Category : Insurance Adviser

Plugging the protection gap

Plugging the protection gap

If you’re one of the increasing number of people who’ve become self-employed in recent years, you may have found the switch has left you without the employee benefits you previously took for granted.

Making the change from employed to self-employed is a big step and it’s one more people are taking.
The number of self-employed people in the UK now stands at 4.80 million, representing 15% of the working population.

But while some may find they can earn more as a result, they might overlook the importance of replacing lost employee benefits like income protection and life insurance.

Death in Service
Many employed people automatically benefit from life insurance arranged on their behalf by their employer. This would pay a multiple of their annual salary were they to die while still employed, which could then be used to pay off a mortgage or maintain their family’s lifestyle.

Some employees receive a proportion of their salary for a period of time if they become unable to work due to illness or injury (over and above statutory sick pay levels) and may benefit from access to private medical treatment.

Clearly, moving from employment to self-employment would mean these benefits cease, and potentially
leave a protection ‘gap’.

Mind the gap
Fortunately, the benefits you may have received automatically as an employee are also available to you as a self-employed individual – and they may be more affordable than you think.

Income protection insurance will pay you a monthly income if you become unable to work through illness
or injury. Self-employed workers should consider this an essential piece of protection because it can help
prevent your family suffering financial hardship and allow you space to recover more quickly without the
burden of financial worry. Many insurance companies also provide support for customers to help them return
to fitness as quickly as possible.

Life and critical illness plans can be individual plans or combined. Life insurance will pay out a lump sum or
a regular income to your dependants if you were to die during the term of the cover. Critical illness plans pay out a lump sum if you are diagnosed with a specific illness. Both can help secure your family’s financial future.

Private medical insurance (PMI) may be considered less of a priority than either income protection or life
insurance, given the treatment you are entitled to via the NHS. For those seeking to replicate all the benefits
they may have enjoyed when employed, there are a range of policies available at varying price levels. If you are interested in PMI we can introduce you to our PMI referral partner.

Are you covered?
If you’re self-employed it’s easy to make sure your employment status doesn’t put your long-term financial
security – and that of your family – at risk. Get in touch to discuss your protection options.

A sporting chance

A sporting chance

A sporting chance

Are you one of the one in three parents who worry about the risk of serious injury from school sports?

Research from MetLife has found that one third of parents with school age children are concerned about serious injuries from sport – and there could be real reasons to be worried.

The research shows that:
• around 17% of parents have had to take children to Accident & Emergency units in the past five years because of injuries sustained while playing sport at school
• nearly a six have had to visit GPs for advice on sports injuries
• over 30% of parents have had to seek medical or dental treatment for children due to school sports injuries in the past five years

Parents are also becoming increasingly keen to see action from schools and sports bodies to help reduce the risk of injury:
• one in five say they would be happy to back a ban on full contact rugby in schools
• more than a third want better recording of injuries suffered as a result of school sports
• 40% want children to be able to opt out of rugby one third would support opt-outs for hockey and football

Should contact sports be banned?
The benefits that playing sport brings to children are huge. Aside from the enjoyment, it improves physical fitness and health and builds self-confidence. However, it is clear that a substantial number of parents are worried about the risk of serious injury.

The Sport Collision Injury Collective, a group of doctors, academics, sports scholars and health professionals, have called for a ban on tackling in school rugby matches. These calls may be controversial and many will argue that playing contact sports is a great way to develop team work and a broader set of skills. No doubt the debate will continue.

School sports aren’t the only culprit though. MetLife reports that over two-thirds of claims on their accident and hospital cover policy are for broken bones – mostly caused by kids just being kids. With the summer holidays around the corner, children are likely to spend more time outside playing with friends and taking part in summer activities and sports clubs.

Although we can’t wrap our children in cotton wool, we can take preventative measures and give them the tools they need to avoid unnecessary risks, as well as putting protection in place in the event an accident does happen.

If you’d like information or advice about accident protection cover, please get in touch

Critical Illness Insurance

Why crowdfund the cost of your healthcare?

Why crowdfund the cost of your healthcare?

Crowdfunding is becoming increasingly common among people who need healthcare that’s not freely available through the NHS.

Protection Websites such as justgiving.com, crowdfunder.co.uk and gofundme.com are full of campaigns from families trying to raise funds for treatments, or seeking help to avoid the financial hardships that a serious illness such as cancer or stroke can cause.

