Accident and Sickness Insurance

Helping you protect all the things you work hard for...

Drewberry™ provide pensions, investment and insurance advice for Money to the Masses readers throughout the UK.


Why Accident and Sickness Insurance?


Accident & Sickness Cover provides you with a tax-free monthly income should you suffer an illness, injury or potentially forced unemployment.


It is designed to cover your core monthly financial commitments such as your 🏡 mortgage/rent, bills and food.


Income Protection is the one protection policy every working adult should consider. Which? Money


1 in 8 people are forced to stop working before state pension age due to ill-health or disability. TUC


Speak to our expert independent advisers or get an instant online quote to compare the UK’s best insurers.

What is it for?

What does Accident and Sickness cover?

Accident & Sickness

When the ‘Own Occupation’ definition of incapacity is used the policy can pay out for any medical condition that prevents you from working in your own specific job role. This can be all the way from a bad back to something as serious as cancer.

According to claims data from Aegon, the average Income Protection claim in 2017 had lasted more than 8 years, so it really does make sense to consider long-term protection rather than a short-term 12 or 24 month policy.

Including Unemployment Cover

Some plans also have the option where the policy can pay out should you suffer forced redundancy. The payout length for Unemployment Insurance is usually 12 months long.

What does it cover?

How does Accident Insurance work?

Stage 1:
You cease working due to any accident or sickness which prevents you from undertaking your job role.

Stage 2:
You make a claim with the insurer. (You will need medical evidence and typically need to complete a claims form.)

Stage 3:
The insurer will start to pay a monthly tax free benefit after you have been unable to work for the length of your deferred period.

Stage 4:
The policy pays out until either you return to work or reach the maximum payout length, which could range from 1 year to retirement.

How does it work?

Do I need Sickness Insurance?

When deciding if illness and injury insurance is worthwhile it makes sense to weigh up the risk of something happening and the potential consequences:

The Incapacity Risk:

14.7% of the over-55s had been out of work for at least 6 months at some point during their careers, according to Drewberry’s 2018 Protection Survey.

The Consequences:

With ESA averaging at £73.10 someone supporting their family with their income could face severe financial hardship if they had to rely solely on ESA for their income.

The Question:

If you lost your income how would you continue to pay your bills if you didn’t have any Sickness Insurance?

Do I need cover?

Your Key Options

Choose your level of cover
Depending on the insurer, it is possible to cover anywhere from 50% to 70% of your gross (pre-tax) income.

Choose your deferred period
This is the length of time you would need to be off work before the policy starts paying out. The shortest deferred period is 1 day up to 12 months.

Choose your payout length
Short-term plans can pay out for a maximum of 1, 2 or 5 years and long-term plans can continue paying out either until you are well enough to return to work or you reach the end of the policy life.

Given the average length of a sickness insurance claim for LV is over 7 years we would always recommend firstly looking at long term protection.

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What is Sickness Insurance?

Accident and Sickness Insurance is a type of insurance that pays out if you experience a serious illness or injury that prevents you from working.The purpose of the policy is to replace loss of earnings so you are still able to keep up with your essential monthly outgoings, such as your mortgage / rent, utility bills, council tax and put food on the table.

Including Unemployment Cover

Additionally, some policies also offer Unemployment Insurance which in addition to insuring you against illness or injury will temporarily pay you a monthly benefit if you are forcibly made redundant, these payments can often last up to 12 months.

Don’t confuse Accident and Sickness Cover with Payment Protection!

Many websites don’t differentiate between traditional income protection insurance and payment protection (PPI), the quality of the policies are very different and it is important to know the difference.

With traditional Sickness Insurance you can have long term cover, guaranteed premiums and be medically underwritten from the point you apply so you know exactly what you are covered for, this is not the case with PPI.

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Do I Need Accident & Sickness Cover

Do I Need Accident and Sickness Insurance?

It’s impossible to know whether there may come a time when we’re unable to work due to ill health, but periods of incapacity are more common than many people believe. Between July and September 2017, as many as 2 million people in the UK were not looking for work due to long-term illness.

The average UK family spends upwards of £500 per week, yet our 2017 Drewberry Wealth & Protection Survey revealed that 2 out of 5 people have no more than £1,000 in cash savings to fall back on if they stopped working.

The most common reasons to claim Accident and Sickness Insurance are:

  • Musculoskeletal issues
  • Mental health problems

It is also worth bearing in mind that the insurer LV= average claim length for Income Protection policyholders is 7 years. For those without the proper financial protection, 7 years out of work may result in them falling behind on bills and struggling to afford the cost of living, particularly if they are the primary earner in their household.

