Income protection for the self-employed

Being self-employed comes with a lot of perks. But have you ever thought about what would happen if you suddenly become disabled and unable to work? For many independent contractors, income protection may provide a safety net if the worst happens.
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*iSelect’s partnered with Lifebroker to help you compare a range of Income protection Insurance policies. Not all policies are available at all times or in all areas. Any advice provided on this website is general in nature and does not consider your situation or needs. Please consider if any advice is appropriate for you before acting on it. Learn more.

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Being self-employed comes with a lot of perks. But have you ever thought about what would happen if you suddenly become disabled and were unable to work? For many independent contractors and small business owners, income protection insurance may provide a safety net in case the worst happens.

What is income protection insurance?

Let’s begin with the basics. Income protection insurance is a type of life insurance that may help by paying you a part of your income in the event that you’re unable to work for a period of time due to an injury or illness, subject to policy terms. Income protection insurance can pay up to 70% of your income, up to the limits of your policy, which may help cover things like:

  • Keeping your business running in your absence;
  • Paying bills and keeping food on the table;
  • Paying your rent, mortgage, car loans, or other types of debt;
  • Covering care and recovery costs.
  • Maintaining your lifestyle.

Who might income protection insurance be suitable for?

According to the government’s MoneySmart website, income protection insurance could be a consideration if:

  • You or our family are dependent on your income;
  • Government assistance would not cover your monthly expenses if you were unable to work due to illness or disability;
  • You need to make monthly payments on a mortgage or other debt.

However, for independent contractors like small business owners or subcontractors, income protection insurance may be even more crucial. If you’re self-employed, missed days on the job could mean less money going into your bank account. And if you become temporarily or permanently disabled, those weeks of missed income could really add up.

For example, let’s say you’re a subcontracting tradie. If you fall seriously ill or are injured and can’t return to work for a while, your income protection insurance may provide you with a steady income, subject to policy terms.

What are the benefits of income protection insurance?

If you’re self-employed, knowing that you can still have an income for a period of time even if you were unable to work due to an illness or injury can take a big weight off your shoulders. On top of paying up to 70% of your income while you’re unable to work subject to policy terms, income protection insurance could offer key benefits like:

  • Business expenses: In addition to paying an income, your policy could cover additional expenses like office rent and utility bills in your absence.
  • Recovery costs: Depending on the nature of your injury, your policy might also help cover the cost of rehabilitation, an at-home nurse, or other treatments.

It’s essential that you check the Product Disclosure Statement before deciding on a policy which outlines policy conditions, exclusions and limitations.

How much will my monthly premium be?

Monthly premiums will depend on a number of factors, like your age, whether or not you smoke, and your occupation. Usually, when picking an income protection insurance policy, you’ll usually have two options when it comes to determining how much you’ll pay.

Stepped or level premiums

Stepped premiums are recalculated each time you renew your policy, and may increase each year as you get older. Level premiums are usually set higher at the start of your policy, but usually increase less frequently and are independent of age.

Curious about how much you might pay each month? iSelect has partnered with Lifebroker to help you compare Income Protection insurance policies on offer from their range of products and providers. You may want to keep in mind that your policy may also be subject to waiting periods or benefit periods.

Waiting periods

A waiting period is an agreed-upon amount of time you will need to wait before approved claim payments would start. Income protection policies typically offer waiting periods between 14 days and two years. As a general rule, the shorter the waiting period is, the more expensive the policy would be.

Benefit period

The benefit period is the length of time that monthly payments would last should you claim. Some policies may give the choice between two or five years, while other policies could pay out until a certain age, like 65.

How is income protection insurance paid out?

Life insurance policies typically take the form of ‘Indemnity value policies’. With this type of policy, if you make a claim , you’ll be paid according to a percentage of your salary at the time. People with a stable income may be more likely to choose this policy.

How do you purchase income protection insurance for the self-employed?

If you’re self-employed and thinking about purchasing an income protection insurance policy, you’ve come to the right place. At iSelect we’ve partnered with Lifebroker to make it easier for iSelect customers to compare income protection policies from a range of providers, and apply for cover. Click here to get started today.

Last updated: 27/07/2021