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Beagle Street research assesses level of mortgage debt not covered by life insurance, the major potential threat to surviving householders’ hearth and home

A new research paper from Beagle Street estimates the financial risk for householders who have not taken out life insurance cover for their mortgages, across England, Scotland and Wales. The study found that over £400 billion of mortgage debt is not covered by life insurance in Great Britain.

In the current atmosphere of cost-of-living increases and continued economic uncertainty, it may be tempting to avoid taking out life insurance protection. This is particularly true for life insurance cover on the biggest loan most families have: their mortgage. Yet those very factors increasing financial pressure will also add to financial distress for a family in the event of an unexpected premature death.

To understand what proportion of the nation is not insuring householders’ lives, Beagle Street commissioned analysis from independent research organisation MindMetre. The study calculated the mortgage debt estimate for each region of England, as well as for Wales and Scotland, which is not protected by life insurance. This potential liability for homeowners should their partner die unexpectedly has been christened the ‘mortgage cover gap’, with exposure varying greatly across the UK.


For example, in Yorkshire and the Humber, it’s estimated that the level of exposure amounts to £26,909 million. Although inflation is up to 30% higher in northern cities[1] and many of the highest energy costs in the UK are seen in the North, Midlands, and Wales[2], in fact, when it comes to mortgage affordability, the region is relatively well off in comparison to its Southern neighbours, especially London.

This is because the greatest risk lies in the relationship between average mortgage costs and average salaries in each region of the country. Just because salaries are much higher in London, doesn’t mean that the mortgage affordability risk is lower – in fact, quite the opposite – as London’s mortgage cover gap is more than £86bn.

In the UK capital, it is estimated that the level of exposure amounts to £86,354 million. Though salaries in London are higher than the UK average[3], inflated house prices and mortgages put Londoners at high risk if a household breadwinner were to die prematurely. In fact, London scores lowest in Beagle Street’s National Mortgage Affordability Index, even though it comes highest in the company’s National Salary Index. These indices comparing average mortgage and average salaries provide a more complete picture of mortgage affordability across the UK regions.

Beagle Street Associate Marketing and Distribution Director, Beth Tait, said, “Unexpected death is not something we want to think about, but it’s the responsible thing to do to avoid leaving loved ones in the lurch, especially given excess mortality rates post-COVID.

“With this study, we aimed to highlight powerful evidence of the need for consumers to take the critical step of protecting their mortgage. This study also comprehensively provides government, social scientists and large employers with important perspectives on the issue, so that we can collectively do more to encourage uptake.”