Income Protection Insurance

income Protection is one of the most crucial and flexible insurance covers available. it is designed to replace your income if you are unable to work due to sickness or injury, covering you 24 hours a day, worldwide. Your health and happines, your ability to earn an income is without doubt your most valuable asset and this must be protected. Providing for yourself or your family is your biggest responsibility.

Why is it important?

Income Protection is one of the most crucial and flexible insurance covers available. It is designed to replace your income if you are unable to work due to sickness or injury, covering you 24 hours a day, worldwide. Your most valuable asset can be your ability to produce an income and this must be protected. Unfortunately, nobody knows when an accident or illness may strike. It is a little known fact that most insurance claims are for illnesses and these are not covered by Workers’ Compensation or other social security payments. People insure their cars, home and contents, yet maintaining all of these material possessions is reliant on our ongoing ability to earn an income. If you are sick or injured you may have some sick leave, or are able to draw on cash reserves for a short period of time. But consider the financial consequences of longer term incapacitation – for example 3 months or longer.

Ask yourself?

How long could you survive financially if your income stopped tomorrow? Implementing an insurance policy which provides a monthly income during periods of longer term incapacity represents a logical, cost effective alternative. It is not uncommon for a couple to spend 15 years building up their assets, to then see it all go within 2 years because no income was received due to an injury or illness.

How does it work?

Income Protection insurance is designed to substitute the insured person’s normal income (usually up to 75% of their normal income) with monthly payments if you are unable to work as a result of illness or injury. The cover can be structured in a number of ways and the following options impact quite considerably on the premium cost:

  • Waiting Period (or Excess Period) – The amount of days you will need to wait from disablement before monthly replacement benefits become payable. Variables are 14, 30, 60 and 90 days or 6, 12 and 24 months, depending on your possible sick leave or maybe long service leave.
  • Benefit Period – The maximum period of time a claim will be paid. Choices are normally 2 years, 5 years or through to age 65 or age 70. Naturally, the premium costs vary depending on which of these options you choose.
  • Claims Escalation (optional) – If a claim occurs, this will indexed the payments each year inline with the Consumer Price Index or a set percentage. Usually more applicable to Benefit Periods through to age 65.

Agreed Value or Indemnity Value

The monthly benefit in an Agreed Value policy is derived from your gross income at the time the cover commences. This is especially beneficial for self employed workers (or business owners), employed people whose income is likely to fluctuate or women who are like to have children in the future and have some un-paid time off work because sometimes their income in the previous financial year may have dropped prior to making a claim. Why does this sometimes happen? When someone is self employed they will try to reduce their taxable income each year by claiming as many expenses as possible off their tax bill which affects the income level the insurer will cover. The business may also be going through a slow period with not as much income is coming through the door. The owner (you) can get stressed and distracted, which can lead to a drop in health and/or an increased chance of an accident occurring, both of which can lead to an Income Protection claim. Therefore, under Agreed Value any drop in income will not affect your Income Protection sum insured amount because it was ‘Agreed’ upon when you first took it out. The monthly benefit in an Indemnity policy is derived from your gross income at the time of claim (i.e. it is restricted to the sum insured or 75% of your income at the time of claim, whichever is the lesser). The benefit with this type of cover is that you do not have to supply financial records when taking out a policy. The down-side is that you will have to supply this when (if) you come to claim. These policies are generally cheaper than the Agreed Value policies and any drop in income will allow the insurer to reduce the benefits you will receive at claim time.

Tax deductible

Importantly, the cost of Income Protection is fully tax deductible. The cost varies significantly based upon the waiting period, benefit period, amount of income insured and the insured occupation. Unlike some other forms of insurance, there are substantial differences between the quality of Income Protection policies currently available in the market. It is important that you obtain cover which is none restrictive and provide you with the surety and comfort that a legitimate claim will be honoured. The way in which the various policy features and benefits of an Income Protection policy are defined can play a critical role in determining whether a claim is payable – we subscribe to an independent research firm (Cannex Pty Ltd), which researches and compares the various contracts available to consumers. We utilised their evaluation to assist in selecting an appropriate policy for you. Please speak with an Experien Insurance Adviser for further information.