With sickness insurance, however, you can claim financial support to help you through periods of poor health. The benefits you receive from your insurance policy can be put towards loan payments, bills or essential living expenses so you can focus on getting back on your feet.


Does Your Employer Provide Group Sickness Cover?

Sam Barr-Worsfold, Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

When deciding if you need a personal Accident, Sickness and Unemployment policy, it’s important to check what sort of cover you may receive from your employer.

They could provide a limited period of full sick pay, for example, which can make your accident insurance less expensive as you can take out a policy with a longer deferred period.

Sam Barr-Worsfold
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

Past Drewberry surveys have found that more than 50% of workers receive less than 3 months full employer sick pay. That might be enough time to recover from a minor illness or injury but certainly not for anything serious, like cancer.

For more information on employer provided cover read our group sick pay insurance guide.


Why Accident and Sickness Insurance is so important for the self-employed…

Where many employed individuals receive some level of sick pay those who are self employed have no safety net. Following the results of our survey which showed most of the UK workforce have very little in terms of savings it makes sense to have a suitable income protection in place to cover your essential monthly outgoings.

To see how at risk your income is you can try our Income Riskometer →

Drewberry Income Riskometer Calculator

Answer 5 questions about your circumstances and it will calculate how how safe your lifestyle is should you be unable to earn an income due to illness, injury or forced unemployment.

Protecting self employed earnings…

As you don’t have a typical salary like an employed person, the insurer will base your maximum level of cover on profit before tax for a sole trader and salary and dividends for a company director (please note there are specialist sickness insurance for company directors / contractors which we cannot quote online so for further information please don’t hesitate to call us on 02084327333).



Accident and Sickness Insurance vs Health Insurance

Many people believe that Accident and Sickness Insurance is a similar cover to Private Health Insurance. However, the two are very different and choosing one over the other means missing out on important protection.

Accident & Sickness cover will pay out benefits that can be used to cover your typical monthly expenses if you’re too ill to work. Private Medical Insurance, on the other hand, will only cover the cost medical treatment that takes place privately with any payments being made directly to your healthcare provider.

jake mills, independent protection expert at drewberry

The type of cover you choose to take out will depend on your needs, but many people benefit from buying both types of insurance.

If a health condition prevents you from working, one policy will help you keep on top of your bills while the other will give you access to fast, effective treatment from private practitioners.

Jake Mills
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

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A simple policy well explained good impartial advice and knowledge done with a smile! Many thanks.

Martin Johnson
Accident and Sickness cover pays out monthly benefits if illness or injury stops you earning.

How Does Sickness Insurance Work?

Personal Accident and Sickness Insurance can provide the peace of mind that your monthly financial obligations would be covered so you can concentrate on recovering if you fell ill.


What is Not Covered by Accident and Sickness Cover?

It is important when buying a Sickness Insurance policy to understand fully the restrictions that could be imposed on you so there are no surprises when you come to claim.

Pre-existing health conditions are not usually covered by most insurers, although you may be able to serve a period on the policy where you don’t receive any advice, medication or treatment for that condition and eventually gain coverage for it.

Aside from this, however, most policies do not have any standard exclusions and true Accident & Sickness Cover – also known as Income Protection – will be medically underwritten which means after answering a health questionnaire you’ll know exactly what you will and won’t be covered for from the start.


Make Sure You Have Own Occupation Cover

Different policies use different definitions of incapacity that define when you are entitled to claim benefits.

The best Accident and Sickness Insurance covers you under an ‘own occupation’ definition of incapacity.


Own Occupation Cover

Own occupation cover means that you will be entitled to your benefits as long as your injury or illness prevents you from working in your own specific job. For example, if you are a surgeon and an injury prevents you from using your hand, you’ll be covered by your policy because you cannot work in your occupation with such an injury.


Suited Occupation

Policies that use a suited occupation definition of incapacity mean that in order to claim benefits, you have to be unable to undertake your current job role, or any other job where you may have experience or education to perform.

So where a surgeon with a hand injury may not be able to do their own job, they wouldn’t necessarily be able to claim under a ‘suited occupation’ definition because they would still be fit enough to work as a consultant or teach medicine.

Ciaran King, Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

At Drewberry, we always recommend the ‘own occupation’ definition. To make sure that you are covered under the right definition of incapacity don’t hesitate to pop our advisers a call on 01273646484.

Ciaran King
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

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Occupation Definition Calculator

Make sure your Income Protection covers you in your 'Own Occupation'!

Too often individuals take out income protection without being fully aware of the incapacity definition on which their plan would pay out.

Will the plan pay out if I am unable to do my current job role? Or will it only pay out if I am unable to do any occupation?


