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TPD insurance in super

It’s usually automatically included in your fund, but is TPD insurance in super worth it?

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Total and permanent disablement (TPD) insurance can provide you with a one-off, lump sum payment if you become permanently disabled and are unable to work again. Some people may find they have it included in their super already.

While TPD in super is a handy and inexpensive way to have insurance for injuries, it might not be the best option for this type of cover.

What is TPD insurance in super?

TPD insurance inside super is designed to pay out into your super in the event you become permanently disabled and can no longer work and earn a living. TPD insurance in super is sometimes automatically included when you open a super account, unless you're under 25.

It's referred to as "default cover", meaning you don't decide whether you want it or not, and the premiums are deducted from your super. If your super account balance is below $6,000 and you don't make regular payments into it, your super fund is now legally required to cancel this insurance.

If you get TPD insurance in super, you'll find it is only available as "any occupation". What this means is if you become permanently disabled, you are only eligible for the lump sum if you are unable to work again in any occupation suited to your experience, education or training. For example, if you are a surgeon and you become permanently disabled and can't perform your duties anymore, you may still have to return to work as a GP.

How is TPD insurance in super different to outside super?

TPD inside super is generally more restrictive than a policy outside of super. This is because it must comply with Australian laws that govern superannuation.

A key difference of TPD inside super is the payout is treated differently from a normal insurance payout. Because TPD in super is paid for by the super account, if a claim is made, that payout will go directly into your super balance. You may have trouble accessing your payout if you are below retirement age or do not have a valid reason to withdraw it. It will also be subjected to the same taxes as any other super withdrawal.

Compare TPD insurance options outside super

Name Product Maximum Cover Minimum Cover Maximum Entry Age Expiry Age Stand Alone or Add on hide
Real TPD Insurance
$1,000,000
$50,000
59
65
Add on
Get a quote for up to $1 million in TPD cover.
Guardian TPD Insurance
$1,000,000
$50,000
59
Not Stated
Add on
Get a quote for up to $1 million in TPD cover.
NobleOak TPD Insurance
$5,000,000
Not Stated
64
75
Add on
Get fully underwritten Total and Permanent Disability Insurance that can be customised to fit your occupational situation and financial circumstances.
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Compare up to 4 providers

What are the advantages of TPD insurance inside super?

Here's why TPD insurance inside super might be a good idea for you:

  • Insurance inside super is generally cheaper and means you can get cover that would ordinarily be unaffordable.
  • There is no medical underwriting when you or your employer sign ups to cover.
  • The premiums don't interfere with your bank balance, just your super.

What are the disadvantages of TPD inside super?

There are also a few reasons you might not want to get TPD inside super:

  • The premiums eat into your super balance.
  • The default cover amount may not be enough to cover all your bills and ongoing expenses.
  • "Any occupation" means you have to show you won't be able to work again in any capacity.
  • It usually ends when you turn 65 or 70 so may not even last until when you need it, unlike a policy outside of super, which usually ends when you're 99 or stays for as long as you keep paying.
  • If you change super funds, your cover may end.
  • The payout is paid to your super fund, rather than directly to you.

Own and any occupation TPD in super

When your TPD is inside super it can only be classified as "any occupation". This means if you become disabled you must show you won't be able to return to work in any capacity, in any industry. It essentially means you aren't able to work at all, even in a field outside of your normal career.

If you have TPD outside of super, you will have the option to select an "own occupation" TPD policy. This means you only need to show you can't return to work in your chosen profession. It is a more expensive form of cover as you will only have to prove you can't work in that one profession. It also means you can return to working in some capacity at a later date in another field.

How is TPD taxed in super?

Your premiums are usually tax deductible when held inside super. With TPD insurance cover though, premiums are subject to different deductions depending on how the TPD insurance definition meets the "disability superannuation benefit" definition set out by the government's Tax Act. However, unless you hold "own occupation" TPD insurance, you should find it is 100% deductible because "any occupation" meets this disability definition.

For anyone who held an "own occupation" TPD policy inside super before July 2014, your premiums are 67% deductible. If your "own occupation" TPD cover is linked to a life insurance policy, premiums are generally 80% tax deductible. For more information on TPD tax, head here.

How do I claim my TPD super?

You'll generally follow these steps to make a TPD super claim:

  • Contact your super fund. Tell it you intend to make a claim and ask what evidence you'll need to provide. You'll need to have your super details and information about you to prove your identity.
  • Get the information and submit your claim. You'll need to provide medical evidence that you're permanently disabled and unable to work in any occupation ever again, employer information and other relevant statements. You can then fill out the forms sent to you and submit your claim.
  • Your claim is assessed. The insurer will then decide whether you're eligible for a claim. In some cases, it may ask for more information, a second opinion or further medical exams. Your claim should be paid to your nominated bank account so long as you make a binding nomination. Otherwise, it may go to your employer, though your employer should be able to send it to you.

How are TPD benefits paid out in super?

If you make a successful claim on your TPD inside super, the benefit is usually paid directly into your super fund.

Once the benefit is paid out, you will have the option to withdraw the benefit partially or in full. However, your payout may be subjected to a number of taxes if you do this. You can also choose to leave the full amount inside your super account which means you may be eligible for certain tax offsets.

Bottom line

If you've decided TPD insurance inside super is enough for you, you want more comprehensive cover with a traditional TPD policy or will add it on to your life insurance, it's worth protecting your financial future from accidents or illnesses that could jeopardise everything you've been working towards.

Frequently asked questions

Does TPD impact Centrelink payments?

A TPD claim should have no impact on your Centrelink payments or other benefits you're entitled to. If you're under the pension age, it should not impact your Centrelink payments.

Is TPD automatically added to all super accounts?

Most super funds will automatically provide you with life and TPD insurance. In less common circumstances, you might automatically get income protection insurance inside super.

Can you claim more than one TPD insurance?

Yes, it's perfectly acceptable to have multiple TPD policies. Many people take out a standalone policy to supplement their super one.

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