Burnout, mental health, and Income Protection


Does your income protection insurance cover you adequately for mental health issues? We take a look at why it’s essential.

When people consider buying an income protection policy, most often, it’s accidents and physical illnesses that come to mind. If you’re put on crutches following a car accident or diagnosed with a serious disease, it’s quite easy to visualize how that may affect your job. It’s harder to imagine how mental illness might impact your work, but it’s far more common than you may think.

Have you ever been exhausted after a long week at work? You’re not alone. While most people and professions will experience the occasional stressful, busy period, the stress is constant for some people, making it impossible to wind down. Chronic work stress, more commonly referred to as burnout, is on the rise throughout most developed countries. A 2018 study from Eurofound discovered an increase in Germany, Austria, Netherlands, and the UK. In the USA, the situation is even worse. A Deloitte study found a massive 77% of employees reported feeling burnout.

Any professional can suffer from burnout, but it is felt disproportionately among healthcare, education, and tech employees. The Millennial generation is particularly vulnerable to exhaustion due to long hours, stagnant wages, and lower job security. Unfortunately, as burnout progresses, it can lead to many other health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and sleeping problems.

With burnout so prevalent, it’s unsurprising that the most common reason for a doctor to issue a sick note in England is mental health problems. In 2019, Aviva’s annual claims report showed that more claims cited mental health than cancer.

What should I look out for in my policy?

As income protection policies are underwritten upfront, you’ll see exactly what is covered and what’s not. Check the small print as some insurers offer access to counseling or other therapy services as part of their package.

Remember to be honest though, if you’ve had any stress-related illness in the past, some insurance companies may consider your mental health to be a pre-existing condition and likely not cover. That doesn’t mean getting insured is impossible, though chances are, it will cost you more.

If you’re looking for income protection, and haven’t found the policy for you yet, click here to find out more about our peer-to-peer income protection, by signing up with VouchForMe, groups can protect themselves against a sudden loss of income.

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Eurofound (2018), Burnout in the workplace: A review of data and policy responses in the EU, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg.

Fisher, J. (2015). Workplace Burnout Survey | Deloitte US. Retrieved 22 July 2020, from https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/burnout-survey.html