WHAT KINDS OF PROTECTION ARE THERE? AND HOW DO YOU DEVELOP THE BEST STRATEGY FOR YOUR SITUATION?
I first address the key risk areas and types of protection available below, then provide tips on how you can address your needs and work out what you need.
One’s ability to earn an income is often our greatest asset! Income insurance will pay a monthly income replacement in the event that you suffer an illness or injury and are unable to work.
Example: Bill, a self employed carpenter, injures his back when gardening at home on the weekend. Following a visit to his GP he is diagnosed with a prolapsed disc and is unable to perform his usual duties as a surveyor. He lodges a claim with his insurer and is eligible to receive a monthly benefit = $6k (the cover amount selected at application), 30 days after consulting his GP. He returns to part-time work (earning 50% of his previous salary) and his income policy benefit reduces to $3k per month. The policy payments cease when he resumes his normal duties and is paid his previous salary.
Note: Bill can claim again for the the same or a different condition up to age 65. Click the button below to send me a query on income protection.
Significant out of pocket expenses can be incurred when suffering a “trauma event”. A trauma policy will pay a lump sum upon diagnosis of a health event listed in the policy terms, irrespective of your prognosis for recovery. Cancer, strokes and heart attacks are common reasons for claims payments.
Example: Jane, who is employed as an accountant, is diagnosed with breast cancer that requires a lumpectomy followed by chemotherapy and several months convalescence at home. She lodges a claim with her insurer who pays a $300K lump sum. During this period, she uses some of the proceeds to supplement her income protection benefit (up to 75% of her salary) and to employ a person to assist with domestic duties, care for her 2 primary school age children and help with personal care. The remaining funds were used to pay for rehabilitation expenses and to allow her husband Jason to take extended leave without pay to assist with her care and provide psychological support.
Consequently, Jane was able to take the time required to recover from her illness without incurring undue financial or family stress.
Refer also the example of our client Ben Day here. To inquire about trauma insurance simply click the button below.
Death and “Total & Permanent Disablement” (ie unable to ever work again) can have devastating financial consequences for both families an individuals. Either a wage earner is lost and/or additional ongoing medical and personal care costs incurred or the”homemaker” is no longer able to perform their duties.
Example: Dan, who is 45 years of age and employed as a sales representative, suffers a stroke which leaves him with paralysis. After a 6 month assessment period, his treating doctors certify that he is unlikely to ever again resume his occupational duties. Consequently, he lodges a claim with his insurer who pays a lump sum benefit of $750K. He uses $200K to repay the mortgage, puts $100K aside to fund school fees for his 2 children, spends $50K on modifications to the family home and invests $400K to generate an additional income of $30K pa over the next 20 years to fund ongoing medical expenses (ie supplement his income protection benefits).
As a result, the family’s living standard is preserved by Dan’s income protection benefits and prudent application of of the TPD policy proceeds. To ask a question, inquire on your life insurance status and explore needs click the button below.
HOW MUCH INSURANCE DO I NEED?
Determining your insurance needs is not easy as there are many factors to consider. Paying the mortgage may not be sufficient. I often find people are not clear what insurance they need and also, that they are commonly under-insured, leading to substantive risk. Risk that can be minimised.
If you would like to get an idea of what you need to do and your personal insurance costs then read below.
We have created a simple worksheet to assist you to estimate an appropriate amount of personal insurance cover to meet your needs.
Essentially, you need to think about the possible consequences of you or your partner either dying or suffering from a temporary or permanent disability that does not allow you to work or perform your usual daily activities.
You cannot know the severity of the outcome and so should assume a “worst case scenario” for the purposes of calculating insurance cover sums.
WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO HAPPEN?
For example, would you want to repay the mortgage, cover out of pocket medical and personal care costs and have a sustainable income that would cover living expenses (including the children’s education) over the remainder of your working life?
Would your partner (if applicable) continue to work and what income would he/she contribute?
What assets would you sell to repay debt and then generate an income? (or retain for lifestyle purposes).
DETERMINING YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS
What do I need to think about? Read our answers to commonly asked questions including real-life examples.
Note, if your question isn’t here please submit your question so we can respond directly to you and maybe include it on this page for the benefit of others.
Q: What personal risks do I face?
A: While participation in certain occupations (eg manual) and sports & hobbies can elevate the risk of injury or even death, illness can even strike people with a very healthy lifestyle, making no one immune from risks.
