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Why saying “it won’t happen to me” is wrong (and the stats to prove it)

Why saying “it won’t happen to me” is wrong (and the stats to prove it)

Jan 13, 2022

No one likes to think about death. It’s one of the main reasons why, when asked, people say that they don’t have any life insurance or other protection in place.

Others say that it’s too expensive or that it doesn’t pay out (both myths, which we have looked at elsewhere).

A common objection we hear is that people thing death or serious illness “won’t happen to me”. Consequently, they see no need for cover.

As the last couple of years have shown us, anyone can become ill – or die – at any time. Burying your head in the sand and saying “it won’t happen to me” could leave those closest to you with significant financial problems if you pass away.

Your loved ones may have to move out of their home. They may fall into debt if they can’t keep up with their monthly commitments. And, if you have children, they may not be able to enjoy the life you planned for them.

Furthermore, the facts show that saying “it won’t happen to me” may simply not be true. Whatever age you are, thousands of people become seriously ill and die in the UK every single day.

Leading insurer Aviva has looked at the data and here are the statistics to prove that it might just happen to you.

If you’re aged 20 to 34

Your young adult life is probably when you feel most invincible. You may be building your career and stating to live independently. Additionally, people in this age category are also most likely to get married or have a baby – two of the most common triggers for putting financial protection in place.

If you think “it won’t happen to me at this age” you could be guilty of underestimating the possibility of the worst happening.

According to Aviva, 6,800 people between the ages of 20 and 34 were diagnosed with cancer in the UK in 2018. The most common cancers in this age range are:

  • Skin
  • Breast
  • Testicular
  • Cervical
  • Thyroid

According to the NHS, conditions such as multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, and hyperthyroidism are more likely to develop in younger adults.

Indeed, 3,075,487 people between the ages of 20 and 34 are expected to have a health condition that lasts more than one year. The most common long-term conditions are related to mental health illness such as depression and panic disorders.

So, what would you do if you were one of these people and suddenly unable to work because of an illness? Could you pay your mortgage or rent? Would your young family be able to maintain their lifestyle?

In 2021/22, Statutory Sick Pay in the UK is just £96.35 a week and lasts for a maximum of 28 weeks. It’s unlikely that this will be enough to support you – especially considering that under-30s in the UK spend approximately £531.50 a week.

As well as thousands of people aged 20 to 34 suffering serious illnesses, in 2018 there were 6,763 deaths in the UK of people in this age category. The top three causes of death for younger adults were:

  • Suicide and injury
  • Accidental poisoning
  • Land transport accidents

So, if you were to pass away unexpectedly, would those closest to you be financially secure without the right protection in place?

If you’re aged 34 to 49

At this age you may have a growing family, be moving up the property ladder, or have more financial commitments to protect.

It’s also the age at which you’re most likely to claim on an income protection policy, if you have one.

In the UK in 2018, 23,147 in this age group were diagnosed with cancer. The most common cancers in people aged 34 to 49 are:

  • Skin
  • Breast
  • Cervical
  • Colon and rectal
  • Non-Hodgkins lymphoma

According to the NHS, conditions such as type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis are more likely to develop in this age group.

Aviva say that 3,745,747 people between the ages of 35 and 50 are expected to have a health condition that lasts more than one year. The most common long-term conditions are related to mental illness such as depression and panic disorders.

Statistically, this is the time in your life when your earnings are likely to be highest. This age category spend, on average, around £663.40 each week.

You may have a family, a mortgage, and other financial commitments. So, an extended period off work with a serious illness could have a significant impact on your life, and that of your family.

Even worse, 20,361 people between the ages of 35 and 49 died in the UK in 2018. 12,600 of these were male and 7,761 were female. The top three causes of death in this age category were:

  • Accidental poisoning
  • Suicide and injury
  • Cirrhosis and other diseases of the liver.

Considering that you’re likely to be the main age earner in your household, or the main caregiver for your family, your death could leave your loved ones with significant financial problems.

If you’re aged 50 to 64

If you’re in this age category you may be thinking that it’s too late to put protection place.

However, that’s simply not the case. If you have a family, or financial commitments, you may still want to ensure that your loved ones receive financial support if anything happened to you. This is particularly true as people in this age group are more likely to become seriously ill or die than younger adults.

In the UK, 74,064 people between the ages of 50 and 64 were diagnosed with cancer in 2018. The most common cancers are:

  • Skin
  • Breast
  • Prostate
  • Colon and rectal
  • Lung related

According to the NHS, conditions such as Parkinson’s, early onset Alzheimer’s and female breast cancer are more likely to develop in this age group. The most common long-term conditions relate to mental health, diabetes and blood, and heart and circulatory issues.

An eye-watering 5,738,155 people between 50 and 65 are expected to have a health condition that lasts more than one year.

While you might have built up some savings at this point in your life, could you and your family maintain your lifestyle if you were seriously ill and off work for an extended period? Would you be able to pay your bills on Statutory Sick Pay of £96.35 a week (2021/22)?

Aviva also report that 64,582 people in the UK between the ages of 50 and 64 died in 2018. 38,301 were male and 26,281 were female. The top three causes of death in this age category were:

  • Heart disease
  • Lung related cancer
  • Cirrhosis and other diseases of the liver.

It could happen to you

What these figures show is that, irrespective of your age, you could be diagnosed with a serious illness or, worse, pass away at any time.

If this were to happen to you, what would be the impact on your loved ones?

  • Would they be able to afford to carry on living in your home?
  • Could they meet their regular commitment without your income?
  • Would your children have the life you want?
  • Could they pay for your funeral?

Putting financial protection in place gives you the peace of mind that your loved ones will be supported should the worst happen.

So, whatever your age, get a life insurance, Critical Illness, or income protection quote online today. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our experts to have a chat about your options.

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