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Self Employed Income Protection

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Self Employed Income Protection provides you with a monthly income if you cannot work due to any accident or sickness.

The monthly benefit payments are designed to cover your core financial commitments such as your mortgage / rent, bills and food.

Income Protection for self employed workers is particularly important because individuals who manage their own business tend to have little or no sick pay and rely on the income they generate to survive.

  • Cover up to 70% of your gross monthly income
  • Choose a policy which can pay out from as short as 1 week of illness or injury.
  • Opt for either short- or long-term cover, with long-term plans covering you all the way up until your planned retirement age.
  • In 2018, leading insurers Liverpool Victoria and Legal & General both paid 95% of valid Income Protection claims.

According to consumer group Which?, Income Protection is the one policy every working adult should consider.

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What Does Income Protection Cover?

Income Protection for self employed professionals protects a proportion of your monthly earnings should you be unable to work due to any accident or sickness.

You are able to protect up to 70% of your gross annual salary and any benefit paid out during a claim is paid tax free.

It is a highly comprehensive form of protection insurance, covering practically any medical condition that prevents you from working (subject to any pre-existing medical history) including:

  • Back conditions
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer

Taking out cover with an ‘own occupation’ incapacity definition will make sure you’re protected if you can’t do your specific job role.

With a lack of employer-provided sick pay and many self-employed having limited savings a suitable income protection policy can often be the difference between paying your monthly bills and not if you end up too ill or injured to earn a living.

Income Protection Exclusions

As with all types of insurance, there are some blanket policy exclusions you won’t be covered for by most self employed Sickness Insurance providers.

These are usually pretty standard exclusions, such as illnesses / injuries sustained:

  • During criminal activity
  • From taking illegal or illicit drugs
  • As a result of alcohol or other substance abuse.

Travel to certain countries may also be excluded, namely those areas with active internal conflict / threat of terrorism; countries and territories where the Foreign Office has advised against travel; and regions with active epidemic outbreaks.

What If I Have Existing Health Conditions?
When setting up your Income Protection policy we will help you complete a medical questionnaire where you will need to declare any medical conditions you have suffered in the past 5 years.

Depending on the severity of the medical condition the insurer is likely to do one of three things:

  • Provide cover on standard terms
  • Provide cover for an additional premium
  • Exclude the condition

If an exclusion is applied to your policy you may be able to get this reviewed after a period of time where you don’t seek any advice, medication or treatment for that condition.

As experts in this field we have direct access to the underwriters at all the top UK insurers which enables us to discuss your medical situation with them and negotiate the best possible terms for you. If you need any help please do not hesitate to pop us a call on 02084327333 or email help@drewberry.co.uk

I’m Self Employed – Do I Need Income Protection?

There are plenty of benefits to being self-employed and being your own boss. You can set your own hours and have the freedom to work as you please.

However, there are downsides as well, with one of the biggest being that you don’t get any sick pay.

One of the most common questions we get asked is whether the self employed can get statutory sick pay.

Self Employed Statutory Sick Pay Entitlement

A worker employed full-time, on the other hand, is usually contractually entitled to 26 weeks of Statutory Sick Pay from their employer if they’re off sick. This is worth £94.25 per week. Many employers offer more than this as standard.

If you’re self-employed you don’t get this benefit. Instead, you’ll have to see if you can claim government incapacity support, known as Employment and Support Allowance. This is part of the new Universal Credit and starts at £73.10 for over 25s.

Although other government benefits are available depending on the severity of your illness, they’re rarely sufficient to replace average UK household expenditure of more than £500 per week.

What’s The Risk Of Illness Or Injury?

According to Drewberry’s Protection Survey,14.7% of the over-55s said they’d been out of work due to illness or injury for at least 6 months at some point during their career. That’s roughly 1 in 6 people.

Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics recorded more than 2 million people as ‘economically inactive’ due to long-term sickness in the 3 months to January 2019.

Clearly, the risk of long-term illness and injury is higher than many people think, yet as a nation we’re underprepared for this eventuality.

This is why self employed sick pay insurance can be so important as those working for themselves have less government support than those employed and no employer funded sick pay.

Our Wealth & Protection Survey found that 2 out of 5 people in the UK have no more than £1,000 in cash savings and 1 in 4 working people have less than £100 left at the end of the month after paying for the essentials.

With such a low level of savings and only minimal cash leftover for discretionary spending, it’s no wonder that people would struggle if they were out of work through illness or injury.

