No-one could have predicted the first half of 2020 and what it would bring, so the notion that you could have been completely prepared for what was to come is difficult to comprehend. I’m guessing that if you could travel back in time and put more insurance policies in place you more than likely would have.
One of the most overlooked types of insurance has typically been income protection. Research conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority shows that only 35% of people have any form of protection insurance in place, and of that 35%, only 4% have any form of income protection.
Two of the most common reasons for this is the lack of understanding around what income protection is, and the belief that you’ll never need it! However, a good way to understand what income protection is, and what it does, is to look at the furlough scheme used by the government in recent months.
Since March, nearly ten million UK workers have been placed on furlough, so it’s likely that if not directly impacted yourself, you know someone who has been. The basic premise of furlough is to support workers financially while they’re unable to work due to COVID-19. Albeit that the mechanics, criteria and funding are different, this is basically what income protection does.
What would have happened to all those workers if the furlough scheme hadn’t been introduced?
This is the question you need to ask if yourself and assess your own circumstances if don’t have any income protection in place.
A common response to income protection is ‘it’ll never happen to me!’, but what 2020 has shown us so far is that nothing can be predicted and it is better to be prepared and protected should the unexpected happen.
Income protection plans normally cover up to 60% of income and protect you if you are unable to work due to sickness, illness or an accident that keeps you off work for a period of time. You can, based on your savings, determine the amount of time before the income protection pays out with deferral periods being normally one, three, six or twelve months. During that period there would be no payments for the income protection.
What if you’re self-employed?
If you’re self-employed you can still get income protection, and in fact it may be even more relevant for you. However, according to research from The Exeter, less than one in 10 self-employed workers protect their income, and nearly a fifth of self-employed workers have no personal savings to rely on in times of financial uncertainty.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK self-employed workforce grew to 5 million by the end of 2019, representing 15.3% of employment, up from 3.2 million in 2000.
With more UK workers embracing self-employment, options within the marketplace have adapted to better serve this growing sector of the workforce, with bespoke policies tailored for the differing requirements of the self-employed.
Income Protection plans typically have no cash in value at any time and cover will cease at the end of term. If premiums stop, then cover will lapse.