Campaign highlights cost of being unable to work

A publicity stunt will leave seven families better off by paying them an income for a year

Personal finance editor

A major campaign launching next month will end up handing seven struggling families a monthly income for a year.

The point of the campaign? To raise awareness of income protection, a form of life insurance that pays out if you’re unable to work due to injury or illness.

Families will be found through the charity Disability Rights UK. To qualify the main breadwinner must have been forced out of work by an accident or illness and not had any insurance payout.

 As well as being handed income for a year, the recipients of the Seven Families campaign will also be helped with rehabilitation. The cash will be handed over on a charitable basis, but be paid monthly to replicate what would have happened if they’d had the right cover.

Peter Le Beau, chairman of the Income Protection Task Force, which is organising the campaign, explained: “We hope to show the financial vulnerability of people who end up being long-term disabled. Many don’t appreciate how seriously an accident can hit your finances.

“But we also want to demonstrate that with the right support people can get back to work. There is hope, even after a serious illness.”

Very few people have income-protection policies. An estimated 2 million have cover through their workplace while another million have taken out their own policy.

Unlike critical-illness cover, which pays out a lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a terrible ailment, income protection pays a monthly amount, usually until retirement, death or your return to work. As such the payout can be much higher, although there are budget plans which have a limited payout.

There are also restrictions which means most policies pay out after a set period, which can be weeks or months. So while the cover can make a huge, financial difference, buying a policy without checking whether it’s the right one for you could end up being a costly mistake.

Tom Conner, director at Drewberry Insurance, said: “Income protection is one of the most important types of financial cover you can have, but it can also be one of the most confusing to buy.” 

The main mistake people make when buying income protection is they don’t get what is known as “own-occupation” cover. Some cover offers any occupation, which means you have to be unable to do any job at all to claim, which rules many out.

To his shock, Chris Hargreaves, a 37-year-old chauffeur from Manchester, had his income-protection claim turned down even after suffering a rectal ulcer and pulmonary embolism that required more than six months of hospital treatment. That turned out to be because he didn’t have own-occupation cover.

Chris was so angry at what he felt was a betrayal by the insurer, he launched a campaign to highlight the injustice. As he writes on the website he subsequently set up at angrypolicyholders.com: “These policies are often written so loosely by insurers that making a claim is almost impossible, as all the ‘work tasks’ are subject to using aids or the help of others.

“This could mean you are  95 per cent blind, yet with a giant magnifying glass you can read  16-point print; or you can’t speak but can blink once for yes or twice for no, so you are able to communicate. These are just some of the lengths insurers could go to deny a claim.”

In fact Chris has accumulated many more stories of people who feel they were misled by insurers into buying what turned out to be useless cover.

Mr Conner said the case highlights the problem of being sold inadequate cover. “The last thing somebody wants if they are off work long-term sick is to find out a policy they have paid for each month isn’t going to do what they need it to.

“So it’s important to thoroughly research the market to ensure you have the right policy for your needs, or speak to a specialist protection adviser,” he added.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

    £60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Guru Careers: Management Accountant

    £27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

    Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

    £40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'