• Covid-19
    • How might my existing mortgage approval be impacted?
      • This information is applicable at the 20th of April 2020 and is subject to change. 

        Your existing mortgage approval – which is known as an Approval in Principle – is not affected by Covid-19.  However, as you move to the next stages – a formal Letter of Offer followed by drawdown of the mortgage – you will likely be asked to confirm that your employment and income situation has not materially changed since you got your approval.

        If your circumstances have changed, a review undertaken with your lender will help to determine whether or not you can still afford to make agreed regular mortgage repayments.  This review is in your own interests.

        Moreover, the Central Bank of Ireland’s  Consumer Protection Code requires lenders to ensure that borrowers can afford the loans they take out.  Which is why your lender may ask you to provide additional documentation to demonstrate that you can afford the mortgage.

    • Can I get a time extension to my existing mortgage approval if needed?
      • This information is applicable at the 20th of April 2020 and is subject to change. 

        Your lender will extend the period of your mortgage ’Approval in Principle’ where your circumstances have not materially changed as a result of Covid-19. This will likely be for 3-6 months, but it may vary depending on the lender’s assessment of an individual’s circumstances. Either way this will give you time for making a decision on the purchase of your home.

        However, if your circumstances have materially changed as a result of Covid-19, your lender may keep your application open on its system for a period of time; but this again may vary depending on the lender’s assessment of an individual’s circumstances.

        After this period of time, the lender will undertake with you a review of your application which will likely include a request for you to provide an update on your employment and income situation.

        If your Letter of Offer expires during the Covid-19 crisis and you are not seeking to progress your home purchase at this time, you can apply to your lender for a refresh of your approval when you require it. You will be asked at that point for an update on your employment and income situation.

    • Can I expect a delay to drawing down my approved mortgage?
      • This information is applicable at the 20th of April 2020 and is subject to change. 

        Your lender will facilitate drawdown of your mortgage within its normal timeframe where all the standard requirements have been fulfilled and up-to-date documentation provided. However, some delay may occur due to factors beyond the lender’s control: for example, the ability of valuers to conduct a full inspection of a property or of legal practitioners to access everything that is required for them to complete all steps.

    • Is my existing mortgage approval at risk due to cessation of house building activity?
      • This information is applicable at the 20th of April 2020 and is subject to change.

        No.  Your mortgage approval is ordinarily valid for 6 months – possibly longer with some

        lenders.  Should you need more time due to a delay in house completion, your lender will work with you to facilitate this as much as possible. If you have any concerns over a deposit you may have paid on a property, or any other aspects of the purchase contract, you should contact your solicitor.

    • Is there any impact on stage payments?
      • This information is applicable at the 20th of April 2020 and is subject to change.

        Lenders are continuing to process stage payments. However, if your circumstances have changed due to Covid-19 and you are seeking to progress a stage payment, you should contact your broker or bank to see what can be done.

    • Can I apply for a new mortgage today?
      • This information is applicable at the 20th of April 2020 and is subject to change.

        Yes, all lenders remain open for applications for new mortgages for First Time Buyers, Mover Purchasers and those wishing to switch their existing mortgage.

    • Will I need to provide more information than usual because of Covid-19?
      • This information is applicable at the 20th of April 2020 and is subject to change. 

        Lenders will continue to apply the usual credit and affordability assessments to help ensure that borrowers can afford the payments on the mortgage being sought.  So, you will be asked to provide information in support of this, including evidence of your employment and income situation.

    • How long before I know if I have mortgage approval?
      • This information is applicable at the 20th of April 2020 and is subject to change. 

        All lenders continue to operate the mortgage application and approval process as efficiently and effectively as current circumstances allow.  On receipt of a fully-completed application and supporting documentation, a decision will be provided in a timely manner.

        Please note: Source of information BPFI and information is subject to change. To discuss a specific case, talk to your broker or bank.

  • Mortgages
    • What does a bank look for in a mortgage application?
      • The bank is keen to see that you can afford to take on a mortgage and still have enough money left each month to enjoy your new home.

