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The survey– conducted by Friends Life – found that some 57% of the few thousand participants said that, if they were diagnosed with a critical or terminal illness and were thereby unable to work, they would rely upon their partner’s salary as their source of income.

This would indicate that many homeowners across the UK are dangerously unprotected when it comes to their mortgage payments, as a great proportion (almost half) of mortgage-payers have admitted to having £10,000 or less in savings.

Confusion between mortgage protection and PPI

This interesting Guardian article from just over two years ago may offer a partial explanation. Firstly it indicates that this widespread rejection of mortgage payment protection insurance (MPPI) has been going on for a few years – which is rather worrying.

The second strong suggestion the abovementioned Guardian article makes is that many people shun MPPI because they wrongly associate it with payment protection insurance (PPI). The latter of course sparked a rather memorable scandal last decade, when it was revealed that PPI had been mis-sold to a great number of people.

However, MPPI is of course not the same thing as PPI, and is in fact one of the best and safest ways in which a homeowner can ensure that they are protected should they be unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

The research further revealed that life insurance is the most popular form of protection, though this is still taken out by just under two in five people (38%). Even worse are the figures for critical illness cover and income protection, at 14% and 7% respectively.

Homeowners in the capital most at risk

Friends Life’s research also shows that those who own homes in London are amongst the most likely to be at risk, with the high initial cost of homeownership in the capital, homeowners in London do very little to protect their investment. The research found that fractionally over a third of London property owners have any sort of protection insurance at all – a frightening 33.7% to be exact.

England and Wales the most unprotected homes

Interestingly, the situation is somewhat different outside of England and Wales. Northern Irish property owners are evidently the most cautious (by some way), with a much less worrying 62% having some form of protection insurance. Scottish figures are also markedly more reassuring also, with a solid 50% having protection insurance.

The North West isn’t far behind the capital with regards to risk, as 36.5% of homeowners in the region go unprotected. It is also worth noting that London and the North West are the only areas of the country with figures under 40%, as the South West (which is the third least protected region) has a slightly more reassuring figure of 42.6%.

Managing director of Friends Life, Steve Payne, has voiced his concerns in light of the research: “Buying a house is the biggest investment most people will ever make and it’s hard to comprehend why people wouldn’t want to safeguard that.”