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Frequently Ask Questions about Income Protection (Accident, Sickness and Unemployment) Insurance

This page will discuss the key aspects of insurance policies which can protect your income against redundancy, unemployment accident and sickness. Rather than discussing any one particular policy, this page discusses the general features of most policies. Please feel free to contact us if you want any further clarification or if you require information on our specific policies.

Income Protection

The section below addresses some of the frequently asked questions by our customers:

Our Service Standards
The Income Protection Market
Mortgage / Rent Linked Cover
Income Linked Cover
Long Term health Linked Cover
How quickly can I get cover?
Can I buy more than one type of policy?


Our Service Standards

You may feel you know exactly what you mean by the phrase “Income Protection”. We have come to realise that there is a big difference between what people within the financial services industry call income protection and what the majority of customers understand it to mean and actually want. We want to give you every opportunity of buying a policy that does exactly what you want it to do. This website is packed full of information about various income protection policies and how they work.

If you have not yet used it, our quote calculators will give you a good indication of what our policy offers and the premium you are likely to pay for cover. You can alter and amend quotes as you wish.

We care about your privacy. Unlike many other internet companies we are able to provide you with initial quotes without requiring you to enter personal contact information.

As we are a fully independent financial services company we could offer you a range of policies from all the leading providers and hope that you buy one. However we like to add some value by selecting policies which we believe are good quality policies that will do what you expect them to do. We therefore only feature one policy in each key area on this website. We use these policies because we like their flexibility, our customers can use the benefit how they want. We are keen to point out that we do not receive enhanced terms from these insurers for featuring their policy. This of course gives us the ability to instantly offer a different policy if we feel it is better than the one we are currently offering.

In some instances we will need to substitute our main featured policy for an alternative. We will only do this if for some reason you are not eligible for our main product. Our price promise is to always offer the cheapest policy first.

Ultimately which policy you buy is down to you, it is not possible for us to offer an advice and recommendation service via a website. We do however provide complete information on each policy so you can make an informed decision before you buy.

Below is some general information on the income protection market and the key features of various product types you can use to protect your income. Not all of these policies are available on this website. Each of the product pages is also full of important information about your policy, as well as links to policy documents and other information.

The Income Protection Market

When people in the financial services industry discuss income protection they are invariably referring to a product known as “Permanent Health Insurance” (PHI). This is a policy that could pay you a percentage of your income if you are unable to work due to accident and sickness.

The policy has the potential to continue paying you an income until you reach retirement age. We no longer feature such a policy on this website as our experience is that most people want to protect their income against unemployment and redundancy in particular. Permanent Health Insurance policies do not cover unemployment. Depending on your circumstances, you may wish to buy a mortgage linked unemployment policy and a health linked long term accident and sickness policy.

There are three distinct insurance policy types that you need to consider to protect your income. For some people, only one of these policies may be appropriate, while for others it could be possible to buy all three.

For your information the three policy types are :

Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Insurance linked to your mortgage. Benefit may also be linked to a percentage of your income.
Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Insurance linked to your income This is the product featured on this website.
Medically Underwritten Accident and Sickness Insurance linked to your income.

 

Mortgage Linked Cover

Many mortgage linked insurance policies will directly link the amount of benefit you can have to your mortgage payments. Typically they will let you insure all of your mortgage related costs (mortgage, buildings and contents, life insurance etc) and increase this amount by around 25%. However if your mortgage payments are £400 per month, this would mean that you could only buy £500 of cover. If you wanted £1,000 of benefit, you could not cover it all on such a policy.

In such a circumstance you may need to buy both a Mortgage Payment Protection Policy and an Income Protection policy to get the maximum cover. This is called running policies in tandem. It is important that you check whether your insurance provider will allow you to run policies in tandem. Most insurers do allow this.

It is important that you make sure that you do not buy more cover than you need. Besides having a maximum amount of cover available in the policy, many policies will also not cover more than a certain percentage of your income - typically no more than 50% - 65% of your gross earnings. Assuming your policy has a 50% limit, even if the maximum amount of cover you could buy is £1,500 per month, if 50% of your gross earnings were £1,000 that is the maximum amount you could buy. If you purchased the maximum cover (£1,500), in the event of a claim the insurer would reduce the payment to £1,000 per month.

All policies have an exclusion period when you first buy the policy. This exclusion is for unemployment. The policy on this site which you could use to protect your mortgage has a 60 day exclusion period. This means that you cannot make a claim for unemployment during this initial 60 day period.

If during the policy exclusion period you discover you are going to lose your job, or your company starts a redundancy consultation you will not be covered. This is case even if your employer doesn't make you redundant until after the exclusion period expires.