        Here are some of the things the bank will take into consideration as part of your application:

        • Your savings
          It is useful to set up a regular savings account to save your deposit. This has the added benefit of showing your ability to save money each month.
        • Your day-to-day finances
          Make sure you manage your accounts so that you don’t go over your credit limit – banks like to see that you have been managing your finances effectively for a period of time before you apply for your mortgage.
        • Your other borrowings
          It’s a good idea to pay down credit cards and personal loans, if you have any, as much as possible, as additional borrowing could affect the amount you can borrow for your mortgage.
        • Additional costs
          You will need to show how you can cover additional costs such as stamp duty, legal fees and any additional expenses that might be required to make your new property habitable.
    • How can I estimate how much I can borrow?
      • By booking an initial consultation with a Priority Insurance and Finance Solutions Mortgage Broker, you will get an indication of how much you could borrow with each of the lenders, the deposit you need and what the monthly repayments would be. Each lender claims to have the best mortgage. A Mortgage Broker will compare the market to find the most suitable Mortgage solution for you.

    • If I rent will the bank take the rental payments I have made into account?
      • Yes, the bank will take into account the monthly rental payments you have made – it demonstrates your ability to support this level of monthly repayments. You should arrange to pay your rent through your bank account – even if you are living at home and making a contribution to the household. This is the best way to demonstrate regular rent payments over a period.

    • How much of a deposit does a first-time buyer have to put down?
      • Central Bank rules introduced in November 2016 allow for first-time buyers to borrow up to 90 per cent of the value of a property.

        Both parties to the mortgage must be first-time buyers for the mortgage to be considered for these advantages.

        Two slight changes in relation to mortgage lending came into effect in January 2018.

        The first relates to the proportion of income exemptions available to first-time buyers (FTBs) and second and subsequent buyers (SSBs)

        • Under existing measures these buyers’ loans are capped at 3.5 times their income. This is known as the loan-to-income limit.

        Banks can grant exemptions to this loan-to-income limit with up to 20% of the value of new mortgage lending to first-time buyers can be above the cap and 15% of the value of new mortgage lending to second and subsequent buyers can be above the cap.

    • What other costs should I factor in and what will each of these typically cost?
      • Valuation: Before you draw down your mortgage, the property will need to be independently valued by a professional valuer – you should expect to pay a fee of between €150 and €250 plus VAT, but this can vary.

        Legal fees: You will need to pay legal fees to your own solicitor. As part of your own arrangement you need to agree with him or her whether this is a flat fee or a percentage of the purchase price.

        Stamp Duty: Stamp duty will also apply to the purchase. The current rates are 1 per cent of the purchase price up to €1,000,000 and 2 per cent of any value over that.

        Insurance/assurance: You will also need life cover and home (buildings) insurance – the costs of these can vary depending on your requirements and circumstances. A Broker will compare a number of different insurers to find the most competitive solution for you. Life and buildings cover will need to be in place before you draw down your mortgage.

    • Can I apply for a mortgage if I don’t already have a property lined up?
      • Yes, a number of banks provides “House-Hunter mortgage approval in principle” which means you can apply for your mortgage before you have found a suitable property. This approval in principle lasts for 6-12 months depending on the lending institution and allows you to house hunt with confidence.

    • How long a mortgage term can I apply for?
      • Mortgages of up to 35 years are available to first-time buyers. Terms of up to 30 years are available to those trading up or down. Irrespective of whether you’re a first-time buyer or a mover your mortgage term must not go past age 70.

    • Do you have to be a customer of a bank in order to apply for a mortgage?
      • No. You can apply to a bank for a mortgage even if you’re not an existing customer. You will need to provide ID documents for all parties to the mortgage – generally a valid passport or driving licence, and a utility bill (less than six months old) to confirm current permanent address.

    • What documents do I need to present to the bank to apply for a mortgage as a first-time buyer?
      • Most lenders look for information about your income, employment, living costs and existing loan repayments to help them decide whether you can afford to repay a loan.

        • If you are a PAYE employee, you will typically need to provide:
        • Your most recent P60 (original)
        • Your last three months’ payslips
        • The last six months bank account statements (if your personal account is not with that bank).

        If you are self-employed: Your last three years’ certified/audited accounts – The last twelve months business bank account statements (if business account is not with that bank).

