Give yourself the gift of protection

Give yourself the gift of protection
Although protection is unlikely to be top of anyone’s present list, having life or critical illness cover in place can provide you with valuable financial peace of mind should the worst happen.

These types of policy might not be able to change the circumstances you or your family might find yourselves in, but they can provide you with tax-free cash to cushion the blow of bereavement or serious illness. You can then focus on what really matters, without having to worry about how you’ll get by financially.

Many people don’t realise that these policies often come with other gifts and bonuses to help make life easier, not only at the point you make a claim, but also if you need support on a day-to-day basis. Often these services are available to famil members as well as the policyholder. Here’s a run down of some of the services many protection providers offer.

• GP services, private prescriptions and annual health checks

Having to wait weeks to be seen by your GP when you have a health issue can be really stressful, but many protection policies come with 24/7 access to online or telephone GP appointments, either for no additional cost, or a small annual charge. This can be particularly useful during the festive season or on other bank holidays, when it’s even harder to get a GP appointment.

Providers such as Aviva also offer protection customers an annual health check from home, via a pin prick blood test which is posted back to a laboratory for analysis. Aviva’s digital GP service costs £36 a year and provides access to three consultations per year with a Digital GP which can be shared between the policyholder, their partner, and children up to the age of 18, or 21 if they’re in full-time education.

Protection policyholders with LV= have access to a remote GP and can usually book an appointment online to speak to a UK doctor by phone or video 24/7. Appointments are typically available within a couple of hours, and you can book an unlimited number of appointments each year.

• Counselling and mental health support

Many protection providers offer a range of tools to help with mental health, from counselling to cognitive behavioural therapy – without the wait, and free of charge as a policy gift. Depending on your policy and who provides it, you may also be able to benefit from access to family, bereavement or relationship counselling services, without the waiting list or cost.

For example, Aegon’s Health and Wellbeing service offers policyholders access to counsellors over the phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Support and guidance can be provided on a wide range of issues including grief counselling, diagnosis of medical conditions, emotional issues, marital or relationship concerns, family issues, consumer rights, legal or debt issues, and work-related concerns.

• Specialist Nurse support (Red Arc)

Royal London, Legal & General and Scottish Widows are among the providers which offer policyholders access to Red Arc services. This is designed to give practical, emotional and medical support to those who need it following a diagnosis.

These services are often available to customers even if they are unable to make a claim, for example, perhaps because they have been diagnosed with an illness on a life insurance plan. In many cases this same benefit is available to both your partner and dependants too.

• Physiotherapy

Remote and in-person physiotherapy sessions aren’t available on all protection policies, but it can be a real bonus when it is. This benefit provides free access to virtual and in person physio sessions without the cost of private consultations, or NHS waiting list.

For example, LV= offers policyholders access to five free remote physio sessions a year with a trained UK physiotherapist, whilst income protection policyholders with The Exeter can benefit from up to six physiotherapy consultations a year.

• Fitness and nutritional advice

Another added value service many providers offer is fitness and nutritional advice. .British Friendly’s Mutual Wellbeing benefit, for example, provides help with health and wellbeing tools, tips and services. Its fitness and diet app comes with bespoke challenges, a well-being hub with recipes, and links to healthy living rewards.

• Second medical opinion

Getting a second opinion on diagnosis and treatment plans can provide much needed peace of mind that you know exactly what you’re dealing with, and that you’re tackling it the right way.

AIG is one provider which offers this to policyholders, as well as their partners and children, on all its protection contracts. This could prove a significant benefit, whether you just want clarification on an ongoing health issue, or if your children are unwell and you need additional support or reassurance that they are getting the best possible treatment.

Cover has come a long way in recent years as providers strive to make their products more than simply a cash pay-out. If you’d like to review your current cover or discuss a new policy call one of our expert protection advisers today on 0800 073 1932.

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