Even though the vast majority of proven effective treatments for cancer are funded by the NHS, 2,348 crowdfunding campaigns to cover medical treatment were launched on JustGiving in 2016, a seven-fold increase from the year before when there were just 304.

One fundraising charity, Tree of Hope, specialises in helping these young people and their families by running campaigns to raise the funds they need to pay for specialist care.

Supporting young people
Although cancer in young people is rare, it is still the most common cause of death for children aged up to 15. Sadly, 1 child in every 500 under 15 is diagnosed with a form of cancer and 2,200 teenagers and young adults (15-24 years old) are diagnosed every year.

Don’t rely on crowdfunding
Instead of crowdfunding at a time when you should be concentrating on treatment and recovery, taking out a critical illness plan will help protect a breadwinner from the financial impact that the diagnosis of a serious illness could have on their life or their family’s life.

Many critical illness policies also include cover for children (including step and legally adopted) as an automatic benefit. This can pay out a lump sum if a child is diagnosed with a specified critical illness or is hospitalised.

To discuss critical illness protection for you and your family, please get in touch

life-insurance-advisers

Time for an upgrade?

Time for an upgrade?

Have you upgraded your mobile phone in the past two years?
If the answer’s yes, your choice may have been driven by a change in your needs or wants. Perhaps you opted for a better
deal, a different contract, or a handset with new features that weren’t available with your previous model?

When it comes to updating your phone TV or even your car we all want to feel like we’re getting a good deal.

The question is: why don’t more of us do this with items like the financial products we pay for every month?

Are your current arrangements still right for you?

Take critical illness insurance as an example. If you have a critical illness policy:
• When did you last update it?
• Does it still provide the cover you need?
• Does it continue to provide the benefits and features you need?

When your needs change, it makes sense to update things
Life may have changed since you last bought or reviewed your critical illness insurance cover. You may have had children, moved house, or your income may have changed.

This means that even though you have a critical illness plan in place, it might not offer you the level of cover you’d need if the unexpected happened. However, it might also provide cover for certain conditions which may not be available on a new plan.

Insurance innovation
It’s not just mobile phone companies that compete to offer the most innovative products – insurance companies are constantly updating their products to reflect customers’ changing needs too.

Given that more of us are living longer and surviving serious illnesses like cancer it is perhaps unsurprising that products like critical illness insurance have changed in recent years. For instance, many insurers have introduced greater flexibility and extended their cover to cater for a wider range of illnesses. Some have even introduced completely new products offering partial pay-outs, or for an additional cost, allow you to claim for non-critical illnesses and injuries.

Protect your loved ones
Critical illness insurance can help you cover mortgage or rent payments, treatment, or any home alterations you may need to make as a result of an unexpected critical illness – so it’s important your cover remains up-to-date.

We can review your needs and make sure you have the right cover in place. To arrange your review, please get in touch

Pet Insurance

The importance of protection

The importance of protection

Millions of pet owners have purchased insurance in case of an expensive trip to the vet’s, but who will pick up the bill if something happens to you?

Many pet owners will know the stress and financial burden caused by an expensive vet’s bill and have taken out pet insurance to avoid having to make difficult decisions at stressful times. In fact, figures show 3.9 million dogs and cats are covered by pet insurance.

However, it seems we place more value on our pet’s wellbeing than our own, with almost 8.5 million people in the UK potentially needing some sort of insurance cover, having none.

Why aren’t we insuring ourselves?
One in four breadwinners does not have life insurance in place, risking leaving their families in financial difficulty if they were unable to work – or worse, died. It seems women are in a worse position than men, with 38% protected by some sort of policy, compared to 45% of men.

So what is it that puts us off buying insurance? Perhaps it’s the thought of paying out each month but not seeing any benefit from the cover.

Far from being a luxury, protection insurance should be considered essential. If you suffered a serious illness or injury you may lose your income, and this could lead to you losing your home. Similarly, if you died, would your loved ones be able to maintain their current lifestyle without your income?

If you think it’s not going to happen to you, you may be surprised to know:
• half of people in the UK born after 1960 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime
• In 2015/16 8.8 million working days were lost due to musculoskeletal disorders
• there are up to 175,000 heart attacks in the UK each year

Insurance policies can provide funds to help deal with the financial consequences of illness, an accident, unemployment or death. Whether that’s to help pay the mortgage, maintain your family’s lifestyle, or even help pay for medical treatment or specialist nursing support.

