Why Total Permanent Disability Insurance is a crucial addition to your Life Cover
Total and permanent disability insurance (TPD) pays a lump sum amount if you suffer a serious illness or injury and are totally and permanently disabled.
- A benefit may be paid if you are unable to work again in any occupation or your usual occupation
- Can be purchased as an add-on to life insurance cover
- Can be used to cover your mortgage repayments, pay for medical expenses that have arisen as a result of your injury, and provide ongoing financial support for your family
- Each insurer has different definitions of disablement so it is crucial you read the PDS to know when you will be paid
Keep reading to learn more about TPD insurance or fill in your details in the form below to receive a free quote for cover.
What does TPD stand for?
A Total Permanent Disability (TPD) benefit is payable when you become totally and permanently disabled. A permanent disability is defined differently by each insurer, but definitions include:
- loss of sight
- loss use of limbs (arms or legs)
- absence from work for six months as the result of an illness of injury, where there is no expectation of you returning to normal work.
Own or Any Occupation?
A TPD benefit is payable when the insured successfully meets the definition that is set out in the policy. There are two types of definition own occupation and any occupation, that they are suited for by training, education or experience. Since July 1, 2014 Own Occupation TPD Insurance is no longer available through Superannuation.
|Under this definition, your benefit is be payable if:
||Under this definition, your benefit is be payable if:
It important to note that the level of disability required for a lump sum payment on a successful claim can depend on your occupation - own occupation will give policyholders greater flexibility but is generally more expensive and only available to certain occupations. The following example illustrates how own occupation and any occupation definition can determine whether a benefit is payable.
Michael's TPD decision
Michael is a surgeon and he lost the use of one hand. Under the definition of own occupation, he would be considered to be permanently disabled as he is unable to continue his practice as a surgeon and therefore, the benefit payment is payable. However, under any occupation definition, it could be argued that despite of his inability to continue to practice as a surgeon, he could still use his medical expertise and work as a lecturer or hospital administrator.
Home Duties Definition
The home duties definition applies for total and permanent disability policies specifically for homemakers. This definition provides coverage for individuals that perform unpaid domestic duties in a full time capacity. Duties include, but are not limited to:
- maintenance and care of the family home
- management of the household
- looking after dependent children
- cooking and cleaning
Under this definition, a benefit is payable if you have become disabled and are unable to perform your daily household duties for up to six months and you are unlikely to be able to perform normal domestic duties or any occupation ever again. The period of time that you have been disabled until your benefit is payable will vary between insurance providers.Back to top
Different policies will offer a range of built-in benefits and additional options. The key features of total and permanent disability insurance will vary between insurers, so it is essential that you read the PDS closely. Some of the features and benefits of TPD insurance generally include:
- Death benefit. A benefit amount may be payable in the event of your death, given that your TPD cover is a standalone policy.
- Partial disability benefit. A portion of the sum insured on your TPD insurance may be payable in the event of a permanent loss of the use of: one arm, one leg, or sight in one eye.
- Your choice of 'own occupation' or 'any occupation' definition. Make sure that you compare the definitions of total and permanent disability used in your insurance policy, as not all insurance companies will define them the same way. From there, you can choose the definition of own occupation or any occupation that can suit your personal circumstances best.
- Guaranteed future insurability. This feature allows you to increase the coverage of your policy during the important life events, such as marriage, children, or mortgage, without needing to undergo another medical examination, even if your health situation has changed.
- Indexation benefit. Sum insured will increase annually in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to keep up with inflation.
- Loss of independence feature. In some cases the lump sum payment available with TPD insurance can convert to a loss of independence payout, based on the insured's ability to care for themselves.
- Premium freeze option. Some insurers offer this option in which you can choose to retain your current annual premium under a stepped style when you reach a certain age and it will reduce the insured amount gradually.
- Buy back option. This option is only available when your TPD cover linked to your existing term life insurance. When a TPD claim is paid, the amount will be deducted from your life cover amount - buy back option will allow you to reinstate that amount.
