Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Insurance

Your bills won’t stop if you’re forced to stop working.
Protect yourself with TPD insurance.

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Q: What is TPD insurance? TPD insurance provides you with financial protection if a serious illness or injury stops you from being able to work permanently.

This includes accidents such as the loss of a limb or eye sight, or if you become diagnosed with a life-changing illness such as cancer or a motor neurone disease (MND). There are two types of TPD insurance:

  1. Any occupation. Any occupation TPD pays out if you can no longer work in any type of job suited to your education, training or experience (due to disability).
  2. Own occupation. Own occupation TPD pays out if you can no longer work in your current job (due to disability).

Compare TPD cover directly from an insurer

Rates last updated March 23rd, 2019
Name Product Maximum cover Maximum Entry Age Expiry Age Short Description
No expiry age as long as premiums are paid
Optional TPD cover available with Real Family Life Insurance. Get up to $1 million in cover against total and permanent disablements.
Get fully underwritten Total and Permanent Disability Insurance that can be customised to fit your occupational situation and financial circumstances.

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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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Why get TPD? Types of TPD How to compare? Death and TPD cover Making a claim

Why do people choose to cover TPD?

Three key reasons why people opt for TPD cover include:

  • Financial assistance for a range of expenses. A TPD benefit can be used to cover your mortgage repayments, pay for medical expenses that have arisen as a result of your disability, and provide ongoing financial support for your family.

  • Cover for specific occupations. Policies have the option to cover specific if you can no longer perform the duties of your regular job (as opposed to a standard requirement where you prove that you can't work in any job).

  • It forms a comprehensive insurance plan. TPD cover can also be purchased as an add-on to life insurance, trauma insurance and income protection cover to give you comprehensive cover.

TPD by the numbers: It's a small sacrifice to cover a real possibility


Average cost of TPD Insurance

$15.29 per month

Learn more


Australians affected by disabilities

1/5 Australians (4.3 million)1


No. of people permanently out of work

566,700 disability sufferers1


Average income for someone who is disabled

$465 vs $950 for someone without a disability1

How did we get these costs?


How does total and permanent disability insurance work?


A situation forces you to stop working

Common examples of total and permanent disability can include:

  • Loss of sight
  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss use of limbs (arms or legs)
  • A serious disease
  • Mental illness


Lodge a claim with your insurer

A Total Permanent Disability (TPD) benefit is usually payable when:

  • You become totally and permanently disabled due to either injury or illness
  • You aren't at work for a set amount of time
  • There's no expectation of you returning to normal work
  • You meet any other criteria set out in your policy

Receive your benefit payment

In addition to replacing your income you can use your payment to cover:

  • Outstanding debts
  • Ongoing living expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Home modifications

Is TPD insurance the right cover for me?

You can also look at what event or events you are looking to get covered.

Is this event covered? Standalone TPD TPD from your super TPD that comes with a life insurance policy Income Protection
Disability stops you permanently from being able to do a job suited to your training, education or experience
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • No
Disability stops you permanently from being able to work again in your usual occupation
  • Yes if your policy has an 'own occupation' definition of TPD
  • No
  • Yes if your policy has an 'own occupation' definition of TPD
  • No
Disability stops you from working for a short period of time
  • No
  • No
  • No
  • Yes
  • No
  • No, unless combined with death cover in super
  • Yes
  • Most policies don't offer it

Common questions around TPD insurance

Example of when a policy would pay out

Definitions of permanent disability vary slightly between insurers, but you usually need to meet this type of criteria:

Who can apply for cover?

Generally, you can apply for total and permanent disability insurance if you are:

  • Between the age of 17 and 64 years old
  • An Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • Residing in Australia at the time of application

Note: your job and health is also assessed when you apply.

Apply for cover now

What types of TPD cover are available?

There are four main types of TPD cover available:

Own occupation

This provides cover if you can't perform your current occupation anymore.

