It’s a fact of life that people tend to protect possessions better than themselves and they don’t think about covering income. But if you couldn’t work or were sick for a month or even six how would you cope? Would your mortgage get paid? How about the rent on your business premises or school fees? Many go through life thinking it won’t happen to them or don’t consider the possibility at all.
Perhaps people assume that the benefit system will keep them afloat. Before it was phased out in 2011, more than 2 million people in the UK were claiming Incapacity Benefit – the state benefit that was paid when someone couldn’t work for more than 28 weeks. But here’s the bad news. Incapacity benefit paid out on average less than £70 a week. Such a small amount won’t make much of an impact on your overheads and outgoings.
What about savings? Sadly, in the UK people are not very disciplined about putting money away for a rainy day. The average savings account in the UK has less than £2000 in it. And even if you do have significant savings, do you really want to dip into them to tide you over?
It’s perfectly true that there are a large number of, sometimes not well-explained, insurance policies out there. It can be difficult to know where to start looking. You certainly can’t rely on someone else, not even an adviser, to do all the thinking for you. Not all types of insurance policy have a good reputation for paying out on a claim. And others won’t pay out sufficient sums, for long enough, to tide you over. Income Protection Insurance is one of the most comprehensive forms of protection. But surprisingly it’s still not in widespread use in the UK. It is estimated that somewhere around 4 million people in the UK are covered by a company or individual policy. That leaves most of the population unprotected.
Also consider that the benefits system is undergoing a shake-up and payments are more likely to go down than up. The decision on whether to take out Income Protection Insurance and steps to covering your income is of course for each individual to make. But it’s a decision that should be made wisely.