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Do I need Income Protection Insurance?: Martin Lewis’ advice

Martin Lewis is a household name in the UK for consumer advice for all your personal finance needs, including information about income protection insurance. These policies have become more popular with families in recent years, as people are more aware of the need to protect themselves and their families if they can’t work.

Income protection insurance can be confusing and difficult to understand because there are so many different options to choose from. It is understandable that consumers would turn to experts like Martin Lewis for guidance about income protection insurance, simply because of how complicated it can be.

Unfortunately, guidance from Martin Lewis about income protection insurance is actually quite limited and there isn’t a great deal of information from him on this subject. In this guide, our insurance experts break down what Martin Lewis says about income protection insurance, and we have provided some additional information to support you in finding the right cover to protect your family.

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60-Second Summary – Do I need Income Protection Insurance?: Martin Lewis’ advice

Martin Lewis and MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) provide limited information about income protection insurance, though they both offer advice on several related topics. Martin Lewis provides extensive guidance on topics such as life insurance and critical illness insurance, which are similar financial protection policies.

Income protection insurance provides cover for as much as 60%-80% of your pre-tax earnings, to help support you and your family financially if you can’t work for 4 or more weeks.

  • Martin Lewis only talks about income protection insurance briefly in the MSE critical illness cover guide. Surprisingly, there is no specific income protection insurance guide on MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • Most of the information within the MSE critical illness cover guide is correct, as it notes that income protection pays out for a wider range of conditions than critical illness insurance.
  • This guide also states that income protection covers around two-thirds of your usual income, which is true as this would be just below 70% (66%).
  • The MSE guide states that income protection will be more expensive than critical illness insurance. This isn’t necessarily true, as the price of each policy will be based on your own situation and the level of cover that you need.
  • Though MoneySavingExpert does not provide specific guides for income protection insurance, the MSE forum contains several threads where consumers discuss their thoughts about income protection insurance.
  • Where income protection insurance is mentioned, MSE advises speaking to an expert for proper advice to ensure that you buy the policy that works best for you.

Income protection insurance is a life insurance product which pays out a regular monthly income if you can’t work due to an illness or an injury. These policies provide extra financial support until you can return to working as normal, and you can claim if you are signed off work for 4 weeks or longer. Sometimes income protection is referred to as ‘permanent health insurance’ online, so you might see this mentioned on various websites.

Key facts about income protection insurance:

  • You won’t be able to cover 100% of your usual income (can usually cover somewhere between 60% – 80% depending on the insurer).
  • The price of your policy will be based on your occupation and lifestyle, as well as your general health.
  • You can’t claim on multiple income protection insurance policies at the same time, and insurers can check if you are receiving payments from multiple insurance companies.
  • You must declare any pre-existing medical conditions when you apply, as non-disclosure can lead to claims not paying out.
  • You will often be asked to provide proof of your income from your bank account, wage slips or accountant to show how much you earn. This helps the insurer to make sure that the amount that you claim is appropriate based on your usual income.

Below, our insurance experts have put together an overview of all the comments that have been made by Martin Lewis and MoneySavavweingExpert.com that mention income protection insurance. Both Martin Lewis and MSE are trusted sources for consumer advice, so it is often helpful to look at what they say before buying a new insurance policy.

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Martin Lewis doesn’t say much about income protection insurance, preferring to focus on advice for policies like life insurance and travel insurance as seen in the clip below.

Martin Lewis’ Guide to Life Insurance – Different Types | This Morning

This doesn’t mean that Martin Lewis doesn’t recommend income protection insurance, and he doesn’t seem to have a strong opinion about this type of cover.

Martin Lewis does not actively discourage people from buying income protection insurance to protect their finances. We know from other guides on MSE that Martin Lewis would say if he thought a policy wasn’t worth the money or should be avoided (e.g. his negative comments in the MSE ‘Beware Over 50s life insurance‘ guide).

MoneySavingExpert also offers limited guidance about income protection insurance, though there are guides for other life insurance products such as critical illness cover. In fact, the only place where income protection is mentioned on MoneySavingExpert is in the MSE critical illness insurance guide.

The advice given in this guide is that it can be worth speaking to an expert such as a financial adviser or insurance broker, to help you decide which policy is most appropriate for you and your family.

