Being unable to temporarily – or permanently – work as a result of a serious illness or injury can put a serious strain on your financial well-being. In this day and age, an income protection policy can, therefore, prove vital, as it ensures that you will receive tax-free monthly payments if you ever cannot work. Basically, income protection (sometimes called ICB – Income Continuation Benefit) is designed to replace lost income, so that you can maintain the same lifestyle that you enjoyed whilst working.
Whether you’re self-employed or formally employed, protecting your earnings should be considered a critical component of your financial planning portfolio. An income protection policy will help you to remain financially secure, no matter what unforeseeable life event occurs.
It essentially offers the peace of mind that you will always be able to meet your financial obligations and take care of your family, especially given as many employee-sponsored schemes will not provide sufficient cover.
What are the benefits?
Income protection benefits can replace income, service debt and monthly obligations (thereby indirectly protecting your credit rating), provide cover until retirement, and protect you in the event of permanent and temporary disability. As opposed to the traditionally-preferred lump sum disability benefit, income protection benefits are notably easier to claim, involve shorter waiting periods, and allow you to make multiple claims.
As income can be inflation-proofed, one of the benefits of income protection is that it will allow you to maintain your standard of living, rather than need to adjust it to fit a lump sum.
What’s best for you?
Although income protection is often argued as a more desirable option than lump sum disability cover, ultimately these policies are designed to meet different requirements. It is advisable to never rely solely on a lump sum disability benefit to cover an income need, but we may feel that a suitable scenario for you is a combined approach. This should always be discussed, in person, in a proper planning meeting where your full lifestyle financial plan can add valuable context to this decision.
It is also worth noting that any changes in tax legislation may require adjustments, so be sure that you stay informed and understand any implementations that could affect your payments and benefits.
Income benefits have come a long way since the days when only 75% of a client’s income would be covered if they couldn’t work. Recent additional product benefits can include holistic protection against several eventualities that could threaten your earnings, such as family responsibilities and retrenchment.
It is important that your income protection meets your specific needs at a premium that you can afford (while also not placing you at risk of being under-insured), so don’t hesitate to arrange a meeting to discuss your options and ensure you understand the claims criteria. Remember, nothing on our website constitutes actual financial advice, but is aimed to bring context and supporting information to the fore.