While losing your income is something that the majority of us never give much thought to, it can happen and if you were to suddenly find yourself out of work due to an accident, sickness or through unemployment then you could be left struggling financially. Income protection insurance could give you a replacement income with which to continue repaying your essential outgoings and give you security.
The majority of income protection insurance policies would begin to pay out once you had been off work for a continuous period which can be anywhere between 31 and 90 days after the event and depending on the provider. The amount of time that a policy will pay can also vary but it is usually somewhere between 12 and 24 months, again dependant on the provider.
Buying cover from a standalone provider is the best way to secure yourself the cheapest premiums for the cover and the cost can vary tremendously. It is essential to check the small print or key facts of the policy before you buy because this is what will allow you to decide if income protection insurance is right for your circumstances.
While providers can add in exclusions there are some that are typcail to most policies. If you are in self-employment, retired, only working part time or suffering a pre-existing medical condition then a policy would not be in your best interests. By shopping with a specialist for the cover you will be given access to the key facts and exclusions which makes determining if you would be eligible easier.
In the past income protection insurance has and in fact still does give cause for concern. This came about after the Citizens Advice made a super complaint to the Office of Fair Trading. Following this an investigation by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) began which resulted in several high street names being given fines. The Competition Commission began a review of the sector which is still ongoing and the FSA continue to keep the sector under their watchful eye.
Recently the FSA announced that while some changes have been made to the way that cover is sold, many firms are still not following guidelines properly. Just recently a mortgage firm was fined and not only was the company fined but also the Chief Executive, who was handed a personal fine. Clearly many more changes still need to be made to make the products more transparent to the consumer and it is hoped this will be seen in March 2008. Comparison tables will appear which should make choosing such as income protection insurance easier. The tables will ask a series of questions which will lead to the consumer being able to tell which product would be in their best interest and also tell the about exclusions and how much the cover will cost.
For now the safest option you can take when it comes to buying income protection insurance is to stick with a standalone specialist for your cover and be sure that your policy will come with the key facts needed and is backed up by experience in selling protection cover of quality.