Raising children on your own isn’t easy. Naturally, children are financially reliant on their parents – and if you’re the only parent in the household, it could be you shouldering most of that responsibility. This means that losing your income for health reasons could be extremely problematic, leaving you unable to provide for your children in the way you want and need to.
This is why income protection can be an important kind of cover to have in place if you’re single parent. It gives you the peace of mind that you’d always have money coming in each month, even if you couldn’t work for health reasons – and that you’ll always be able to provide for your children.
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. 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.
The idea of this kind of cover is to protect you financially in case you couldn’t work for a long time because of your health. It offers a longer-term solution than something like sick pay – and also prevents you from needing to use your savings, take on debt, or change your lifestyle. Crucially, if you’re a single parent, income protection is a way of protecting your ability to provide for your children.
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, 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.
Do I need income protection as a single parent?
Having a plan in place to cover yourself financially if you’re too ill or injured to work is a good idea for anyone – but especially if you’re a single parent. Single parent households are often reliant on a single income, so if that’s missing, financial struggles could quickly ensue.
Sick pay and savings can only tide you over so far and for so long. But with income protection, you can make sure all the essentials needed for you and your children would always be covered – even if you’re unable to work for a long time. Giving you peace of mind that your children would be able to carry on their lives as normal while you take the time to fully recover.
What’s the risk of not having income protection as a single parent?
Put simply: the risk of not having income protection is not being able to provide for your children if you lose your income for health reasons. Paying for the home, bills, food, clothes, transport, and leisure – all of this requires an income. If your income stopped because you were too ill to work, your children’s way of life could be impacted.
The risk is potentially even greater for a single parent because you might be the only breadwinner in the household. In which case the impact of losing your income could be more immediate and more significant than if there was another income to rely on. Even if you have a solid safety net of sick pay and/or savings, you might struggle to keep up with your regular outgoings without a regular income – 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 the risk by keeping you going with a regular source of income every month, so you can keep providing for your children until you get back to work.
- Income protection is an insurance policy that pays out a monthly amount if you can’t work for medical reasons
- If you’re a single parent, you might be the only breadwinner in your household – so you could be left struggling to provide for your children 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 single 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.