What About Unemployment Insurance?

Unemployment Insurance is designed to protect employed workers from forced redundancy. It pays out a short-term monthly income (for a maximum of 12 or 24 months) if you’re out of work through no fault of your own.

Taking out Redundancy Insurance is not something we typically recommend for self employed individuals. This is because, even if they weren’t working, self-employed professionals are still technically employed by themselves and so would be highly unlikely to be able to make a successful claim.

How Does Self Employed Income Protection Work?

There are four major policy decisions you’ll need to make when taking out self employed Sick Pay Insurance, each of which will have a big impact on the price of your policy. These are:

  • Policy cease age
    The age you’ll be at the end of the policy. Some providers allow you to run cover all the way up to age 70, but this will be far more expensive than cover which stops at 60 or 65. Set this in line with your expected retirement age, a point at which you could realistically expect to rely on pensions.
  • Deferral period
    How long you have to be off work sick before you can make a claim. The longer your deferral period, the cheaper cover will be. Set this to align with any savings you might have to tide you over.
  • Payout length
    The best Income Protection for self employed people will pay out long-term, right up until the policy cease age if you were so unwell you could never return to work. Cheaper policies exist, known as short-term cover, that would only pay out for 1, 2 or 5 years per claim. Think carefully whether this would be long enough to recover from a serious illness or injury.
  • Sum assured
    How much monthly income you’ll receive from the policy each month if off work sick. You can insure a proportion of your gross (pre-tax) income – usually between 50% and 70% of it. The more you insure, the higher your premiums.

How Much Can I Insure?

With a personal protection plan, you are able to insure up to an absolute maximum of 70% of your gross (pre-tax) earnings. However, with some insurers it is only possible to cover up to 50% of gross income. This will obviously have a big impact on the insurer you choose depending on how much you need to insure.

Picking only the insurers that will cover the absolute maximum proportion of your income will rule out many insurers on the wider market that could offer you a better deal.

Rather than automatically aiming to insure the maximum allowable, it makes more sense to look through your monthly outgoings in order to determine how much cover you really need.

Most people look at core outgoings – housing costs, bills, food etc. – to make sure the absolute essentials are covered by Income Protection.

In reality, there’d likely be some luxuries that you’d cut back on in the event of being off work sick, plus you wouldn’t have any commuting costs for example.

Can I Cover Dividends?

Many contractors and self-employed have set themselves up as a limited company where they choose to pay themselves a small salary and the rest in dividends for tax reasons. Most insurers are aware of this and cover dividends as well as PAYE earnings.

Watch Out For Insurers Who Average Your Income

It is very important to note that some insurers will average your income over the previous three years whereas most will only look back over the previous 12 months. This small difference can influence the most appropriate choice of insurer if your income fluctuates over time.

IMPORTANT! Proving Your Income When Making A Claim

In the event of a claim your earnings over the past 12 months will usually determine the level of benefit the insurer will pay out (subject to the limit of how much you initially covered). Insurers will usually ask for your tax return as evidence of your income, if you haven’t yet submitted a tax return recent bank statements are usually sufficient.

If your earnings fall significantly it is important to contact the insurer and lower your level of cover as the insurer will never payout more than the percentage of cover you selected when setting up your policy. If you reduce your level of cover, you’ll also typically reduce the cost of premiums.

Types of Premium

You have three types of premiums open to you when choosing your self employed Sickness Insurance:

  • Reviewable premiums
    The insurer can ‘review’ these at any time and so they may rise in a number of circumstances, such as if the insurer has seen an increase in claims or based on economic factors. Such premiums often start out cheaper but then get reviewed upwards and therefore tend to work out more expensive over the life of the policy.
  • Age-banded premiums
    Age-banded premiums also work out cheaper at the start but then rise each year in line with your age. Unlike reviewable premiums, age-banded premiums can only rise by a preset amount laid out in your policy documents and any rises are solely linked to your age and the increasing risk of you claiming as you get older.
  • Guaranteed premiums
    Work out slightly more expensive initially, but cannot be adjusted over the life of the policy unless you decide to make any changes to the plan. This generally means guaranteed premiums work out cheaper across the life of the policy, especially if you take out cover when you were young and healthy, as premiums are locked in from the start and can’t change with time.

Setting Your Deferred Period

The deferred period is the length of time you would need to wait before the Income Protection would start paying out should you be unable to work due to an accident or sickness.

