Children are naturally dependent on their parents financially. And in most households, monthly outgoings are based on whatever your regular monthly income is. If you lost your income for health reasons, the chances are your household would be affected financially – and your ability to provide for your children as parents could be challenged.

Lots of people are living with this risk – but with income protection, you don’t have to. Income protection is a way of making sure you’d always have money coming in, even if an illness or injury stopped you working. A way of making sure you can always provide for your children, so their lifestyle wouldn’t be affected by your loss of income.

What is income protection?

Put simply: income protection is an insurance policy that pays out if you’re unable to work for any medical reason – physical or mental, illness or injury. It doesn’t pay out for any other kind of income loss, like redundancy.

The idea of this kind of cover is to protect yourself financially in case you couldn't work for a long time for health reasons. People typically claim on their income protection policy for things like long-term back pain, serious injuries caused by accident, and depression, but also for other illnesses like cancer, heart attacks and strokes.

Income protection offers a longer-term solution than something like sick pay – and also prevents you from needing to use your savings, take on debt, or significantly change your lifestyle. Crucially, if you have a partner and children, income protection is a way of protecting your financial dependents in case you lose your income through illness or injury.

How does income protection work?

As with any insurance policy, you pay a monthly premium to be insured; then, if you’re signed off work for any medical reason, you’ll receive monthly income protection payments.

Most insurers will cover up to 50-60% of your income, which is usually enough to make sure the essentials are covered – like your rent, bills and food. And all income protection policies will have a waiting period before they start paying out. The longer your waiting period, the cheaper the insurance will be – but you’d need to be able to tide yourself over without an income for the time that you’re waiting.

When buying cover, you have the option of short-term income protection, which covers you for a fixed amount of time if you’re unable to work (like 1, 2 or 5 years), or full-term income protection, which will cover you for as long as you can't work, however long that is. Full-term is more expensive than short-term for that reason, but as it covers you indefinitely, it gives you complete peace of mind that you’d always have money coming in, however long you were off sick.

For more on the ins-and-outs of income protection and how it works, read our complete guide.

Should I buy income protection if I’m a parent?

Being a parent doesn’t automatically mean you need income protection. What really matters is whether or not your household depends on you having an income. Without your income, could your partner cover all of the monthly outgoings on their own, without needing to change the family lifestyle? If not, it means the household is reliant on your income, so it might be worth considering income protection.

Having income protection in place as a parent means having peace of mind that you’ll always be able to provide for your children. You being off sick for a long time wouldn’t result in a significant change of lifestyle for them, as you’d always have the money you need to keep covering the essentials.

What’s the risk of not having income protection if I’m a parent?

The risk of not having income protection is not being able to provide for your children properly if you lose your income for health reasons. Most households base their regular monthly outgoings on their regular income, so if one income is suddenly missing, your ability to keep up with the cost of life could be affected. In a modern family, this includes everything from paying for the home, bills and food, to clothes, transport, and leisure.

Even if you have a solid safety net of sick pay and/or savings, you might struggle to keep up with your regular outgoings with one income missing – especially if you’re not well enough to go back to work for a long time. Financial struggle, and the fear of not being able to maintain your children’s lifestyle, is the last thing you need when you’re already incapacitated by a medical problem. Income protection alleviates that risk by keeping your family topped up with a regular source of income, so your children will definitely be provided for until you get better.

  • Income protection is an insurance policy that pays out a monthly amount if you can’t work for medical reasons
  • If you’re a parent and your household relies on you having an income, your children could be financially affected if you lose your income because of an illness or injury
  • Income protection is a way of making sure you’ll always be able to cover your family’s essential expenses and provide for your children, even if you can’t work for medical reasons
  • For parents, income protection provides peace of mind that losing your income for health reason would not affect your children's lifestyle

This post is intended for informative purposes only and does not constitute advice.