What is income protection for doctors?

Income protection for doctors is simply an income protection policy which is held by a doctor.

Some providers offer specialist policies for doctors or can offer special terms to doctors, medical professionals or NHS workers - this can be known as ‘doctors income protection’.

While doctors’ income protection and a standard income protection policy will both pay out to you if you’re unable to work, a doctor’s specific policy can include policy extras tailored to meet the specific needs of those in the medical profession.

Reassured Advice can help UK doctors to compare a wide range of policies on the market to help you find the most suitable policy.

Simply get in touch to receive your fee-free and no-obligation quotes.

Keep reading this in-depth guide for everything you need to know about income protection for doctors and medical professionals…

Doctors’ income protection key points:

Policies that are designed to meet the needs of doctors and medical professionals include the following benefits:

  • Will pay out up to 70% of your usual income if you can't work as a doctor
  • Payments will be made in monthly (tax-free) instalments
  • Can mirror your NHS sick pay schedule to top up your half pay periods
  • Can help you to cover key costs such as your mortgage payments, rent, childcare costs, living costs, loan or debt payments (anything your usual income would cover)
  • Additional policy benefits specific to the needs of those in the medical profession (such as overseas cover, sabbatical cover and no HIV exclusions)

How much income protection do doctors need?

Doctors, enter your monthly financial commitments to understand the level of income protection cover you require.

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£723 a month is the average monthly mortgage payment in the UK, with the average monthly rental price coming in at £700.

The majority of our monthly income will go towards rental or mortgage payments.

For this reason, it’s essential to have precautions in place to ensure you could keep up to date with your payments if you weren’t receiving your usual income.

Monthly income protection payments can help to cover this large expense and ensure you can stay in your home.

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According to the Money Advice Service, the average household spends £340 a month on household bills.

This includes electricity, gas, TV and broadband.

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Childcare costs are on the rise with it now costing £137.69 per week for part-time nursery for a child under the age of two.

That’s over £550 per month - is this an amount you’d be able to keep up with if you were unable to work?

Becoming ill could also result in the need for additional childcare while you attend doctors’ appointments or medical treatment.

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The average household in the UK spends around £97 a week on their food shop, totaling £388 a month.

While this may seem like a small amount in comparison to some of the other expenses mentioned, the food shop is often where we try to scrimp and save when we fall on hard times.

Income protection can take care of the cost of your weekly food shop, as well as many other essential costs.

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At the beginning of 2020, credit card debt in the UK was at £2.1 billion, with almost 27 million UK residents in some kind of debt.

Becoming unable to work could make it hard to keep up with credit card or loan payments (including car finance or other financed goods).

Failure to keep up with payments could result in additional interest being incurred or late fees issues - resulting in a higher total needing to be paid.

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The average spent on public transport each month comes to an average of £94.

This includes the cost of public transport, as well as petrol and diesel vehicles.

While this amount may reduce while you’re unable to work as you won’t need to commute there may be additional spending on public transportation if your illness or injury leaves you unable to drive.

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Your total cover estimate

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Let us find your best quotes.

How does doctors income protection work?

Income protection policies that are tailored to meet the needs of doctors can work differently to a standard income protection policy.

While both will pay out to you if you’re unable to work due to illness or injury, there are some key differences.

In order to be eligible for income protection for medical professionals, you’ll need to be working in the medical profession, hold a license to practice in the UK and be registered with either:

Doctors’ income protection can also work in line with your NHS sick pay schedule.

Within the NHS, sick pay entitlement changes with each year of service and after 5 years the maximum allowance is reached. This entitlement offers to pay out for a set period of time at full pay, followed by a set period of time at half pay.

Income protection for doctors can start paying out at a reduced rate (typically 50%) while you receive half sick pay from the NHS to help top up your earnings.

Once your NHS sick pay has finished your full income protection benefit will start to be paid out.


The table below breaks down NHS sick pay entitlement and how doctors’ income protection can mirror this:

Length of serviceNHS full sick payNHS half sick payReduced income protection benefitFull income protection benefit
0 - 1 years1 month2 monthsMonths 2 and 3Month 4 onwards
1 - 2 years2 months2 monthsMonths 3 and 4Month 5 onwards
2 - 3 years4 months4 monthsMonths 5 to 8Month 9 onwards
3 - 4 years5 months5 monthsMonths 6 to 10Month 11 onwards
4 - 5 years6 months6 monthsMonths 7 to 12Month 13 onwards
5 years +6 months6 monthsMonths 7 to 12Month 13 onwards

Source: https://www.aviva.co.uk/adviser/documents/view/ip01148c.pdf

Doctor or medical professional specific income protection may also come with policy extras and benefits that a standard policy is not likely to include.

Keep reading as we explain these additional policy extras further down…

What does doctors income protection cover?

Doctors’ income protection will pay out to you if you can’t work due to accident or sickness, with providers offering to pay out up to 70% of your usual income.

