Income protection for builders

Protect yourself from accidents and illness – get income protection for builders.

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A lot can go wrong on the building site. And while income protection insurance for builders can't stop accidents from happening, it can pay you a monthly income if you become injured or sick. Better still, with income protection insurance, the injury or illness doesn't necessarily need to be work-related.

How does income protection work for builders?

If you're sick or injured anywhere – inside or outside of work – an income protection insurance policy can pay you a monthly benefit while you take time off to get better. It can pay you up to 75% of your current income so that you can still pay the bills while you're unable to work and receive your usual income. You are generally also eligible for income protection insurance if you're self-employed or a contractor.

You need to be physically fit in order to be able to do your job as a builder. That's one of the reasons that workers compensation might not be enough. It only covers you for work-related injuries. Income protection, on the other hand, covers you everywhere, and for illnesses as well as injuries. It can also cover you until you are fit and able to return to work, so that you don't risk returning early and injuring yourself even more.

How does being a builder impact the price of income protection?

Builders tend to pay more for income protection than people working in other professions because there's more risk of injury and illness when working as a builder. As a result, your insurance premiums tend to cost a little more than most. Some of the reasons that builders pay more for income protection include:

  • Higher risk of spinal and muscle injuries. According to Safe Work Australia, body straining accounted for 36% of workplace-related claims between 2017 and 2018.
  • Working from heights. As a builder, your job often involves working from heights. Falls are a common danger on construction sites. Falls made up 23% of serious claims between 2017 and 2018.
  • Risk of cuts and fractures. These types of injuries are much more common among builders and in other high-risk manual handling jobs.
  • Risk of being hit by moving objects. Builders are at risk of being hit by falling objects while on building sites and other workplaces. These incidents accounted for 16% of serious claims from 2017-2018.

Keep in mind that there are other factors that more generally affect the price of your income protection premiums, such as your age, gender, health and smoking status.

Benefits specific to builders

Income protection is particularly beneficial to builders. Here's why:

  • It's more comprehensive than workers compensation. Income protection covers you for illnesses and injuries anywhere, even, in some cases, if you are overseas. Depending on the state you're in, workers compensation benefits can vary. With income protection, you'll get 75% of your income.
  • Waiting periods. Income protection policies usually have waiting periods of 14, 30, 60 or 90 days. This is the initial period that you'll need to have off work before your income protection payments kick in. If you don't have any sick pay to fall back on for a while, it could be helpful to opt for a shorter waiting period so that you can get paid faster.
  • Specified injury benefit. Because there's a higher chance of injury due to accidents for builders, it's worth considering a policy that includes a "Specified Injury Benefit". This benefit can pay you for a set number of months for specified injuries (for example, a fractured arm) and can continue even if you return to work to do light duties.
  • Injuries could be a huge setback. Unlike white-collar work, manual handling is an essential part of doing your job as a builder. Even a simple broken bone or injury could completely prevent you from doing your job and earning an income, which makes income protection all the more essential.
  • Peace of mind. You may be the safest builder on site. Sometimes, that doesn't matter. A lot can go wrong on a building site, and while income protection can't stop accidents from happening, it can look after you financially if something does happen and you need to take time off.

Exclusions that builders should be aware of

All insurance policies have exclusions. Here are some of the more common things that may not be covered by a standard income protection policy:

  • A mental disorder, illness or condition
  • Elective or transplant surgery
  • An intentional self-inflicted act, including attempted suicide
  • Drug-related illness or injury (unless taken under the direction of a doctor)
  • Alcohol-related illness or injury
  • War, war-like activity, or taking part in terrorist activity, a riot or civil commotion
  • Engaging in any illegal activities

Other types of insurance for builders

Income protection isn't the only type of insurance worth considering. You may also want to take a look at:

  • Personal accident. This covers you for accidents only – not illnesses. Because of that, it's usually cheaper than income protection insurance.
  • Public liability insurance. Builders may be required to have this. It covers you if you injure or damage someone else's property.
  • Product liability insurance. Builders can also protect themselves with this. Similar to public liability insurance, it protects you if a product you used on a job causes injury or damages someone else's property.
  • Death cover. More commonly referred to as life insurance, this pays your family a large lump sum if you die.
  • Total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance. This pays you a lump sum if you become permanently disabled and have to completely stop work.

Bottom line

From falls to musculoskeletal injuries, accidents are common if you're a builder. Income protection insurance can be a financial lifesaver if and when something does happen. You can compare policies here.

Compare income protection insurance


How long do income protection payments last?

This depends on the policy that you choose. You can usually choose how long you want your benefit period to last. It's generally 2 or 5 years, or until the age of 65. The benefit period is the number of years that you want your payments to last for. The longer your benefit period, the more expensive your premiums are likely to be.

Can I still get cover if I only work casually or part-time as a builder?

Yes. Most insurers offer income protection to builders who work at least 20 hours a week and have been in the same role for at least 12 months.

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