Home buyers protection insurance

Last updated: May 2024 | 3 min read

Home buyers protection insurance shields your investment from unexpected twists in property deals. It helps cover surveys, legal fees, and mortgage lending costs in case your new home purchase falls through.

Know the benefits and costs of this buyer's insurance and learn how to protect your financial commitment from unforeseen complications.

Thinking of starting your house buying journey? In this lengthy and sometimes complicated process, the home buyers protection insurance is your safeguard. It alleviates some of the financial stress associated with buying a home.

What is home buyers protection insurance?

Home buyers insurance (also known as Gazumping Insurance), provides a safety net for home buyers when the unexpected hampers the property purchase process.

There are many costs involved in buying a house. The typical expenditure for a home buyer for a property purchase falling through might surpass £2,500.

This insurance aims to shield you from financial losses that can arise if your house purchase doesn't go as planned.

Difference between home buyers protection insurance and home insurance

Home buyers protection insurance is distinct from standard home insurance. While home insurance protects your property and its contents from events like theft, fire, or damage, home buyers protection insurance focuses on the home-buying process.

This policy covers you for specific financial setbacks like losing the fees you might have paid for surveys or conveyancing- the legal transfer of property from the seller to the buyer, just in case a property purchase falls apart.

So, while your dream home's bricks and mortar are the concern of home insurance, home buyers protection focuses on the fees and costs linked with the buying journey.

Buyers Insurance is a cushion for your pocket when property transactions wobble or tumble, ensuring you're not out of pocket for upfront fees that don't culminate in a successful home purchase.

In contrast, home insurance kicks in post-purchase, ensuring that your home and possessions are shielded from unforeseen adversities. It's less about the journey and more about settling in and keeping your haven safe.

In essence, think of home buyers protection as your ally during the house hunting and purchasing stages, while home insurance becomes your protector once you've secured your dream home.

Why do house purchases fall through?

Property sales falling is quite common. Several factors contribute to it, exposing home buyers to potential financial losses. Buyers protection insurance takes into account numerous reasons why a house purchase might not proceed. For instance:

1. Listing removed by seller

Sometimes, sellers decide not to sell or withdraw their property from the market altogether.

2. Gazumping and its impact

A seller might opt for another buyer's offer, particularly if it's higher. Gazumping occurs when a seller accepts an offer from one party but then accepts a higher offer from another. While this isn't illegal, it can be immensely frustrating for home buyers.

It leaves the initial buyer out of pocket for any costs they've already incurred, such as survey fees or mortgage arrangement fees.

3. Property chains and their effects

Property chains refer to a series of related property sales. Each sale relies on the success of the preceding sale. If one link in the chain breaks - say one sale falls through - it can topple the entire chain.

This domino effect can result in multiple house sales collapsing, with each party in the chain facing potential financial losses, from conveyancing costs to mortgage lending costs.

4. Adverse findings in property surveys

After an offer on a property is accepted, buyers often commission a survey to check the property's condition.

If this survey uncovers serious issues, like structural defects not revealed in a previous survey, it might affect the property's value or the buyer's decision to proceed.

These survey costs are borne by the buyer, adding to their financial loss if the purchase doesn't progress.

5. Challenges in mortgage approval

A mortgage application involves a detailed evaluation by the mortgage provider. They assess a buyer's financial stability and the property's value. Sometimes, the mortgage lender's valuation of the property might come in lower than the purchase price.

This is termed a 'down-valuation'. In such scenarios, unless the buyer can bridge the financial gap or renegotiate the price, the purchase might not go ahead.

Moreover, changes in a buyer's circumstances, like job loss or reduced income, can also impact mortgage approval, even if they have an initial agreement in principle.

6. Adverse findings in legal searches

Another common reason is adverse legal searches, where unforeseen legal issues pop up, halting the purchase.

Benefits of home buyers protection insurance

Buyers protection insurance, specifically tailored for home buyers, offers a financial cushion against unexpected events during the property purchasing process. So what does your buyer protection insurance cover? Let's have a look.

1. Covering conveyancing fees, survey, and mortgage fees

Home buyers protection insurance absorbs unexpected costs. Should a house purchase fall through, the insurance often covers the costs incurred for conveyancing fees, mortgage lender valuation fees, and any other survey charges.

It alleviates the financial burden of paying for these services without getting the expected outcome of a successful house purchase.

2. Seller withdrawal

If a seller suddenly decides not to sell the property you had set your heart on, you're covered.

3. Adverse legal searches

During the conveyancing process, certain adverse legal findings could halt the purchase. The insurance ensures you don't bear the financial brunt of such a discovery.

4. Failed mortgage application

Sometimes, the reason for a house sale falling apart isn't the property itself but challenges with obtaining a mortgage. If you've taken out protection insurance, you won't have to worry about the fees involved.

It's about ensuring you, the home buyer, don't suffer financial loss when unforeseen events hinder your property purchase.

5. Property valuation issues and implications

A revised valuation can derail a purchase. If a survey carried out by a mortgage lender applies a lower property value than expected, the mortgage offer might be reduced or disappear.

In these cases, home buyer protection insurance covers the associated fees, ensuring you're not out of pocket for a failed purchase.

6. Unexpected compulsory purchase orders

A compulsory purchase order (CPO) issued by a local council can disrupt a purchase. Such orders are for public benefit, like road widening or new infrastructure projects. When caught in a CPO after committing to a purchase, the insurance covers the fees, keeping your finances intact.

7. Chain breaks and financial protection

Property chains, while common in the UK property market, pose risks. A single failed transaction can topple the entire chain.

If you're caught in a chain break, the insurance covers costs like conveyancing and lender fees, ensuring you're not burdened by a purchase falling through.

Remember, each policy has its nuances. Regularly consulting with a licensed conveyancer or reading the policy details ensures you're always informed and protected.

Typical price brackets and what they offer

Home buyers protection insurance policies come in varied price ranges. Policies in the lower bracket, usually starting around £50, cover basic risks such as valuation fees and mortgage fees.

On the higher end, policies costing £100 or more provide comprehensive coverage, extending to conveyancing fees protection and cover for events like voluntary redundancy or terminal illness.

The more you pay, the broader the range of insured events.

Comparing prices and coverages

When comparing insurance providers, keep your specific needs at the forefront. Start with the policy documents, detailing the insured events. Often, two similarly priced policies differ in key benefits.

For instance, one might offer legal fees protection, while another focuses on covering costs if a property chain breaks. Additionally, consider the firm reference number of the insurance provider, which confirms their legitimacy in the UK.

How to effectively claim on your home buyers protection insurance

For a successful claim on your home buyers protection insurance, first gather your up-to-date insurance policy and supporting documents related to the halted house purchase. These items include:

  • Written evidence explaining the house purchase falling.

  • Bills detailing cover conveyancing fees or other associated costs.

  • Communications confirming no default on your part.

Contact your insurance provider promptly and submit the required claim form with the necessary attachments.

Tips for a smooth claiming experience

To streamline your claim:

  1. Stay organised: store all home-buying documents in one place for easy access.

  2. Open communication: regularly liaise with your insurance provider.

  3. Timeliness: be aware of claim deadlines and act quickly.

  4. Seek clarifications: ask questions if any process seems unclear.

  5. Stay calm: trust in your insurance to support you during challenging times.

  6. Engage a solicitor: if necessary, consult a UK property law expert.

With preparation and clear communication, making a claim on your home buyers protection insurance can be straightforward.

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