How long can I keep my income protection for?

Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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, updated on November 25th, 2021       

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There is a time frame for most things that you apply for. These help us know how long we can keep using something before it becomes void or needs replacement. The same goes for your income protection. There are time frames that you need to be aware of to ensure that you will still be able to use it when you need it the most. If you exceed certain time frames you could face additional financial expenses or find out that your policy is void. Here are three key things that you need to know about.

How long you can I keep my cover for?

Most people will take out an income protection policy to protect their income should they find themselves unable to work due to illness or injury. Australians who are between the ages of 18 and 59 who work for 20 hours per week and have been working for the last 12 months can apply for income protection.

The amount you are insured for will be determined by the type of job you have and the features that you agree to when choosing your policy. However, the one thing policies will have in common is that it usually ends when you turn 65 years old.

It will also be subject to how long you pay your premiums. If you happen to miss a payment or two your policy will become void. You will have to speak to your insurer in advance to discuss if your premiums can be waived if you are unable to pay for it.

Know the time frame of your benefit

Knowing how long you can hold onto a policy is one thing. Knowing when your benefit payments will start and end is vital. This will help you prepare yourself financially when it comes to factoring this into your budget.

The monthly benefit payments usually start and end in accordance with the waiting period which you have chosen. The waiting periods are generally between 14 days to 720 days and get paid to you in arrears. You will receive the benefit payments for each month that you are unable to work according to the benefit period you have chosen which can range from; 6 months, 1 year, 2 years or 5 years.

What this means is that if you have chosen a 30-day waiting period and place your first eligible claim, you will only receive your first payment 60 days later.

There are charges that might come with the time frame you choose

You need to be mindful of the time frame that you choose as some of these come with high or lower charges on your premium. There are additional conditions that they might attach to choosing a shorter waiting period that can affect you financially.

For example, if you choose a shorter waiting period some insurers will charge you more for your premiums. Some insurers will require that you are totally disable and unable to work for a period of 7 to 14 consecutive days in order to qualify for the benefit.

You should pay special attention to the product disclosure statement (PDS) that comes with your income protection policy to avoid any delays and confusion when it comes to claiming your benefit. Speaking to a professional broker or insurer who can advise you on the income protection policy you have in mind will give you a sound mind when it comes to finally signing up for a policy.