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Uk Life Insurance and Critical Illness Cover including Income Protection, Total Permanent Disability Cover and Private Medical Insurance
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Most of us have heard of Life Insurance and appreciate that it is a policy provided by an insurance company, that pays out either a lump sum or a series of payments when you die. These payments are normally paid without the deduction of any tax, and in most cases are tax-free.
Life insurance policies can be combined with other forms of cover, such as Critical Illness Insurance so that you receive the lump sum if you are diagnosed with a serious illness.
Critical Illness Cover
Critical illness cover normally pays a lump sum if you are diagnosed with one of a number of specified ‘critical’ illnesses during the term of the policy. There may be a requirement that you survive for a period of 28 days following the date of diagnosis for the policy to pay out, as the policy is intended to cover living expenses.
You could use the cash payment from a policy either to pay off a debt (such as a mortgage) or to provide you with an income if you become too unwell to continue working.
Income Replacement Cover
Income replacement insurance provides an income should you be prevented from working due to sickness or injury. It is commonly known as permanent health insurance or sometimes PHI schemes. The word "permanent" in the name, refers to fact that the policyholder is the only person who can stop the cover during the term of the policy (this would be through the none- payment of premiums or cancelling the policy directly.) The insurance company cannot withdraw cover, under any other circumstance, once the contract has been accepted and premiums have commenced.
Care should be taken to check what the insurance company means by disability. As a general rule it is better to consider a plan that pays the benefit if you are unable to carry out your usual occupation. This type of cover is referred to as 'own occupation'. Some plans will only pay a benefit if you are so sick or disabled that you cannot work at all. You should take into account that it is far less likely you will be unable to do any work than you are unable to continue your usual occupation.
The income from a PHI plan or scheme is tax free (hence the restriction to 50 - 65% of your usual income ), but you do need to be aware that any income you receive may have an impact on any state incapacity benefit that you wish to claim. There can also be situations where if you are receiving income from other sources, during the period of your sickness or injury, the benefits under you plan could be scaled back. A good example is where you are forced to retire early from your usual occupation and start receiving an ill health early retirement pension. In such instances the Company may scale back the benefits under your PHI plan.