Are you an adviser? Go to Unbiased Pro

The best income protection insurance policies in the UK

3 mins read
by Unbiased Team
Last updated Wednesday, May 1, 2024

We explore the best income protection insurance policies and companies in the UK in our handy guide.

If you're considering getting income protection insurance, there's much you should know beforehand, including how it works and who the best providers are.

Summary

  • Income protection insurance pays you a monthly benefit if you cannot work due to a medical reason.

  • There are several types of income protection to consider.

  • There is no one-size-fits-all approach to income protection, so it's best to compare different policies.

  • For support and guidance, consider seeking advice from an insurance broker.

Get insurance advice
We’ll find a professional perfectly matched to your needs. Getting started is easy, fast and free.
Find an insurance broker

What is income protection insurance?

Income protection insurance pays you a monthly benefit if you cannot work due to a medical reason.

With this type of insurance, you can still receive a regular income if you can’t work due to a qualifying sickness or disability.  

The amount you’ll receive is partially up to you, although you won’t be able to access more than 50%-70% of your usual salary in most cases.

The cap exists at this point due to state benefit entitlements and the fact that distributions are paid tax-free.  

How long your deferred period lasts is also up to you; this is the time between when you stop working and when you start receiving this income.  

Both of the above significantly impact the cost of your insurance.

The lower your required monthly income and the longer you’re willing to make your deferred period, the lower your monthly insurance premium will be.  

What are the different types of income protection?

There are several types of income protection to consider if you’re thinking about taking out a policy: 

  • Short-term income protection covering a period of between one and five years. 

  • Long-term income protection that covers you until you retire or can work again. 

  • Own occupation income protection that covers you if you can’t do your particular job. 

  • Suited occupation income protection covers you if you can’t work in your field. 

  • Income protection insurance with a guaranteed premium that doesn’t change. 

  • Income protection insurance with a reviewable premium that does change. 

Get insurance advice
We’ll find a professional perfectly matched to your needs. Getting started is easy, fast and free.
Find an insurance broker

The eight best income protection insurance providers in the UK

If you’re searching for the best income protection policy in the UK, a good place to start is with your provider.

According to our research, with corroboration from Defaqto, these are eight of the best providers available, along with their Trustpilot rating (scored out of 5).

1. Aviva Life & Pensions UK (Trustpilot 4/5) 

2. British Friendly Society (Trustpilot 3.9/5)  

3. LV= (Trustpilot 4.4/5) 

4. Royal London (Trustpilot (4.1/5) 

5. Shepherds Friendly Society (Trustpilot 4.3/5) 

6. Vitality (Trustpilot 4.2/5) 

7. Wesleyan Assurance Society (Trustpilot 4.8/5) 

8. Zurich (Trustpilot 4/5) 

The 10 best income protection policies in the UK

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to income protection. What may suit you might not suit someone else.

This makes it harder to define the ‘best’ policy.  

Instead, we explore and compare some of the income protection insurance policy details for the providers outlined above.

ProviderMaximum benefit by income percentageDetails2023 claim payout rate
Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited65% up to £60,000, 45% over £60,000Cover can be for five years or full term; benefits can be deferred by four, eight, 13 or 26 weeks.92.5%
British Friendly Society65% up to £60,000, 45% over £60,000Cover can be for one, two or five years or full term; benefits can be deferred by one, four, eight, 13, 26 or 52 weeks.89%
LV=60%Cover can be for at least five years or full term; benefits can be deferred by four, eight, 13, 26 or 52 weeks.92%
Royal London65% up to £15,000, 55% of the remainderCover can be for one, two or five years or full term; benefits can be deferred by four, eight, 13, 26 or 52 weeks.99%
Shepherds Friendly SocietyUp to 70%Cover can be for one or two years or full term; benefits can be deferred by one, four, eight, 13, 26 or 52 weeks.96.2% (2022)
VitalityUp to 60%Cover can be for one or two years or full term; benefits can deferred by four, eight, 13, 26 or 52 weeks.97.7% (2022)
Wesleyan Assurance Society60% up to £40,000, 55% for £40,000-£110,000, 50% for over £110,000Cover can be for two or five years or full term; benefits can be deferred by zero, two, four, eight, 13, 26 or 52 weeks97%
ZurichUp to 80%Cover can be for two years or full term; benefits can be deferred by four, eight, 13, 26, 52 or 104 weeks85% (2022)

Learn more: can insurance brokers get better rates?

How to find the best income protection cover

Many income protection insurance options are available, but when choosing, you have to consider all your options and choose the best one for you.  

For support and guidance in this regard, consider seeking advice from a financial expert. 

Unbiased can help you find an insurance broker who can quickly connect you with the most beneficial policy for your unique needs.

Get insurance advice
We’ll find a professional perfectly matched to your needs. Getting started is easy, fast and free.
Find an insurance broker
Author
Unbiased Team
Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing, retirement and pensions, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.