Having income protection insurance gives you peace of mind that you’ll still have an income if you’re off sick. So you’ll still be able to pay the bills and keep up with the cost of life while you’re getting better.
As with any insurance policy, you’ll need to make a valid claim to start receiving the benefit. With income protection insurance, there’s a few key things you’ll need to do: prove what you’ve been earning, prove that you’re unfit to work, and prove that the information you provided during the underwriting process was accurate. Once this is done, you should start receiving your monthly income protection payments.
Let’s look at each step of the income protection claims process in more detail:
Step 1: Making your claim
To get the ball rolling, you’ll need to fill in a claims form and go through an identity check. This lets your insurer know that you’re off sick and gives them an overview of your illness/injury, occupation and earnings. You’ll either be able to do this online, over the phone, or by post, depending on your insurer and what you prefer.
Step 2: Proving your earnings
Most income protection policies will only pay out if you’re working at the time you become ill or injured. Some policies allow you to claim if you’re not working when you become ill or injured, but there’s usually a limit to how long you can be out of work for. Proof of earnings can be provided via:
- Payslips, P60 and P11D forms if you’re employed
- Evidence of dividends paid and profit made if you’re director of a limited company
- Evidence of your gross profits or earnings if you’re self-employed
Step 3: Proving you're unfit to work
Before paying out, insurers will need to check that you’re unfit to work. This is usually called proof of incapacity. So they can do this, you’ll need to provide written consent that allows your insurer to:
- Access your medical records
- Receive the results of medical examinations or tests
- Apply for evidence and information from third parties (e.g. your doctor or employer)
Step 4: Proving your underwriting info was accurate
When you take out income protection insurance, you go through medical underwriting. To make sure any future claim would be valid, it’s crucial to provide honest information about your medical history at this point.
If you do go on to make a claim, insurers will look at your historical medical information to make sure you answered truthfully. However, they’ll only do this if it’s relevant to the claim – e.g. if you’re claiming for an illness rather than an injury caused by accident. If the insurer finds no evidence of fraudulent underwriting, your claim will be valid and the policy will start paying out.