Most people need mortgages to buy property. That means the property is only fully theirs once the mortgage is paid off. Until then, paying off that mortgage has to be one of their top priorities. With that in mind, here are some steps you can take to ensure that you can keep paying your mortgage no matter what.

Evaluate your risks

Probably the most obvious risks to homeowners are illness and unemployment. At present, however, it’s reasonable to add unaffordability to the list. Mortgage lenders do aim only to lend to people who can afford to pay back their loans. The potential snag with this is that interest rates can rise indefinitely. These rises will eventually feed through to the mortgage market and may pose challenges for homeowners.

Always have some cash savings

Having cash savings makes you less likely to need credit to cope with unexpected life events. The immediate benefit of this is that it saves you from having to pay interest on what you borrow. The longer-term benefit of this is that managing your borrowing helps to keep your credit score in good order. This has obvious benefits when it comes to getting a mortgage at a favourable rate.

Make sure you have appropriate insurance cover

Essentially the same comments apply to making sure that you have appropriate insurance cover. Additionally, some types of insurance cover can play a vital role in getting you through illness and/or unemployment. The three most relevant types of cover are critical illness, income protection and payment protection.

People in employment generally qualify for all three types of cover. In fact, critical illness cover and income protection insurance are commonly offered as employment benefits. With that said, you may find you want to increase the cover you get with your own, private policy. If you’re self-employed, you’re unlikely to qualify for PPI but you can expect to qualify for critical illness cover and/or income protection insurance.

If you have a partner and/or children then it can make sense to have critical illness cover for them too even if they don’t earn an income. Essentially, this is because their illness could lead to unexpected expenses. In the case of a partner, this could be paying someone else to do what they do. In the case of children, this could be paying for home adaptations or hospital visits.

Keep your credit score in good order

Generally, you can expect to have some form of mortgage for at least two decades. You are, however, very unlikely to have the same mortgage for all of that time. In fact, keeping the same mortgage for all of that time would almost certainly be a horrendous financial move.

Mortgages typically have introductory agreements that run for a relatively short period. This is usually one to five years. After this, they switch to the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR). The SVR is essentially the lender’s default terms when no other agreement is in place.

Anyone with a mortgage should be clear on the fact that it’s vital to have a new deal lined up before your current one ends. The better your credit record is, the easier this will be. (Using a mortgage broker can be useful too).

Build up your equity

You may not be allowed to make overpayments on your mortgage during the initial term (at least not without a penalty). You can, however, effectively overpay your mortgage when you come to remortgage. In other words, you can inject extra money into your mortgage to reduce the amount you need to borrow.

Of course, you can only do this if you have the extra money, so you will need to do what you can to acquire it while you are paying your mortgage. For example, you could start a side-hustle and/or invest.

We are here to help you with any mortgage payment concerns you have, please get in touch.


The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the original amount invested.

Approved by The Openwork Partnership on 26/7/23