Any occupation

This provides cover if you can't perform any type of job related to your experience or education anymore.

Home duties

This is designed to protect you as a stay at home partner in case you can no longer perform home duties.

Modified TPD

This provides cover if you can no longer perform the activities of daily living

Own occupation vs any occupation

Own and any occupation policies are designed to cover disabilities that stop you from working. There are some key differences.

surgeonMichael's TPD decision


Michael is a surgeon and he lost the use of one hand.

If Michael had an own occupation policy

Under the definition of own occupation, he would be considered to be permanently disabled as he is unable to continue his practice as a surgeon and therefore, the benefit payment is payable.

If Michael had an any occupation policy

However, under an any occupation definition, it could be argued that despite his inability to continue to practice as a surgeon, he could still work in a range of other occupations.

Payout comparison

1. You are unable to work at all, in any type of occupation / job / role.Covered by both policies
2. You can no longer perform the duties of your specific job (but can still physically perform work suited to your education/experience).Covered by 'Own Occupation' policies

Not covered by 'Any Occupation' policies

Some other requirements for payment for both policies

You'll need to show that your disability is permanent and show a minimum time that you have been out of work (typically 6 months).

Which one costs more?

Own occupation cover will give policyholders greater flexibility but is generally more expensive.

Own vs any occupation: What's the difference?

Home duties vs modified TPD

These two policies are aimed to cover disabilities further outside of standard work situations.

Home duties Modified TPD
Who can benefit from this policy? Family members who perform domestic duties in the household. This can cover anyone.
When does it payout? You no longer can perform unpaid domestic duties in a full-time capacity. You're no longer able to perform two daily living activities without assistance.
Types of activities you have to show the insurer that you're no longer able to do
  • Maintenance and care of the family home
  • Management of the household
  • Looking after dependent children
  • Cooking and cleaning
  • Repairs and maintenance around the household
  • Bathing or showering
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Eating and drinking
  • Using the toilet for hygiene
  • Getting in or out of a bad/wheelchair

What you should look for in a TPD policy

When taking out TPD insurance you should look at:

The cost of the cover

The features and definitions of the policy

Any exclusions and restrictions

The level of coverage

Reputation and customer service of the insurance provider

Policy wording and features you should check?

Coverage varies depending on the insurer, so it is essential that you read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) closely. Note: Most brands will combine TPD, Trauma Insurance and Life Insurance into one document.

Four crucial features you must check

check-tpd-phone (1)

  • Total disablement benefit This is the benefit that's paid if you are disabled due to an injury or illness and are unable to perform work duties.
  • Partial disability benefit. This is the amount that is payable in the event of partial disablement eg loss of one arm, one leg or sight in one eye.
  • Your choice of own occupation or any occupation definition. You’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons of any vs own occupation cover, eg cost of cover and when a benefit can be claimed.
  • Buy back option. This option is useful if your TPD cover is part of your term life insurance. When a TPD claim is paid, the amount will be deducted from your life cover amount - buy back option will allow you to reinstate that amount.

Additional features that are also important

family-circle-tpd (1)

  • Death benefit. A benefit amount may be payable in the event of your death, even if your TPD cover is a standalone policy.
  • Loss of independence feature. In some cases the lump sum payment available with TPD insurance can convert to a loss of independence payout, based on the insured's ability to care for themselves.
  • Guaranteed future insurability. This feature allows you to increase the coverage of your policy during the important life events, such as marriage, children, or mortgage, without needing to undergo another medical examination, even if your health situation has changed.
  • Indexation benefit. Sum insured will increase annually in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to keep up with inflation.
  • Premium freeze option. Some insurers offer this option in which you can choose to retain your current annual premium under a stepped style when you reach a certain age and it will reduce the insured amount gradually.

Prefer to have someone find you a policy with the right features?

Speak to an adviser

Who offers TPD together with death cover?

Many Australian life insurers offer life insurance (death cover) bundle with trauma and total and permanent disability insurance policy these days, either as separate policies or linked cover.