The next time you’re renewing your pet insurance, check our own level of cover too.

If you’d like more information on the types of cover available and whether they are suitable for you, please get in touch.

Contact us today for a Life and Protection Insurance review

home insurance

Protection through the years

When it comes to protection insurance, we hold two firm beliefs:
1. it should form the foundation of your financial plan.
2. cover should be reviewed regularly to make sure it continues to meet your needs.

The latter is particularly important when you are at a particular ‘life stage’. Whether that’s buying a house, getting married, starting a family, setting up in business, or all of the above, protection insurance will help to protect your loved ones and your financial responsibilities.

So what type of cover is right for you?
• Term Insurance pays out a lump sum if you die within the agreed ‘term’ (the amount of time you have chosen to be covered for, eg. 20 years). Suitable for mortgage protection or while children are financially dependent on you.

• Whole of Life Insurance pays out a lump sum when you die, whenever that is, as long as you are still paying the premiums. Suitable for estate planning or to cover things like funeral expenses.

• Critical Illness Insurance pays out a tax-free lump sum on the diagnosis of certain life-threatening or debilitating conditions, like cancer, heart attack or stroke. You may decide to buy Critical Illness Insurance when taking on a major commitment, like a mortgage or starting a family, but it can be bought at any time to provide peace of mind.

• Income Protection Insurance pays out a regular, tax-free income if you become unable to work because of illness, injury and some policies cover unemployment. It could help you keep up with your mortgage or rent payments, as well as other living costs, until you’re able to return to work.

Things change – and so should your cover
You may already have one or more of these in place, but it’s still worthwhile reviewing your current cover levels – especially if your circumstances have changed. Ask yourself:

Whether your family could cope financially if either you or your spouse/partner died?

How much income would you have if you were taken seriously ill and couldn’t work?

Would your business survive without you or your key people?

How would your lifestyle change if you had an accident and couldn’t do the things you do today?

Contact us today for a Life and Protection Insurance review

Pensions

Home truths

Home truths

The LV= Home Truths Report has revealed that homemakers are happier than people working in any other occupation, despite working longer hours than most people think.

Flexible hours, being able to spend time with the children and relatively low stress levels all contribute to homemakers generally feeling happier than those in full time jobs, even though they work, on average, 66 hours in a five day week.

It all adds up

As well as being crucial to the home and family, the role of the homemaker also contributes to the economy. In fact, the Office for National Statistics suggests an equivalent salary for a homemaker would be £38,162 a year, covering tasks like childcare, cooking, cleaning, transportation, shopping and doing the laundry.

Perhaps we underestimate the value of a homemaker though, as only 7% have taken out Income Protection insurance that would replace some, or all, of the £733 a week needed to pay for alternative cover.

Deadline to the breadline

To make things worse, families would only be able to manage to pay for help for just 18 days, on average, before they ran out of savings or had to borrow money – even though their first priority would be making sure their children are looked after.

It goes to show that there’s often a gap between our aspirations for our children and the steps we will take to ensure they can be realised.

While none of us want to think that an accident or illness will happen to us, life’s nasty surprises can (and do) happen to anyone and at any time.

[gem_quote style=”5″]If you have children, or a partner who rely on you or your income, it’s important to review your personal protection plans and make sure you have sufficient cover in place. We can help. Talk to us and we’ll make sure you have the right cover for your circumstances.[/gem_quote]
injury

Financial back pains

Financial back pains

Back pain is a common problem that affects most of us at some point. In 2014/15 9.5 million working days were lost due to musculoskeletal disorders including back pain. To put that figure in perspective that’s just over 26,000 years of lost productivity. In some cases the back problem will be temporary and the sufferer will recover and return to work, but conditions vary enormously in their severity and can occur at any time.

Preventing back pain

How you sit, stand, lie and lift can all affect your back. When you think about how much time the average person spends sat at a computer, it’s important to be aware of your posture in order to help prevent injuries.

One of the biggest causes of back injury, particularly at work, is lifting or handling objects incorrectly. When moving an object at work or home you should:

  • think before you lift
  • start in a good position
  • keep the load close to your waist
  • avoid twisting your back or leaning sideways, particularly when your back is bent
  • keep your head up
  • know your limits
  • push rather than pull
  • distribute the weight evenly

From spinal surgery to physiotherapy or joining a gym, the treatments are many and varied. Exercise is an excellent way of reducing the chances of suffering from back pain and walking, swimming, yoga or pilates can all help to improve flexibility and strengthen the back muscles. That said, we are all still susceptible.

