Total and Permanent Disability Insurance

Compare a range of total and permanent disability insurance offers with Savvy today.

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, updated on July 19th, 2023       

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Life Insurance

We’ve partnered with Compare Club to bring you a range of life insurance policies to help you compare them side by side.

Total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance can be a valuable safety net for you and your family if an injury or illness renders you permanently disabled and unable to return to work. If you’re looking for cover in this area, however, finding the right policy for you often isn’t as simple as picking the first one you come across.

By comparing with Savvy, you’ll be able to consider competitive TPD insurance policies from a panel of trusted, industry-leading life insurers. Simply fill out a free, no-obligation quote and you’ll have a variety of available offers to consider side-by-side. Get the process started with Savvy today.

What is TPD insurance and how does it work?

Total and permanent disability insurance, as the name suggests, is a type of life insurance which provides a lump sum payment if the life insured suffers an illness or injury which prevents them from ever returning to work again. This could be as a result of losing the use of your legs in a car accident or suffering a stroke.  

Upon an approved claim, the policyholder will receive a lump sum benefit. There aren’t any restrictions on how you use those funds; you may choose to spend it on living expenses, like food and bills, or to pay off medical expenses. TPD cover is particularly useful if you need to make modifications to your home, like installing a ramp for wheelchair access or if you need to pay for a carer.

What does TPD insurance cover?

Each insurer defines disability differently, so it’s important to read your policy document carefully and compare them with Savvy. However, your TPD insurance will fall into one of two main categories:

  • Any Occupation: applies if your disability prevents you from doing any type of work suited to your experience, education or training.
  • Own Occupation: applies if your disability prevents you from working in your current occupation, but you may still be able to complete other work suited to your experience, education or training. 

This means you may be able to claim for partial disability, provided you have an Own Occupation policy and prove to your insurer that you aren’t able to complete any work in your current position. If you have an Any Occupation policy, you may still be able to claim for partial disability, though it may be more difficult to receive a payout on the basis that your insurer may deem that your disability doesn’t rule you out from all types of work. 

In terms of what isn’t covered, you won’t be able to claim for a disability which prevents you from working temporarily, rather than permanently. This may be a condition which requires a few months or years to recover from. Your family also won’t be able to claim in the event of your death, nor will you be covered if you receive a serious illness diagnosis which doesn’t permanently prevent you from working.

All coverage is subject to your insurer’s terms and conditions, so it’s important to check your PDS and with your insurer if you’re unsure of what can be covered under your policy.

How much does TPD insurance cost?

The cost of your premiums will be based on a variety of individual factors and is largely determined by how different insurers assess your risk profile. The insurer will usually ask for the following information when you apply for a policy:

  • Age: the older you are, the more expensive your premiums are likely to be.
  • Profession: if you work in a profession with a higher risk of injury/illness causing permanent disability, you may have to pay higher premiums.
  • Medical history: insurers will look at areas such as your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol, in addition to determining whether you have any pre-existing conditions which could put you at greater risk of disability. Those who are deemed at a higher risk of making a claim are likely to pay more for insurance.
  • Family medical history: if you have a family history of certain inherited disorders, such as cancer, haemophilia and cystic fibrosis, you may have to pay more for your insurance (though this will depend on your insurer and the terms and conditions of your policy).
  • Lifestyle: this includes factors such as whether you smoke or participate in higher-risk sports like rugby. Because these increase your chances of getting ill or injured, you may be charged a higher premium if these apply to you. 
  • Cover amount: the greater the payout you insure yourself for, the more you’re likely to pay in premiums.

Why do I need TPD insurance?

Life insurance can be crucial in helping your family recover financially. If you’re unable to work, you’ll need to think about how you’ll cover your expenses. Do you have enough savings and assets to be comfortable? Will you have enough money to pay for medical bills, long-term therapy and modifications to your home? If your answer to either of these questions is no, you may need TPD insurance.

Here are just some of the ways TPD insurance can help you:

  • Living expenses: if you can’t work anymore, or you can only work in a reduced capacity, you may need to rely on your TPD benefit to cover your daily expenses.
  • Debts: do you have a mortgage, car loan or credit card debts which you need to pay off with your TPD benefit?
  • Medical and rehab expenses: though Medicare covers most medical costs, it doesn’t cover everything, so you may need to draw on your TPD benefit to cover the gap.
  • Modifications to home/vehicle: you may need to modify your home to suit your disability, such as installing ramps for wheelchair access.
  • Professional assistance: you may need carers or cleaners to help you manage daily tasks which you can’t do yourself anymore.
  • Future expenses: this could involve planning for retirement, supporting your dependents and providing for their future education expenses.

