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Income protection insurance

Compare income protection quotes to find a policy that could pay out if you find yourself unable to work. 

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  • Protect your income if you can't work because of an accident, sickness or redundancy
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What is income protection insurance?

Income protection insurance covers you if you can't work because of illness or injury. It’s a kind of salary protection insurance to make sure you can receive a regular income until you retire or can return to work.

Income protection cover is different from critical illness cover. Critical illness cover pays out a lump sum if you develop a life-threatening illness.

Here’s more about how income protection insurance works.

What types of income protection cover are there?

An income protection insurance policy can be either short- or long-term.

Short-term income protection insurance ensures you receive a regular payment in place of your wages in the event of illness, injury or involuntary redundancy. (It doesn’t cover voluntary redundancy.) With short-term income protection insurance, your regular payouts are normally limited to a set time period – often one or two years.

Some short-term policies pay out if you can’t perform aspects of your role – these are called “own occupation” policies. There are also “suited tasks” policies, which offer more limited protection – these won’t pay out if your employer has alternative types of work to offer you.

With long-term income protection insurance, UK providers will usually cover you until you return to work, retire or until the income protection cover ends. These policies usually offer a minimum of five years of cover. This type of cover is for more serious situations that could mean you’re unable to work for a much longer period of time.

Different policies will cover you for different eventualities. For example:

  • Permanent health insurance covers you for a percentage of your income if you have an accident or illness that leaves you unable to work. It’s a long-term insurance and may cover you until you reach retirement age

  • Accident and sickness cover pays out until you can return to work, usually for one or two years

  • Unemployment cover pays out a replacement income if you lose your job. Payments are deferred so this won’t be instant

  • Accident, sickness and unemployment cover pays out if you suffer illness, an accident or job loss

There are other types of loss-of-income insurance available:

  • Guaranteed policies come with fixed monthly premiums, so you know exactly what you must pay each month for your income protection cover

  • Reviewable policies let you change your level of income protection insurance after a set term

  • Age-related policies with these premiums increase as you get older. However, your occupation or lifestyle has no effect on your premium

You can combine multiple policies if you like, but the more policies you have, the more you’ll pay in premiums.

Do you need an income protection insurance plan?

This depends on your situation. It’s a good idea to work out what your monthly expenses are and think about how you’d cover them if you lost your income. If you couldn’t afford to pay your bills, it might be worth considering an income protection insurance policy.

Income protection could be extremely helpful if you’re someone who has a family to support, or financial commitments that must be met. Even if you don’t have a family, you would still need to find a way to pay your bills if you lost your income. If something happens that leaves you out of work, your savings could disappear very quickly.

Salary protection insurance can provide reassurance and are especially useful if you're self-employed or a freelancer. It’s also handy if you’re a contractor as without an employer, you don’t get benefits such as sick pay. 

But salary protection insurance isn’t always required. Reasons you may not need such insurance include:

  • having an excellent employee benefits package that means you’d continue receiving your income for a sufficient time

  • being close to retirement and able to retire early

  • having family that could support you

  • eligibility for government benefits that would cover all your financial commitments

Here’s more information on how to decide if you need income protection cover.

How much does salary protection insurance cost?

It can cost between £10 and £80 per month. Factors that affect the price of your policy include your age and health, the length of your policy and the level of maximum cover. 

Premiums rise as you get older, or if you want cover for a longer period or a wider range of illnesses and eventualities.

Some policies cover illness and injury, while others add protection against unemployment too. 

Are there any alternatives to income protection insurance?

Yes, there are other policy types that could help if you lost your income.

You could look into:

If I have income protection insurance, will I be able to claim as soon as I’m off work?

No. You’re usually not covered for the initial period that you’re absent from work. Most policies stipulate that you have to be off for a full 30 days before you can start claiming. Others allow you to set an “excess period” at the time of taking out your policy. 

When choosing your excess period, don’t forget to consider what sickness benefits you get from your employer. You might only need the policy to start paying out once your sick pay stops. 

With most unemployment insurance, there is a 90–120 day exclusion period after taking out the policy when you can’t claim. This is to deter people from buying insurance when they already know they’re likely to be made redundant.

Think carefully about how long you could afford to live without an income before agreeing an excess period.

What information do I have to share to get income protection insurance?

When you apply for an income protection plan, make sure you share accurate information about yourself - for example, don’t say that you’ve never smoked if you have. If you make false statements and are found out, you may invalidate your income protection cover, meaning you can’t claim when you need to. 

You might be asked to share the following information about yourself:

  • name

  • age

  • address

  • employment information

  • status: employed or self-employed

  • lifestyle details (such as whether you smoke)

  • current state of health

  • type of insurance you want 

  • amount of cover required 

  • desired length of excess period

How do you find the best income protection insurance?

The best type of income protection insurance is the one that best fits your needs. Your ideal policy will provide you with the cover you need over your desired length of time, while offering the cheapest monthly premiums.

To find the cheapest policy, compare income protection insurance policies from as many insurers as possible. Gathering this information allows you to choose the cheapest income protection quote that meets your needs.

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Why compare income protection insurance with money.co.uk?

By comparing home insurance, you could save money on the policy. The best value income protection insurance will offer you the cover you need, at a price you can afford. Choose a cover plan from the best UK insurance companies and see the online discounts they offer.

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Last updated: 1 May 2022