Income protection insurance
Worried about losing your income and want to know how you can protect it? Compare income protection insurance policies and find the best one for you.
Income protection insurance provides financial support if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury, or if you are made redundant. We’ve looked at what the policy includes, whether it can be taken out for short or long term and how you can find the best cover for you.
What's in this guide?
- What is income protection insurance?
- What does income protection insurance cover?
- What are the different types of income protection?
- How does income protection work?
- Do you need income protection insurance?
- Short term vs long term income protection
- How much is income protection insurance?
- What other types of insurance should I consider?
- Case study
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions
What is income protection insurance?
If you find yourself unable to work due to an accident or illness, or if you lose your job through no fault of your own, income protection insurance pays you an agreed portion of your salary each month.
The money can be used to cover expenses, existing debts, bills and other costs. Income protection can be especially useful for those working in dangerous industries who want to be make sure their crucial household expenses, like their mortgage, will always be covered.
Income protection only covers events beyond your control, so you’re much less likely to be covered if you’re fired from your job or if you injure yourself through engaging in risky hobbies or activities (outside of work duties).
What does income protection insurance cover?
Different types of income protection policies cover different aspects (see below), but all provide a monthly payout to help you cover things like household expenses, bills and other outgoings.
What are the different types of income protection?
There are several main types of income protection insurance:
- Accident and sickness. As the name suggests, this type of income protection pays out if you are unable to work as a result of an injury caused by an accident, or a serious illness. This cover does not include redundancy.
- Unemployment only. This type of cover pays out only if you’re made involuntarily redundant. If you’re dismissed or leave your job voluntarily, you won’t be covered. Illness and injury are also not included here.
- Accident, sickness and unemployment. The most comprehensive type of cover, this protects you in case you are made redundant (including voluntary redundancy), or if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury.
- Payment protection insurance. Also known as PPI, this cover pays part or all of the repayments on your outstanding loans, normally for up to two years.
- Mortgage payment protection insurance. Also known as MPPI, this policy ensures your mortgage is covered if you can’t work, usually for around one year.
There are also options when it comes to your policy’s spec:
- Guaranteed policies. Guaranteed policies mean that your premiums will always stay the same, unless you increase your cover.
- Reviewable policies. These policies tend to be cheaper at the beginning, but the premiums are routinely reviewed by the insurer, so they might increase over time.
- Age related policies. The premiums for age related policies increase in line with your age, but are not affected by lifestyle factors or your occupation.
How does income protection work?
Income protection pays out a monthly sum of money which is a portion of your usual salary. The amount is usually set by you at the beginning of the policy term.
You can choose for payments to start after your sick pay runs out, or straight away. The payouts are tax free.
Do you need income protection insurance?
That depends your circumstances and the benefits you have at your current job.
If you have a large amount of savings to fall back on, you might not need this cover. However, depending on how long you are out of work for, you could run out of money at some point.
If your current employer offers a good redundancy package, this can be enough to cover your expenses until you find a new job. And, if your company offers good long-term sick pay, this can also be sufficient.
People who can rely on government benefits or have friends or family to support them may also not need this type of cover.
Income protection can still be useful to top up your income (as it will only cover an agreed portion of your salary, up to 70 percent), but it does require monthly payments, so it’s up to you to decide if you can rely on other benefits only. If you don’t have these other options, income protection insurance can be a real saving grace.
Short term vs long term income protection
Income protection comes in the form of long or short term policy.
Long-term unemployment protection usually only covers you if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury. It pays out a portion of your monthly salary until you can work again, or until you retire, die or the policy ends.
Short term income protection can cover illness and injury, but also includes involuntary redundancy. This type of policy will only pay out for the limited period of time set out in the policy documents, usually up to two years.
How much is income protection insurance?
The cost of insurance is always reliant on a number of personal factors. For income protection, these include details of both your job and the state of your health.
Things that can affect the cost of your cover include:
- Your age
- Your job and salary
- Whether you are or have ever been a smoker
- How much of your income you’d like to cover
- The waiting period before the policy pays out
- The range of illnesses and injuries covered
- Your health, including weight and existing medical conditions
- Your family medical history
The best way to find the best value deal for you is to compare income protection insurance for your personal circumstances.
What other types of insurance should I consider?
There are some types of insurance cover that you can take out instead of, or in addition to, income protection insurance:
- Critical illness cover. If you’re diagnosed with a critical illness and unable to work, then this benefit would allow you to claim a lump-sum payment to cover your living expenses.
- Life insurance. Life insurance pays out a lump sum to your beneficiaries if you die. This can help your loved ones pay for your funeral, cover any outstanding debt (including the mortgage) and pay their living costs without your income.
If your company is impacted by an event beyond your control (such as the coronavirus pandemic) and you are made redundant as part of cuts in company expenses, income protection will kick in and pay you a monthly percentage of your old salary to help with household bills and expenses.
Even if you receive a redundancy package from your employer, income protection can top this up and give you more breathing space while you look for another job.
Even if you have other means of covering your expenses if you lose your job, having income protection in place can be very useful.
This is especially true if you have dependents, like children, to provide for or if you’re self employed (as this means you won’t have sick pay).
To find the best deal for you, compare income protection insurance from different providers.
Frequently asked questions
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In the event of being made redundant, insurance can provide financial protection. Find out what’s included in redundancy insurance.
Loan protection insurance
If you find yourself unable to work, a loan protection insurance policy will pay out monthly benefits straight to your bank account.
Payment protection insurance
Despite its questionable past, PPI can help protect you financially if you lose your income and are unable to make repayments on loans.
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