Types of life insurance

Why compare life insurance through Savvy?

How do I compare TPD insurance policies with Savvy?

The pros and cons of taking out TPD insurance


Lump sum benefit

If you’ve made a claim and it’s been approved by your insurer, you’ll receive your benefit as a one-off lump sum, potentially allowing you to pay for costly expenses such as modifications to your home or expensive equipment.

Cheaper premiums 

TPD Insurance is generally cheaper than other types of insurance, such as income protection, though the cost will depend on your risk profile as determined by your insurer.

Tax-free benefits 

You generally won’t need to pay tax on the amount you receive from your TPD policy, as these insurance payouts are typically tax-free. 

Greater peace of mind for your family

If you become permanently disabled due to a covered injury or illness, you can rest assured you and your family can receive your policy’s payout to add greater financial support.


Temporary disabilities not covered

TPD insurance only covers you if you become permanently or completely incapacitated and won’t cover you if you sustain a temporary disability. In this case, income protection may be a more suitable policy to hold.

Not all pre-existing conditions will be covered

If your pre-existing condition is deemed a significant enough risk, it may be excluded from your coverage entirely (or available with additional loading). 

Common TPD insurance questions answered

How do I apply for TPD insurance with Savvy?

Applying for TPD insurance with Savvy is straightforward. If you’re in the market for this type of life insurance, follow these simple steps:

  • Get a quote:first, fill out our simple quote form, telling us about yourself and the sort of TPD cover you’re looking for.
  • Compare your options:once you’ve done that, you can compare offers based on your profile. If you find one you like the look of, you can schedule a call back with a specialist to discuss it further
  • Purchase your policy:after reviewing your coverage with your insurance specialist, you can go ahead and make the purchase if you’re happy with it!
Do these types of insurance come with age limits?

Yes – TPD insurance usually comes with an age limit, which may vary between 60 and 75. However, your coverage will depend on the insurer you choose to go with (their terms and conditions) and your profile as a policyholder.

How do I make a claim under my TPD insurance policy?

To make a claim on your TPD insurance, you’ll need to provide details about your job, such as how many hours you work, the tasks you’re required to perform and your income. You’ll also need to provide evidence from a doctor of your disability. The insurer may request to speak to your doctor directly or they may ask an independent specialist to assess you. This process varies in terms of its length but may take up to six months or more in some cases.

What is a life event increase?

Certain life events can change your insurance needs. For example, if you get married or have a child, you may need more coverage to insure you and your family if you can’t work anymore.

Many insurers allow you to increase your insurance in these circumstances without all the usual health checks. Your insurer may set a time limit on how quickly you have to apply for the extra cover (such as within 60 days of the life event occurring) and may limit how many life event increases you can have per year, so it’s worth checking with them to find out more.

What is a TPD insurance buy-back option?

If you have a separate life insurance policy bundled together with a TPD policy, making a TPD claim would reduce your available life cover benefit (for example, $1 million life cover becomes $700,000 after a $300,000 TPD payout). A buy-back option allows you to reinstate your original cover to its original amount, usually at least 12 months after your claim. Check with your insurer if you’re unsure about whether you’ll have a buy-back option in your policy bundle.

What is loading on TPD insurance policies?

In some cases, rather than exclude certain illnesses or injuries, the insurer will offer to cover them but will charge you an extra amount. This is known as medical loading.

Can I purchase TPD insurance through my super?

Yes – there’s a wide range of super funds on the Australian market which offer TPD insurance as part of their package. However, it’s important to note that Own Occupation cover generally isn’t available through a super fund, while some may require those making a claim to undergo further testing (known as Activities of Daily Living, or ADL) to help determine the extent of your disability.

Are my TPD insurance premiums tax-deductible?

If you purchase life insurance through your super fund, you may be eligible to receive a full or partial refund on your premiums, though this will generally be claimed for you by your provider. However, coverage purchased outside of super isn’t tax-deductible. If you’re unsure of what you can and can’t claim, it may be worth speaking to a financial professional.

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Savvy is partnered with Compare Club Australia Pty Ltd (AFS representative number 001279036) of Alternative Media Pty Ltd (AFS License number 486326) to provide readers with a variety of life insurance policies to compare. Savvy earns a commission from Compare Club each time a customer buys a life insurance policy via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased from these brands directly, as all purchases are conducted via Compare Club.

Savvy does not compare all life insurance policies or providers currently operating in the market. Any advice presented above or on other pages is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an insurance policy.

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