How would you pay your mortgage and bills should your income stop?

One in four Irish workers worries regularly about loss of earnings due to illness or injury.

Being unable to work and provide for their families due to illness, injury or death is a significant worry for Irish workers. Over a third worry about it at least once a month, while 13% said it was on their minds on a daily basis. Despite this anxiety, we are more likely to insure our pets and our gadgets than we are to insure our ability to earn a living. That’s according to research recently carried out by Red C on behalf of Aviva.

Only 6% of respondents said they held Income Protection insurance, even though, overall 85% admitted they worry about the prospect of illness or injury preventing them from providing for their family.  More than three in five said they were concerned about mental illness keeping them out of work.

Asked how they would manage in the event of being unable to work due to illness, injury, or death the vast majority (62%) said they would rely on social welfare. Yet half of all respondents had no idea how much they would be entitled to if they were unable to work and only 17% could quote the exact amount of the state disability benefit, which currently stands at €230.31 a week. One in four said they would rely on their savings in the event of ill-health: the survey found that average annual household savings amount to under €6,000.

Researchers also found that almost a quarter (22%) of Irish adults have experienced a significant loss of income due to illness, injury or death of a main breadwinner. A third of those affected by such a loss got into debt and another third had to move out of their homes.

Among the minority who have Income Protection insurance, almost 70% bought it themselves, either through a financial broker or directly from an insurance company. Just a quarter said their insurance was provided by their employer.

Life Insurance pays out a fixed amount, so it's the ideal way to help give your family a financial safety net if the worst were to happen.

Income Protection Insurance is there for you when your income isn’t.  It can help safeguard your lifestyle by providing you with a monthly income, should you be unable to work for a period of time, due to illness or injury.

Irish worrying less about money, health is still biggest focus……

According to research commissioned by a leading protection specialist, 37% of Irish people view money as their biggest worry this year. What is particularly noteworthy about these findings is that this is almost 10% less than the 46% who said that money was their biggest concern in 2016. The survey asked 1,000 respondents nationwide what their biggest worries were and what their biggest focus was in 2017.

Health was cited as the majority of people’s main focus (37%), followed by career (26%) and travel (13%). What is surprising is that there has been quite a drop in the number of people who identified money as their biggest concern in 2017 when compared with last year. This could this be an indicator that things are on the up for people financially as Ireland is on track to have the EU’s fastest growing economy for the fourth successive year and has a decreasing unemployment rate which last month was at a near 9-year low.

The survey found that after money, 22% worried about their family most in 2017, a big jump from the 14% who said the same the previous year. Meanwhile double the number of respondents said they were concerned with loneliness compared to 2016; 8% versus 4% respectively.

The survey results also highlighted the large difference that exists between the priorities of the younger and older generations surveyed. For 18-34 year olds the focus lies, understandably, much
more on their career (42%), health (19%) and family (13%). While an equal amount of 18-34 year old respondents (10%) said property and travel were at the forefront of their minds. For over 55s their
biggest priority was their health (60%) and travelling (27%).

Overall health is a big focus for every age group surveyed. It is the top focus for 35-54 year olds and over 55s whilst it is the second top focus for 18-34 year olds. One of the ways people are prioritising their health is shown by the uptake in more Health Insurance policies. The largest uptake increase has seen people in their 40s taking out policies, with almost 33,000 people between the ages of 40 and 49 joining a scheme since the start of 2015. As people are becoming more informed and involved in protecting themselves, there has been a noticeable increase in people interested in discussing Serious Illness cover and Salary Protection cover.

There is no escaping that money is still a big worry for many people throughout the country. Unfortunately managing household finances can be challenging. The thought about what might happen in the future that could adversely affect family finances, is never far from peoples’ minds, it would appear. Making contact with a local Financial Broker to discuss personal finances and the options available to people may be one way of helping to alleviate this worry.

Income Protection – the important cog in your financial wheel

We all fund our lifestyle by spending our hard-earned income. This income is used to feed ourselves, to pay mortgages, to pay all the bills and to fund our lifestyles; new clothes, nights out and holidays etc. Our income is also used to pay our insurance premiums and hopefully to pay towards retirement planning! So what happens if we get sick or have an accident and this income stops? This is where income protection insurance comes in. A previous term used for this cover was Permanent Health Insurance (PHI).

What is income protection?
Income protection insurance is a product that in the event of you being unable to work due to illness or accident, the insurer will pay you a replacement income until your retirement date. Most Financial Brokers recognise the importance of maintaining an income and recommend to clients that they have adequate replacement income in place, should they be unable to work. For some lucky few individuals, their employer provides this salary protection cover. For most, they may end up reliant on modest state benefits. Indeed for the self-employed, they are entitled to nothing and as a result they really need to get their own income protection insurance in place.

Is income protection the same as payment protection on a mortgage or other loan?
In a word, no. They are not the same product. Payment protection is a product that was predominately offered by banks to cover repayments on a mortgage or loan. However this cover usually only lasted for a year or so and had quite strict conditions attached. In fact payment protection insurance has a very chequered history and indeed was sold to people who often would never be eligible to claim. You may often see in the media that banks are now being forced to refund customers for payment protection policies that were mis-sold in the past.

Income protection is completely different. It covers your income in the event of illness or accident and the benefit is payable until you recover and are able to work again. If you don’t recover, it is payable until you reach your retirement age. In fact the state is supportive of people taking out income protection insurance. You get full tax relief at your highest income tax rate on the premiums you pay. Now this is one of very few ways left to get marginal rate tax relief on anything!

 How much does it cost?
Like most products, it depends. The premium that you pay will depend on a range of factors such as;
• Your age
• Your occupation
• Amount of cover needed
• Your state of health
• Your choices in relation to a range of policy features

Where do you start? The best way to proceed is to contact your Financial Broker who will explain all of the options available and will prepare an income protection quote for you. And because your Financial Broker is impartial and deals with all of the product providers, they will find the best product for you at the lowest price available. You can then rest easy, knowing that at least your income is secure.

What is . . . ?

Life Assurance: This is cover designed to provide a financial lump sum to a family/person/company in the event of the death of a specified individual. There are different kinds of Life Assurance that include:

  • Mortgage Protection – Decreasing Life Assurance – ends at set term

  • Term Assurance – Level Life Assurance – ends at set term

  • Whole of Life cover – Level Life Assurance – No set term

  • There is reviewable and non reviewable Whole of Life cover

    Life Assurance with convertible option: You can request a conversion option on some Life cover. This allows you to extend the lifetime of your policy without having to supply any medical information. This allows some people to choose a shorter term for cover now, at a lower cost.

    An example of this benefit would be if you take out €100,000 Life cover for 10 years with a conversion option. During the 10 year lifetime of this plan you might get sick or be struck with an illness that would prevent you from taking out Life cover in the future. The conversion option would allow you to extend the term of your €100,000 Life cover beyond the 10 years and the Life company could only use your medical information from the original application.

    Serious Illness Cover: This is cover designed to provide a financial lump sum to a family/person/company where a specified individual is diagnosed with a Serious Illness.

    Income Protection: This is a cover designed to be a replacement Income if a person is unable to work due to illness or injury. It is particularly important for self-employed people.

    The cost of these covers depends mainly on your age, your smoker status, your health and the length of time you would like the cover.

    Pensions: During your working life, you can save into a Pension arrangement to subsidise your drop in income at retirement. The main advantages of this are that you get tax relief on your contributions and you get tax free growth on your investment.

    Savings/Investment plans: An alternative to saving/investing money in the bank. The main advantage is that there is a much greater potential to grow your investment. The main disadvantage is that your value can go down as well as up.