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How much TPD insurance should I have?

Temporary and Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance is...well, what is says on the tin. However, payouts vary a lot, from can range from $50,000 up to to $5 million. So how much TPD is right for you? Let's figure it out.

Life Insurance

What you need to know

  • TPD pays out when an illness or accident affects your ability to work long term.
  • How much cover you should take out will depend on how long you have left to live, and how expensive that life is!.
  • In general, younger folks are gonna need a higher level of cover. And big spenders, I guess.

TPD insurance calculator

In Australia, TPD (Total and Permanent Disability) insurance provides a financial safety net if you suffer a serious illness or injury that prevents you from working long-term. It pays out a lump sum benefit that can help cover medical bills, living expenses, and modify your home to accommodate your disability.

That's the skinny - if you need more info then hit up our main guide in TPD insurance.

TPD insurance calculator

Maths is hard, so some of our egg heads built this calculator to help. It should give you a ballpark figure for how much TPD coverage might suit you. Remember this is only a starting point - have a good think about your personal situation, and chat to a broker if you're worried.

Finder survey: What is the main reason people took out TPD insurance?

ResponseMaleFemale
Peace of mind4.08%2.99%
I have financial dependents2.6%0.7%
I have a mortgage2.04%1.93%
Other0.74%0.7%
I'm self-employed0.19%0.35%
I'm worried about being made redundant0.19%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1110 Australians, December 2023

How much TPD insurance do you need?

Like any insurance, working out how much cover to take out is one of those 'it depends' questions. You'll want to assess how your life, and those of your dependants, could be affected in the event of you becoming totally and permanently disabled. At its most simple, you'll want to list out your expenses and income sources that would be left over if you needed to claim.

Expenses

Open your notes app and write out all of your current financial obligations, plus any that you can think of in the future

  • Mortgage/rent repayments
  • Personal debt, eg credit card debt, car loans, personal loans
  • Future funding goals, like your kid's education (or your own!)
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Professional nursing care
  • Groceries
  • Necessary modifications to home (addition of ramps, lift access, handrails etc)
  • Other medical costs, like treatment and insurance premiums (which could be higher if you have to claim)
  • Other day-to-day living expenses

Income

The next step to take is to calculate other sources of finances you'd have after you stop working. Do you have any savings or investments you could rely on? Would you get any other payouts, such as from an income protection policy? It's possible, depending on the injury and your TPD policy, that you might still be able to work in a different field, but it is hard to know how likely that is to happen before the hypothetical injury actually happens.

The difference between what you'd have and how much you'll need to fund your financial obligations and lifestyle can help to guide you in how much TPD insurance you may require.

When you're ready, compare TPD insurance quotes

At this point, it's quite possible your best bet is to make a TPD insurance application and see how you fare. The application process has a lot more information on what TPD actually covers. If you're ready to start an application, you can compare from some TPD products in the table below.

1 - 5 of 24
Name Product Maximum Cover Minimum Cover Maximum Entry Age Expiry Age Stand alone or Add on policy hide
TAL TPD Insurance
3,000,000
Not stated
61
65
Standalone or Policy add-on
Choose up to $3 million in coverage. If you’re building a policy with TAL, it’s good to know there are a range of perks included with your life insurance. Examples include a counselling benefit and premium suspension cover. Plus, the option to add coverage for your kids.
Medibank TPD Insurance
$1,500,000
$50,000
60
65
Policy add-on
Secure up to $1.5 million in TPD cover by choosing Medibank. This was more than 7 other providers (out of 14) we reviewed. Medibank health members can score 10% off their life insurance premiums.
NobleOak TPD Insurance
$5,000,000
No minimum
59
75
Policy add-on
Get fully underwritten TPD cover that can be shaped in a way that takes into account your job and other circumstances. The $5 million benefit limit is – alongside RAC – the highest sum on Finder.
ahm TPD Insurance
$1,000,000
$50,000
55
65
Policy add-on
With ahm, you can add up to $1 million in TPD insurance to your policy. You can buy online and there’s no medical exam. Keep in mind that Medibank offers an extra $500k – worth considering if your needs are greater.
Real Insurance TPD Insurance
$1,000,000
$50,000
59
65
Policy add-on
Real Insurance offers up to $1 million in TPD cover. This is pretty competitive versus the market. You can also boost your cover by adding as much as $500k in critical illness insurance.
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Need a hand? Speak to a broker to help find a TPD policy

Why compare life insurance with Finder?

