11 Aug Have you protected your most important asset? (Yes, it’s you!)
This is Jen, my Practice Manager. She’s been through quite a bit in the past few years, but it could have been so much worse…
Have you given much thought to how you would cope if you lost your ability to earn your income? What would happen if you fell ill or were seriously injured tomorrow and unable to go back to work for an extended period of time? These are not fun questions I’ll grant you, but it is literally my job to make you think about these things and to let you know what solutions are out there.
Income Protection is not a very sexy sounding thing, but you’ll sure come to love it if you end up in a position where you need to use it. When thinking about how I could communicate the importance of this insurance, I figured that people might relate to a real life example of how this type of cover has helped someone who is very close to home for me – the practice manager of my business in fact!
I asked my Practice Manager Jen McDowell a few questions about why she had taken out income protection, and what it has meant to her and her recovery from a serious injury. I hope you’ll find her answers enlightening:
Why did you take out Income Protection Cover?
“I had recently handled an income protection claim for a client and thought I’d better review my own insurances. The one thing that really stood out was that I was missing income protection cover… That was about 12 months before my accident.”
What was the incident that lead you to claim on the cover?
“I had a fall on the stairs at home three years ago and broke both of my ankles. This has unfortunately also resulted in a chronic pain condition in both my feet and I’ve only just permanently resumed working. I spent more than two months in a wheelchair and needed help with practically everything. While it has improved dramatically, the chronic pain condition has left me in some degree of pain 24 hours a day and is incurable. I was not eligible for worker’s compensation as the accident happened at home and was not work related.”
How did having this cover aid in your recovery?
“I tried to return to work part time about four months after my accident but my work was affected and it sent my pain levels through the roof so I had to cease work again. I battled with at home rehab until about the two year mark when my doctor recommended another inpatient rehab stint, this time for six weeks. Those six weeks were life changing. Until then I was still using mobility aids and was unable to drive so I was still very dependent on other people in a lot of aspects of my day to day life. I’ve also had appointments with a pain specialist, regular physio, regular hydrotherapy, regular appointments with my GP, I had to purchase mobility and in home aids, I’ve had out of town trips to see specialists, and a lot of long term medications that I’m still paying for today. The regular income has helped fund these expenses and allowed me to spend the time I truly needed on rehabilitation without the additional pressure of financial stress. I still had to make changes to my spending habit, as the cover was only for 75% of my salary, but I didn’t have to worry about how I was going to meet basic expenses like rent and food or meet other financial commitments like car loan repayments.”
What position would you have been in without income protection?
“Had I not had the income protection cover, I would have had to reply on Centrelink for income. Had I not had the income protection I would have had to return to full time work almost immediately after my accident, or at least once I’d used up all of my sick leave and annual leave, as I had no real cash reserve. My brief return to work shortly after my accident proved that I would have had trouble holding down a job and at worst, I would have lost everything. Any benefit received from Centrelink would not have been enough to cover my ongoing expenses. I would have had to move out of the home I love, as I wouldn’t have been able to afford the rent, I would have lost my car, I would most likely not have been able to afford all of my medications even with a health care card and the absolute worst case scenario is that I may have had to declare bankruptcy. All because of a random accident on the stairs at home.
I honestly believe that I would still be using mobility and in home aids now if it weren’t for the income protection cover and my life today would be very different.”
What would you say to someone who is hesitating to take out income protection cover due to the cost of premiums?
“It may be seem expensive but it is a worthwhile expense. Most people don’t think twice about insuring their car, surely insuring your livelihood is just as, if not more important, than your car. I hate to think where I would be now if I hadn’t taken out cover. My whole life was turned upside down in a matter of seconds. And no matter how much you’d like to think it’ll never happen to me the fact is that it could.”
I would love to see everyone protected in this way and able to avoid relying on Centrelink in a worst case scenario – because believe me, that is truly something to avoid if you possibly can – so please contact me if you would like to discuss the suitability of Income Protection (and other insurances) for your situation.