Income protection benefit period – How long does it last?

In Australia, insurers typically offer 2 and 5 year benefit periods. This can differ based on your specific policy.

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Once you take out income protection, the length of time that your income protection is paid for is known as your benefit period. During the benefit period, your insurer will pay your agreed monthly earnings up to a percentage.

Typical benefit periods on policies in Australia

Insurers typically offer the following benefit period options:

  • 2 years
  • 5 years

Long-term benefits are usually accompanied by a higher premium (the cost you pay for the insurance), as opposed to a lower premium for short-term benefits where the payout period is shorter.

Compare benefit periods from these direct income protection brands

Name Product Maximum Monthly Benefit Maximum % of Income Covered Maximum Benefit Period Waiting Period Options
AAMI Income Protection
$10,000
75%
Up to
5 years
14, 28, 60 or 90 days
If you’re an existing AAMI customer, you can save 5% on income protection. New customers can get one month free by paying annually.
NobleOak Disability Income Insurance
First 24 months: $30,000. Thereafter: $25,250
70% for the first 24 months, 60% thereafter
Up to
Age 65
30 or 90 days
Get your first month free when you apply for NobleOak Disability Income Insurance before 31 October 2021. T&C's apply.
Suncorp Income Protection
$10,000
75%
Up to
5 years
14, 28, 60 or 90 days
Sign up and become a member of Suncorp Benefits. Access savings of up to 15% from major retailers. Existing members can get a 5% discount off their policy.
Insuranceline Income Protection
$10,000
75%
Up to
5 years
14, 28, 60 or 90 days
Get a $100 bonus gift after 2 months. Plus, and get 12 months cover for the price of 11 if you pay annually. T&Cs apply.
RAC Disability Income Insurance (Only available in Western Australia)
RAC Disability Income Insurance  (Only available in Western Australia)
$30,000
70%
Up to
Age 65
30 or 90 days
When you purchase RAC Income Protection, WA residents receive complimentary RAC membership which includes access to discounts on fuel, savings on shopping, entertainment and more. T&Cs at rac.com.au.
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Compare up to 4 providers

How much cover can I receive and what's the benefit period?

ProviderMaximum Monthly Cover*Benefit Period*Apply

Nobleoak logo

Maximum $30,000Age 65Get quote

Zurich Income Protection logo

Maximum of $12,000Up to 5 years

More info

AIA Life Insurance LogoMaximum of $30,000Up to Age 70

More info

Asteron Life Insurance Logo

Maximum of $60,000Up to 5 years to the age of 70

More info

BT Life Insurance LogoMaximum of $60,000Up to 5 years to the age of 70

More info

Clearview Income Protection LogoMaximum of $30,000Up to 5 years to the age of 70

More info

Picture not describedMaximum of $10,000Up to 2 years

More info

MLC Life Insurance LogoMaximum of $60,000Up to To Age 70

More info

OnePath Life Insurance LogoMaximum of $60,000Up To Age 65

More info

TAL Life Insurance LogoMaximum of $12,000Up to 5 years

More info

*Disclaimer: The figures outlined above were accurate for September 2021. Maximum cover relates to the maximum amount of cover that is equal to up to a percentage of your monthly income. The percentage of income covered can vary between brands. Additionally, the amounts and benefit periods listed above may change depending on your personal circumstances and occupation.

What should consider when selecting my benefit period?

It’s vital you consider all the factors relative to selecting the optimal benefit period for your future circumstances. Here’s a list of what you should weigh up before deciding on a benefit period for your income protection insurance:

  • You daily expenses. Consider how much it will cost to finance your ongoing daily life without an income. You must evaluate your income vs your ongoing expenses and the cost of daily necessities including education for children and potential medical expenses that may arise.
  • Any debts that you owe. You must think about whether you’ll be able to continue paying off debts such as your credit card, various loans or car repayments if you are unable to work and your income is cut off.
  • How much you are will to pay in premiums You need to look at whether you can afford a longer benefit period with a higher premium, or a shorter benefit period at a lower cost.

Longer or shorter period? How to decide

For protection against serious illness and accidents

If you’re looking at your insurance as a way to safeguard you against major accidents and illnesses that could see you permanently disabled or unable to work, a policy with a longer benefit period and a higher premium will be more beneficial to you.

For more general protection

If you are concerned about injuries or illnesses that could see you off work for a short to medium period of time, but not indefinitely, a policy with a lower premium and shorter benefit period could be for you.


When does my benefit end?

Your income protection benefit will end under the following circumstances:

  • You pass away. Your benefits will end if you pass away and your policy doesn’t include any beneficiaries.
  • Your policy expires. If your policy expires it will be cancelled. It’s up to you to keep your insurance policy up to date by paying your premiums regularly and on time.
  • You are able to return to work. If you are no longer disabled and can return to work then your benefit period will end.
  • The benefit period is over. If you reach the limitations of your benefit period post claim, you will not receive any more benefits.

It’s important to remember that your contract can be cancelled at anytime if your insurer finds you have acted outside the contractual parameters outlined in your policy. You must disclose all relevant medical information to your fund to avoid termination of your income protection insurance policy.


Is this the same as the waiting period?

No. The waiting period is the amount of time before your benefits kick in (as opposed to the length of the benefit). Longer waiting periods are generally less expensive than shorter waiting periods, as shorter waiting periods allow for you to receive monthly benefits sooner.

When does my benefit period start and how long will it go for?

Your benefit period begins as soon as your GP or medical practitioner determines that you are unable to work due to injury or sickness. From here, your claim for benefits under income protection insurance will be approved, given you have fulfilled your waiting period requirements. If you can’t work once the benefit period is over, you may be eligible for total or partial disablement benefit option.

It’s important to note, benefits generally don’t begin on the first day of your injury or illness, due to the time it takes to see your doctor and notify your fund.

Typical waiting periods

Insurers typically offer the following waiting period options under salary continuance:

  • 14 days
  • 30 days
  • 60 days
  • 90 days
  • 180 days
  • 1 year
  • 2 years

Can I tailor my benefit period for specific injuries

Certain insurance policies will offer lump-sum payouts for specific injuries and illnesses. When you are comparing policies, review the product disclosure statement (PDS) for specific circumstances or injuries that offer additional payouts.

How does it work?

A specific injury benefit is designed to help those needing immediate assistance following an injury or illness that sees them unable to work. It differs to a normal monthly income protection benefit, as it’s paid whether you’re still working or not. You’re typically paid in advance as a lump sum benefit (that isn’t part of the standard income protection benefit).

How long can I receive a specific injury benefit for?

This is dependent on the nature of your injury.

What does this include?How long can I receive the benefit for?
Common injuriesFractures, sprains, etc1-3 months
Serious injuriesLoss of a limbs or body parts, etc1-2 years
ParalysisSpinal cord injuries, paraplegiaUp to 5 years

Here is a list of injuries that are generally covered under your lump-sum specific injury benefit:

  • Paralysis
  • Loss of both hands or feet
  • Total blindness
  • Loss of two feet, plus a hand and sight in one eye
  • Loss of one leg or one arm
  • Loss of sight in one eye
  • Loss of thumb or index finger on one hand
  • Thigh fracture
  • Pelvis fracture
  • Leg fracture (below the knee and above the ankle)
  • Kneecap fracture
  • Upper arm fracture
  • Shoulder blade fracture
  • Jaw fracture
  • Forearm fracture
  • Collarbone fracture
  • Heel fracture

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