        You may also be required to provide identification documents and confirmation of your address. This is usually a current valid passport or driving licence and recent utility bill.

        In order to proceed to approved in principle stage, the following are examples of documents that you will also be asked to provide:

        • PAYE applicants: a Certificate of Income (a standard form provided by the bank for completion by your employer).
        • Self-employed: your accountant’s or auditor’s written confirmation that your personal/business tax affairs (PAYE/ PRSI/VAT) are up to date/ tax clearance certificate, and your management figures for the current trading year.
    • If I’m self-employed, how does the process work?
      • The application process is the same if you’re self-employed except, instead of a salary, additional documents required include your last 2-3 years’ certified/audited accounts depending on the lending institution, your accountant’s or auditor’s written confirmation that your personal/business tax affairs (PAYE/ PRSI/VAT) are up to date or tax clearance certificate, along with Form 11 and Notice of Assessment revenue documentation for the preceding years to verify what income can be factored into consideration.

  • Pensions & Investments
    • Why Should I Save For Retirement?
      • Saving for retirement is extremely important. People are living longer and leading more active lives in retirement. As a result it is more important than ever for you to think about where your income will come from when you retire. Pension saving is one of the few areas where you can still get tax relief and with the cost of living, will the State Old Age Pension be enough to provide you with an adequate lifestyle?

        About half of the people working in Ireland are members of pension arrangements but with auto-enrollment soon becoming a reality, all of us will now be saving for our retirement.  It is imperative that you review the options available to you and how auto-enrollment will impact you.

    • What are the different types of Pension:
      • Personal Pensions

        A personal pension plan allows you more control than a company pension plan but generally your employer cannot contribute to it.

        Benefits of a personal pension plan include:

        • Tax relief on any contributions
        • Growth is also tax-free
        • You can decide how much to contribute – offering you more flexibility
        • You can stop and restart contributions at no extra cost


        Directors Pensions 

        Directors Pensions are designed specifically for company directors and owners. The benefits of a Directors Pension include tax free pension contributions and a tax-free lump sum depending on length of employment, salary, and fund size upon retirement.


        Company Pension Plans

        A company pension plan is supplied by a company for its employees. There are two key types of company pension plans – “contributory” and “non-contributory”.

        A “non-contributory” pension plan will result in a retirement sum that contains only contributions made by your employer. A “contributory” pension plan is where employees make extra contributions to their pension on top of what their employer contributes. This will increase the sum employees will receive upon retirement.


        Self Administered Pension Schemes

        A self-administered pension scheme allows you to personally manage your pension fund. You can decide how your pension fund is invested and can choose from a range of options including shares, bonds, and investment vehicles.

        You will benefit from tax relief and tax-free growth. A self-administered pension scheme allows you a lot more flexibility and control over your finances than most other pension plans.


      • A PRSA is a Personal Retirement Savings Account. In contrast to a personal pension plan, your employer can contribute to your PRSA. If you switch jobs your PRSA account moves with you. If you partake in a pension scheme, then you may be in a position to increase the sum you receive on retirement by making additional voluntary contributions (AVC’s) through a PRSA.

    • Approved Retirement Funds - ARFs
      • With AMRFs and ARFs you re-invest your pension and withdraw the money when you need it. To take out an Approved Retirement Fund you must have a pension income of €12,700 per year. If you don’t have this income you must invest €63,500 of your pension into an Approved Minimum Retirement Fund or buy an Annuity of equal value. When you put this money in an AMRF or an Annuity you can no longer put any remainder into an ARF.

    • Pension AVCs
      • Additional Voluntary Contributions or AVCs are extra contributions you can make alongside your existing pension plan.

        Before considering making AVCs, you should check if it is necessary. To check you should find out what you will be entitled to when you retire. This includes benefits from your current employer and any pension benefits accumulated from previous work.

        If you feel that your pension plan will not result in accumulate and adequate sum and you would like to increase it, you may be entitled to pay AVC’s.

    • Buy Out Bonds
      • A Buy Out Bond is a pension bond into which you can transfer your fund if you leave your company pension scheme


        When do I have to decide if I want a Buy Out Bond?