Should I choose a standalone or linked TPD?
Linked to term life insurance If TPD cover is added to a term life insurance policy, the benefit paid under a TPD claim may replace the insurance cover that is in place for life insurance. Many providers will then cancel the policy if a TPD claim has been paid and no further premiums are payable or benefit received for life cover in the event that the policyholder dies. Policyholders who choose a linked plan can avoid this by finding a policy that offers the Buy-Back benefit. Under this benefit, the insured can repurchase the sum paid for TPD cover following a claim.Back to top
What is the difference between income protection and TPD insurance?
TPD insurance is similar to income protection insurance in which you will be financially taken care of if you are unable to work due to an illness or injury. However, there are a number of differences between the two types of insurance, which are:
|TPD insurance is designed to provide protective cover in the event of a long term disability||Income protection insurance provides coverage for both short and long term disabilities|
|TPD insurance benefit comes in a form of lump sum payment||Income protection insurance provides an ongoing monthly benefit to serve as a replacement income for a specified benefit period|
Total and permanent disability insurance can be considered as an additional coverage you can include in your existing insurance portfolio, either as a standalone policy or as a rider if you are looking for comprehensive protection for you and your family.
Why You May Want to Consider a Total and Permanent Disability Plan
TPD insurance cover can help you meet the daily living expenses and other costs that follow when you have been rendered permanently disabled and unable to return to work again. Expenses that can be Covered with Total and Permanent Disability Benefit Payment
- Hospital and medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Specialist treatment or medications
- Modifications to your home and vehicle
- Costs of a permanent housekeeper or nurse
- Mortgage or rent payments
- Bills and utilities
- Education expenses
TPD insurance provides a regular source of income to ensure your family can maintain their current way of life in the event that you are unable to return to full-time work.
How Much TPD Insurance Cover Do I Need?
While the general rule of thumb throughout the finance industry is to take out between ten to thirteen times your annual salary, it is important to consider a needs-based approach when determining the right amount of TPD cover that will be enough to support your family financially. The amount of cover required can vary drastically between people, as they will have different needs and circumstances, so it is important to take your time to ensure you are not under or overinsured. Using a needs-based approach can help you determine the appropriate level of cover as it is tailored to your family’s specific needs and situation. The steps to calculate how much TPD cover you may need are as the following:
- List all the financial commitments your family have currently, from ongoing living expenses, children’s education expenses, bills and debts.
- Consider any future obligations that your family may have, i.e. your children’s higher education costs.
- Allocate an emergency fund to cover any unexpected costs, such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, nursing care and home and/or vehicle modification costs.
- Calculate the total costs of all of your commitments.
- Take into account your partner’s age, his/her capacity to earn an income, the number of children that you have and their respective age, to determine how long you may want to cover your family’s needs for.
What is double TPD?
If you have a combined life and TPD insurance policy, the double insurance option preserves your life cover after you have made a claim on the TPD portion of the policy. Generally, once you have made your TPD claim your life policy continues unaffected and with all future premiums waived.Back to top
How are TPD premiums calculated?
As with any form of insurance, the cost of your total and permanent disability policy premiums depends on the level of risk you carry. This assessment varies between providers but some indicators of risk that are generally used include:
This is one of the most important factors to affect your premiums. TPD insurance premiums are generally stepped, which means as you get older, your premiums will increase each year.
Women are typically able to qualify for lower premiums because their life expectancy ratio is generally higher than men.
Your occupation and its perceived level of risk will also determine the level of premium payable. White collar occupations that require no manual work will pay cheaper premiums compared to blue collar occupations that involves manual work and high risk duties.
Family medical history
If there is a genetic or physical ailments in your family history, this may potentially increase the level of risk you carry and your premiums.
Current health indicators
There are key indicators which an insurer will use to gain a picture of your health, lifestyle and level of risk, and your premiums can be affected by your current blood pressure, allergies, cholesterol levels and red blood cells.