Income Linked Cover

If you are looking to insure yourself against redundancy but have no mortgage then this will be the only cover available to you. There are surprisingly few policies in the UK that will allow you to insure yourself against unemployment if there is no associated liability such as a mortgage or similar loan.

Our featured policy will allow you to insure up to 65% of your gross income up to a maximum benefit level of £3,000 per month, but the total amount insured must not exceed 125% of your regular outlay. The policy has a 60 day exclusion period at the start for unemployment. This means that you cannot make a claim for unemployment for any event that occurs during this initial 60 day period. There is however no exclusion period for accident and sickness cover.

Long Term health Linked Cover

This type of insurance is also known as Permanent Health Insurance. These policies can pay you a benefit for a long time, potentially for as long as 40+ years. Therefore before these policies are sold, comprehensive medical questionnaires need to be completed. These policies cover accident and sickness only. If you are looking to insure yourself against accident and sickness, you should consider this type of policy first as it has the potential to pay you for many years.

The other policies above have a short maximum pay-out period, typically a year. This type of policy could pay out for many years. For example, a 25 year old person buys a policy but when they are 30 they have an accident which results in them never being able to work again. Assuming they have bought the most common type of policy, the insurer will pay them a monthly income until they reach the age of 60 - a 30 year pay-out period.

It is also possible to increase the benefit each year by either a specific percentage or by a well known index such as the retail price index (RPI). This is known as indexation. As this policy could pay you an income for many years you may consider it prudent to have the benefit increase each year. The aim of the indexation option is to ensure that your benefit keeps place with inflation so that you can maintain your standard of living if you are claiming on the policy for a number of years. In cases of very high inflation your policy may not keep up with inflation as insurers tend to put an upper limit on the increase they will offer.

In the event of a claim, the policy will continue to pay out until you either return to work, retire, recover (and choose not to return to work), the policy term ends or you die.

We do not offer this type of policy on this website, but if you call us on 020 33 55 4834 we will be happy to provide you with a bespoke quote.

How quickly can I get cover?

In the case of the policy on this website, we normally set it up on the same day. However you should not assume cover until it has been acknowledged by the insurer. In some cases we may need to contact you to clarify some aspect of your application. Once we receive an completed application we log it on to the insurers' systems within 1 working day.

More providers are moving towards underwriting the policy at the point of application rather than at the point of claim. If the underwriter accepts the case then the policy can go live immediately. The benefit of underwriting the policy at the point of application is that (assuming you have answered all the application questions truthfully) there can be no dispute over the payment of a claim.

Can I buy more than one type of policy?

It is possible to buy more than one type of policy as long as you are not over insured. Many people may buy two or more policies to get the cover they require. Most insurers, and certainly the ones we use on this website, will allow you to run policies in tandem. In our experience there are two main reasons why people will run policies in tandem. The first instance is for people whose income is greater than could be covered on just one policy. The other cases are for people who want the benefit of unemployment cover as well as long term accident and sickness cover. In this case they could take a short term redundancy policy and a long term health linked policy.

If you are thinking about buying more than one policy, it is important to make sure you are not over insured. We are happy to calculate this with you, based on the policies you have selected.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ'S)              

Can I Claim while I am on benefit ?

If you lose you job, you will need to be eligible to claim involuntary redundancy benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance in order to make a claim for unemployment on your ASU policy. We cannot guarantee how this may or not affect other benefits, and we would advise you to contact the Benefits Office if you have any questions relating to this matter.

Any claim for accident and sickness is unlikely to affect any existing benefit claim, although again you should check with the Benefits Office.

Can I claim if I don’t get Job Seekers Allowance?

NO. It is a condition for this policies that you must be eligible to claim involuntary redundancy benefits such as Job Seekers Allowance in order to make a claim for unemployment. The fact that you are receiving this benefit is evidence to the insurer that you are unemployed.

It is possible to be eligible for Job Seekers Allowance but not receive it, this is because there are two types of allowance, one of which is means tested. We cannot say which type of benefit you will be entitled to.

Amongst other things being eligible for Job Seekers Allowance demonstrates that you are part of the UK tax / benefits system. It also demonstrates that you are actively looking for work as the benefit isn’t paid to people who are not active in the job market.

If I am employed in a family business, can I take out unemployment insurance?

This varies greatly between insurers - some insurers will consider that as you are related to the business owner, they will have too much influence over whether or not you are made redundant. Therefore usually you would be classed as self employed, and the business will need to cease trading completely, with final accounts submitted to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), before you can claim for unemployment.

An insurer might classify you as an employee if you do not have any controlling influence within the business. If you feel this may apply, then please give us a call on 020 33 55 4834.