        You have up to two years after you leave a company pension to transfer your fund to Buy Out Bond. Outside of the two year period you can still transfer to a Buy Out Bond if the trustees agree.


        How is my Buy Out Bond set up ?

        The bond is actually set up by the trustees of your company pension. They apply for the bond in your name but once it is set up it belongs to you and the trustees have no further involvement in it.


        Who chooses the Buy Out Bond ?

        You do. Even though the trustees have to sign the application form, you can generally choose any Buy Out Bond you like.

    • Deposit & Investment:
      • Investing for the future is a big decision. Whether you have received a bonus, inheritance or sold an asset or wish to save a regular monthly or annual sum or just want to get a better return on your capital, Priority Insurance and Finance Solutions will analyse your current situation, your growth/income expectations and advise you on what investment vehicle will best suit your needs going forward.

        In assessing your needs, we will look at the following:

        • Your investment experience – do you have any previous experience as an investor?
        • Your investment goals – do you want your capital to be fully secure or do you want to take a risk for potentially higher returns
        • The investment term- the length of time you want to invest is critical to your investment decision
        • Access – will you require access to the funds in the short term?
        • Your attitude to investment risk – do you want your capital to be guaranteed at maturity
  • Life & Protection
    • What is Mortgage Protection?
      • This is also known as life cover for your mortgage. It is a form of term assurance that is designed to pay off the outstanding amount of your mortgage should you or your partner die during the term of the loan and will be required by your bank as a condition of the mortgage loan. The amount of cover reduces each year, in line with your mortgage as you pay it off, assuming interest rates do not go over a defined level, typically 6 – 9% per annum and your repayments are kept up to date. The monthly or annual premium is fixed through the term of the policy. Mortgage protection is cheaper than standard term assurance because of the level of life cover reduces over the term of the policy.

    • What is Income Protection?
      • Income Protection pays you an income if you are unable to work due to any illness, injury, accident or disability.  You simply pay a premium every month, based on factors such as your occupation, health etc., that will ensure you receive a regular income if you are unfortunate enough to be out of work. This income will be paid right up to when you return to work or reach retirement age, whichever comes first.  This protection product is much more comprehensive than serious illness cover, so therefore acceptance under this plan can be difficult  in some circumstances and not all occupations are covered. Notwithstanding this, it must be a priority particularly for self-employed professionals.

    • What is Specified Serious Illness cover?
      • This cover pays you a lump sum if you are diagnosed as suffering from one of a number of specified severe illnesses. This lump sum could be used to pay off or pay down your mortgage or might be invested to provide you with an income for the future. The more common illnesses are:

        • Cancer
        • Heart attack
        • Stroke
    • What is Convertible Term assurance?
      • Term Assurance can be converted into subsequent life cover after the original policy comes to an end. You cannot be refused the right to take out the new policy regardless of the state of your health.

    • What is Decreasing Term assurance?
      • Life assurance which pays out a lump sum if you die within the term, but where the insurance sum assured reduces during the term. The earlier you die in the term, the bigger the payout your dependants get. This is normal for mortgage protection policies.

    • How much Term Assurance do you need?
      • When taking out a new mortgage, people typically affect enough Term Assurance to ensure their mortgage is repaid on death. This is the minimum the lender will require. However, you should also consider how your family or dependents would fare out in the event of your death. A life assurance policy can pay a lump sum policy to your estate which could be used to provide a lump sum/ replacement income for your family into the future.

    • How long do I need cover for?
      • If you require the policy for family protection, then you should have cover until your youngest child is expected to be independent. With children going to university, this can often mean a term of 25 years.

        If you require the policy to cover an “Interest Only” mortgage, then you will need cover for the remaining term of the mortgage

      • Single Life – Covers only one life insured.

        Joint Life – A joint life insurance policy covers two lives and may provide for a payment in the event of death of the first or last life covered depending on the type of policy you have. For example;  joint life cover will pay on the first claim for a benefit. The cover in respect of that benefit will then cease for other lives.

        Dual Life – Covers two people independently. Dual cover could potentially pay out two separate payments for each benefit covered.  In the event of a claim by one of the lives insured, the cover on the other life insured will continue as before.

