Can you insure yourself against redundancy?

Ever wondered how you’d pay your mortgage or credit-card repayments if you lost your job? Well there is no such thing as fail-safe redundancy cover, but there are some ‘redundancy insurance’ policies that might help you. But, be careful what you buy - at best they might be able to get you through a difficult time – at worst you might buy an unsuitable product.

What insurance policies are available?

There are three types of insurance available if you lose your job:

  1. Mortgage payment protection insurance (MPPI). You may have taken out this type of insurance along with your mortgage. It typically starts to pay your mortgage repayments three months after your earnings stop and continues to pay out for up to 12 months

  2. Payment protection insurance (PPI), sometimes called Accident, Sickness and Unemployment (ASU) cover. You may have taken out this insurance with a personal loan or credit card. It helps you to keep up your loan repayments by paying out a set amount for up to 12 or 24 months. Payments typically start three months after your earnings stop.

  3. Short-term income protection insurance (STIP). This insurance replaces a proportion of your income for a fixed period of time (usually 12 or 24 months). This should not be confused with other income protection policies, which usually will not pay out if you lose your job.

In the past, because of the way payment protection policies were sold, you may not realise that you already have this cover. Ask your lender whether your mortgage, loan or credit card is covered by insurance.

What would you be covered for?

Even though you may have been paying the premiums for many years, if you need to claim some policies only pay out for a short period – typically only for one year.

  • Payment protection insurance (or mortgage payment protection insurance) generally only covers your loan or mortgage repayments, not your income. Although some mortgage payment protection policies pay out an extra sum to help with other bills.
  • Short term income protection insurance pays out a proportion of your income (usually 50% or 60%), rather than being tied to debt repayments.

Many policies don’t pay out immediately – there’s nearly always a gap of about three months before the payments start. However, you should make a claim as soon as you lose your job.

Don’t buy this type of insurance if…

Redundancy is already on the cards

If redundancies at your company have already been announced, or even if there have been rumours of job losses, you shouldn’t bother taking out a policy as you will not be able to claim.

The same is true if you take voluntary redundancy – the insurer won’t normally pay out.

Check the terms and conditions carefully to make sure you’d qualify for a payout before you purchase a policy.

You work part-time, you’re self-employed or you’re on a temporary contract

If this applies to you, check carefully as many payment protection policies will not cover you.

Do think about buying if…

  • You’re in a job where the likelihood of redundancy is medium to high but more than three to six months away
  • You don’t think you’ll find another job within three months of redundancy
  • You know the policy is only going to cover your payments for 12 months after a one-three month waiting period and you are happy with that
  • You understand all the exclusions
  • You’re willing to shop around for the best deal – never buy it automatically from your loan or mortgage provider