If you smoke, drink or participate in high risk activities on a regular basis, these factors are also taken into account when calculating your level of risk. Since there are many variables that can affect your cover and the cost of your premiums, it is essential for you to gather and compare total and permanent disability insurance quotes online before you buy. However, keep in mind that the quotes you receive can change once your application is assessed in detail by the insurer's underwriter. Therefore, if you have a certain pre-existing medical condition, or are working in a high risk occupation, it can be beneficial to search for an insurer who specialises in these fields, as they often have risk minimisation strategies in place to offer more affordable premiums than a mainstream insurer.
Standalone or linked TPD
Standalone or Linked Total and Permanent Insurance Policy: Which One is More Affordable? You have the option to reduce the cost of your TPD insurance by linking it to your existing term life policy. It is important to note that for some insurers, the sum insured may be payable only once to cover either a permanent disability or death. This means, if a TPD benefit is paid, the policy may be cancelled and no benefit is payable when the insured dies. As an example, you have taken out a term life benefit of $500,000 and this policy is linked to a TPD policy with also $500,000. If you claim on your TPD cover, your life cover policy benefit will be reduced to $0, which means in the event of your death, no death benefit is payable. However, if you insure a death benefit amount that is a larger sum than the TPD - $700,000 instead of $500,000, you will be left with $200,000 in benefit once you claim on your TPD cover. On the other hand, some insurers also offer a feature (for an additional premium) called 'Buy Back'. Under this feature, when you claim for a benefit payment as a result of a total and permanent disability, you have the option to re-purchase the amount that has been deducted from your term life policy and continue your life cover. This feature is generally not available for TPD policies that are standalone or linked under a trauma cover.
Can I go back to work, even after making a successful claim?
It is possible in certain circumstances to return to work after being paid out on a TPD (Total and Permanent Disability) claim. If your disability is such that you cannot perform your chosen occupation and you have taken out a policy that specifies the inability to perform your ‘own’ occupation (rather than ‘any’ occupation), then you will more than likely be paid out in a lump sum. If in the future, you are then able to perform some sort of work other than your chosen occupation, there is nothing to prevent you from doing so.
If, on the other hand you take out TPD cover that specifies the inability to perform ‘any’ occupation, then it will be more difficult for you to qualify for a payout and if you do, it will mean your disability is truly total and permanent and you will thus be unlikely to return to the workforce. For this reason, TPD insurance specifying ‘own’ occupation is more expensive and is only available for certain occupations. It is worth noting that those policies specifying ‘any’ occupation that are worded along the lines of ‘unlikely’ ever to return to work are easier to qualify for a payout than those using the words ‘unable’ ever to return to work.
Who Offers Death and TPD Insurance?
Many Australian life insurers offer life insurance (death cover) bundle with trauma and total and permanent disability insurance policy these days, either as separate policies or linked. Some of the providers that Life Insurance Finder's representatives compare on its panel include:
Can I get TPD through my super?
Can I Obtain Total and Permanent Disability Insurance Policy Through Superannuation?
You can obtain TPD insurance policy through your superannuation, which means your policy is owned by a trustee of an eligible super fund and you are a contributing member of that fund. Your contributions will be used by your trustee to pay your insurance policy premiums and in this situation these premiums are often tax deductible. TPD can also be taken out through a self managed super fund (SMSF), and if you are a member of more than one super fund, you can have your TPD insurance provided by one fund, and use the other to accumulate funds for your retirement. Other insurance products that you can obtain through superannuation funds include:
- Term life insurance, or death cover
- Income protection insurance
- Critical illness insurance, or trauma insurance
You can only obtain TPD insurance through your super fund if the fund also provides you with death cover. If you are thinking of obtaining your total and permanent disability insurance through your superannuation fund or SMSF, there are some advantages and disadvantages that you need to be aware of.
|Tax deductible premiums
||Insurance premiums can eat into your investments and retirement funds
||Benefits are paid to your trustee.
|Personal and government contributions
||'Own' occupation TPD insurance can be limited
|Benefits can be tax free
||TPD benefits are tax free outside of superannuation
|Increased cash flow
You may find that you are already covered with TPD, including death and income protection insurance, through your employer’s nominated super fund. So, it is important to review your current TPD cover inside superannuation and determine whether the current cover is enough to match your needs and situation. Holding TPD Cover Inside Superannuation: What You May Need to Know
Can I Have More Than One TPD Insurance Policy?