If you do not already have income protection this tool should provide you with guidance as to what to look out for and to ensure you do not fall foul of a lesser occupation definition.

Robert Harvey
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry Insurance

Your Occupation
Manual Work (%)
Business Mileage
  annual mileage  
Overseas Travel
  trips per year
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Unemployment cover will only pay out if you are forcibly made redundant and you are not to blame for your redundancy.

Do I Need Unemployment Insurance?

Josh Martin, Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

In addition to covering you for an accident or illness, some insurance policies include or give you the option to include unemployment cover. For some policyholders, this type of cover can be very useful due to the sometimes inefficient financial support offered by Job Seekers Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance.

Josh Martin
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

Unemployment Insurance exists as either a standalone policy or a combined cover with Accident & Sickness cover that will temporarily pay out regular benefits if you are made redundant.

However, this type of insurance cove only pays out in certain cases of unemployment and will not usually pay out if you are made redundant for any of the following reasons:

  • You have become voluntarily unemployed
  • You have chosen to take a career break
  • You become unemployed due to your own misconduct, fraud or dishonesty
  • Your unemployment is the result of industrial action.

Insurers will also typically allow you to claim if you have any prior knowledge of redundancy before you took out the policy, although how they define prior knowledge depends on your insurer.

For some insurance providers, this prior knowledge means that you have been given a formal letter stating that you are at risk of redundancy. For other providers, it could mean that the company has announced that they will be making redundancies in the business.

These terms can make it difficult to claim benefits for Unemployment Cover.

Claiming on Unemployment Insurance will be very difficult if not impossible if you are self-employed as many insurers will consider you to be still employed by yourself, even if you are not currently working.

If you’re self-employed, there are specialist personal accident and sickness insurance for self employed that you can apply for.

Victoria Slade, Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

If you are at all unsure about whether you would be eligible for cover it is very important to speak to an expert adviser before taking out a policy.

The last thing you want to do is to buy a policy only to find out when you come to claim that you were never eligible for cover in the first place. If you need some help please don’t hesitate to pop us a call on 02084327333

Victoria Slade
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

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Types of Accident and Sickness Insurance

Personal Accident and Sickness Insurance is a general term used to describe insurance policies that cover you if you develop an illness or injury. In particular, there are three different types of insurance policies that will pay out if you aren’t well enough to work.


Income Protection

Income Protection Insurance is the most comprehensive of the different Sickness Insurance policy types and the one product that we highly recommend.

This type of policy is tied to your earnings and will pay out monthly benefits equivalent to a percentage of your pre-tax salary. This allows you to keep on top of your essential monthly expenses and bills if you are unable to work.

This type of cover comes in two different forms: long-term cover and short-term cover. Long-term Income Protection can pay out for as long as the policy is active – supplying you with monthly benefits for a single claim until you reach retirement age – whereas a short-term policy will pay out benefits for a maximum of 1, 2 or 5 years per claim.


Payment Protection Insurance

Payment Protection Insurance works in a similar way to Income Protection, but the main difference is that the benefits are tied to a loan or debt as opposed to your income.

If you need to claim on a PPI policy, you will receive monthly benefits that are either equivalent or closely aligned to the cost of one of your monthly loan payments, like your mortgage payments, for example.

This type of benefit cannot typically help you cover the basic cost of living, but the payouts can ensure that you don’t fall behind on important bills and slip into debt. In particular, Mortgage Payment Protection is the most common type of PPI that will protect your monthly mortgage payments.

Unlike Income Protection, Payment Protection Insurance exists only as a short-term policy and will typically pay out for only a maximum of 24 months.


Personal Accident Insurance & Personal Injury Insurance

Personal Accident Insurance – also known as Personal Injury Insurance  is a type of Accident and Sickness Insurance that we at Drewberry normally warn people to avoid.

More information can be found in our ‘Beware of Personal Accident Insurance!’ guide.

Personal accident cover will pay out a cash benefit should you suffer an accident or receive a serious injury. The lump sum payment has no direct correlation with whether you are able to work or not – it simply pays out if you meet the criteria for that particular injury. For many people this pay out will not be enough to help them manage their injury and a payout may not last long if they are unable to work indefinitely.

The fine print is very detailed with these products and often includes the following standard exclusions.

  • If you are injured as a result of sickness or disease
  • Stress fractures, sprains and strains
  • If you are injured while you’re under the influence of alcohol or certain drugs
  • If your injuries are self-inflicted or if you attempt to commit suicide
  • If you are injured while attempting to commit a crime.

Which Type of Accident & Sickness Cover Do I Need?

