Whether you are just starting your career with the police service or you’ve been a member of the police community for years, there are some questions which you should never ignore.
What would happen if you couldn’t continue working, due to an injury or long term illness? Would you be able to cover your bills? Could you pay your rent or mortgage? If you have a family, could you continue to support them while you recover?
From the latest statistics available in 2014/15, according to the Metropolitan Police, 3,958 UK police officers were absent due to non-psychological long-term sickness for 28 days or more. With this in mind, it would be a mistake to ignore the risk of having to take time off from work. And even if you have cover in place already - ask yourself, does it go far enough?
Two types of cover
Members of the police service who are long-term sick or injured are eligible for full pay for 6 months, then half pay for 6 months, but then after 12 months pay ceases if the cause isn’t classed as an injury on duty.
At the start of your career, every police officer is offered Regulation 28 insurance by the Met Federation. This is insurance cover that bolsters the basic service sick pay they are eligible for.
Reg 28 cover comes with certain limitations, so many police officers opt to buy income protection from an alternative provider. The Met Federation admits that the income protection available from Metfriendly provides a more comprehensive level of protection for only a slightly higher cost - but what is the difference really?
Let’s look more closely at the differences between Reg 28 cover and the income protection available through Metfriendly.
- When you are injured or fall long term ill, your pay drops down to half pay after 6 months. At this stage, Reg 28 provides an additional £200 per week. In contrast, Metfriendly income protection would provide 40% of your pensionable pay, tax-free, during the same time period. There is no time limit for how long Metfriendly’s income protection will continue to pay you this amount.
- When your police sick pay stops, Reg 28 would give you £400 per week for 6 months. However, with Metfriendly income protection you would get 60% of your pensionable pay, tax-free, for up to 2 years - that’s 1.5 years longer than Reg 28.
- The Reg 28 cover is a fixed figure of either £200 or £400, meaning that as your salary rises, Reg 28’s value to you reduces over time. Unlike these static figures, Metfriendly income protection cover increases in line with your salary, meaning that its value to you never falls.
- Reg 28 cover can pay you for up to 12 months. This includes either 12 months of £200 per week if you remain on half pay, or 6 months of £200 per week while on half pay followed by £400 per week when you are no longer receiving sick pay. In contrast, Metfriendly income protection can pay out indefinitely whilst you are on half pay and can last up to 2 years on no pay.
- Reg 28 cover does not offer you further payments if you are medically retired - even if it occurs during the first 18 months. Unlike Reg 28, if you are medically retired, Metfriendly income protection will provide 50% of the shortfall between pensionable pay and ill-health pension until either you reach the age of 60, you are no longer incapacitated, or you find paid employment.
- Metfriendly income protection will also give you a cash lump sum if you are diagnosed with a specified critical illness whilst you are serving.
It is clear that Metfriendly income protection can be a far more inclusive insurance cover than the Met’s Regulation 28 cover. In fact, Metfriendly’s income protection plan is designed to be the most comprehensive cover available on the market today for the police.
There are many situations where Regulation 28 cover would simply not be enough to cover a police officer’s lifestyle. When you compare the slight increase in monthly payments to the added benefits that you are paying to receive if you lose your income, it becomes clear that what you are purchasing each month is not simply an additional cover - you are paying for peace of mind.