    • Will I need to do a medical?
      • More often than not, the insurance provider will not require you to attend a medical, but in some instances they will. This is usually dependant on the level of cover that you are looking for and your age. If you have an existing medical condition, the life company may look for a report from your GP, or they may ask you to attend for a medical. There will be no cost to you for the medical. The life company will pay the cost of any medical directly to your GP regardless of whether you proceed with the quote.

      • Unless you have selected the Increasing Cover option, the premium is fixed throughout the term of your  policy and will remain the same once the benefits are not amended during the policy term. If you have chosen the Increasing Cover option (indexation) then the premiums and the protection benefits will increase on each policy anniversary and this amount can vary for each life company.

    • What is Whole of Life Insurance?
      • Whole of Life Insurance provides the level of life insurance you choose for your whole life, as long as you continue making your regular payments. It can also provide tax efficient inheritance planning cover for your family so as not to impact their inheritance

    • Who is guaranteed whole of life cover for?
      • Anyone looking to protect loved ones from a large inheritance tax bill when they die.

    • Why do I need Life cover or Specified Serious Illness cover?
      • Sometimes it’s easy to forget when building a career, a home and a family, how important it is to protect your family and business interests against the many ways they can be put at risk.

        It is not pleasant to think about what would happen if you (or your partner) were to die or suffer a serious illness. Worse still, if one of your children were to suffer a serious illness or need to travel abroad for treatment, would you be in a position to cope financially?

        If you are the sole earner in the household and were to die or suffer a serious illness, who would pay the mortgage and who would pay for your children’s education? Who would provide for those special future events such as your son’s or daughter’s wedding? And of course, day-to-day bills, such as electricity, heating, transport, clothes and food, all need to be paid.

        With life and Specified Serious illness cover, you can protect the well-being of your family and allow them to cope when you are not able to help them. Life and serious illness cover are essential elements of protecting the essence of your family or business.

    • How much Life cover or Serious Illness cover do I need?
      • This depends on your own financial circumstances. A good basis to use is your current salary or earnings. The cover should be a multiple of this amount, taking into account the number of years your family or business will need your financial support.

        Your Priority Insurance and Finance Solutions Financial Advisor can help you to make these calculations.

    • When should I take out life and Specified Serious illness cover?
      • It can make good sense to get insured as young as possible and while you are in good health. The cost of both life and serious illness cover rises as you get older. You also run the risk that your good health will decline as time goes by. It is important to understand that deteriorating health can result in significant loadings on your premium (i.e. higher premium), and in some cases, you may not be able to get cover at all

    • Who will the Specified Serious illness cover protect? You can protect:
        • yourself (single cover)
        • you can protect you and your partner (joint cover)
        • You can also protect your children if you take out specified illness cover. We will cover each of your children aged one to 21, for €25,000 or half your specified illness benefit amount, whichever is lower, for as long as you are covered.
  • Home Insurance
    • Types of House Insurance
      • Owner occupied Residential Investment Properties Holiday Homes Unoccupied Homes Building Under Course of Construction

    • How much should I insure my buildings for?
      • Your buildings should be insured for its reinstatement value, including the cost of professional fees and site clearance. You can obtain guidance on reinstatement value on https://www.scsi.ie/

    • How much should I be insuring my contents for?
      • Your contents should be based on the cost of replacing the contents ‘as new’, at today’s prices, and should cover everything that you would take with you if you moved house. The contents should cover all items within the home and domestic outbuildings. If cover is needed for items away from the home e.g. jewellery, All Risks cover must be selected.

  • Business Insurance
    • Public and Products Liability:
      • Cover is provided to protect the insured against legal liability to pay compensation, claimants’ costs and expenses in respect of accidental: • Bodily injury to any person (except as provided through an employers’ liability policy); • Loss or damage to material property occurring in connection with the business.

    • Employers Liability:
      • protects your business against your legal liability for injury, illness, disease or death of any employee under a contract of service with your business.

    • Contractor’s All Risks :
      • protects the insured against any loss or damage to the permanent and temporary contract works, materials, plant, tools, equipment, site huts and scaffolding.

    • Goods in Transit:
      • provides cover for loss or damage to property owned by the insured in the course of transit within the specified territorial limits. Liberty Insurance provides the policy. The standard duration of this policy is twelve months.

