The UK is in the grip of a stress epidemic and it’s a condition, in its serious forms, that’s very debilitating.  Just look at the figures. Stress is now the biggest single cause of sickness in the UK accounting for more than 100 million lost working days each year. And the problem has been exacerbated by the economic downturn. 2012 figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre show cases are up more than 40% from 2007-2008.  Such a surge is likely to be linked to money worries, one way or the other.

You may think that there are worse things than being hospitalised for stress. But this is only the tip of the iceberg.  Stress triggers a multitude of additional physical and psychological complaints ranging from heart attacks to anxiety. So why should you be concerned?

Figures show 1 in 5 of the working population will suffer serious symptoms of stress and that sufferers are most likely to be of working age. Regardless of the trigger, when it’s severe the end result is the same: an inability to work, often for a prolonged period.

The consequences of being unable to work or run a business can be devastating if you’ve got no source of ongoing financial support. Even if you are eligible for government help, the available benefit is less than £100 per week. It’s easy to see this won’t stretch far if you have a family and home to maintain.

Stress often results in long term ill health. It’s one thing having to support your family for a month. But when you are unable to work for 8 months or even a year, savings (if you have any) can be wiped out.

The possibility of being unable to work due to stress or its side-effects should be taken seriously.  And it’s no surprise that there’s been calls from various quarters, for more people to protect their income by taking out income protection insurance.

Income protection insurance will pay out a % of your income until you are fit to work and in some cases up until retirement if necessary. And some policies like ours pay out a lump sum. It’s the only form of insurance that is designed to safeguard income rather than pay out against specific illness.

Figuring you can do without income protection is a gamble.  When you weigh up the cost of premiums against the very real possibility of losing everything, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.