How much TPD insurance cover do you need?

To calculate how much TPD you require you’ll need to assess your needs:

  • Ongoing expenses and debts. List all the financial commitments your family have currently, from ongoing living expenses, children’s education expenses, bills and debts.
  • Future expenses. Consider any future obligations that your family may have, ie your children’s education costs.
  • Potential medical expenses. Work out how much you’ll need to cover any unexpected costs, such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, nursing care and home and/or vehicle modification costs.

Once you have an idea of the expenses and needs of your family, you should also check whether you already have cover through your super (you probably do).

If so, you should ensure that you contact your super fund and get rid of these redundant policies as they will eat into your super savings.

How much does TPD Insurance cost?

Average cost of a policy (per month)

We analysed the cost of a 35-year-old-applicant who doesn't smoke for various cover amounts and checked out two different occupation types (white collar and blue collar). Here's what we found:

500,000 coverMaleFemale
Lowest costing policy$21.42 per month$21.19 per month
Medium costing policy$26.89 per month$26.89 per month
Highest costing policy$29.12 per month$29.12 per month
AVERAGE$25.81 per month$25.73 per month
$200,000 coverMaleFemale
Lowest costing policy$10.16 per month$10.03 per month
Medium costing policy$16.86 per month$16.84 per month
Highest costing policy$18.85 per month$18.85 per month
AVERAGE$15.29 per month$15.24 per month
50,0000 coverMaleFemale
Lowest costing policy$35.98 per month$31.78 per month
Medium costing policy$40.37 per month$40.37 per month
Highest costing policy$55.97 per month$55.80 per month
AVERAGE$44.11 per month$42.65 per month
$200,000 coverMaleFemale
Lowest costing policy$16.26 per month$15.04 per month
Medium costing policy$23.68 per month$23.68 per month
Highest costing policy$30.64 per month$30.34 per month
AVERAGE$23.53 per month$23.02 per month

Average prices were taken from a sample quote of all policies available on's quoting engine. Details of the quote were for a 35-year-old non-smoker.

Factors that affect the cost of cover

TPD Insurance vs Income Protection

While TPD and income protection protects you in the event you’re unable to work, they are different

TPD Insurance
Income Protection Insurance
What's covered Permanent disabilities Short and medium term disabilities
Payment type A lump sum payment An ongoing monthly benefit to serve as a replacement income for a specified benefit period

Learn more: The key differences

TPD vs Trauma Insurance?

Both policies pay out a lump sum payment. The key difference is what events are covered.

TPD Insurance
Trauma Insurance
Events covered You suffer a serious injury or illness and you are disabled and it's unlikely that you will ever work again. You suffer a critical illness eg a heart attack
Maximum sum insured Larger maximum sum insured, usually up to $10m Maximum sum insured is less than TPD, usually up to $5m
How amyoupaid out on claims? Lump sum Lump sum
What features are included? Inflation protection, partial disability benefit, premium freeze, double TPD benefit Inflation protection, death benefit, premium freeze, double trauma benefit
Is it available through super? Yes No

Learn more: TPD vs Trauma Insurance

TPD through super

TPD comes as standard with most super.

This means your policy is owned by a trustee of an eligible super fund and you are a contributing member of that fund. Your contributions will be used by your trustee to pay your insurance policy premiums and in this situation these premiums are often tax deductible.

