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"Unemployment can place a huge amount of strain on a family, and homeowners must take responsibility to protect their home. It is small price to pay for their most valuable asset. "But there is much complacency about insuring the regular household income – this is a dangerous position for many of us."

More than a third – 36% - of home loans taken out in the last six months of 2001 were protected by Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance policies.

The other side of the coin however, is that too many people are paying through the nose for Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance by accepting the deal offered by their own mortgage lender, according to Julia Alexander Chief executive of the British Protection Brokers Association. "The lenders continue to offer increased and inappropriate finance already overburdened borrowers, combined with in-house protection products that offer poor value."

The average Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance policyholder would pay £5.80 per £100 from a mortgage lender, compared with £4.37 through a broker.

Monty Burn, ITV’s Mortgage Watchdog, said "Most mortgage borrowers are a soft target for the clever marketing tactics of their lenders who will exploit them for all they are worth."

The Research department (TRD), says consumers should always check the small print on protection policies because of initial exclusion periods, which varies fro 60-120 days, prohibiting claims for a new policyholder.

Mark Hayes-Newington, TRD director said, "If, at any time of taking out cover, an employee had even the slightest knowledge that his or her company may be planning for future redundancies, the insurer is likely to refuse payment on the policy."

The uk mortgage protection insurance market has remained competitive in recent years despite being affected by factors such as 11 September terrorist attacks in the US in 2001, as well as the global economic slump that followed.

While the uk mortgage protection insurance market has indeed seen continued sales, it is the unemployment element of cover that has caused concern for underwriters and insurers alike in the past 12 months.

The main worry here it seems, is that insurers and underwriters are reluctant to cover people in occupations where the current unstable economic climate dictates that their jobs are perhaps not guaranteed in the long-term.

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