Your income is one of your most valuable assets, without it you cannot support the lifestyle that you have worked so hard to achieve. However the majority of Australians don’t have any income protection insurance. Many people who do have income protection policies don’t realise the benefits of their policy or how to make a claim when sickness or injury strikes. Although income protection insurance covers any reduction in your income due to sickness or injury, you may not be aware that even a reduction in the amount of hours you are able to work, if it is due to sickness or injury, may be covered under your policy. Another point to be aware of is in some trauma policies even minor conditions, such as an early stage melanoma (non cancerous) may qualify you for partial benefit.
If you don’t have income protection insurance we strongly urge you to contact us at True Financial. We will be able to advise you on your policy and smooth out the claim process by working with you and the insurance company.
Following are some steps and tips to remember in claiming for income protection insurance:
- Ensure that your illness or injury is covered in your policy. You must satisfy the definition of “disability” and prove that you are not able to return to work due to your illness or injury.
- Contact your insurer as soon as possible. Write down as much information as possible after the event to ensure you don’t forget any details.
- Ensure that all relevant documents are collected to lodge your claim. You need to ensure that the medical documents are current and relate specifically to your claim. It is best to get a copy of the definition of disability from your policy and ask your treating doctors for a report addressing the specific wording of the definition.
- To ensure that your claim is handled in a timely manner it is very important that these documents are lodged correctly to avoid delays. Some insurance companies have clear deadlines on document submission so ensure you meet these deadlines.
- Be honest when making a claim, even if it is a little embarrassing, as changing your story on your circumstances may delay your claim or mean it is refused. All insurance providers will independently verify your claim details, and if they see any misrepresentation of circumstances then it is likely that your claim will be rejected.
- Maintain a belief that the insurance company wants to help you. Complete any documentation and processes as required, as not cooperating will delay the processing and payment of your claim – and will not help you in any way.
Another point to note is the waiting period for your policy. The waiting period begins the day that you are disabled due to illness or injury and have consulted a medical practitioner. However if you return to work (even part time work) after seeing a medical practitioner your waiting period may begin again. In addition, some policies may require you to see a medical practitioner to state that you can’t return to work. To ensure that you don’t put yourself in this position please remember to contact us at True Financial. Don’t forget that maintaining your insurance policy ensures your family is looked after when you’re not able to care for them.