Note: MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) does provide full guidance for topics like Statutory Sick Pay. We find it slightly odd that there is a full guide for Martin Lewis sick pay information and resources, but no reference to income protection insurance there.

Should I read the MSE forum for income protection advice?

While there isn’t a full income protection guide on MSE, there are a few threads that discuss these policies within the consumer forum. It’s important to remember that most of the time these comments will not be coming from a qualified advisor, so you should be cautious about trusting the guidance that you find here.

It can be useful to understand more about what other consumers have experienced when buying a policy like income protection insurance. A better approach would be to look at websites like Trustpilot, which is a trusted resource for independent customer reviews and ratings. Most UK insurers and brokers will use websites like this to gather their reviews, and you should get a better overview of your options here.

Income Protection Insurance provider reviews

You cannot buy income protection insurance (or any other insurance policy) from Martin Lewis. There is understandably some confusion here, as Martin Lewis is frequently highlighted as an expert in this area when he appears on shows like Good Morning Britain and This Morning.

While Martin Lewis does provide useful information for consumers, he is not an insurance broker and can’t sell policies. He simply provides advice and recommendations based on his own experiences and knowledge of finance and insurance.

Even MoneySavingExpert.com cannot sell insurance policies directly, although their guides may include links to recommended insurance brokers.

Note: Any links to specific insurers or brokers will often be ‘affiliate’ links, meaning that MSE is paid to refer customers over. It’s best to bear this in mind, as the ‘recommended’ choice may not always be the right insurer for your situation.

Martin Lewis is one of the UK’s most trusted sources for advice about financial products and services, but it’s important to note that his advice is based on his own experiences and opinions.

He will usually check his facts carefully, and he does have a team of experienced financial journalists who help him. He isn’t a qualified insurance broker though, and it is usually better to get proper advice if you can – especially if you have medical conditions which can make things more complicated.

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Our insurance experts have searched extensively through MoneySavingExpert.com and other online resources to try and uncover Martin Lewis’ views on income protection. Strangely, the only place where our experts could find any mention of income protection insurance was within the MSE critical illness cover guide which compares the two policies.

A screenshot of the MSE critical illness cover guide.

All that is really said is that income protection will pay you a ‘proportion of your salary (e.g. two-thirds)’ to cover essential spending if illness or disability prevents you from working. This is technically true, as insurers will generally cover around 60% – 70% of your income which could be classed as roughly two-thirds (66%).

It is also noted that income protection will cover a wider range of illnesses than critical illness insurance, which is true. Critical illness cover provides a set list of conditions that are covered, whereas income protection will pay out for most occasions of sick leave regardless of the cause. This is as long as a doctor has signed you off work for 4 or more weeks, and the illness/injury isn’t ‘excluded’ within your policy terms and conditions.

One thing that the guide does mention that isn’t necessarily true, is that income protection will always be more expensive than critical illness cover. The price of both types of policy is based on each person who applies, so this isn’t entirely accurate. Some income protection insurance policies can be very affordable, especially for younger applicants and people with no pre-existing conditions.

Note: While this guide was not written by Martin Lewis himself, he is the Chairman of MoneySavingExpert, and so it is safe to assume that he approves of any guidance within the website

It is difficult to assess whether you should buy income protection insurance based solely on Martin Lewis’ opinions and the minimal guidance provided by MSE.

Martin Lewis recommends a range of options and policies that can protect you and your family against financial difficulties, but there is very little advice or recommendation for income protection insurance.

To work out whether income protection insurance is worth it for you, you should consider your usual monthly bills and how you would pay for these if you couldn’t work. Most people will not have sufficient savings to support them during a long-term period of sickness, which is where income protection will be most useful.

Other benefits of income protection insurance include:

  • You can protect between 60% – 80% of your usual pre-tax income to support yourself and your family if you can’t work because of your health.
  • Most policies will pay out for 12 – 24 months, and some can provide financial support for several years or until you retire if needed.
  • Income protection insurance can be cancelled or switched at any time without any fees or penalties.
  • Some insurers will include extra support for free, such as return-to-work support and online GP services.
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Self-employed workers can often benefit the most from policies like income protection insurance. This is because self-employed people can’t access schemes like Statutory Sick pay, which provides financial support for employees if they are off sick.

