Insuring your car, home or other possessions makes sense. So why do so few of us insure ourselves? If illness or injury stopped you from working for an extended period, could you keep paying your bills? Personal risk insurance gives you peace of mind that if the unexpected occurs, you and your family will be provided for.
Personal risk insurance is an important way of assisting you and your dependants to be financially supported in the event of serious illness, disability or death. If your ability to earn an income is affected, a personal risk insurance policy may enable you to maintain your current lifestyle and continue supporting those who depend on you.
While we recognise the emotional impact of events such as serious illness or death, the financial consequences can be equally devastating. If the unexpected did occur, having personal risk insurance can go a long way to helping you and your family meet your basic living expenses such as your mortgage, groceries, petrol or school fees. Depending on the event, you may also need
to cover significant medical expenses, rehabilitation, modifications to your home or services to help maintain your lifestyle.
A lump sum payable on death or terminal illness. This can help support your dependants to maintain living standards or pay off debts.
Life insurance can help provide financial assistance for a family if they lose the homemaker or breadwinner. In a business situation, life insurance can help protect against the loss of a key employee or business partner.
A lump sum to help support you if you are totally and permanently disabled due to illness or injury.
TPD is designed to help meet one-off and ongoing living expenses, as well as cover special expenses such as medical and rehabilitation costs. To receive a TPD insurance benefit, you must satisfy specific criteria to establish the genuine nature and extent of the disability (this can vary between insurers). These criteria usually include a range of permanently disabling conditions specified in the policy, such as paraplegia, as well as more general criteria relating to your total and permanent inability to work.
A monthly income stream to help support you if you are temporarily unable to work because of illness or injury.
Income protection insurance, also known as salary continuance insurance, pays a monthly benefit of up to 75% of your pre-tax salary if you are disabled due to an illness or injury for longer than the nominated waiting period. Income protection benefits begin after a predetermined waiting period (e.g. 30 days, 90 days, or two years) that you nominate when you take out the cover.
Generally, a longer waiting period means a lower premium however it also means you’ll have to wait longer to receive your first benefit payment. The policy will continue to pay the benefit for as long as you remain unable to work up to a maximum predetermined period. This can be a set timeframe such as two years or age based (e.g. up to age 65).
A lump sum to help support you if you are diagnosed with a specified major medical condition (e.g. heart attack, stroke or cancer).
Trauma insurance provides a lump sum payment if you suffer a serious, debilitating medical condition (as specified in the policy you choose) such as heart attack, cancer or stroke. Trauma insurance is designed to help people cope with the financial impact of a traumatic event as they recuperate.
Generally, you will receive the trauma benefit provided you survive for a set period after incurring the condition. It is important to note that different policies may have different features and you can access certain types of insurance through your super. Talk to us for the most appropriate insurance to suit your individual and family needs.
As your lifestyle and financial position change over time, so do your risk insurance needs. For example, during the years when you are supporting a young family or paying off a large mortgage, you will likely want more protection than later years when you may have downsized homes and your children are in the workforce. The diagram shows what type of insurance may be required most
during each phase of life.
When you consider your existing financial commitments and level of savings, how long could you be without an income before you would need to sell the house or change schools? The cost of premiums for any personal risk insurance policy reflects both the risk (probability) of an insured event occurring and specific features of the policy. Some typical risk factors are your age, the state of your health, your occupation a nd the type of recreational activities you participate in.
Some of the policy features may include:
Before taking out personal insurance, consider the policy features carefully and seek our professional advice.
Acquiring life insurance through your superannuation fund can provide some tax concessions which are not generally available for life insurance policies held ‘outside super’. For example,
your superannuation fund may be able to claim a tax deduction for the life insurance premiums for life, TPD and income protection which can be paid for via salary sacrifice contributions (pre tax monies) and the contribution is only subject to 15% contributions tax. This could make it significantly cheaper (on an after-tax basis) for you to insure through superannuation.
Not all types of personal risk insurance is available through your superannuation fund. New rules came into effect on 1 July 2014 that restrict the types of new TPD and income protection policies
that can be purchased through superannuation, while new trauma policies are generally prohibited.
Salary sacrifice contributions and personal tax-deductible contributions you make to super to fund insurance premiums (along with your other concessional contributions) are subject to the concessional contributions cap ($25,000 for the 2017-18 financial year). If you exceed this cap, the excess is effectively taxed at your marginal tax rate, plus an interest charge.
When insuring through superannuation, if life insurance benefits become payable they attract a tax liability of up to 32% if paid as a lump sum to a non-dependant. However where life insurance
benefits are paid from super as a lump sum to a dependant, they are tax-free. TPD insurance may also be subject to tax if paid from superannuation as a lump sum.
Depending on your situation, you or your eligible beneficiaries may be able to receive life or TPD insurance proceeds as a superannuation income stream, in which case different tax rules will apply. Benefits for income protection acquired through superannuation are taxed at normal marginal tax rates.
Whether you are taking out risk insurance yourself, with your spouse or with a business partner, ownership of the insurance policy is an important consideration. There are different policy
ownership options available. Each one can give a different outcome in certain circumstances. We recommend you seek our professional advice on the structure that suits your goals and objectives.