Accident and sickness will cover you for:

  • Long-term illness that prevents you from working
  • Injuries that occur due to accident

Working in the medical profession can be both a physically and mentally demanding job and, for this reason, many doctors’ income protection polices will cover a range of mental health conditions such as anxiety and/or depression.

Policies that are tailored towards the needs of doctors or medical professionals often come with policy extras that a standard policy wouldn’t include. For example:

  • No HIV exclusions (if contracted through work)
  • Cover for other needle-stick injuries
  • Sabbatical cover (allowing you to pause the policy)
  • NHS sick pay mirroring (cover can match your NHS sick pay entitlement)
  • Overseas cover
  • Life changes option (change your cover amount to meet ever changing life needs)

The extras you’re offered can vary between providers so it’s important to compare quotes to ensure you’re getting the most comprehensive cover to meet your needs.

Why not let a friendly member of the Reassured Advice team help you do this?

Will there be any exclusions?

There may be exclusions added to your policy if you suffer from any pre-existing medical conditions, meaning you won’t be able to claim for these conditions.

You also won’t be able to claim for any injuries or illnesses that are self-inflicted or occur as a result of drug or alcohol misuse.

Do doctors need income protection?

Whether you need income protection as a doctor will ultimately depend on your personal circumstances.

Those that work in the medical profession are aware of the impact a serious illness or injury can have on everyday life.

If you were unable to work for an extended period of time, could you continue to afford:

  • Mortgage or rent payments
  • Household bills
  • Childcare costs
  • Travel expenses
  • Leisure costs
  • Loan or debt payments

You may want to consider the following factors when determining whether you would benefit from income protection:

NHS sick pay entitlement

As the amount of sick pay you’re entitled to is dependent on your length of service, you may want to consider if your current sick pay entitlement will last you long enough in times of ill health and whether it will allow you to cover all financial obligations.


Whether you have dependents

Having people that are financially dependent on you will increase the amount of cover that you’ll need and you’ll want to ensure you and your loved ones can continue living your current lifestyle with minimal financial disruption.


Personal savings

If you have personal savings this may help to tide you over once your sick pay has ended. Or, are you part of the 19% of adults that have less than £100 in savings?[1]


Other sources of income

If you have a partner or spouse, could their income help to cover your financial commitments while you’re off work?

Talking things through with an expert can help you to make the decision about whether income protection is the right choice for you and your loved ones.

At Reassured Advice we can present you with all the information you need and answer any questions you might have to help you make a fully informed decision.

What’s the best income protection for doctors?

The best income protection for doctors will likely be from a provider that offers a policy or terms that are tailored towards the needs of doctors.

Many of the UK’s leading providers offer income protection policies that are either designed for doctors or offer certain terms to better meet the needs of those in the medical profession. These providers include:

  • LV=
  • Aviva
  • Legal & General
  • Royal London
  • Zurich

Reassured Advice can compare income protection policies from all of the above mentioned providers to help you find the best policy to meet your needs.

We can also compare quotes for standard income protection from other major providers. Why not get in touch for your FREE quotes?

To ensure that your income protection policy is the best one to meet your needs, you’ll need to ensure that the terms you choose are right for you.

Cover amount

The maximum level of cover you’ll be able to secure is up to 70% of your usual income.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to take out this amount. If you don’t have dependents and don’t have a lot of financial commitments to take care of, you may not require such a high level of cover.

Alternatively, if you have your own savings or a have a dual income household where your partner can help make up your lost income, you may also not require such a high level of cover.

Fully assessing your obligations as well as your available sources of finance will help you to determine whether you’ll likely need the maximum amount of cover or whether you could live comfortably with a lesser amount.

We have written this complete income protection insurance calculator UK article if you require additional support »


Deferred period

The deferred period (or waiting period) typically refers to the time in between your first sick day from work and when you can make a claim. If you’re still unable to work once your deferred period has come to an end, payments can then commence.

When taking out cover that’s designed to meet the needs of doctors, you can make a claim and receive a reduced benefit amount as soon as you start receiving half sick pay from the NHS.

Some providers may ask you to take out a certain deferred period. For example, to benefit from NHS sick pay mirroring, both Aviva and Royal London ask that applicants opt for a 12-month deferred period. Depending on your length of service, the policy will pay out early to match your sick pay schedule.

Having a longer deferred period (such as 12 months) can help you to benefit from cheaper premiums.


Payment period

The payment period is the length of time that your policy will pay out for each claim. How long your payment period will be will depend on whether you take out a short-term or long-term income protection policy.

Short-term income protection often has a maximum payment period of 1 - 2 years but this can vary depending on the provider.

Whereas long-term income protection provides the potential for you to continue to receive payments up until you reach retirement, so if you’re unable to work again, due to your illness or injury, you’ll be covered for your whole working life.

As NHS sick pay will likely be sufficient to cover you for short-term illness, if it’s within your budget, a long-term policy may be more worthwhile to protect you against longer periods of ill health.


Definition of incapacity

There are three main definitions of incapacity, these include own occupation, suited tasks/suited occupation and any occupation.

