Income protection is often misunderstood by the consumer. This article aims to correct the misperceptions, helping you to fully understand how income protection can benefit you.
Insurance products aren’t the easiest of things to understand and income protection insurance is no exception. With cumbersome key facts booklets and the media citing stories of context-specific consumer-insurer battles, it’s no surprise that many people misunderstand exactly what income protection is and what it specifically offers. Outlined here are eight major protection myths demystified, so that next time you hear something about income protection, you’ll be able to separate fact from fiction.
Myth 1: It doesn’t pay out
Provided that the policyholder has kept up-to-date with their monthly premiums, and has given truthful personal information from the outset, income protection claims are nearly always paid out. In fact, last year in the UK, insurance providers paid out over 90% of successful income protection claims. If you’re still unconvinced and want to double check specific insurer payout rates, most of them now provide easily-accessible claim statistics on their websites.
Myth 2: It’s too expensive
This myth is purely subjective. If you were a smoker in a high risk job and wanted a very high level of cover, your premiums would, of course, be costly. For the majority however, income protection cover is affordable and can cost as little as 30p per day. If you want significantly lower income protection insurance quotes, consider buying through a commission free broker or by extending your deferral period – the amount of time between a claim being made and the money being paid out. Premium rates are calculated based on your age, health, smoker or non-smoker and occupation, so if you’re serious about cutting the costs of premiums, it may also be beneficial to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Myth 3: It’s a waste of money
When it comes to ill-health and injury, people can feel a sense of invulnerability, and so it’s all too easy to see how this kind of myth circulates. But ask anyone who’s used their income protection policy, and they’ll be the first to debunk this notion. If you were unable to work due to illness or injury, the monthly instalments provided by income protection could become invaluable, affording reassurance that bills, loan repayments, and any other expenses could continue to be financed during your time off work.
Myth 4: It isn’t necessary if you receive benefits
Statutory sick pay and other benefits tend to pay no more than £400 a month, which for most, would not cover the rent or mortgage. An income protection policy however, would pay up to 75% of your usual income, comfortably covering the costs of your living. Some employers will provide a more comprehensive benefit than statutory sick pay. Therefore, it’s important to check if this applicable; as this may mean that your deferral period can be extended which can, in turn, lower premiums.
Myth 5: It’s the same as PPI
Although they may sound similar, income protection and payment protection insurance (PPI) are not the same products. PPI insures a specific loan repayment, whereas income protection is designed to cover a portion of your income. If you found yourself unable to meet your mortgage repayments due to ill health, PPI would be on hand for this, but what about all the other inevitable expenses? This is where income protection comes in.
Myth 6: It’s not necessary if you have critical illness cover
Whilst critical illness insurance is important, unlike income protection, it would not pay out if you were unable to work due to injury or if you developed a non-critical illness. For this reason, income protection may be worth considering along with critical illness cover, as this would cover a wider range of eventualities.
Myth 7: It’s not for you if you’re are self-employed
Self-employed people can get income protection insurance, but be prepared to provide the relevant documentation. If you’re self-employed, your income may be more variable, so it would be beneficial to regularly review your policy to ensure that you’re covered for the amount of money you require.
Myth 8: It takes too long to apply
Whilst this may have been true in the days of dial-up-internet and telephone brokers, thanks to user-friendly websites, it is now easier than ever to search, compare and buy income protection policies.