It is still true that significant numbers of people are not considering what would happen if they lost their income. Others catch on quite late in life.

Although our experience is anecdotal, evidence has been around for some years that people don’t consider what would happen if they are not able to earn an income. Employees may of course be shielded from this to some extent. It all depends on their employers policies. But the self-employed are entirely responsible for their own provisions.

A poll by National Savings & Investments found that two thirds of respondents had either not set money aside or hadn’t given the issue much consideration. What is also deeply troubling is that those sampled said they’d need only around £5,000 to tide themselves over. This appears to be premised on an emergency only, perhaps lasting a couple of weeks or a month.

There is other evidence too. It’s worth considering that the average deposit savings in the UK in 2009 were only about £1100 and the % of earnings saved around 7%. These are average figures of course and high earners and the self-employed may well have more savings. Nevertheless, the figures are very telling.

For most people, £5000 is nothing like the figure people need to set aside for emergencies. If you break a leg and can’t drive, need an operation or find you have cancer, you may find yourself having to cover your outgoings for three months or more. It’s common to think it “won’t happen to me”. But 1 in 3 adults get cancer at some point in their lives. It’s worth asking yourself whether you are really comfortable playing these odds.

Of course, with a little planning, you can make provision for the unexpected. Although there are many forms of insurance, only one protectsyour income. Known as Income Protection Insurance, this form of policy will pay out a percentage of your income until you can work again.