9th October, 2014

Many unprepared for a long spell off work

While every industry comes with risks that can affect worker well-being, some are more dangerous than others. Tradies will be well aware of the challenges that come with their work, as many will likely face a time when they are unable to work and pay the bills.

To meet ongoing expenses when they can't go to work themselves, many individuals are choosing to take out income protection insurance. While this is a valuable investment, recent research has revealed that people are struggling to get the right level of cover.

Group Risk Development (GRiD), a UK insurance trade body, found that a large number of the individuals they surveyed had unrealistic plans to cope with a long spell of sickness which prevented them from working.

In fact, 41 per cent of those surveyed would not be able to meet their weekly costs without relying on savings, highlighting the large proportion of the population that are not prepared for an event that might leave them unable to work.

At the same time, many respondents do not have the right protections in place to provide an alternative source of income in the event of an accident. In fact, only 15 per cent of respondents had their own insurance policies to protect against a spell of ill health.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, emphasised the very real gap that exists on the topic of income protection insurance.

"Our research shows just how vital income protection benefits are to people who fall sick," said Ms Moxham.

"There is a small minority of individuals who protect themselves against long term sick leave but the majority appear to have unrealistic plans to survive financially."

These findings aren't the only ones that point to the gap many people face in financing a period of illness. Other figures, also from the UK, found the percentage of people with income protection insurance has dropped this year.

While income protection is an important consideration for every tradie in Australia, employers can also play a part in protecting employees. Worker compensation insurance, for example, means that if an injury occurs at work, staff will have a degree of support through a period of injury, regardless of their own insurance position.

Ensuring that both you and your workers will not be hit by excessive costs in the event of an accident doesn't have to be difficult, as long as you have the right insurance policies in place.

Author: Murray Bruce