Can I have unemployment cover if I’m a company director?

Yes you can.

If you do not have a controlling shareholding, and have a formal contract of employment, then the insurer will usually classify you as employed for the purposes of claiming for unemployment.

However, if you have controlling shareholding as well as a directorship, then you may be classified as self employed by the insurer, and the business will need to cease trading completely, with final accounts submitted to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), before you can claim for unemployment.

It is also important to note that some insurers may reduce the maximum amount of cover that can be offered to company directors.

If I am self employed can I protect against unemployment?

Yes self employed individuals can protect themselves against unemployment.

However the conditions for claim differ greatly between insurers. For a self employed person to make a claim, your business must have ceased to trade completely. You will also need to have submitted final accounts to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and be registered as unemployed and available for work with the Job Centre.

Is there unemployment cover with no exclusion periods or low exclusion periods?

All insurers require you to go through an initial waiting or exclusion period for unemployment at the start of the policy. This is the period at the start of the policy during which it is not possible to make a claim and this is to stop people who are aware of impending unemployment applying for a policy.

The typical exclusion period in the market is currently 120 days, however our featured policy has a 60 day exclusion period.

We are not aware of any income protection policy with no exclusion period available in the market.

Can I have unemployment cover if I’m on a fixed term contract?

This varies greatly between insurers. Some insurers will consider your application if you have been on a contract with the same company for the last 12 months, others will require that your contract has been renewed at least once in 12 months or twice in 6 months.

However in the event of a claim for unemployment, the insurer will either pay you benefit up to the end date of the fixed term contract, or in some circumstances for the full 12 months of the policy. This will depend on your contract history.

If you are on a fixed term contract, please call on 020 33 55 4834 to discuss your case.

Can I claim for unemployment cover if I am made voluntarily redundant?

If you opt to take voluntary redundancy, the majority of insurers will not pay out in this circumstance. However if sufficient people do not take the voluntary package and the employer decides to make people compulsorily redundant, and so you are made redundant against your will, then your policy will pay out.

Redundancy is the most common cause for people claiming on their policy, this is why many people refer to it as Redundancy Insurance, however most policies cover other means of becoming unemployed on their policies.

Can a business owner claim for unemployment insurance if their business closes?

To make a claim for unemployment, your business must have ceased to trade completely. The majority of insurers will require final accounts to have been submitted to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC). You must also register as unemployed and available at work with the Job Centre in order to make a claim.

Do you offer joint redundancy policies?

Some insurers will allow you take out joint policies, others prefer you to take out two single policies. Typically the premium is identical whether you buy one policy with 100% of the cover for one person only, or if you take a joint policy and split the benefit, say 50% each.

As an example, a couple take out a joint policy for £1,000 and the monthly premium is £50. If one of them was made redundant the policy would pay out £500 per month - half the benefit. If they had each taken a policy for 500 the premium would have been £25 each. In other words exactly the same price as the joint policy.

Can I have unemployment protection if I don’t have a mortgage?

Yes, you will need to purchase a policy that is linked only to your income.

You will need to opt for our income-linked policy which is based on a percentage of your gross provable income and expenditure. Click here for income linked unemployment insurance.

Why can’t I cover my full salary against accident sickness or unemployment?

Insurers tend not to cover the full amount of your income as it could be argued that you would be financially better off being out of work, than in it. Insurers usually apply a maximum percentage of your income that they will allow you to claim benefit for, and this can vary from 50% to 65%.

It is worth remembering that the benefit is paid to you tax free, this means that the benefit may be a lot closer to your take home pay than you realise.

Can I take out unemployment or redundancy Insurance if I work in the financial services or banking sector?

Towards the end of 2008 Some insurers stopped taking any applications from the financial services sector. This was due the events that have subsequently become known as the "Banking Crisis". This situation has largely resolved itself and cover is available for the financial services sector. Currently it is the 'Investment Banking' Sector where some insurers are not accepting cover.

Whenever you make a claim on an unemployment policy, your claim will be assessed on whether they believe you had prior knowledge that your job was at risk of redundancy at the time you took out the policy.

If you buy Redundancy Insurance and you are made redundant shortly after taking out the policy, the insurer will look carefully at your claim to make sure that the redundancy could not be linked to media announcements and uncertainty in the banking sector or whatever area you work in.
 
These notes are intended as a guide only. They should not be considered as specific advice. They are not a Personal Recommendation.

Upon application we will confirm you have supplied all necessary information, and inform you of the terms and conditions of the selected provider, before the policy comes into force.

If you think these notes are incomplete or misleading in any way, please contact us immediately.

 
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