    • Property Damage:
      • provides cover for the client’s material property as detailed in the policy schedule with cover options like: • Basic Cover – Fire, lightning, explosion of domestic boilers or gas. • Special Perils – Basic cover plus explosion of commercial boilers, aircraft, riot & civil commotion, malicious persons, earthquake subterranean fire, storm & tempest, impact, flood, and bursting or overflowing of water pipes and tanks. • Accidental Damage – Special Perils plus cover for loss, damage or destruction as a consequence of accidental damage. Policies can be optionally extended (at either level) to provide cover for any of the following: Sprinkler leakage, loss of rent, glass, money, burglary, subsidence, and deterioration of freezer stock.

    • What is an Excess?
      • This is the insureds financial contribution when making a claim.

  • Motor Insurance
    • What types of cover are available?
      • There are 2 different types of cover you can choose from: Third Party, Fire and Theft OR Comprehensive. These covers vary in cost and in the level of cover provided; this gives you wider options to choose from.

    • 1. Third Party Fire and Theft
      • With Third Party Fire and Theft you are covered for any costs incurred for damages in respect of injury to any person, and / or damage to property arising from the use of your car. You are also covered for any loss of or damage to your car and its accessories or spare parts caused by fire, lightning, explosion, theft or attempted theft.

    • 2. Comprehensive
      • In addition to the cover provided by Third Party, Fire and Theft, with Comprehensive cover you are also covered for loss or damage to your car or damage caused by vandalism, and its accessories and spare parts while in or on the car.

    • What is covered under Business Class 1 and 2?
      • • Class 1 use is when the car is being used for social, domestic and pleasure purposes and for use by the insured and/or spouse in connection with his/her business or occupation. Class 1 use covers an annual business mileage of up to 1,000 miles/1,600 kilometres paid or up to 2,000miles/3,200 kilometres unpaid. o Class 2 use is when the car is being used for social, domestic and pleasure purposes and for use by the insured and/or spouse in connection with his/her business which is not covered by Class 1 (i.e. more than 1000 miles/1600 kilometres per year). The maximum mileage covered per year under Class 2 is 10,000 miles/16,000 kilometres.

    • What is a Protected No Claim Bonus?
      • You can opt to include Protected No Claim Bonus with your policy. This benefit typically allows you to have one unlimited third party or accidental damage claim in any 3 year renewal period, without having an impact on the No Claim Bonus you have earned. This means if you have an accident and you claim on your policy it will not affect your No Claim Bonus. However, if you make a second claim in the same three year renewal period, your No Claim Bonus will be stepped back by 3 years. In the event of a third or subsequent claim in the same consecutive three year renewal period your No Claim Bonus will be reduced to Nil.

    • What is Step-back No Claim Bonus Protection?
      • tep-back No Claim Bonus Protection is partial protection of your No Claim Bonus. You can opt to include Step-back No Claim Bonus Protection on your policy. If you have Step-back No Claim Bonus Protection and make one claim for own damage or accidental damage your No Claim Bonus will be reduced by 3 years, please see the table below:

    • How many car policies can I use my No Claim Bonus for?
      • You can only use your No Claim Bonus for one motor policy at any one time.

    • What is Open Driving?
      • Open Driving is an optional cover which allows other drivers to drive your car as long as they are within the selected age (eg. 25 – 70 or 30 – 70) and is subject to drivers being claims free, conviction free and terms & conditions apply.

    • Do I need to disclose any penalty points, convictions etc.?
      • Yes, if you or any driver who may drive your car has received any penalty points in the last three years or any convictions and/or pending convictions that you or any driver who will drive your car has received within the last five years.

    • What medical conditions do I need to make an insurer aware of?
      • You should inform the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) of any conditions which may impair your ability to drive. You may be required to submit a medical report completed by registered medical practitioner. Please see www.ndls.ie for details or if you require more information.

    • How will a claim affect my car insurance?
      • If you have a claim, it may increase the cost of your premium when your policy is due for renewal. Your No Claim Bonus may also be affected; this depends on the level of No Claim Bonus Protection you select. Please see your policy document for details.