When you think of financial planning, pensions and savings will spring to mind. But, whilst often overlooked, protection should be a core part of your financial plan.
Before we look at the benefits of financial protection, what exactly is it? The term refers to a range of insurance policies that pay out under certain circumstances. They aim to give you peace of mind and financial security.
Which protection products are right for you will depend on your circumstances and priorities. Among the most common types of policies are:
Life insurance: Life insurance would pay out a lump sum on your death and, in some cases, if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness. It can provide some financial relief for loved ones during a difficult time. If your income is essential for your family’s lifestyle, it can provide some certainty. You’re able to set the level of cover to meet your needs, for example, ensuring there is enough to pay off the mortgage.
Critical illness: This policy would also pay out a lump sum on the diagnosis of certain illnesses that the policy covers. Some policies are more comprehensive than others. The money can help you adjust to the diagnosis and give you some time to come to terms with it. Among the most common reasons to make a claim are diagnoses of cancer, heart attack, stroke and multiple sclerosis.
Income protection: If you’re unable to work for an extended period of time, an income protection policy will make regular monthly payments. Often the payments will continue until you’re able to go back to work or retire. It can help you meet financial commitments if you become ill or involved in an accident. Typically, it’ll pay out a percentage of your usual salary.
The premium paid for financial protection varies between providers. Your lifestyle and health will also have an impact. You must keep up with repayments for the policy to remain valid.
Placing your financial security at risk
People could be putting their financial security at risk by not considering how they’d cope if income stopped or their situation changed. According to a report from Royal London, just 27% of consumers are confident they have sufficient cover. The research also found:
- 56% of aspiring young adults would last less than three months on their savings if they couldn’t work. But, just 17% say they’re likely to buy income protection in the next five years.
- Only one in five (22%) high-income households currently have critical illness cover. Many wrongly believe it’s too expensive.
Why is financial protection important?
1. It provides peace of mind
When planning, it’s normal for ‘what-if scenarios’ to pop up. What would happen if you were to become too ill to work? Could your loved ones cope financially without your income?
The right financial protection can give you peace of mind. You know that you have something to fall back on if necessary. Taking out an appropriate policy can keep you on track financially even when things go off course. It’s a step that can ease fears and let you focus on what’s important to you.
2. It acts as a safety net when things don’t go to plan
Even the best-laid plans can go off course. When something unexpected happens, it can leave you financially vulnerable. Whilst it’s always a good idea to have an emergency fund and other provisions, financial protection acts as a safety net too.
If losing your income for an extended period of time means you’d struggle to keep up financially, protection can be the cash injection you need. Hopefully, it’ll mean you don’t have to worry about paying for the essentials, such as your mortgage or rent, at a difficult time.
3. It can give you time to get back on your feet
If you’re unable to work due to illness, it can be tempting to go back as soon as possible for financial reasons. But it could harm your recovery. Income protection or critical illness cover can give you some breathing space. It means you’re able to get back on your feet first and figure out if adjustments need to be made.
If you access financial protection, it may be the case that an accident or illness will have a long-term impact. Having a policy to fall back on means you don’t have to rush into making a decision.
4. It can protect what’s most important to you
What are you most concerned about should something happen? For some, it’ll be keeping up with mortgage payments if you were unable to work. For others, a key worry will be what would happen to their family without them. Financial protection can provide confidence that what is important to you will be protected.
Making protection part of your financial plan
With appropriate protection in place, you’re in a position to start planning other areas. Financial protection can give you confidence that you can remain on track even if the unexpected happens. If you’d like to talk about your protection, please get in touch. We’re here to help you build a safety net that matches your concerns and goals.
Please note: Articles on this website are offered only for general informational and educational purposes. They are not offered as and do not constitute financial advice. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking advice from a professional.