Whether you should protect your salary or income depends on your individual situation. If you have significant savings (£30,000 or more) or have best in class employer benefits, you may feel you’re already covered. But are you really?
Income protection replaces your salary when you are unable to work. It pays out a proportion of your gross income against any physical or mental or psychological illnesses that prevents you working. This contrasts favourably with other forms of insurance that cover you for some forms of illness rather than your income.
Every day of the year millions of people in the UK are unfit for work for 6 months or more. It’s a shocking but very real statistic. Becoming incapacitated is a very real risk, far more likely than people appreciate. Weighing up the threat to your financial security is not something people are prone to doing. But if you miscalculate, the consequences can be devastating.
Many employees believe they are fully covered by their employer’s sick pay entitlement. But these benefits can be for a very short period of time, so don’t provide cover for long term illness. An income protection policy can be structured to protect you in the event company cover runs out.
The self-employed are particularly at risk of having to eke out their savings should they be struck by ill health. And if that means the main breadwinner is unable to work, the consequences can be life-changing. As a nation we’re not very good at saving. Outgoings tend to rise with income regardless of whether monthly earnings are £10000 or £5000. And even if you do have savings, you probably have better plans for them.
The cost of income protection is a small price to pay when you consider the consequences of not having cover. Monthly payments will vary according to your gender and age and refinements you apply to your policy such as the deferred period. That’s the period of lapsed time between becoming ill and the first payout from the policy. Weightings may apply for smoking and certain pre-existing conditions and occupations. It depends on the provider. We don’t apply weightings for most occupations or for many conditions including smoking and our policies pay out a lump sum on retirement. That means even if you never become seriously unwell there’s still a financial benefit to the policy.