  • You pay the same price as buying directly from the life insurer.

  • We're not owned by an insurer (unlike other comparison sites).

  • We've done 100+ hours of policy research to help you understand what you're comparing.

If I already have life insurance, should I still consider TPD insurance cover?

While standalone life cover can provide support in the event of the policyholder's death or diagnosis of a terminal illness, it won't automatically cover a policyholder who becomes permanently disabled.

The impacts of suffering total disablement and not being able to work again can be devastating. The financial impact is also severe. If you're young, a large lum sum payout from TPD could support you for decades.

Some examples of illnesses or injuries that could fall under your TPD cover include:

  • Acquired brain injuries
  • Back or shoulder injuries
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Mental illness

TPD insurance could help you keep on top of your current debt, living expenses into the future and any rehabilitation and ongoing treatment that you might require, the costs of which can run into many thousands of dollars.

Can I purchase TPD Insurance through life cover?

A number of life insurers do offer TPD as part of their life cover policies, but it's usually listed as an optional extra. This means you'd need to opt-in, by paying an added premium, in order to be covered.

It's important to review each Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) on any policy you compare before you lodge an application. Check whether a life cover benefit will be paid if there has already been a claim for TPD. In some instances, the benefit will not be paid or the policy will be cancelled.

To work around this, many policies will offer a 'buy-back' feature that reinstates the life cover that's been removed from the sum insured as the result of a TPD claim.

As an example, if you had $500,000 worth of life cover and $250,000 in TPD, if a claim is made the life cover sum insured would reduce to $250,000 in a linked policy. A buy-back feature will “top-up” this amount to $500,000 after 12 months of the claim being made.

The benefit of bundling the two cover types together is that it can be more cost-effective when it comes to paying premiums, and also makes the management of the two policies easier.

Papers with magnifying glass icon
Minimum and maximum limits
On the lower end of the scale, many insurers will have a minimum cover amount of $25,000-$100,000. At the higher end, you'll start to see maximum limits at $1,000,000-$2,000,000. That being said, NobleOak goes as high as $5,000,000.

The main types of TPD cover to understand

TPD policies generally come under two definitions. These are "own occupation" and "any occupation".

Own occupation: Benefit is payable if a certified doctor deems that it is unlikely for the policyholder to ever return to the occupation in their field.

Any occupation: Benefit payable if the policyholder is unable to perform the duties of their regular occupation and is unable to work in any other occupation that they may be suited to by education, training or further experience.

The distinction in the way your TPD cover is set up is an important one.

Financial adviser Brenton Tong told Finder that the type of TPD insurance that's sold within super funds, for example, was restricted to 'Any occupation'.

The chances of having a successful claim in this type of policy were "dramatically reduced", as opposed to direct policies that offer 'Own occupation' terms.

It's important that if you want full coverage for a broader range of events, you need to take out a fully underwritten TPD policy. Any policy that does the underwriting at claim or a later stage is opening you up to having your claim denied,

Brenton Tong, Managing Director of Financial Spectrum

Brenton Tong, Managing Director of Financial Spectrum

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Frequently asked questions about TPD insurance

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Tim Bennett is a Finder insurance & utilities expert. For over 10 years he's reported on news, politics, finance and other topics as a journalist and radio presenter. Tim's roles have included radio news reader and breakfast at the ABC, news producer for SBS and producer for Fairfax Media. Tim regularly appears as a health insurance expert on programs like Sunrise and SBS news, as well as in the Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Courier Mail and more. See full bio

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James Martin was the insurance editor at Finder. He has written on a range of insurance and finance topics for over 7 years. James often shares his insurance expertise as a media spokesperson and has appeared on Prime 7 News, WIN News, Insurance News, 7NEWS and The Guardian. He holds a Tier 1 General Insurance (General Advice) certification and a Tier 1 Generic Knowledge certification, both of which meet the requirements of ASIC Regulatory Guide 146 (RG146). See full bio

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