sarah March 30, 2020 No Comments

As we get settled into life in lockdown, we want to update you on developments here at Hollybeck and the wider mortgage & insurance market.

We all know these are challenging and worrying times, but Hollybeck is well placed to weather the storm and come out the other side stronger than ever. We want to take this opportunity to thank you, our lovely clients, for your patience and understanding during this time, as the market shifts and we try to navigate it.

We hope you, your family, and our wider community can stay safe and keep positive. Never have we seen such amazing community efforts to protect those around us – a true testament to the wonderful people of the UK and our Great British spirit.

Anyway… onto the updates:

Hollybeck Service Levels

As house buyers are now being advised to delay any move, we are expecting a delay in completions and therefore a reduction in the need to administer these cases for the time being. As buyers aren’t allowed to view properties, there is also a slowdown in new applications. With the uncertainty around how long this crisis will last and the economic fallout that will follow, we are anticipating lower levels of new enquiries and so, with a heavy heart, furloughing some of our wonderful team looks likely.

We are all currently working from home and trying hard to keep things running as normal, but you might find that your application passes to another member of our admin team.

Whilst we anticipate temporary changes within our business, we are totally committed to maintaining our usual high standards of customer care and we are very much open for business!

Mortgages

Mortgage Holidays

It may be possible for you to request a ‘payment holiday’ if you are unable to work and will struggle to make your mortgage payments. A payment holiday is when you take a break from paying all or part of your monthly mortgage payment. Lenders do have certain conditions that need to be met, but this could be an option for you. Please speak directly to your lender to find out more.

Our advice is to check the mortgage lenders website first and foremost as many have now set up online forms to complete, to avoid long waiting times.

New Application Restrictions

Many mortgage companies are no longer accepting new mortgage applications for a purchase or remortgage where you want to borrow over 60/65% of your property value. This is because they will not be able to send a valuer to physically value your home.  This will also free up more time for them to deal with payment holiday requests and ensure those who have a mortgage offer in place, get it extended.

This is a temporary measure and we are expecting this to be lifted as soon as it is safe for valuations to take place again.

Please check with us and we can advise you on the best course of action.

Switching to a new deal with your existing lender

The good news is that these restrictions do not apply to those customers who want to transfer on to a new deal with their current lender. If you are coming to the end of your special deal a new one will be available if your mortgage exceeds 75% loan to value.

Our team is able to process any product switch for you, free of charge. Please get in touch for more details.

Insurance

Existing Insurance Policies

We have received many calls from clients asking if COVID-19 is covered on their insurance policy. Providing you took out insurance before the outbreak, you will be covered subject to your policy’s usual terms and conditions.

  • Life Insurance

Yes, if you were to pass away as a result of COVID-19 your family will be able to claim on your policy.

  • Critical Illness

COVID-19 is not classed as a critical illness and is not covered. However, if you suffer another illness due to complications, for example a heart attack, or need treatment in intensive care, some policies may have something you can claim on.

If you are hospitalised, your family are welcome to call us to check what cover you have.

  • Income Protection (IP)

If you contract coronavirus and suffer from a loss of income as a result, you may be able to claim. All income protection policies have a ‘deferment period’ which is the time you have to be unable to work as a result of your illness, before you can submit a claim.

Most coronavirus symptoms last no longer than 7 days and so won’t be covered, as most IP policies have a deferred period of 4 weeks or longer.

Self-isolation may be covered, but this does depend on your insurance company’s policy – so please check with us or directly with your insurer.

Please call us if you need further help.

Virtual GP Services

Some insurers offer ‘Virtual GP’ services and these will remain available and will be particularly useful at a time when the NHS is facing additional strain. The providers of these services have made clear that this service is not to be used for coronavirus related queries as these should be directed to NHS 111 in line with current government guidance, so please bear this in mind.

I am struggling financially, should I cancel?

If you need to cut back on your outgoings and are considering cancelling an existing policy, we urge you to speak to us first as we can advise you on how this will affect you.

Policies taken out before the COVID-19 outbreak will not have any exclusion for a COVID-19 claim, therefore providing you with cover should you contract the virus.

New Insurance Policies

Some insurers have temporarily stopped accepting new applications for cover due to the coronavirus outbreak. Many will not offer you cover if you are currently experiencing any symptoms of coronavirus, or have been advised to self-isolate.

Specific changes with insurers are:

Life Insurance / Critical Illness Cover

  • No applications being accepted by some insurers
  • Applications being ‘postponed’ whilst experiencing any symptoms of coronavirus, or have been advised to self-isolate.
  • Cover being offered but a specific exclusion meaning no claim for coronavirus can be made

Income Protection

  • No applications being accepted by some insurers
  • Applications being ‘postponed’ whilst experiencing any symptoms of coronavirus, or have been advised to self-isolate.
  • Cover being offered but a specific exclusion meaning no claim for coronavirus can be made
  • Applications with deferment periods of 1 day, 1 week, 4 weeks and 8 weeks being declined.

If you have any questions please do get in touch with us and we’ll do our very best to help you. Please do bear with us as we are experiencing high call and email volumes.

Many Thanks.

 

 

 

 

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