Typically the self employed do not receive any sick pay and so the decision will come down to how long any savings could last before you would need the self employed income insurance to kick in and replace your income.

You can set your deferred period as short as 1 week or as long as 1 year. Naturally the longer you are able to wait to make a claim the lower your monthly premiums. Typically a 13 week deferred period can reduce your premiums by up to 50% when compared with a 4 week deferred period.

Your Definition of Incapacity

The definition of incapacity will determine when you can claim benefits from the policy.

The best Income Protection for self employed workers will cover you under what’s known as the ‘own occupation’ definition of incapacity.

While this definition of incapacity isn’t always available for everyone, it is usually the one that provides the most comprehensive cover.

Own Occupation Cover

This is the best self employed Sick Pay Insurance and will ensure you’re covered if you can’t do your specific job.

It’s particularly important if you’re a manual worker as there could be many things that would prevent you from doing your job that wouldn’t stop you working in a less physically demanding role. You therefore want cover that will protect you in your own occupation.

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.

Any Occupation / Work Tasks

This is a definition of incapacity that means you can only claim if you’re so totally unfit to work that you can’t work in any occupation / perform a set number of tasks required at most basic jobs.

This definition of incapacity is the most difficult to claim on and in general we’d recommend it is best avoided.

How Do I Make a Claim?

When making a claim it is best to make the insurer aware as soon as you become too ill or injured to work. You will need to complete a claims form and the insurer will assess the medical evidence to approve the claim.

We have a claims team to support you through this process and make it as smooth as possible so you can focus on your recovery.

Neil’s Cancer Claim With British Friendly

Neil is a client of Drewberry and took out an Income Protection policy with British Friendly. He was a member for 4 years before he needed to claim.

He became unwell and had pains in his stomach. After consulting his GP and having some further tests Neil was diagnosed with stage 2 Bowel Cancer and needed to make a claim.

🤕 Read More About Neil’s Claim

John’s Cancer Claim

John runs an IT consultancy. In the last tax year John earned a gross salary of £120,000. After reviewing his monthly expenditure John took out Self Employed Sickness Insurance covering 50% of his annual earnings, totalling £60,000 or £5,000 per month.

He opted for long-term cover that would pay out this monthly benefit for as long as he may need it should he be unable to work and earn an income.

Making His Claim

2 years after taking out the policy, John developed cancer. As soon as it become apparent that he was not going to be able to work he spoke to his insurer.

At the start of the plan John selected a deferred period of 6 months as he had sufficient savings and retained profit within the business to see him through those first 6 months.

John submitted the claims paperwork, including the required medical evidence from his consultant and the insurer was processed the claim.

In total, John was incapacitated for 3 years. Over this period, he received 30 monthly payments of £5,000, totalling £150,000. This enabled him to meet his financial obligations whilst out of work and allow him to focus on his recovery.

Will A Claim Be Paid?

The vast majority of Income Protection providers now publish their claims statistics which is a real step forward in building trust.

Each year the Association of British Insurers (ABI) publishes average payout rate statistics from across all insurers. The latest figures are from 2017 and show that 87.2% of all Income Protection claims were paid, with over £600 million paid out in total.

Below is a table of the top 5 providers by their claims payout rate.

Insurers
2017
Aegon
96%
Liverpool Victoria
96%
Shepherds Friendly
96%
Vitality Life
96%
Legal & General
95%

How Much Does Self Employed Sickness Insurance Cost?

In addition to the policy factors discussed above, there are a number of personal factors which will also impact on the cost of your self employed insurance including:

  • Your Occupation
    Self employed workers in high-risk occupations and those who present a higher chance of getting injured or ill are likely to pay more for Income Protection than someone in a low risk occupation due to their increased risk of claiming. So, if your job involves a lot of heavy lifting or working at heights, it is likely that you will have higher premiums compared to someone that works exclusively at a desk.
  • Your Age
    As we get older our health inevitably declines, which means that we are more likely to claim on an Income Protection policy. Insurers will typically increase your premiums to balance this risk, so the older you are when you apply for a policy, the higher your premiums are likely to be.
  • Your Smoker status
    Your health plays a big part in the pricing of an Income Protection policy and smoking, due to its detrimental health effects, can significantly push up the price of Income Protection.