TPD can also be taken out through a self-managed super fund (SMSF), and if you are a member of more than one super fund, you can have your TPD insurance provided by one fund, and use the other to accumulate funds for your retirement. Other insurance products that you can obtain through superannuation funds include:

  • Term life insurance, or death cover
  • Income protection insurance
  • Critical illness insurance, or trauma insurance

Advantages and disadvantages of TPD through super

  • Tax deductible premiums. If you have TPD insurance through under your super, the premiums are tax-deductible though how much is deductible will depend on the policy definition ie any or own occupation..
  • Depleting your retirement savings. The cost of your TPD insurance is included in the superannuation contribution cap. This means, the more insurance you have, the less funds are available for investments and when you retire.
  • Personal and government contributions. Policyholders are still eligible to receive government co-contributions while making their own contribution to their super fund.
  • Approval process. When you lodge a claim through your super you’ll need to satisfy the TPD definition of both your fund and your insurer. Once that’s done, your benefit will then need to be approved by the trustee before being released.
  • Increased cash flow. You don't have to worry about finding money each month for your insurance premiums because they are paid in your pre-tax dollars
  • Difficulty getting an own occupation policy. While you can get an own occupation policy through super, most funds are reluctant to offer it as an option and if they do, your premiums will not have the same tax deductible treatment. Only 67% of your premiums are deductible

Is TPD tax deductible?

Yes, total and permanent disability insurance benefit payment is tax free. However, your premiums for TPD outside of super are not tax-deductible.

TPD insurance tax guide

TPD insurance premiums are only fully tax-deductible when the policy definition match the conditions of disability super benefit, under any occupation definition. If held under TPD own occupation definition, only a portion of your premiums are tax-deductible, at 67% and 80% when bundled with life insurance cover. Your TPD insurance proceeds may also be subject to tax when held inside superannuation, depending on whether you receive the benefit as a lump sum or monthly payments. Read more on the tax treatment of TPD insurance to get a full understanding.

How do I make a successful claim?

  • Understanding the difference between own or any occupation: It is crucial for the policyholder to have a clear understanding of their policy definition. Remember that a total disability benefit is only payable when the policyholder has satisfied the condition of their policy.
  • Inability to perform your occupation for at least six months: You will also be required to provide proof that you are unable to perform the duties of your primary occupation for six months before turning 65 years old.
  • Partial disability benefit: You can still receive a benefit payment even if you are partially disabled and able to work in your own occupation at reduced hours. For the benefit to be payable, you must meet the requirements of a partial disability, which may be hours or duties based, or permanent loss of use of one arm, leg, or vision. Your condition must also be certified by an approved medical practitioner.

You can read finder's guide on successful TPD insurance claims for a more detailed insight into the process.

What isn’t covered by a TPD policy?

An exclusion is when an insurance company won’t return a benefit for a TPD claim due to personal factors you didn’t declare prior to your policy, or because of acts that void cover.

Instances include failing to declare pre-existing medical conditions or participating or participating in violence. Here’s a list highlighting circumstances where you won’t receive a payout under your TPD policy.

Insurance exclusions

Frequently asked questions

Compare TPD policies




Various graphics on this page were provided by Guru, Vitaliy Gorbachev, Bhavik Limbani from the Noun Project.

Photo by delfi de la Rua on Unsplash

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    JimDecember 16, 2018

    How much on average do lawyers charge for a successful TPD outcome, worth about $200,000?

    • finder Customer Care
      MayDecember 20, 2018Staff

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Not actually sure though how much the lawyers will charge for a successful TPD outcome as that would entirely depend on the level of service they provide. You’d be best to confirm this directly with the lawyer you go with and confirm their up-front legal fees.


  2. Default Gravatar
    JillJuly 12, 2017

    Can a TPD payout be used to cover medical expenses in a private hospital when the person is in pain and the public waiting list is 18 months long?

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJuly 16, 2017

      Hello Jill,

      Thank you for your comment. :)

      Most TPD insurers have a 3-12 months waiting period and pre-existing exclusions set (e.g. suicide or attempted suicide related injury). As long as you have fully disclosed the conditions, meet the waiting period and the “definition” of the cover you took, it may be qualified for a claim as most TPD products are fully underwritten. Meaning, all terms and other “special clauses” should have been agreed on before it was issued to you.

      You may want to speak to your insurer or insurance agent about this matter. Also, you can refer to the Product Disclosure Statement of your actual insurer’s product for details.

      Hope this helps.


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