Financial protection such as life insurance, Critical Illness cover, and income protection is designed to provide financial support when you really need it.
It’s there to ensure money if available to you and your loved ones if you pass away or you’re diagnosed with a serious illness. It can also provide a useful regular income if you’re unable to work due to accident or sickness, enabling you to maintain your bills and other commitments.
While this can provide valuable peace of mind, your policies may also offer a range of other additional benefits.
A new survey by insurer Royal London has revealed that just 16% of customers with a protection policy know that their policy has some additional support services or benefits attached to it which they can utilise.
Read on to find out more, and for seven valuable additional benefits you could be missing out on.
Just 1 in 6 people know their protection policy may offer valuable additional benefits
The last three years have been a tough time for many. Indeed, research among Royal London’s customers shows 88% have experienced events that negatively impacted their health, wellbeing and finances since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.
- Dealing with mental health challenges (57%)
- Illness or injury (49%)
- Money worries (35%)
- Death of a loved one (32%).
The research also revealed that three-quarters (77%) felt they were not equipped to deal with challenges alone and were in need of additional practical and emotional support.
The insurer found that many muddled through the pandemic as best they could themselves or leaning extensively on friends and family. Of those who got help, less than 1 in 10 (9%) of them got it from a professional, either from doctors or through counselling.
The insurer concluded that while many people were struggling to access the help they need – partly because of NHS waiting times – there was also a low awareness of the other sources of help that may be available.
For example, just 16% of people with protection policies, from a range of providers, are familiar with the additional support services they, and their families or children, could benefit from.
Jennifer Gilchrist, protection specialist at Royal London, says: “The pandemic has had a profound impact on people’s health, wellbeing and finances. The scale of the problem is striking, with 1 in 9 having faced significant life events.
“It’s also concerning that many, who have added value support that comes with their financial protection policy, were unaware of the support options that are available to them […] protection policies offer help when it’s needed most, but that help comes in the form of more than just financial support.”
So, if you have life insurance, Critical Illness cover, or income protection there may be additional benefits that could support your financial and emotional wellbeing. Here are seven of the most common.
1. Terminal Illness Cover
If you have a life insurance policy, and you are diagnosed with a terminal illness with less than 12 months to live, this additional benefit pays the sum assured straight away.
Essentially, it means the amount of cover under your policy is paid early, rather than on your death. It is designed to help you deal with the financial implications of your illness, such as having to pay medical bills or adapt your home or lifestyle to your changing needs.
2. Accidental death benefit
Many insurers offer accidental death benefit while they are underwriting your application. It means that, once you have submitted your application, the sum assured will be paid in the event of accidental death, even if the policy is not yet in force.
3. Free life cover for a mortgage
One of the main reasons individuals take life insurance is to ensure their mortgage will be repaid if they die within the mortgage term.
If you decide to take out life insurance to cover a mortgage, many insurers offer free life cover between exchange of contracts and completion of your property purchase. In Scotland, this free cover may be provided from when you complete missives for your chosen property until the date of entry.
4. Changing your policy
Over time, your circumstances may change and you might need a different level of cover, over a different term. You may also separate from the “joint life” assured under your policy.
Many insurers will let you increase your cover without the need for any further medical information on certain life events. They may also allow you to make other changes such as changing the term of the policy, the amount of cover, or remove a name from a joint policy. They may even let you change your premium payments from monthly to annually.
Terms and conditions will normally apply, and rules differ between insurers. Talk to your insurer to find out what options are available.
5. Perks for living a healthy life
Increasingly, many insurers offer rewards to policyholders who live healthy lives.
For example, Vitality offers a healthy living programme that helps you to understand your health and then helps you get healthier. If you use a fitness tracker and can demonstrate that you are taking lots of exercise, you may be eligible for a series of rewards and benefits along the way.
6. Access to GP services
If you have protection, especially if this is arranged through your employer, you may have access to GP services. This could be a really valuable benefit if you’re struggling to get a diagnosis or appointment with your local doctor.
If this benefit is available, you may have access to unlimited advice, reassurance and (where appropriate) diagnosis from an experienced GP. You can normally choose a telephone or video consultation, book appointments online, and choose a time that is convenient for you.
7. Rehabilitation and recuperation benefits
If you have a Critical Illness or income protection policy, you may have access to benefits designed to help you to get back to work more quickly.
- Rehabilitation support helps you from the moment you are unable to work due to illness or injury. It can provide assistance during the “deferred” period of your policy, and you may be able to access specialist providers depending on the nature of your condition.
- Recuperation benefit means your insurer may pay for services that could improve or maintain your health and help you return to work. This could range from physiotherapy or counselling through to help travelling to work.
These are valuable benefits that can support your recovery and give you access to services designed to speed up your return to employment.
Get in touch
Putting the right protection in place gives you peace of mind that you and your loved ones will receive financial support when you need it the most.
As you read above, it can also provide a suite of other benefits that offer targeted help depending on your specific condition or diagnosis.
To find out more about the range of options available to you, get in touch. As life insurance and Critical Illness cover experts, we can search the market for you to find the cover you need at the best possible price.
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