Average Cost of Self Employed Income Protection

To work out the cost of Income Protection, we’ve assumed:

  • The individual is a healthy self employed domestic plumber
  • They want a benefit of £1,500 a month
  • They’re looking for an 8 week deferral period
  • Their cease age will be age 65
  • They’re looking for long-term cover
  • They want to guarantee their premiums for the life of the policy.

The Income Protection quotes that have been generated below represent the cheapest policy that matches the above criteria from across the entire UK market.

Cost of Self Employed Income Protection

Age 25

£36.78

Age 35

£49.58

Age 45

£92.73

Company Director Or Sole Trader Income Protection?

For a company director it’s possible to take out Directors’ Income Protection covering gross salary and dividends. This is paid for by your company before corporation tax, but the benefit is taxed upon a claim.

For sole traders, a personal Income Protection policy is best. This is owned and paid for personally and not put through the your business accounts. As it’s therefore paid from post-tax income, the benefit is then paid tax-free.

Company Directors: Have Your Business Pay for Your Income Protection

With Director Income Protection, the business pays the premiums on your behalf. With this option it is usually possible to insure up to 80% of gross income as the benefit. This is because the benefit is paid back into the business almost like a trading receipt and then distributed to you from there, similar to the way a salary is paid.

Income Protection for Sole Traders

With a personal plan it is possible to cover up to 70% of gross earnings. The payout from the policy will be free from income tax and national insurance contributions (NIC). Premiums are collected from a personal bank account and the benefit is paid back into a personal bank account.

It is very common for self-employed workers to set themselves up as a sole trader. With this set-up, it is most appropriate to take out a personal plan.

The monthly premiums should be paid from a personal bank account and the benefit would be paid back into that account tax-free. In other words, the monthly premiums should not be expensed.

When setting up a Sole Trader Income Protection policy the level of cover needs to based on personal earnings from your trade, rather than the revenue brought in each year.

In order to establish gross income you would need to take your total revenue and then subtract your business costs (such as for materials). This is the amount upon which you would pay tax and also the amount upon which you can base your cover.

Beware Personal Accident Insurance!

Self-employed jobs are often – although not exclusively – manual. Builders, plumbers and electricians and all other tradesmen make up a large proportion of the UK’s thriving self-employed economy.

The physical nature of these jobs means that you have a higher risk of facing an accident at work than someone who spends their days sitting at a desk.

For this reason, many self-employed workers think Personal Accident Insurance is the cover they need to protect them if they have an accident at work and can no longer do their job. However, comparing self employed Income Protection and Personal Accident Insurance side-by-side reveals that they’re actually very different insurance policies.

  • Self Employed Income Protection will be medically underwritten and based on your pre-existing medical history, so you’ll know exactly what you’re covered for from the start of the policy.
  • Personal Accident Insurance is not usually medically underwritten, which means when you go to claim you may find your injury isn’t covered due to pre-existing issues.
  • The best Self Employed Sickness Insurance will be long-term, paying out until you reach retirement should you become so ill or injured you can never work again.
  • Personal Accident Cover is usually short-term, paying out for a maximum of 2 years, even if you still aren’t able to go back to work after this period. Alternatively, it may pay out a lump sum that will have to stretch a long way if you can’t ever go back to work again.
  • Personal Accident Cover may use a lesser definition of incapacity, e.g. ‘suited occupation’, where you may be asked to do another job suited to your skillset if you can’t do your own job.

Personal Accident Insurance is usually an inferior cover when compared with Income Protection.

When we’re asked which one is a better fit for a client, we’d almost always say to opt for Income Protection as the more comprehensive choice.

Michael Barrow
Independent Protection Expert at Drewberry

Compare UK Self Employed Income Protection Quotes

AIG logo

AIG

AIG is one of only a handful Income Protection providers to offer cover for individuals with type 2 diabetes. It is also willing to offer diabetics guaranteed premiums and will not exclude diabetes in its policy, unlike other providers.

  • Maximum coverage: 60% of the first £30,000 of your salary / 55% of salary between £30,000-£100,000 / 45% of any salary £100,000+
  • Deferred periods: 4 / 8 / 13 / 26 / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 54
aviva

Aviva

Aviva covers 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.

  • Maximum coverage: 55% of your pre-tax salary, up to a maximum of £240,000 per year.
  • Deferred periods: 4-104 weeks (104 weeks is the longest available deferred period for UK Accident & Sickness policies)
  • Maximum entry age: 59
british friendly

British Friendly

British Friendly gives access to its Mutual Benefits program, which provides rewards such as vouchers for high street shops, discounted fitness tracking devices, emotional support services and online legal services. It’s one of the few insurers that will cover pilots on an own occupation basis

  • 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
cirencester friendly

Cirencester Friendly

Cirencester Friendly 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.

