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What are the basics?
Each year one million people in the UK find themselves unable to work due to a serious illness or injury. Income protection insurance is designed to give you some cover if you can’t earn an income for those reasons. If something happened to you would you be able to survive on savings, or on sick pay from work? If not, you’ll need some other way to keep paying the bills and you might want to consider income protection insurance.
Income protection insurance (sometimes known as permanent health insurance) is a long-term insurance policy designed to help you if you can’t work because you’re ill or injured.
It ensures you continue to receive a regular income until you retire or are able to return to work.
It’s not the same as critical illness insurance, which pays out a one-off lump sum if you have a specific serious illness.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you have children or other dependants – if illness would mean you couldn’t pay the bills, you should consider income protection insurance.
You’re most likely to need it if you’re self-employed or employed and you don’t have sick pay to fall back on.
Check what your employer will provide for you if you’re off sick.
Who doesn't need it?
You might not need income protection insurance if:
- You could get by on your sick pay. For example if you have an employee benefits package which gives you an income for 12 months or more.
- You could survive on government benefits. But they might not be enough to cover all your outgoings.
- You have enough savings to support yourself. Remember that your savings might need to see you through a long period.
- You could take early retirement. If you’re near retirement age, perhaps you could afford to retire early. If you’re unable to return to work you might be entitled to take your pension early.
- Your partner or family would support you. Perhaps your partner has enough income to cover everything the two of you need.
How much does it cost?
How much you pay each month will depend on the policy and your circumstances.
Usually income protection insurance covers a wide range of illnesses and situations and has the potential to pay out for many years.
The cost of a policy will vary based on a number of factors, including:
- whether you smoke or have previously smoked
- the percentage of income you’d like to cover
- the waiting period before the policy pays out
- the range of illnesses and injuries covered
- health (your current health, your weight, your family medical history).