At this time of year it’s common for people to spend time thinking about what’s important to them. For many family is top of the list, which leads on to ensuring they’re looked after if something unexpected throws a spanner into the works. For example, do you have a backup plan if you or your partner were unable to work for a period of time, became seriously ill or if you suddenly faced substantial medical bills?

Do you have a backup plan if you or your partner were unable to work for a period of time, became seriously ill or if you suddenly faced substantial medical bills?

For some the solution may be to dip into savings; re-mortgage the house; call on wider family for support; send a non-working partner into the job market and/or depend on the public health system, ACC and sickness benefit for help. For others, these are not satisfactory solutions, and for those people insurance is a well-established and practical option. Here’s a quick overview of the most common policies around to protect you and your family if something did happen.

Income Protection/Loss of Earnings

While ACC will cover 80% of your income if you’re injured in an accident, it pays nothing if you can’t work due to a non-accident related illness. And most people, even in the construction industry, are statistically more likely to be off work through illness rather than accident anyway. Income protection (also known as loss of earnings) will replace your income while you’re unable to work. For self-employed contractors this is critically important cover. Doing it right, in combination with optimising your ACC cover, can make this a very affordable option. There are also options to receive lump sum payments for certain injuries.

Health Insurance

Many people are happy to rely on our public health system, which is fantastic in many ways. Unfortunately, speed is not one of them and when you’re facing a serious illness, a long waiting list is the last thing you’ll want to face. With private health insurance you’ll be referred to a private hospital and have your diagnostics, cancer treatment, surgical and non-surgical procedures paid for.

If you’re an employer, providing health insurance to your staff makes them more likely to stay with you (and we know good workers are important to keep hold of), as well as ensuring they’re back at work quickly if they do get sick. With the right plan, pre-existing conditions can be included, making the cover very attractive.

Key Person

Are you, or is someone else in your business, critical to its successful operation? What would happen to your business if that person was unable to work? Key person cover ensures that the operation of the business can continue (workers get paid, jobs get done) while that person is recovering, or a replacement is found. The money can also be used to pay off debt and pay employees before closing the business in an orderly manner, rather than being forced into liquidation/bankruptcy.


Pays a lump sum to your beneficiaries in the event of your death. In cases of terminal illness some policies will pay out prior to your death, so you can make the most of the time you have left.


Pays a lump sum on diagnosis of specified illnesses. This can be used for anything while you recover, including paying extra expenses or for alternative treatments, reducing debt, replacing a partner’s income if they have to take time off or even going on holiday to speed your recovery.

In a nutshell

Being sure your family will be looked after if something happens to you is vitally important to most people. The right insurance can give them peace of mind and guarantee their future financial security. What combination of cover is right for you will depend on your own situation and the level of risk you’re comfortable with. In every case, speaking with a financial adviser will help ensure you’re making the right decision for you and your family.

Illness, Income Protection & ACC Dial Down