What is income protection?

Income protection is an insurance policy designed to cover loss of income for any medical reason. It pays out a proportion of your salary – usually between 50 and 70% for doctors – if you need to claim on your policy.

The idea of this kind of policy is to protect you beyond your financial alternatives, like sick pay, savings, or relying on someone else. It means that if you ever face a long period of ill health or injury during your career, or multiple episodes of ill health, you have the peace of mind that you’ll always have an income.


Why do doctors need income protection?

Like anyone else, doctors and medical professionals are fairly likely to be unwell at some point during their working lives. As it’s a high-pressured job, it may be that you face more periods of ill health than the average person. This is why it’s important to have a plan in place to protect your earnings.

Having cover in place could be even more important if you have financial dependents. In other words: people who rely on your income for their wellbeing. If this is the case, income protection is a way of making sure you could keep providing for your loved ones, even if you were off sick for a long time.


What income protection should doctors buy?

It’s a good idea to speak to an adviser if you’re a medical professional looking to protect your earnings. This is because your requirements could be different to other earners, due to the nature of your job and your sick pay entitlement.

It could be important, for example, to make sure you buy a policy with ‘own occupation’ definition, to make sure the policy would pay out when you need it to – rather than you being expected to move into a different role, if your health allowed it.

Finally, an adviser would be able to point you towards the most suitable products for you. Particularly because some insurers offer products specifically designed for doctors, surgeons, and dentists, etc. This includes things like NHS sick pay mirroring, for example, as well as sabbatical cover, and income protection without HIV exclusions (so you’re not  penalised for an occupational hazard).


  • Income protection covers a proportion of your income if you can’t work for health reasons
  • Doctors and medical professionals may face periods of ill health or injury throughout their working life – income protection protects them against their lost earnings
  • Doctors may have unique requirements when buying income protection due to the nature of their job and their existing sick pay entitlement
  • Some insurers offer specialist products for doctors – like NHS sick pay mirroring, sabbatical cover, and income protection without an HIV exclusion
  • Speaking to an adviser is best if you’re a doctor or other medical professional looking to insure your income
What is income protection?
An insurance policy that pays a monthly amount if you can't work for any medical reason. It's designed to replace part of your missing income, so you'll always be able to cover the essentials, even if lose your income because of an illness or injury.
What does income protection cover?
Income protection covers you if you're unable to work for medical reasons. This includes any illness or injury, physical or mental, that leads to you being signed off work by a medical professional.
What doesn't income protection cover?
Income protection won't cover you if you're not working for anything other than a medical reason – like redundancy. You won't be able to claim on your income protection unless you're signed off work by a medical professional.
How much does income protection cost?
The cost of cover is different per person because it depends on how much cover you buy, how quickly you'd need the policy to start paying out, and how much of a risk you are to insure (based on your age, health and lifestyle).
Will my income protection pay out?
Yes, if you meet what's known as your insurer's 'definition of incapacity' – in other words, you meet their criteria for being unable to work. This definition is based, among other things, on the job you do, and you can read it before buying the policy.

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