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Do I Need Income Protection Insurance?

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Is it the right type of insurance for you?

Income Protection insurance exists to give you a degree of cover if you can’t work, due to either serious illness or injury. Would your savings or sick pay from work support you enough to pay the bills?

If you didn’t have income protection insurance, you would have to survive on whatever savings you had or the sick pay you receive from work. This would have to last you until you were able to return to work or even longer. Around one million workers a year (according to the ABI) become unable to work due to serious injury or illness.

Income Protection Insurance has many benefits, mainly giving you piece of mind about having a regular income. It offers financial support in case of injury or illness and that level of support can depend on how long you want the cover for. Some companies offer short-term income protection which only pays for between 2 to 5 years. However, income protection insurance can provide cover until you are able to return to work, or until you are due to retire. Some policies will stop paying out when they feel you are able to do any line of work and these policies are called “any occupation” policies. Different plans can have different pay-out rates, with traditional policies being able to receive up to £300,000 whereas the simpler plans pay around £1,000-£1,500 per month. On many policies, you can claim as many times and you need to, as long as the policy lasts.

Whilst Income Protection Insurance is available for everyone, some insurers won’t cover you depending on what your job is. These are usually high-risk jobs such as: divers, miners, armed forces and fishermen. If you are already in a high-risk job, or if you are currently in ill health, you may have to pay more to take out insurance if you can get covered; some companies will not insure you for these reasons. You should also consider a number of factors to decide whether you really need income protection insurance. These include:

  • Does your employer offer a benefits package that has 12 months or more of sick pay?
  • Would government benefits be enough to support you?
  • Do you have enough savings to live off, however consider you might need this for a long period?
  • Would your partner or family have enough income to help support you?
  • Could you take early retirement?

There are many factors that can affect the cost of an income protection insurance policy, such as, your age, sex, health and current job. You will usually have to pay more if you have dangerous hobbies or if you drink or smoke. If you have a pre-existing medical condition (something that runs in the family), you will need to find an insurer that would be prepared to cover this. Also, if you can wait longer before making a claim, the premiums will likely come in cheaper.  

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