At this time of year, our thoughts often turn towards helping those in less fortunate circumstances than ourselves. Friday 14th November brings us the BBC’s annual Children in Need campaign, which supports over 2,600 projects across the UK, helping children to achieve a better quality of life. Last year people all across the country contributed towards a record-breaking total of £31m, and the success stories that we’ll see in this years broadcast will hopefully invoke further donations and another outstanding total.
Another initiative launched this month, though somewhat ‘under the radar’ by comparison to Pudsey’s big build-up, is an equally worthwhile campaign called 7 Families. The scheme is a partnership between the industry ‘Income Protection Task Force’, and the charity ‘Disability Rights UK’. With the backing of a number of financial providers1, the charity will work with seven families where the main breadwinner has been forced out of work by an accident or illness, and who could have had, but did not have any income protection insurance in place at the time. The chosen seven will receive a tax-free income for one year, and the campaign is intended to highlight the need for people to plan financially in case they become too ill to earn an income.
Those of you who follow my blog, will know that proper planning, to ensure that you and your family are adequately protected financially, is a genuine passion of mine. It’s great to see that so many support opportunities exist, and to see that there are charities out there offering to help to those who need it.
What happens if you’re not one of the lucky seven or there isn’t a project nearby that supports your needs?
During recent years I’ve been delighted to see various positive developments, and watched products evolving, in the Protection insurance arena. As plans have been amended and updated, I’ve seen providers adding some really valuable benefits to plans that can, do, and will continue to offer great support to people in real need. Many new additions have seen the focus shifting away from simply offering money, and in addition offering assistance with rehabilitation / adjusting to life during and after claims. The right insurance policy will not just be there to provide a lump of cash! If medical circumstances leave you and your children in need, there are solutions that can provide you and those closest to you with extra benefits like:
- Critical Illness Cover for your children – provided free of charge with some adult plans.
- Family Income Benefit – If taken on a ‘life or earlier terminal illness’ basis then this is likely to be very inexpensive, but really powerful if needed.
- Carers allowance – included free within an Income Protection Cover, to help parents of seriously ill children if they need to take time away from work.
- Telephone help line, staffed by qualified and experienced medics – Provided free of charge for customers to call about any medical concerns at all.
- Therapy Benefit, to assist people who may wish to explore several treatment options (including Osteopathy, Homeopathy, and Acupuncture) rather than simply joining a long waiting list for NHS treatment.
The best suited cover for you will always depend upon your individual circumstances, your needs, and your objectives. As time passes these things may change, and new developments will come to market, so it’s worth regularly reviewing your arrangements.
I am all for raising awareness, and for supporting worthwhile causes, but I also strongly believe in educating and empowering people, to provide as much control and as many options as possible should the unexpected happen. There are times when money alone is not enough, but there are also times when it can prevent a bad situation from becoming worse, or provide the flexibility that you may need to avoid having to leave decisions entirely in someone else’s hands.
Please be sure that you speak to someone, sooner rather than later, who can help you to help yourself.
1. Insurers/Backers – Ageas Protect, Aviva, British Friendly, Canada Life, Cardif, Pinnacle, Ellipse, Exeter Friendly, Friends Life, Hannover Re UK Life, LV=, Pacific Life Re, PruProtect, RGA, Scor, Scottish Widows, Unum and Zurich, Money Advice Service, Angry Policyholders