In terms of income protection, incapacity refers to the inability to work and your chosen definition will define what you can and can’t receive a pay out for.

As a doctor you’ll likely want to take out a policy with an own occupation definition of incapacity. This will allow you to make a claim if you’re unable to do your specific job.

With a suited tasks or any occupation definition you may be asked to do another job that’s suited to your skills or experience if you’re unable to do your own.

For example, if you sustain an injury that leaves you unable to work in the hospital, you could use your knowledge to work as a teacher (and therefore, you wouldn’t receive a pay out).

How much is income protection for doctors?

The price you pay for income protection as a doctor will vary depending on your personal circumstances and chosen policy terms.

During the application process providers will ask for key information and this will help to determine the price you pay.

Information required at the point of application includes:

  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Smoking status
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Chosen deferred period
  • Chosen payment period
  • Type of cover (long or short-term)
  • Definition of incapacity

The premium price you’re offered will be based on the level of risk you pose and providers will assess your risk using the factors above.

Risk level can vary between jobs in the medical profession, for example a frontline surgeon is likely to be classed as a higher risk applicant than a general practitioner. For reasons like this, no two income protection quotes will be the same.

How much you pay for your cover will also depend on which premium payment option you choose. The most common options include:

  • Guaranteed premiums - These are premiums that remain the same throughout the lifetime of the policy, meaning you’ll never pay more for your cover
  • Reviewable premiums - These are premiums that can be reviewed by your provider and can be subject to change due to certain criteria (for example, increased risk)
  • Age-banded premiums - These are premiums that will increase each year as you get older.

Reassured Advice can help you to compare quotes to find the most affordable doctors income protection.

Does the NHS offer income protection?

No, the NHS doesn’t offer income protection, but they do offer a pay protection scheme to their staff.

Rather than pay out if you’re unable to work due to accident or sickness, pay protection will help to top up your earnings if you experience a reduction in your income. This could be as a result of redeployment (changing band), relocation or a reduction in enhancements.

This scheme, combined with NHS sick pay helps to provide doctors and medical professionals with financial support.

Having a personal income protection policy alongside these work benefits will provide the most comprehensive solution for you and your loved ones.

Simply get in touch with a friendly member of the Reassured Advice team for your free quotes.

Can locum GPs take out income protection?

Yes, it's still possible to take out income protection as a locum GP or doctor.

Particularly for locum GPs that are self-employed (or even GPs who work at private practices), income protection can provide a much-needed financial safety net.

If you’re self-employed it’s likely that you won’t benefit from NHS sick pay and may not receive any sick pay at all.

If you’re a locum working at a particular medical practice, it’s always worth checking what you’re entitled to before taking out cover.

As locum work is ever changing, what you’re entitled to might not always be the same so having your own personal cover in place can help to provide you with peace of mind that your income is protected.

Other policy types for doctors

There are many other policy types that doctors can secure to cover various aspects of their lives, including:

Life insurance

A life insurance policy offers financial protection by paying out a lump sum to your loved ones in the event of your passing.

The funds from a life insurance pay out can help to keep your loved ones in the family home by taking care of your mortgage, as well as covering key living costs and paying for your funeral.

You have the option to be covered for a specific period of time (term life insurance) or for the rest of your life (whole of life insurance).

Some life insurance policies also come with ‘terminal illness cover’ free of charge. This will allow you to make an early claim on your policy if you’re diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and predicted to pass away within 12 months.

Read our dedicated life insurance for doctors article to find out more »

Life insurance through Reassured starts from as little as 20p-a-day and we can compare quotes from some of the UK’s leading providers, so why not get in touch for your free quotes?


Critical illness cover

Critical illness cover will provide you with a lump sum pay out should you be diagnosed with a serious (but not life-threatening illness).

This form of cover can be added onto a life insurance policy for an additional fee or purchased as a standalone policy through some providers.

The funds from critical illness cover can be used to replace your income while you’re off work, as well as pay for medical treatment or carers.

While similar to income protection, there are some key differences between the two.

For example, income protection pays out in instalments whereas critical illness cover pays out in a lump sum.

Critical illness cover also only covers a specific list of illnesses, whereas income protection can pay out for any illness that prevents you from working (as long as it’s not pre-existing).

You can read our full income protection vs critical illness cover guide for a full and in-depth comparison »

Compare income protection quotes for doctors

Not only can Reassured Advice compare policies which are tailored towards the needs of doctors, but they can also compare standard income protection quotes from all major UK providers (and smaller specialists).

This allows you to gather information about all of your available options, so you can find the right policy to meet your needs at the best price.

All quotes are personalised, fee-free and without obligation.

Life can be busy for doctors so why not leave the hard work to Reassured Advice? Simply get in touch today.

Sources:

[1] https://www.independent.co.uk/money/one-in-five-adults-have-less-than-ps100-in-savings-to-fall-back-on-b1865413.html

https://www.lv.com/income-protection/types-of-income-protection/doctors-and-surgeons

https://www.aviva.co.uk/adviser/documents/view/ip01148c.pdf

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