Income protection insurance can be a valuable product if you have mortgage repayments or credit card or loan repayments to meet each month.

No one knows what is around the corner and if you should become unemployed or have an accident or illness then you could be left struggling.

If you can get back to work very quickly then savings could get you by; however, if you should need months away from work to get back on your feet then savings would soon run dry.

A far better solution that does not have to be expensive is taking out an insurance policy that covers your income.

There has been much bad publicity surrounding payment protection products, of which income protection is one.

However, if you stick with a specialist in protection insurances you can be sure that you will be offered a quality product.

You can also make good use of the information that an independent specialist will make available on their website.

But by far the biggest benefit of going with an independent provider is the low premiums that are charged for cover, which will be based on your age and the amount of your income you wish to cover.

A specialist will allow you to insure up to a certain amount of your monthly income.

Income cover would usually begin to pay out tax-free amounts from between day 30 to 90 of being classed as unfit for work or unemployed.

The exact cover start day is stated in the terms and conditions of the policy, as is the length of time that the policy will protect you. This can be anything between 12 and 24 months to age 60, 65 or even for life, depending on the individual provider.

While in the majority of cases this would be enough time to recover and start earning again, occasionally the policy ends before the policy holder returns to work and this has to be considered.

You also have to be aware that there are certain terms and conditions that could mean income protection would be useless.

Exclusions have to be checked thoroughly.

Some are common to the majority of polices, while others are included by specific providers, so you have to compare individual terms and conditions that come with quotes when shopping around for the cheapest policy.

Working on a part-time basis, working for yourself, being retired or suffering from a pre-existing illness could all stop a policy being suitable.

However, exclusions are not clear cut.

Those who suffer from a pre-existing condition could be eligible to take out cover if the illness has not occurred within two years.

Self-employed individuals who have to stop trading on a permanent basis through involuntary reasons could also benefit.

A specialist provider will give the information in plain English so you can make an informed decision before tying yourself down to something that is not suitable.

Income protection insurance can give peace of mind and the financial security of being able to concentrate on getting better or finding a new job, but you do have to buy cover with consideration.