Some people may already have TPD cover inside their superannuation with multiple funds. As long as the premiums are paid for, there should be no reason why you can’t own more than one TPD policy within a superannuation environment. On the other hand, if you have TPD cover inside your super and you are looking for additional cover outside superannuation, it is essential to consult with an insurance adviser first who have the knowledge and expertise in providing you with a recommendation tailored to your needs. Note that insurance providers often have different rules and regulations in regards to owning multiple TPD insurance policies.Back to top
Is TPD tax deductible?
Yes, total and permanent disability insurance benefit payment is tax-deductible. However, the premiums you pay for TPD insurance is generally not tax-deductible. TPD Insurance through Superannuation and Tax When held inside superannuation, the tax treatment for TPD insurance premiums will vary depending on:
- whether or not the policy meets the definition of a “disability super benefit” condition
- whether it is an own or any occupation TPD policy
- if it is bundled with life cover.
TPD insurance premiums are only fully tax-deductible when the policy definition match the conditions of disability super benefit, under any occupation definition. If held under TPD own occupation definition, only a portion of your premiums are tax-deductible, at 67% and 80% when bundled with life insurance cover. Your TPD insurance proceeds may also be subject to tax when held inside superannuation, depending on whether you receive the benefit as a lump sum or monthly payments. Read more on the tax treatment of TPD insuranceBack to top
What should I look for in a TPD policy?
Comparing a range of TPD insurance plans will give you the opportunity to look for a plan that is suited to your requirements yet comes at a competitive price. The cost and features of TPD insurance coverage may vary between policies and insurers, so it is essential that you do some research in order to boost your chances of finding the ideal plan. Some of the factors that you have to look into when you are comparing TPD insurance plans include:
- The cost of the cover. You have to be able to keep up with the premium payments of your TPD insurance to avoid cancellation of the plan. This can be affected by a number of factors, such as your age and health, your occupation, the level of coverage you choose, the provider and plan you opt for. Whilst the cost of coverage is important, you should make sure you do not base your decision solely on price, failure to do so could result in you being underinsured.
- The features and definitions of the policy. It is essential that you check the features and conditions of the TPD insurance plan so that you have a clear understanding of the events you will be covered for. With so many different features and benefits available on policies, it is essential to read through the PDS and speak with an adviser to help you assess if it is the right plan for you.
- Any exclusions and restrictions. All insurance plans come with various exclusions and restrictions, and it is important that you check these so that you are able to better determine what is and is not covered under the plan
- Most policies will not cover people for disablement that have been caused directly or indirectly by intentional acts of the deliberate person e.g. self-harm
- Most policies will not provide cover for disablement that has been caused directly or indirectly by war or terrorism.
- The level of coverage. The cost of the coverage you take out can be affected by the level of insurance and protection you want. You should make sure you pay careful attention to the level of coverage you get with TPD insurance, as you should make sure that the benefit you receive will be adequate for your financial needs based on your financial situation and commitments
- Reputation and customer service of the insurance provider. You will find that there are a number of different insurers who sell death cover and/or total and permanent disability insurance on the Australian market. It is essential do your research on the company's background, claims history, and level of customer service to determine whether or not, the insurance provider of your choice can provide you with the benefit that you may require in the future.
Who can Apply for TPD Insurance?
How to Apply for a Total and Permanent Disability Insurance Policy
Now that you know the features and benefits of total and permanent disability insurance we are able to start obtaining and comparing quotes from a range of insurers. Keep in mind that if you already have insurance policies with one provider, they may be able to include TPD insurance for a slight increase in your premiums, or offer a discount for multiple products and we can help ensure that you get the most appropriate policy that suits your needs and benefits.
