Income protection not just for World Cup stars
Updated: 2006-06-27 09:11

Michael Owen will not have to worry about losing his salary while he recovers from the injury that put him out of the World Cup but few other workers are in such a fortunate position.

Relatively few have income protection insurance -- as opposed to chronic illness cover -- despite the statistically high chance of being forced off work for 6 months or more at some stage in their lives.

Kevin Carr, senior technical adviser at online insurance broker LifeSearch, said statutory arrangements mean all an employer has to do is pay just over 70 pounds a week for the first six months an employee is too ill or injured to work.

"People do not realise there is such a thing as long term income protection insurance, which is paid free of tax," he said. "It is not nearly as well promoted as life insurance or payment protection insurance."

Yet, according to industry statistics, an average man under 50 is twice as likely to be off work for more than six months because of an accident or sickness, than he is to die.

Although many employees do pay more than the minimum statutory sick pay, few will continue beyond six months, Carr said.

Under most income protection policies it is up to the individual how soon after becoming ill or injured they begin to receive benefit from the insurer. Depending on the individual circumstances it can be as soon as day one or as long as one or two years.
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