In fact in 2013 alone, more than 48,000 people claimed a total of $1.26 billion in income protection insurance, according to statistics released by The Risk Store. The leading causes of claims were:
- Mental Illness
Rather soberingly, these statistics reflect only those workers who had income protection insurance in place and were able to claim. According to a recent research project undertaken by KPMG, commissioned by the Financial Services Council, Australians are underinsured against disability to the tune of $304 billion.
Some questions to ask yourself:
Could you afford the following costs, if you were not earning an income for an extended period of time?
- Your mortgage?
- Your car insurance, service and rego?
- Your telephone costs?
- Gas and electricity?
- Your health insurance?
- New clothes?
- Your children’s education and activities?
What does the average household spend?
According to ASIC’s Moneysmart, the average household in Australia spent $69,166 on general household living costs in 2012 (most recent figures available). Of course, the amount per household varies by life stage, with average figures for some common working-age household groups being:
|Life Stage||$ spending per week||$ spending per annum|
|Lone person aged under 35||$869||$45,188|
|Couple with young kids (eldest child under age 5)||$1,484||$77,168|
|Couple with older kids (eldest child between 5 – 14)||$1,670||$86,840|
|Couple with teenagers||$1,900||$98,800|
By comparison, the maximum level of Disability Support Pension available via the government is $383 per week for a single person or $288 per week for a member of a couple. That level of income discrepancy is certainly food for thought…
How income protection insurance can help
Income protection covers part of your salary (commonly 75%), if you are unable to work due to illness or injury. You can choose a waiting period (the amount of time that you must be off work before you can begin claiming a benefit) and a claim period (the length of time that the policy will continue to pay you, which may be as short as 2 years or as long as to age 65). The purpose of income protection is to provide you with a regular income during any temporary or permanent incapacity. And while it won’t cover your full income, it would hopefully be sufficient to maintain your lifestyle.