For the sake of purchasing comprehensive cover for your finances if poor health prevents you from working, we would normally recommend Income Protection for most people.

This is because insuring a proportion of your salary gives you increased cover that can be used to not only pay off loans and bills, but also help you with necessary expenses such as food shopping. To find out more about the benefits of Income Protection you can read our guide Income Protection vs PPI.

Rauri Taylor, Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

Make sure you read the fine print of any short-term Income Protection policies as some are actually Payment Protection rather than a traditional Permanent Health Insurance plan.

If there is mention of your benefits being tied to any type of loan payments then it is likely that the policy is closer aligned with Payment Protection Insurance and not Income Protection.

Rauri Taylor
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

We exist to help individuals throughout the UK understand the various options available to them, avoid the pitfalls and help them make an informed decision when it comes to their protection. We take the time to get to know you before recommending a policy – making sure we know exactly what you need before giving any advice, if you need some help then please do not hesitate to pop us a call on 📞02084327333.

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How Much Does Sickness Insurance Cost?

There are a number of factors which will affect the monthly premium of your Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Insurance.

Maximum Payout Period

The payout period of a policy defines how long you are able to claim benefits for per instance of incapacity. The longer the maximum payout period you select, the greater the risk to the insurer and thus the higher your premiums.

A PPI policy that pays out for a maximum of 12 months is going to be far less expensive than a traditional Income Protection policy that pays out until you retire. However, at Drewberry we believe that a payout period of 12 months may be too short for adequate protection.

If you develop an injury or illness that requires several years of treatment, a long-term Income Protection policy is going to be the best defence against an extended period without a source of income.

lady searching for accident sickness and unemployment cover

Level of Cover

The level of cover you can select will depend on the type of policy you choose. With Mortgage PPI you can insure your full monthly mortgage payments plus an additional 25% in some cases to cover some of your other expenses.

With an Income Protection Insurance policy, however, you can insure up to 70% of your pre-tax earnings.

When deciding how much you would need to cover, it makes sense to tally up your essential monthly expenditure, including your monthly rent / mortgage payment, and at least cover that amount.

The larger the sum you want to cover the greater the payment that will have to be made by the insurer and thus the higher the risk and the higher the monthly premiums. So, rather than over insuring yourself and adding unnecessarily to your premiums, it’s often better to cover what you need rather than choose the maximum cover available.

Setting Your Deferred Period

The deferred period (sometimes known as a waiting period) on an Accident and Sickness Insurance plan is the length of time you must wait from the day you are unable to work to the time when you can begin claiming benefits.

Choosing a longer deferred period allows you to considerably reduce your premiums, although it is important that you don’t sacrifice vital financial support for a cheaper policy.

Personal Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Cover will not pay out if you are receiving sick pay, so the standard deferred period is set to align with your sick pay entitlement. However, you can choose deferred periods up to 52 weeks if you have enough savings/sick pay to support yourself during this time.

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5 Steps to reduce your Income Protection premiums by 80%

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claiming on personal accident & sickness cover

How Do I Make a Claim?

If you suffer an illness or injury that you believe will keep you out of work for longer than your deferred period you should notify your insurer immediately. If you apply for your policy through us, however, you can contact us first and we will guide you through the claims process at no cost.

While you will not be able to claim your benefits until the end of your deferred period, it is vital that you make your claim as soon as you take leave from work so that your insurer can keep track of how long it has been since you stopped working.

When you make a claim, you will need to provide your insurer with a completed claims form and evidence of your health condition which prevents you from working, which is usually given in the form of a note from your GP. In other instances, you may need to confirm your identity and provide information about your current earnings.

Michael Barrow, Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

Many of the top UK insurance providers provide additional benefits and services to help you with your recovery and offer you support. Information about these benefits will be given to you along with your policy documents.

It is likely that you will be reminded of these additional benefits and given information about the most relevant services when you make your claim, but you can learn more about the benefits these insurers offer by reading our insurer summaries.

Michael Barrow
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

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Table to Compare best Personal Accident Insurance providers in the UK

Compare Best UK Personal Accident and Sickness Providers



  • Maximum coverage: 55% of your pre-tax salary, up to a maximum of £240,000 per year.
  • Deferred periods: 4-104 weeks, with 104 weeks being one of the longest available deferred periods available for UK Accident & Sickness policies.
  • Maximum entry age: 59
  • Aviva will cover all policyholders with an own occupation definition of incapacity, and if you choose to return to work in a different occupation until you are well enough to return to your pre-incapacity occupation, Aviva will top up your reduced income with Back to Work Benefits.
British Friendly

