Have you reviewed your protection contracts recently? It may be worth asking your adviser for a review as many new protection contracts have improved their offerings. Protection policies today offer so much more than just a claim payout! There are other benefits included, and optional extras as providers try to differentiate themselves whilst making their policies fully comprehensive. Here are 10 offerings that we have identified.
1. Children’s critical illness cover
Children’s critical illness cover tends to be only available as a benefit alongside adult critical illness cover, however, a select couple of providers can offer standalone cover for children. There are a couple of insurers offering this benefit alongside income protection cover. Children’s critical illness cover is no longer offered once your children reach adulthood. The maximum age at which a child can be covered is up to the age of 23.
The conditions covered are comparable to what one would expect to find on your own critical illness policy. The amount of cover is usually calculated as a percentage of your policy sum assured up to a maximum fixed monetary amount and can vary from each insurer.
2. Mental health support
With a greater overall focus on the importance of mental health and well-being, one of the biggest challenges for many remains the availability of support services if required.
The great news is most insurers now offer consultations to policyholders and their children. Some of the most common services offered are for help dealing with; bereavement, stress, anxiety/depression, coping after a serious incident and marital/relationship problems.
You may also be able to access therapy if required. Therapists provide cognitive treatments, as well as remedies for phobias, trauma, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. You may be able to conquer your phobias after all!
There’s more… Typically, insurers offer these services quickly, and some providers offer slots within 24 hours!
3. Lump sum death for income protection plans
Income protection is not to provide a payout on death, as its purpose is to protect your income rather than your life. Death benefits are not contractual benefits included in the terms and conditions of your policy. However, some insurers do include death benefits in their income protection plans, which will help your family financially if you sadly die during the policy term.
Many people will have set aside savings to give themselves a financial buffer in uncertain times as funeral costs are expensive, and life for your family subsequently may be financially impacted. The lump sums each insurer will pay on death vary significantly and could be a multiplier of your monthly premium or a fixed amount.
4. Fracture cover
Fracture cover is not commonly offered by insurers (free of charge anyway!). Some include this cover automatically at no cost, while others provide cover as an optional extra and charge a small fee.
A broken bone may seem relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, but the financial consequences of suffering a fracture could be serious, especially if you are forced to take time off work to recover.
The amount that insurers pay varies. Typically, the greater the impact a fracture is to have on your lifestyle, the larger the amount the insurer will pay. For example; if your skull was fractured (an open fracture), you will likely receive a higher payout than other bones. Although, infrequently some insurers also provide lump sums for dislocations, ligament tears and tendon ruptures.
If you suffer multiple fractures in one incident, there may be restrictions on the number of claims you can make. This may be a numerical limit or a cap on the total amount that can be claimed overall.
Exclusions? Insurers may exclude extreme sports and activities such as horse riding, martial arts, and boxing. Surprisingly, some will cover for injuries arising from skiing or snowboarding!
5. Health MOT
The NHS will provide health screenings at certain ages. Outside these age restrictions, those wishing to undergo a full health screening usually need to pay for a private service.
Some insurers offer “Health MOTs” as part of their value-added services. A Health MOT is a great preventative tool for identifying risk factors or early signs of diseases. These health checks are conducted in several formats; a physical health check, an online questionnaire, or via a smartphone app. If included in your policy, they may be free of charge or subsided.
6. Nutritional and well-being advice
A poor diet and nutrition can often be major contributing factors to some of the conditions that result in claims. Insurers include a range of well-being benefits and services available to the policyholder (in some cases family members) to use at any time. This service may include regular consultations with a nutritionist, maintaining your health or as part of your recovery from an illness.
7. Hospitalisation benefit for income protection plans
Hospitalisation can be a financial burden on you, and your family as your income protection policy will not pay out until your deferred period has ended. Some insurers will pay a fixed daily benefit for a period of time, and less frequently, some insurers also cover your children if they are in a hospital!
8. Carers allowance
An unusual and infrequent service offered is a monthly or weekly benefit payment if a member of your direct family develops a care need or if you must stop working because of caring responsibilities.
9. 24/7 virtual GP services
Most insurers include GP services for you and your family as part of their package, allowing you to book either video or telephone appointments with a GP almost instantaneously (or within a couple of days!).
10. Second medical opinion services
Having a second medical opinion is a widely offered service by insurers. The NHS does provide exceptional care, but in some circumstances, you may wish to use this service if you are unhappy with a diagnosis,
Do you utilise all your benefits?
All these extra benefits and services offered by insurers can be a helping hand during tough times, so make sure you know exactly what your policy includes.
Finally, and the best bit – you, and often your family, can use these at no extra cost!!!
Do you need to review your policies?
If you are an existing client and wish to discuss your bespoke policy in more detail, get in touch with your Independent Financial Adviser.
Protection products vary in their purpose, so remember to seek financial advice to ensure cover is appropriate to your individual needs.
Did you know these 10 benefits were part of your protection policies? Let us know by leaving a comment below
This article should not be interpreted as specific advice. We would always urge you to contact one of our specialist advisers to look at your own circumstances before advising.