Q: Why is it important to think about the financial impact of these risks?
A: In the event of a death, illness or injury, debt still needs to be serviced and an acceptable living standard maintained. This would include educating the children and allowing your family to do the things that they currently enjoy. This requires money!
Q: How can I protect myself from the financial impact of these risks?
A: Avoiding excessive debt and creating a strong savings base from which a regular income can be generated would be ideal. Insurance can provide the money required to “bridge the gap” between your savings and the money required to meet your lifestyle objectives.
Q: How does life insurance work?
A: You pay regular insurance “premiums”into a pool. In the event of your death or incurring a disability, you are eligible to receive a lump sum or monthly income benefit that can be used to service debt repayments and living expenses etc.
Q: How much will insurance cost me?
A: This depends upon the type of insurance selected, your age, sex, occupation, smoking status and health history. The cost is then determined by the cover amount (sum insured) selected on a pro rata basis.
Q: How much cover do I need?
A: This depends upon your personal situation and needs. Click here to access our Insurance Worksheet which has been designed to help you determine an appropriate sum insured.
Q: I already have Life Insurance through my super fund, so do I need additional Life Insurance?
A: We typically find that the amount of automatic cover provided by super funds is very difficient and the policy terms are sometimes inferior to those found in personal policies, making a successful claim less likely. Also, super funds are now prohibited by law from providing features such as “agreed value” style income protection, “own occupation” TPD cover or trauma insurance. Some funds only offer a limited benefit period for income protection and “level premium” structures are rare.
Q: I am self-employed. Why do I need life insurance?
A: The self employed are often more vulnerable than an employed person, given the absence of benefits provided by employers- eg sick leave, WorkCover, possibly salary continuance insurance. In addition, the business is often reliant upon them to generate sufficient revenue to pay overheads and make a profit. Insurance can repay debt, replace lost personal or business income and even pay overheads to keep the business afloat.
Q: Can my partner and I take out a policy together?
A: The policy can be owned by more than one person, a super fund or sometimes another entity. However only 1 person can be insured under a single policy.
Q: Can I apply on behalf of another person?
A: No. The person to be insured must complete parts of the application and consent to the establishment of the policy.
Q: Are my premiums guaranteed?
A: Premiums can increase at each anniversary of the policy due to the age or the life insured or indexation of the sum insured by the CPI. A “level” premium structure allows you to pay a higher pemium now but avoid annual increases due to age. Also, an insurer can apply an increase to all policies within a class at any time for business profitability reasons.
Q: What type of questions will you ask me in order to assess my application for insurance?
A: We need to understand your age, sex, occupation, lifestyle pursuits, health history & status and income (if applicable). Any information that may affect your ability to obtain insurance should be fully disclosed in the application.
Q: Do I need a medical check up or blood test?
A: Depends upon the type and amount of cover for which you apply and answers to the medical questionnaire. If required, the insurer will arrange for a paramedic or nurse to visit you (at the insurer’s cost) or you can arrange with your own doctor.
Q: I forgot to tell the insurance company that I had a medical condition before I took out my policy. What should I do?
A: You should immediately disclose this information to the insurer so that they can review their offer of cover. This may result in a premium increase or exclusion of a certain claim type but will avoid a situation where the insurer does not pay a future claim.
Q: I already have an insurance policy and have just been told by my doctor that I have a serious medical condition. Do I have to tell my insurer? Will they cancel my policy or increase my premiums?
A: No. Providing full disclosure of relevant information at application, the life insurer cannot cancel a policy or increase premiums if you incur a medical condition at a later time. Please note: some insurance companies (often general insurers) offer cheaper policies that can be cancelled by them at the anniversary if a medical condition has arisen.
Q: Do I need to be working to apply for these types of insurance?
A: Only if applying for income protection or total and permanent disability insurance (TPD).
Q: I heard that my insurance premiums are tax deductible. Is this true?
A: Income protection premiums are 100% tax deductible. Likewise, death & TPD premiums can be effectively paid from pre-tax dollars if funded by “concessional” super contributions.
Q: Are there any restrictions on what my family or I can spend the claims proceeds on?
A: No, not at all.
Do you have questions about insurance not answered above? If so you can send them to me via email, simply click the button below, or if you prefer, call me on 0411 402 283 or use my inquiry form by clicking here. I recommend you complete an insurance worksheet if you have the time, click here to do so, it won’t take long but it will help us provide you with relevant and accurate estimates.