What if you do slip a disc?

Being off work with a bad back could wreck your financial plans, so it’s important to have adequate income protection in place. This replaces a proportion of your income if you are off work and can help to relieve the pressure on you and your family so that you can concentrate on recovery rather than worry about the next bill.

[gem_quote style=”5″]If you haven’t protected your income, or it’s been a while since you reviewed your cover, please get in touch.[/gem_quote]
sports-insurance

School sports day..

School sports day..

Are you one of the one in three parents who worry about the risk of serious injury from school sports? New research from MetLife has found one third of parents with school age children are concerned about serious injuries from sport – and there are real reasons to be worried.

The research shows in the past five years:
  • around 17% of parents have had to take a child to Accident & Emergency units because of injuries sustained whilst playing sport at school
  • one in six have had to visit GPs for advice on sports injuries one third of parents have had to seek medical or dental treatment for children due to school sports injuries.

Parents are also becoming increasingly keen to see action from schools and sports bodies to help reduce the risk of injury:

  • one in five say they would be happy to back a ban on full contact rugby in schools
  • over one third want better recording of injuries suffered as a result of school sports
  • 40% want children to be able to opt out of rugby
  • one third would support opt-outs for hockey and football
Should contact sports be banned?

The benefits to children of playing sport are huge. Aside from enjoyment, it improves physical fitness and health, and builds self confidence. However, it is clear that a substantial number of parents are worried about the risk of serious injury.

The Sport Collision Injury Collective, a group of doctors, academics, sports scholars and health professionals, have called for a ban on tackling in rugby. These calls may be controversial and many will argue that playing contact sports is a great way to develop team work and a broader set of skills.

School sports aren’t the only culprit either. MetLife reports over two-thirds of their claims relating to children on their accident and hospital cover policy are for broken bones. With the summer holidays around the corner, children are likely to be outside playing with friends and taking part in summer activities and sports clubs.

Although we can’t wrap our children in cotton wool, we can take preventative measures and give them the tools they need to avoid unnecessary risks, as well as putting protection in place in the event an accident does happen.

If you’d like information or advice about accident protection cover, please get in touch

Insurance Quotes

The risks of being underinsured..

The risks of being underinsured..

Most of us wouldn’t think twice about protecting our home, car, TV or smart phone – we even insure our holidays and pets. But there’s one aspect of protection that too few of us consider – what happens to our homes and our livelihoods in the event we have an accident, serious illness or die?

What’s your greatest financial asset?

What would you say if you were asked what’s your greatest asset? Your home? After all, it is one of the biggest financial commitments we undertake. Think again. If you calculate how much income you’ll receive between now and retirement, the reality is that your income is your greatest asset. So have you protected it in the same way you’ve protected your home?

New research suggests in most cases the answer is no, with 64% of households surveyed having no income protection in place. And this is despite nearly half of co-habiting couples in the UK claiming they are reliant on both salaries just to make ends meet. In fact, 34% admitted they would have to make substantial changes to their lifestyle if one partner was unable to work:

59% would have to cancel holiday plans

21% would cancel gym memberships

10% would ask family for additional help with childcare

13% would have to make a drastic change such as downsizing their house

More shockingly around 12% would have to visit food banks just to keep food on the table.

Protecting your income

Every year almost a million people find themselves unable to work due to an accident or illness. Taking out income protection provides you with a tax-free income if you’re sick or injured and unable to work. It could help you pay your mortgage/rent, utilities bills or even any medical bills you may incur.

Protecting against the unexpected

While losing your income could put you and your family in a difficult situation, what if you or your partner were diagnosed with a critical illness? The last thing you’d want to worry about would be your finances, especially as a study by Macmillan Cancer Support shows that the average family of someone receiving treatment for cancer has a monthly shortfall of £200 – even if they slash their spending to the essentials.

80% of us consider broadband to be essential, but less than 39% think that financial security for dependants in the event of a critical illness is. Critical illness cover or life insurance may not sound like priorities for you, but the financial buffer they can provide at such a difficult time could be invaluable. There are a number of affordable protection products that give you financial peace of mind in the event of accident, injury, or worse.

Talk to us about protection insurance tailored for your circumstances