Banks 'steer homeowners into buying' their mortgage protection agreements

Half of mortgage holders say they have been pressured into taking out mortgage protection policies with their bank.


They told researchers they were not informed by the bank they had options for taking out the cover with any insurer or through a broker.


It is often cheaper to take out mortgage protection cover with a broker or directly with an insurer than with the bank issuing the home loan.


Mortgage protection cover is life cover that will pay off the loan in the event of death.

Having it in place is also a legal requirement.


But research by iReach, commissioned for broker Low.ie, found most home buyers were not told by their bank they can buy mortgage protection cover directly from an insurer, or through a broker.


This means there is a risk they will end up paying a higher premium than they would by looking for quotes from across the entire market. Under Central Bank rules banks are not allowed to link the mortgage approval with the sale of a mortgage protection policy by the bank. But they try to entice customers to take their cover when finalising the mortgage.


The research found that 74pc of people took out mortgage protection cover with the bank where they got the home loan, showing there is a need for consumer protection bodies to make it clear customers are free to buy from any provider.

Most banks use Irish Life for mortgage protection, according to chief executive of Low.ie Peter O'Reilly.


He said the exception is Bank of Ireland, which uses its subsidiary New Ireland.


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