you qualify.

It is worthwhile checking and comparing the shared ownership scheme with the typical first-time buyer mortgage rates to ensure you are getting the best deal for your circumstances.

What are the costs of buying a shared ownership property?

There will be costs associated with a shared ownership property, typically the same type of costs as if you were buying a property from the open market.

For first time buyers, you will be exempt from Stamp Duty Land Tax up to a property value of £300,000. You will, however, need to pay for solicitor fees, mortgage valuation costs, moving costs and mortgage broker fees, typically £295.

Do I need to repay the shared equity loan in the future?

With the help to buy shared equity scheme, it would be considered that you own 100% of the property although there is a stipulation that you will have to repay the equity loan in the future. This is normally after 25 years or if you decide to sell your home within that time. The amount of the equity loan would be deducted from the sale price when that time comes. When the time comes to repay the loan, you would need to repay 20% of the property market value, not the original 20% amount.

There is a lot to consider with help to buy shared equity loans, therefore I would always recommend speaking with a qualified mortgage broker to ensure you are getting the best product and deal for your circumstances.

What are the costs in buying under the help to buy shared equity scheme?

First time buyers will be exempt from Stamp Duty Land Tax up to a property value of £300,000.

You will however need to pay for solicitor fees, mortgage valuation costs, moving costs and mortgage broker fees, typically £295.

Offering a fully inclusive service, I am in the position to recommend you to solicitors, should you need a recommendation.

Post to us

33, Henry Crescent,
Rochford, Essex, SS4 1GU

Phone us

020 8133 6698

Email us

enquiries@flexfinancial.co.uk

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Jotsan Shrestha
Jotsan Shrestha
14:32 23 Apr 20
Stephen was our first mortgage advisor when we bought the house. We were first buyers that time so everything was new for us and it was almost nerve recking to do everything by ourselves considering... our hectic work schedule. From day one we met, Stephen was very professional, thorough with his advice and helped us to secure a nice deal which were merely possible doing it ourselves. Now, without any hesitation we contacted Stephen as our current deal were about to expire. Despite of the pandemic situation, Stephen helped us to secure a much better deal and extremely faster than we could imagine. There are no words to express gratitude to Stephen and anyone in the situation that we were two years ago should contact him for stress free life.read more
Suzanne Kay
Suzanne Kay
13:40 14 Dec 19
What can I say, Steve is very professional and went above and beyond what I thought a mortgage adviser would do, supporting me from start to finish with getting my mortgage. He Always explained... everything simply for me to understand. He listened to my needs, and got the best mortgage that suited my situation perfectly, always ready to answered any queries I had, and ready to reassure when I was nervous. He made what would have been a daunting experience simple, giving me complete confidence with him. I’d definitely recommend this company highly!read more
Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller
20:10 11 Dec 19
With my own business, I was concerned what options I’d have available for re-mortgaging. I’d heard horror stories about self-employed mortgages, but Steve was able to secure me 7 viable providers... that would probably accept me. Then bingo, we were accepted with our 1st application and went through in about a monthread more
Alfie M
Alfie M
17:34 11 Dec 19
My family have used Steve about remortgage options and possible future move. Steve gave us excellent advice in a clear manner and one which we could understand without the Jargon. We are now fully... aware of our options and what we would need to do in advance should we decide to move. Thanks 🙂read more
Hannah Louise
Hannah Louise
07:56 10 Dec 19
Following our mortgage, Steve at Flex Financial arranged our protection cover. He gave up his Friday night to arrange this as it was the only time I was available. He understood my priorities, fully... explained all my options, costings (including working to my budget) in a friendly and professional manner. Would 100% recommend to all my family and friends.read more
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While we have made every effort to provide accurate information, the law is always changing and affects each person differently. This information is not a substitute for specific advice about your situation and we will not be liable to you if you rely on this information.

Flex Financial is affiliated with Beneficial trust and wills company Ltd of whom are members of the Society of Will Writers and Institute of Professional Willwriter’s. Our solicitors are also approved by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.

Flex Financial Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales (company number 11061765 ) whose registered office is at Sutherland House, 1759 London Road, Leigh On Sea, Essex, United Kingdom, SS9 2RZ. Trading Address: 33 Henry Crescent, Rochford, Essex, SS4 1GU