Financial products are sometimes at their most useful when they are protecting our families, our incomes or our property.
Whilst insuring ourselves against an undesirable event such as sickness or even death may not be a pleasant thing to think about, the benefit of being able to set financial issues aside at emotionally difficult times cannot be overlooked.
There are many ways in which a family can protect itself and because of the large range of products available there is usually an appropriate policy for most circumstances and most budgets.
There are many different ways to protect your family and your standard of living when you need it most. Read on to learn more about these.
Life Protection Options
There are several ways in which to protect yourself and your family in the event of an untimely death. Most people take out life insurance to provide for their families and alleviate any worries at a difficult time.
Term Assurance pays a lump sum in the event of death during the term of the policy. There is no investment element within a term assurance contract so at the end of the term there is no maturity value and the cover simply expires. The benefit is generally paid tax free and premiums are often paid on a monthly basis and fixed throughout the term. Because the term and sum assured are known from the outset there is typically no investment content; term assurance is a very cost-effective method of protection.
Decreasing Term Assurance works exactly as above, but the benefit is set at outset and gradually decreases over the term of the policy. These policies can be used a cover for a repayment mortgage, or other loan where the amount of capital outstanding also decreases over time. Because the benefit reduces over time, the premiums are kept very low.
Family Income Benefit works the same as term but instead of paying a lump sum upon death, it will pay a regular monthly tax free income in the event of death to your dependants up until the end of the term of the policy.
Critical Illness is usually available as an addition to all term assurance plans but can be bought on a stand alone basis. Critical illness generally allows for the lump sum benefit to be paid also in the event of diagnosis of certain critical illnesses, such as Heart Attack, Stroke, Cancer, Transplant, Blindness, Total & Permanent Disability and so on. Most providers conform to the Association of British Insurers standards for qualifying illnesses and it is important that you fully understand the terms of benefit for each illness. Critical Illness can be provided on either a guaranteed or reviewable premium basis.
Income Protection Options
Permanent Health Insurance
This type of policy is designed to provide a tax free income in the event the insured individual is unable to work due to ill health. The amount of premium will depend upon the level benefit and term selected and most policies cease to pay the benefit once the insured is able to return to work. PHI policies are usually written to age 65, and will pay out each and every time an incapacity occurs.
Accident, Sickness & Unemployment
ASU policies were traditionally sold to accompany mortgages, allowing for a regular income to be paid to the insured should they be unable to work (or lose their job). The product can be split down, and cover is usually the optional extra available for an additional premium. It is important to compare ASU and PHI closely as one may be more suitable than another.
Businesses may want to protect the key employees within their firm – perhaps the key salesperson, or the IT manager without whom the business will not function properly. Keyperson protection can provide a fixed sum should the individual be unable work, or even die. The benefit will be designed to cover the firm’s expenses in meeting any emergency costs, recruiting a replacement employee and protecting the future of the business.
Accident, Sickness & Unemployment
ASU policies were traditionally sold to accompany mortgages, allowing for a regular income to be paid to the insured should they be unable to work (or lose their job). This product and level of cover can usually be added as an optional extra for an additional premium. It is important to compare ASU and PHI closely as one may be more suitable than another.be provided on either a guaranteed or reviewable premium basis.
Self-invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs)
A Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) plan is a tax-efficient wrapper in which a wide range of investments can be held (Generally commercial property, land). A new SIPP must appoint a scheme administrator, usually the recognised product provider. SIPPs have the same tax benefits and regulations as conventional personal pension plans but you and / or your advisers have more control over the investment choice – each SIPP is unique to the individual. Otherwise, it operates in the same way as a conventional personal pension in respect of contributions and eligibility, for Her (His) Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) purposes.
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