  • 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

The Exeter

The Exeter is one of the few UK insurers that is able to offer own occupation cover to workers in higher risk occupations, although such policies only offer age banded premiums.

  • 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
holloway friendly

Holloway Friendly

Holloway Friendly is a Friendly society founded by the original inventor of Income Protection Insurance, George Holloway. Unlike other income protection providers which offer monthly benefits, Holloway Friendly pays out benefits twice a month.

  • Maximum coverage: 60% of your gross salary up to £100,000
  • Deferred periods: Day 1 / 1 week / 4 weeks / 8 weeks / 13 weeks / 26 weeks / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 59
liverpool victoria

Liverpool Victoria

LV offers free access to unique LV Doctor Services, which include fast access to remote GP services, second opinion services and private prescriptions for policyholders and their children up to the age of 16.

  • 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
royal london

Royal London

Royal London can include Fracture Cover, which pays out a lump sum of between £1,500 and £4,000 on top of any benefit you’d receive for being off work if you receive a fracture of a specified body part

  • Maximum coverage: 65% of the first £15,000 income and 55% of the remainder, up to a maximum of £250,000 per year
  • Deferred periods: 4 / 8 / 13 / 26 / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 59
Shepherds friendly

Shepherds Friendly

Shepherds Friendly allows you to apply to suspend cover and premium payments under your plan for a minimum continuous period of 3 months and up to a maximum continuous period of 24 months. This is known as ‘Career Break’ option.

  • Maximum coverage: 70% of income up to £49,000 per year
  • Deferred periods: Day 1 / 1 week/ 4 weeks / 8 weeks / 13 weeks / 26 weeks / 52 weeks
  • Maximum entry age: 60
Vitality

Vitality

Vitality provides a unique offering. While the core of its policy is similar to other providers’ offering, it also offers a unique set of additional benefits to those who participate in the Wellness / Optimiser programs that can include policy discounts and rewards.

  • 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

Get Self Employed Sickness Insurance Advice

With fluctuations in earnings, limited companies and often a broad range of work duties it can be a bit of a minefield when setting up Accident and Sickness Insurance for self employed workers.

We are here to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision and set-up the most suitable cover for your needs.

Why Speak to Us…

We started Drewberry because we were tired of being treated like a number and not getting the service we all deserve when it comes to things as important as protecting our health and our finances. Below are just a few reasons why it makes sense to let us help.

  • There is no fee for our service
  • We are independent and impartial
    Drewberry isn’t tied to any insurance company, so we can provide completely impartial advice to make sure you get the most appropriate policy based solely on your needs.
  • We’ve got bargaining power on our side
    This allows us to negotiate better premiums for you than you going direct yourself.
  • You’ll speak to a dedicated expert from start to finish
    You will speak to a named expert with a direct telephone and email. No more automated machines and no more being sent from pillar to post – you’ll have someone to speak to who knows you.
  • Benefit from our 5-star service
    We pride ourselves on providing a 5-star service, as can be seen from our 2372 and growing independent client reviews rating us at 4.92 / 5.
  • Gain the protection of regulated advice
    You are protected. Where we provide a regulated advice service we are responsible for the policy we set-up for you. Doing it yourself or going direct to an insurer won’t provide this protection, so you won’t benefit from these securities.
  • Claims support when you need it the most
    You have support should you need to make a claim. The most important thing when it comes to insurance is that claims are paid and quickly. We are here to support you during the claims process and make sure it’s as smooth and stress free as possible.
Tom Conner Director at Drewberry

Income protection for self employed people can be a little more complex depending on how you pay yourself and whether you are working through a limited company.

If you need some help please do not hesitate to pop us a call on 02084327333 or email help@drewberry.co.uk.

Tom Conner
Director at Drewberry

Extremely satisfied with the help and advice from Drew, since the beginning him understood what I was looking for and have the patience to help me out with all my questions and doubts. Didn’t tried to be push or annoying calling me all the time like so many did before. At the end we find the perfect medical policy for me and my daughter that covers everything that we need. I more than recommend them and if in the future I need something else for sure I will contact them again. Giving only 5 stars because I can’t give 6!!!!

Natasha Caversan Mucci
07/06/2019
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