Millions battling with financial hardship, relationship stress and sleepless nights

Fear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown. So it is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic and the resulting economic impact has negatively affected many people’s mental health. Nearly half of UK adults (47%) have experienced mental health challenges during the pandemic, with millions battling with financial hardship, relationship stress and sleepless nights.

Financial protection is one of, if not, the most vital aspect of financial planning. Although we are starting to adjust to living with the pandemic, for most, the concern of how our future plans might be affected has not alleviated.

A way of providing greater financial protection (and peace of mind) can simply be from increasing your savings so that if your work becomes affected due to the pandemic then you will have more to fall back on if required.   

The one thing we do have some control over is putting in place adequate protection against the risk of contracting a critical illness, death or being unable to work due to illness or injury.

One of the most common causes for claims on Permanent Health Insurance (PHI), more commonly known as Income Protection is for stress related illnesses. Providers are now implementing their own tools and dedicated support to help those in need get the correct level of support.

Life insurance or critical illness cover
New research reveals that only a small proportion of people notify their insurer of a mental health condition in the mistaken belief that it will affect their ability to take out life insurance or critical illness cover. This means they might not have adequate cover or access to support provided by their insurer.

Three in ten (30%) people report that they currently have a mental health condition or have experienced this previously. However, only four in ten 44% have informed their insurer. There remains confusion around what can, or should, be said to an insurer when it comes to physical and mental health.

Ineligible for protection cover
Of those who did not disclose a mental health condition, nearly two-fifths (37%) thought their provider would only be interested in physical illness. Over a quarter (26%) felt it was personal and so would rather not share their condition with their provider. Almost one in five (18%) worried they would not qualify for a policy or would be charged more.

Contrary to these misconceptions, declaring a mental health condition does not necessarily mean higher premiums and it is unlikely to mean someone is ineligible for protection cover. Being open with an insurer means those with mental health conditions are more likely to receive the right support.

Getting the right support
Some people are confused about how mental health conditions affect their critical illness cover or life insurance, which prevents them from getting the right support. Insurers aren’t trying to catch people out – they are there to help.
The challenges of the last 20 months have highlighted the value of protection policies for families and individuals in difficult times.

Source data:
[1] Research carried out online by Opinium Research across a total of 2,002 UK adults (Booster sample of 502 self-employed workers and 1,015 Renters. Fieldwork was carried out between 21st – 27th October).