Legal & General Group, the holding company for a group of risk, savings and investment management businesses, has urged families to protect their mortgage and their lifestyle with an appropriate insurance as the difficulties in the financial markets really begin to bite.

Family protection policies are available to provide a monthly income for a set term, should the policyholder die or suffer a critical illness. This is over and above traditional life insurance, typically taken out to cover a mortgage. It is relatively inexpensive compared to the risk of not being able to afford to pay their bills, said Legal & General.

Bonnie Burns, product marketing director of protection at Legal & General, said: Anyone with a mortgage is likely to be worrying about how much their payments might rise if they have to remortgage this year. This is set against a backdrop of higher council tax, higher food and petrol bills and slow wage increases.

The question on many people’s lips could therefore be ‘can I afford protection?’ but the question should be ‘can I afford not to have it’! Most families’ finances would unravel if a parent died or became too ill to work. They are risking their futures by not protecting their key asset – their future income.