When you think about Income Protection, you probably focus on the ways it protects you against the financial impact of physical illnesses and injuries. You might not realise it, but Income Protection also provides cover for mental ill-health. So, if you're unable to work because of stress, anxiety or depression, you could receive a monthly payout that enables you to cover your daily living expenses. With figures from NHS England suggesting one in four adults experiences at least one mental health problem in any given year, this could prove extremely valuable. Mental health conditions are Aviva’s second-largest cause of Income Protection claim, making up 22% of all the claims it received in 2019.
What's even better is that many Income Protection providers don't just pay claims. They also provide a range of services that can reduce the severity of mental health issues, or even prevent them from arising in the first place. Here are some of the ways Income Protection can support your mental health.
Many Income Protection providers offer free access to specialist mental health services, which you can use as soon as your cover begins. Royal London and Scottish Widows both provide access to a dedicated nurse from a firm called RedArc. They can provide long-term advice, support and guidance on a range of mental health conditions. They can also direct you to face-to-face therapy or counselling if required.
Aegon's health and wellbeing service, provided by Health Assured, offers 24/7 access to qualified counsellors. They can guide you through bereavement and emotional health issues, as well as support you with any financial, legal or consumer rights issues. Meanwhile, LV= provides access to five remote mental health sessions per year via the firm Square Health. Treatment could include counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy or other mental health treatments.
Most Income Protection insurers provide rehabilitation services. If you're off sick from work, they can look for ways to help you get back to full health, and work, sooner. Sometimes, Income Protection policies have specific mental health pathways to ensure you receive tailored support as quickly as possible.
AIG Life has an early intervention rehabilitation service that provides support from the moment you're unable to work. It will source specialist providers and pay for services that could improve or maintain your health. This could range from physiotherapy or counselling through to help travelling to work.
Zurich's rehabilitation team will contact members as soon as they’re too ill or injured to work and devise a return-to-work plan to help them get better. According to Zurich’s data, it helped 423 people receive rehabilitation support in 2019. For many people, being unable to work is a scary prospect, which may result in feelings of anxiety. By helping you get back to work, Income Protection can ensure you live your life to the fullest.
The insurer Vitality rewards its policyholders for being healthier. By tracking your daily activity - through walking, running, cycling, swimming or going to the gym - you can earn points and qualify for rewards. According to the charity Mind, physical activity can improve mental health by helping you to sleep better, feel happier, and better manage stress or anxiety. Several studies have shown that regular physical activity can reduce the likelihood of experiencing depression. Vitality has also partnered with organisations that could give your mental health a direct boost, such as meditation and mindfulness apps like Headspace, Buddhify and Calm.
The financial support that Income Protection provides may also lead to better mental wellbeing. According to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, mental health and money problems are often intricately linked. One problem can feed off the other, creating a vicious cycle of growing financial problems and worsening mental health.
Research by Legal & General suggests the average household would only be able to cover their daily expenses for 24 days if they lost their income. By taking out Income Protection, you can rest assured that your income will be protected against the impact of illness or injury. Knowing you'll still be able to pay the bills can provide real peace of mind and contribute to a better sense of wellbeing.
If you'd like advice on whether Income Protection is right for you, or simply want more information, please get in touch. We’ll help you to understand what you need and search the market for the right type of cover. Request a callback or call us on 03300 583 859 to find out more.