British Friendly

  • Maximum coverage: 70% of your pre-tax salary, up to a maximum of £45,000 per year.
  • Deferred periods: Day 1 / 1 / 4 / 8 / 13 / 26 / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 64
  • One of the few insurers that will cover pilots on an own occupation basis
  • British Friendly also give access to Mutual Benefits with Accident and Sickness policies, which provide rewards such as vouchers for high street shops, discounted fitness tracking devices, emotional support services, and online legal services.
Cirencester Friendly

Cirencester Friendly

  • Maximum coverage: 65% of your pre-tax salary, up to a maximum of £65,000 per year.
  • Deferred periods: Day 1 or 4 / 8/ 13 / 26 / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 54
  • Cirencester Friendly will also provides you with a range of additional benefits and services, including a hospitalisation benefit and a Friendly Voice service that provides you with a personal nurse that you can contact for advice and emotional support.
The Exeter

The Exeter

  • Maximum coverage: 60% of your gross salary up to the first £100,000 and 40% of any additional income.
  • Deferred periods: Day 1 / 1 week / 4 weeks / 8 weeks / 13 weeks / 26 weeks / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 59
  • The Exeter are one of the few UK insurers that are able to offer own occupation cover to workers in high risk occupations, although such policies only offer age banded premiums.
Legal & General

Legal & General

  • Maximum coverage: 60% of your annual income before tax, up to a maximum of £200,000 per year.
  • Deferred periods: 4 /13 / 26 / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 60
  • L&G Accident & Sickness Insurance comes with a free life cover element that pays out a maximum of 12 times your monthly benefit if you pass away while the policy is in force.

Liverpool Victoria

  • Maximum coverage: 60% of your annual income before tax, up to a maximum benefit of £12,500 per month
  • Deferred periods: 1 month / 2 months / 3 months / 6 months / 12 months
  • Maximum entry age: 59
  • LV Accident & Sickness policies offer free access to unique LV Doctor Services, which include fast access to remote GP services, second opinion services, and private prescriptions for policyholders and children up to the age of 16.


  • Maximum coverage: 60% of your earnings capped up to £2,500 per month and 50% of any earnings above, up to a maximum of £16,666 per month
  • Deferred periods:1 week / 1 / 3 / 6 / 12 months
  • Maximum entry age: 59
  • Vitality provides a unique offering in the market right across their health and protection products. With regards to Income Protection specifically, the core of their policy is the same as other providers’ offering but they also offer a unique set of additional benefits to those who participate in the program.
Sam Carr, Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

There’s a lot more to comparing Accident & Sickness Insurance policies than simply looking at the price or the maximum level of cover offered by insurers.

When looking at policies, you should be comparing the terms and additional benefits in addition to cost and cover, which can make finding the perfect policy without an adviser a long and confusing process.

Sam Carr
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

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Speak to Drewberry insurance expert advisers to compare the best UK sickness insurance policies

Get Expert Accident & Sickness Insurance Advice

We are insurance experts who want to provide you with all the information you require in order to make the best decision on your protection needs.

Best of all, there is no fee for our advisory service and the premiums are the same as if you went direct to the insurer.

Tom Conner
Director at Drewberry


Why work with Drewberry™

  • We placed over £1 billion worth of risk with insurers for our clients in 2017
  • We were nominated for Protection Intermediary of the Year at the Protection Review Awards 🏆 in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and the Cover Excellence Awards in 2016 and 2017
  • Our ethos is to provide the best possible service demonstrated by the growing number of 🌟 5-star rated reviews with 98% of our clients saying they would recommend us
  • Tom and the rest of our insurance experts are frequently quoted in leading papers such as The Independent and Financial Times with a reputation in the media as an authority in our industry.

Contact Us

If you need help please don’t hesitate to pop us a call or email us as per below.


📞 02084327333

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Compare Top 10 UK
Takes approx. 60 seconds
Type of Policy
Income Required
Date of Birth
Loading your options...
Thank you for using our Quote Tool
If you need some help, just call us!
T: 02084327333
Our in-house Experts are here to provide Whole of Market Advice!
Our Experts can answer all your questions
Our Experts can send you more appropriate options based on your personal circumstances

Very important if you are either Self-Employed or a Company Director.

Our online quote tool is good but our Experts are better

Oue Experts have access to far more insurers and can often find a better deal offline.

Saves you time, let our Experts do what they are best at

Frequently Asked Income Protection Insurance Questions

What insurance can cover my salary if I suffered sickness or had an accident? I do get some sick pay...
I’m a smoker and I have been told that smokers pay more for insurance including Income Protection...
I’m a 35-year-old male with diabetes and I’m looking to take out Income Protection to cover...
related to an answer for: Do I need income protection or accident, sickness and...