There may be Trouble Ahead: A Brief Guide to Planning for the Worst

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Posted on: 14 July 2015 by Joe Cox

Although most of us don't like to think about it, it's important to make sure you and you're family are financially protected should you suffer a sudden loss of income due to an accident or illness.

Many of life's setbacks, such as bad weather on holiday, a minor bump in the car, or dropping and breaking a mobile phone, can be rather trivial. Others, on the other hand, can be truly devastating, such as losing of a loved one or being struck with a life-threatening illness.

While nothing can make up for the emotional impact that these situations can have on us and our loved ones, planning for the worst by taking out proper insurance can at least alleviate the financial burden that often accompanies such life-changing events.

At work

It seems morbid to think about the possibility of a serious accident or sudden death. A good book or some bad TV can seem a far more appealing prospect than selecting the right life or income protection insurance policy. But whilst unlikely, tragedies can and do happen, and often in the places you least expect. Figures from the Health and Safety Executive for example, show that each year in the UK 133 people are killed at work.

It is far from just deaths that we’re talking about here and injuries at work can have life-changing consequences. There are 78,000 accidents at work serious enough to be reported, and 1.2 million people in this country suffer from a work-related illness (a staggering 28.2 million work days are lost because of this).

Most employment contracts protect employees from having to take time off work but for serious cases and for those on temporary contracts or agency workers, the consequences can be losing your job, resulting in a significant reduction in earnings or, in the extreme, a complete loss of income.

On the road

In 2013 more than 1,700 people were killed on Britain's roads. Thousands more are killed and injured whilst holidaying abroad, whether simply enjoying a family break or taking on more adventurous pursuits.

Many of us don’t fully appreciate these kinds of scenarios until we have a family and therefore people close to us who depend on us. Understanding how health insurance, life insurance and income protection insurance products work, and the kind of financial cover they can give you and your family in the case of a wide range of life changing scenarios, isn’t necessarily the most fun way to spend your Friday night, but it certainly is worth it in the long run.

Insurance can't stop bad things from happening, nor can it make really serious events any less heart-breaking. But it can help to take care of some of the more practical repercussions and minimise any needless stress and hardship.

The good news

If thinking about the worst case scenario has left you feeling a little down, take heart, the outlook is not that bad. Whilst planning for the worst case is a must, the likelihood is that you will never be affected by such untimely tragedy.

Statistics show, for example, that Britain has less traffic-related deaths than most other countries in the world and our motorways are amongst the safest in Europe by far. In terms of violent crimes and murders, the UK is a comparatively peaceful country compared to the United States for example. There's no room for complacency but there's certainly no need for fear either.

Insurance planning is not about dwelling on the negatives; rather it is about taking positive steps to enjoy life knowing that the safety net is in place. Whether we want to think about it or not, unexpected events can be just around the corner. We can’t predict if, or when they will happen, but we can make sure we are prepared in case they do. 

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Joe Cox

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