TPD Claims Process: What You Need to Know for a Successful Claim
To ensure success in claiming your TPD insurance benefit, it is important to have a clear understanding on the terms and conditions of submitting a claim with your insurance provider. The process itself can be complicated and time-consuming; so, being prepared and understanding the key steps that you need take when submitting your claim can be a great advantage to you.
- Own or any occupation definition: It is crucial for the policyholder to have a clear understanding of their policy definition. Remember that a total disability benefit is only payable when the policyholder has satisfied the condition of their policy.
- Inability to perform your occupation for at least six months: You will also be required to provide proof that you are unable to perform the duties of your primary occupation for six months before turning 65 years old.
- Partial disability benefit: You can still receive a benefit payment even if you are partially disabled and able to work in your own occupation at reduced hours. For the benefit to be payable, you must meet the requirements of a partial disability, which may be hours or duties based, or permanent loss of use of one arm, leg, or vision. Your condition must also be certified by an approved medical practitioner.
How much total and permanent disability insurance do I need?
When determining how much TPD insurance you may need, the general rule of thumb is to take out coverage that is ten times of your annual salary but you should consider your own circumstances and obtain advice on the appropriate level of cover for you.
Can I add total and permanent disability insurance to my life insurance policy?
Yes, you can TPD cover onto your existing life insurance policy to have a more comprehensive coverage. Just be aware that your benefit will only be payable to cover an event. So when a TPD claim is made, the benefit amount will be deducted from life insurance cover.
Can my self-managed super fund own my TPD insurance policy?
Taking out insurance through a superannuation fund is a common option, and if you have set up your own self-managed super fund then your fund can own your TPD policy. In the event of a claim, the benefit is paid to your self-managed super fund, and you must meet the guidelines for a superannuation TPD policy to allow you to withdraw the benefit payment before your retirement.
What is the difference between 'own occupation' and 'any occupation'?
- If you specify 'own occupation' on your TPD insurance application, this means you will be paid a benefit if you are found to have a permanent disability which prevents you from performing the job you are trained in. Own Occupation TPD Insurance is no longer available through superannuation.
- Any occupation definition will provide a benefit payment if the insured is deemed permanently disabled and unable to permanently disabled and unable to perform any occupation.
Do total and permanent disability policies have a waiting period?
Depending on the policy you choose, you may be required to be unable to work because of an illness or injury for at least three to six months, before you start receiving any benefit payouts.
What illnesses or injuries are excluded from a TPD policy?
In most cases only intentional, self inflicted injuries will be excluded from receiving a successful claim payment.
Is a TPD benefit paid from the benefit of a linked life insurance policy?
When your policies are linked and you make a successful claim on your TPD policy, the benefit you receive will be deducted from your life insurance amount. If you don't want your life insurance to be affected by a TPD claim, you can choose a Double TPD policy, a TPD Buy-Back benefit, or a stand alone TPD policy. In these cases your life insurance benefit won't be affected, and if it is, it will be reinstated after several months.
Does TPD insurance cover me when I'm overseas?
You can find TPD policies which will cover you for illnesses or injury you incur while you are travelling overseas, or living overseas for an extended period of time. Just make sure you check the conditions of your particular policy with your insurer.
Total and permanent disability insurance is an important accessory to have in your life insurance arsenal. TPD insurance is relevant for singles, couples and families because even if you don't have any dependents, how are you going to find the means to look after yourself and pay your medical bills if you are unable to work because of illness or injury? If you do have a family relying on your income, think about how their lives would be impacted if they had to find other sources of income, not to mention the resources to look after you.
Do you have a question about eligibility for TPD Insurance?
If you have a specific question about your eligibility for TPD Insurance you need to speak with the your insurer, as conditions for approval vary. However, if you need any additional information below are some useful links:
- Tax Treatment of TPD
- Total and Permanent Disability Cover
- Centrelink Compensation Recovery
- How Lump Sums Affect Centre Link Payments
- Superannuation Disability Benefit Complaints
- The Financial Ombudsman Service