Again, Martin Lewis has not really commented on this topic, though he does provide various financial guides and resources for self-employed workers on MSE. There realistically isn’t one ‘best’ insurer for self-employed income protection anyway, as the right insurer for you could be different to the right one for someone else.

Some insurers will work better for self-employed workers than others though, so you should compare multiple quotes to ensure you get a fair price.

As suggested by Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert.com, the best way to find a suitable insurance policy is by getting proper advice from a qualified broker or financial adviser.

This allows you to ask about anything that you aren’t sure of and gives you the opportunity to easily compare quotes from multiple insurance companies. Most insurance brokers can provide free, no-obligation advice to help you understand your best options for cover.

To find the best income protection insurance quotes, you can speak to one of our insurance experts on 0800 009 6559 or CLICK HERE.

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Is it worth having income protection insurance?

Income protection insurance can be extremely useful and very important for anyone who is unable to work due to sickness or an injury (e.g. from an accident, sports, work etc.). Essentially, income protection insurance pays out monthly to replace any lost earnings while you are unfit or unable to work.

Payments for income protection insurance can be used to pay your mortgage, rent, other credit commitments, food bills, utilities and other regular outgoings.

Common myths about income protection insurance:

  • Income Protection Insurance won’t pay out
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the government will cover me
  • The cost of Income Protection Insurance is high
  • People with medical conditions can't have Income Protection Insurance
  • My employer will help support me
What does income protection insurance cover?

As a rule of thumb, income protection insurance will pay out a regular monthly tax-free payment to you if you can’t work and you are signed off by a doctor. You will need to provide supporting evidence from a medical professional such as your GP and proof of income from your employer or accountant.

Example: Sarah was involved in a car accident which resulted in a serious back and neck injury that prevented her from being able to drive for 6 months. She was able to claim on her income protection policy after 4 week for the remaining 5 months until she was able to move and drive again. She would also usually be able to claim for rehabilitation and physiotherapy to help her to return to work as planned.

Do I need income protection insurance for a mortgage?

Income protection insurance and mortgage life insurance are not compulsory for getting a mortgage in the United Kingdom. Some mortgage lenders might ask for you to get insurance as a condition of the mortgage offer in some circumstances but this is rare.

It is strongly recommended to have insurance to protect you and your family if you have a mortgage and other credit commitments. If you consider what the financial impact would be if you were unable to work due to accident, sickness or injury, and even if you were to die.

Most common mortgage protection insurance policies:

  • Buildings insurance
  • Mortgage life insurance
  • Income protection insurance
  • Critical illness insurance
  • Mortgage payment protection insurance (Accident, Sickness & Redundancy
Is income protection insurance tax free?

Payments from an income protection insurance claim are almost always tax-free, apart from some business income protection policies. This is because you pay tax on the premiums for personal income protection insurance at source (i.e. the premiums are paid from your net monthly salary).

The same applies to life insurance premiums and payouts, effectively you have already paid tax on the premiums that you have paid. There are some other possible tax implications that may apply in certain circumstances so you should seek proper advice or guidance if you have any specific questions.

Which is the best income protection insurance UK?

It’s very difficult to say overall which income protection insurance policies or providers are the best, simply because there are so many different options and types of cover. You can get income protection insurance from an even wider range of insurance providers than life insurance, so your choice is even greater.

The most common income protection insurance policy is:

  • Short term income protection insurance (24 months)
  • 4-week deferred period (pays out after 1 month of absence)
  • Guaranteed premiums (fixed premiums)
  • Underwritten income protection insurance

There are several other cover options for income protection insurance (e.g. long-term, age rated, reviewable premiums, guaranteed acceptance and 0 weeks to 12 months deferred periods).

The top 5 income protection insurance providers according to research by Defaqto are:

  1. Aviva (Trustpilot score: 4.0 out of 5.0)
  2. British Friendly Society (Trustpilot score: 4.1 out of 5.0)
  3. LV= (Trustpilot score: 4.5 out of 5.0)
  4. Royal London (Trustpilot score: 4.0 out of 5.0)
  5. Shepherds Friendly (Trustpilot score: 4.3 out of 5.0)
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