Choosing an income protection policy

MoneySmart
(ASIC)

Some of the things you’ll need to consider when choosing an income protection policy are:

Policy type

Income protection policies are provided as either an:

  • Indemnity value policy¬†‚ÄĒ the amount you’re insured for is a percentage of your salary when you make a claim. If your salary has decreased since you bought the policy, you’ll get a smaller monthly insurance payment. Indemnity value policies are generally cheaper and can be useful for people with a stable income.
  • Agreed value policy¬†‚ÄĒ the amount you’re insured for is a percentage of an agreed amount when you sign up for the policy. These are generally more expensive but can be useful if you have income that changes from year-to-year.

Waiting period

This is the amount of time you must wait before your payments start. Most income protection policies offer a waiting period between 14 days and two years.

In general, the longer the waiting period, the cheaper the policy. When you’re choosing the waiting period, think about how much you have in sick and annual leave, savings and emergency funds.

Benefit period

The benefit period is how long the monthly payments will last. Most income protection policies offer two or five years, or up to a specific age (such as 65). The longer the benefit period, the more expensive the policy. But it also means greater protection if you’re unable to work for a longer time.

Stepped or level premiums

You can generally choose to pay for income protection insurance with either:

  • Stepped premiums¬†‚ÄĒ recalculated at each policy renewal, usually increasing each year based on the higher chance of a claim as you age
  • Level premiums¬†‚ÄĒ charge a higher premium at the start of the policy, but changes to cost aren’t based on your age so increases happen more slowly over time

Your choice of stepped or level premiums has a large impact on how much your premiums will cost now and in the future.

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