Teachers, don't go without insurance. Get an income protection policy that covers you when you need it most.
The teaching profession is a safe and stable one, but injury and illness can affect anyone. Income protection insurance is an option teachers should consider because it:
- Provides monthly payments to supplement your income if you're sick or injured and unable to work
- Lets you pay pay rent, debts and living costs while you recover.
This page will explore the ins and outs of purchasing income insurance and help teachers find a policy that works.
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What risks do teachers need to worry about at work?
While teaching might not be the world's most dangerous job it does have its fair share of challenges. According to Safe Work's Incidence of Accepted Workers' Compensation Claims for Mental Stress in Australia report, 16% of mental stress claims came from the education industry, the second highest industry after health and community services. teaching accounts for more stress claims than any other industry.
Teachers can face the following pressures:
- Overwork. Principals and teachers often report feeling overwhelmed by their workloads.
- Lack of support. Many teachers feel isolated and underappreciated due to lack of administrative support.
- Aggression. Many principals and teachers report threats and actual assaults by students, fellow teachers and parents.
- Loss of self-esteem. Disrespect and lack of effort by students can result in low motivation and a disincentive to remain in teaching.
The consequences of teacher stress can include absenteeism, mental distress and burnout. It is at this stage that some form of income protection is vital.
How does income protection cover mental health and stress?
In order to make a successful claim, your stress-related illness must:
- Have an identifiable cause, such as workplace harassment or bullying
- Not be related to any undeclared mental health condition
While some income protection policies exclude mental illness (including stress-related illness) from cover, new guidelines relating to mental health conditions have now been adopted industry-wide and there has been a general decline in the refusal rate of income protection claims due to mental illness.
If you are a regular teacher who is employed by the education department you can often make a stress-related claim through workers' compensation. But if you are self-employed, such as a substitute teacher or private tutor, you will need to protect yourself against time off work due to illness or injury with income protection insurance.
What types of income protection insurance should teachers look at?
Income protection policies generally come in three levels:
- Accident only cover. You will only be covered for physical accidents, not illnesses or stress. This option isn't as useful for teachers who face higher incidences of stress claims.
- Basic income protection. A basic income protection only covers up to 75% of your income. They generally cover injuries or illnesses that aren't work related.
- Premium income protection. Premium income protection policies cover your income like a basic policy. They also have a number of additional benefits that you can claim, such as a lump sum death benefit, rehabilitation benefit and an expenses benefit.
How do insurers classify teachers?
Insurers give different insurability ratings to different occupations based on the relative danger of the profession. Being a physically safe professional, insurers typically classify teachers as white collar. This means:
- The job is low risk
- There are no extra costs or exclusions
Principals and head teachers on higher salaries may be classed as high-earning white collar, which lets you insure higher incomes.
Income Protection is for Employees and Self-employed Teachers
Income protection for teachers can save you all this anguish and keep your savings intact at the same time.
If you are ill or injured and unable to teach you'll receive a monthly benefit equal to 75% of your average monthly income. Benefit periods can be anywhere from a few months to a couple of years and as long as you've kept up with the premiums payments you'll be covered.
A cover such as this can also have a premium waiver feature included meaning you will not have to pay any further premiums while you are receiving benefits. Once you are back at work again your cover will be fully restored and you will then have to resume paying the ongoing premiums. Income protection insurance is vitally important to keep your earning capacity intact even when you are unable to leave your bed owing to a serious illness or injury.
Choosing the Right Income Protection Policy
As in other income protection policies you have to choose:
- The waiting period
Some insurers insist on a minimum waiting period of two weeks others could require four weeks, but the actual length of the waiting period over and above the minimum will depend on yourself. Your choice will depend on your personal financial situation such as how long you will receive sickness benefits from your employer, if you have one, or how much money you have put aside in a savings account for this very purpose. It is a good idea to have your benefits begin as your sick pay finishes. The longer you can put off receiving benefits the lower will be your premium costs.
- Benefit period
This could be for two or five years, even right through to retirement at 65 if you want it to go that long. The longer you require benefits to be paid the dearer the premium cost every month. When deciding on this aspect of your income protection policy you need to keep in mind that after you have made a successful claim, once you return back to work you are once again covered, even if the cause of the original claim keeps recurring.
Like most occupations, teachers be in good health to successfully carry out their role. Income protection can provide critical support not only for injury or illness that might happen in the workplace but at home, out on the sports field, driving to work, overseas on vacation etc. You can make an enquiry in the form above to receive a quote with an adviser and discuss different policies available on the Australian market.