Income Protection for Musculoskeletal Injuries

How can income protection insurance cover you for musculoskeletal injuries?

Musculoskeletal injuries can affect anyone at anytime. In 2013-14 there were 95605 claims for injury and musculoskeletal disorders, which made up 90% of all Worker's Compensation claims.

Make sure you're protected with income protection. Income protection can provide you with an ongoing benefit of generally up to 75% of your normal monthly salary if you're forced to miss time from work due to illness or injury.

Keep reading to find out more about how you can benefit from this type of cover.

Get your income covered for injuries and more

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Coverage is the amount of money that you will be paid in the event of a claim. An insurance consultant can help you determine an appropriate amount. Calculator
Provides a lump sum payment if you become totally and permanently disabled and are unable to return to work.
Provides a lump sum payment if you suffer a serious medical condition. Cover can be taken out for 40-60 medical conditions depending on the policy you choose.
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*'New cover' refers to when you start a policy, reinstate cancelled cover or increase cover. The conditions in the above form are a general guide. Always consult the insurers product disclosure statement (PDS) for further information.

Musculoskeletal injuries is the term given to a wide range of disorders that involve damage to soft tissue such as nerves, blood vessels, tendons, bones and muscles in general. Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a common musculoskeletal injury, so is bursitis, tendinitis and carpel tunnel syndrome. It is a type of injury carpenters, doctors and professional sports players are particularly prone to experience and therefore their need for income protection insurance in order to allow them to keep earning while incapacitated is so important.

Pre-existing musculoskeletal injuries

If you're condition is pre-existing then you'll need to declare. Depending on the insurer and the severity of the condition you'll either be covered fully, with certain limitations on your policy or you won't be covered at all.

Questions you could be asked

  • Rank your pain of a scale of 0 to 5.
  • Do you know what caused the pain? Was it work or sports related?
  • Have you ever had to take time off work because of the pain or been advised to reduce the number of hours you can work? How many days did you take off and what was the specific reason?
  • Are you unable to carry out daily activities including washing, getting dressed, driving, reading, lifting or doing housework?
  • Have you had testing done including x-ray, CT scan or MRI? Where and when was the testing performed and what were the results?
  • Have you been treated by a general practice doctor, chiropractor, osteopath or physical therapist? Have you received medication or injections for the pain? Where and when were these treatments received?
  • What are the names and contact information for the medical professionals who you are seeing and when was the last visit?
  • Are any further tests or surgeries scheduled?

How long do you want your benefit to be paid?

You also have a choice on how long you want the benefits paid. You can have them continue until retirement if you feel any sickness or injury might be prolonged to such an extent that you will be able to return to work again. You can also limit the benefit payments to two or five years, depending on your financial position and whether you'll be able to readjust financially should your benefit cease and you remain unable to work. These choices determine the amount of premium you will have to pay as does your age when applying for the cover.

In order to put the level of risk in its proper perspective Australian insurance companies paid out a total of $14.3 million to 245 policyholders every working day in 2010. The highest number of claims paid out on was for life insurance but income protection claims came in second. Musculoskeletal injuries represented the most claims made by holders of income protection insurance policies.

Musculoskeletal injuries, like any other ailment that stops you from attending to your usual occupation to continue earning an income, are a constant threat to all people who have to rely on a regular income to pay their way through life. There are many threats to your ability to keep earning but income protection insurance is the best way to guarantee that no matter what happens you will always be able to pay the rent or mortgage, keep food on the family table, keep your loved ones in clothes as required and pay all the other day to day debts that are all part of general living.

Diverse work patterns result in injuries

Although the work carried out by a carpenter is much different to that practised by a doctor as well as that of professional sports players, all have one thing in common and that is their level of income protection insurance claims for musculoskeletal injuries. Professional sports players practice forceful movements at great speed involving many repetitions. Carpenters often overload particular muscle groups and doctors maintain a fixed position, often for prolonged periods; all activities that can cause pain in their hands, legs, feet, back, neck, shoulders or arms. These ailments are often noticed in conjunction with swelling, tiredness in the area affected, tingling, and numbness.

How do musculoskeletal injuries happen?

Repetitive strain injuries account for 18% of all income protection insurance claims

The first symptoms involving musculoskeletal injury can be as simple as a dull ache that disappears with rest. It then develops further until it continues after work has ceased and a feeling of tiredness and heaviness takes over. The pain often returns at night and your ability to perform your daily tasks becomes diminished. The injury is particularly problematic when you become unable to carry out your work and you are forced to rest as the pain persists, even when there is no repetitive movement taking place. It is now that you are forced to stop work and it is now when your income protection insurance becomes vitally important to your financial welfare.
Repetitive strain injuries are common place in the community and account for 18 percent of all income protection insurance claims. They are often unavoidable as their cause is often the result of the nature of the work being undertaken and not all people are prone to the same experience.

Income protection insurance will at least guarantee you will receive up to 75 percent of your gross salary after you have completed the mandatory waiting period. This can be anything from two weeks to several months, depending on what you have in reserve when such an event happens that prevents you from attending work. If you are self employed you may wish to avail yourself of income protection benefits at the earliest date possible but if employed you might choose to use up all your employers sick pay before having any benefits paid.

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Maurice Thach

An insurance-savvy writer for finder.com.au who loves finding an answer to the question "Am I covered for ________?"

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